#MeToo victims’ campaign highlights need to educate parents and protect children from abuse

By Angela Baura, Nov. 7, 2017, South China Morning Post International

The campaign encourages sexual abuse victims to share their experiences and has given millions the courage to open up. We talk to social workers and other experts about the need for communication and to teach parents how to empower their children to reduce the likelihood of it happening to them

Connie Lam was six years old when her uncle sexually assaulted her during a sleepover with her favourite cousin. He crept into his son’s bedroom and began touching Lam (whose real name has been withheld for reasons of confidentiality). He told her it was harmless fun and their little secret. After months of repeated abuse, Lam confided to her mother. She never saw her uncle or his family again.

It was the recent outpouring of two simple words – #MeToo – on her Facebook feed that made Lam, now 42, feel less alone. Some of her friends and relatives were among the more than 12 million people around the world sharing their experiences of sexual abuse and harassment on social media. The campaign sprang up in the wake of the sexual assault allegations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein.

“My experience, as a survivor, is unique. In that sense, I’m alone. But as a mum, I no longer feel alone. This campaign has opened up much-needed dialogue between parents on how to educate children on the risks of sexual abuse without scaring them,” says Lam, a certified accountant and mother of three.

Lam’s concerns as a parent are legitimate. In 2016, the World Health Organisation reported that one in five women and one in 13 men have been sexually abused as a child. Hong Kong’s Social Welfare Department reported 160 new cases of child sexual abuse between January and June this year. Child sex abuse experts agree that these figures are the tip of the iceberg...

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