Warning signs for sex abuse cases in Saudi Arabia

The rising number of sexual abuse cases calls for imposing stringent legislation to put an end to a worrying trend

Published: Updated:

The rising number of sexual abuse cases calls for imposing stringent legislation to put an end to a worrying trend that is a source of concern for all members of Saudi society.

It has been found that in many of the reported cases harassers used extortion and blackmailing tactics with victims in order to force them to engage in illicit sexual relationships, according to Alsharq daily.

Parents have a big role to play in educating their children about this problem and explain to them, in simple terms, what constitutes sexual abuse and how not to fall victim to predators.

Parents should continue to educate their children as they grow older and enter adulthood.

Social activists agree that this is a very important step in light of the fact that teenagers may get incorrect or unreliable information from outside sources.

Another thing parents must do is teach their children to always talk about what happens to them at school or in public without feeling ashamed or afraid.

Right environment

Abbas Al-Mayouf, social activist and writer, says sexual abuse is a social disease and some teenagers may engage in such negative practices because their parents have not created the right environment for them at home.

“The teenage years are pretty dangerous and risky. Families should keep a close eye on their sons and explain to them the harmful sexual behavior and practices.Any questions teenagers have should be answered and not ignored or overlooked, or even dismissed as trivial. Ignoring them might lead them to find answers in the wrong way and from the wrong people,” Al-Mayouf warned.

He continued that sex education is the responsibility of each and every parent, teacher and mosque imam.

A family should be worried if their son’s behavior changes abruptly because behavior changes may be a sign for psychological intervention.

Al-Mayouf mentioned extreme worry, spending too much time alone (introversion) and stammering when talking as signs parents should not ignore.

“These are clear signs something is wrong with their son who is most probably being sexually abused by someone,” he said, warning families against leaving their sons alone without parental supervision when they surf the Internet.

Globalization has made it easy to exchange and download pornography and sexually explicit photos, he added.

Dr. Muhammad Al-Ali, professor of Islamic Culture at Imam Muhammad Bin Saud University, said sexual abuse is a new phenomenon in Saudi society and went on to blame parents’ over reliance on maids to raise their children as one of the reasons for the increase in the number of sexual abuse cases in the Kingdom.

“There are several reasons for it and the main one is an absence of proper Islamic education. Sadly, most families rely heavily on housemaids to take care of their children.This is a grave mistake parents make as children will grow up loving the maid more than they love their parents.Children should be raised based on Islamic values,” Al-Ali said, while calling upon parents to monitor the behavior of their sons and daughters.

Abdulmonem Al-Hussain, social activist, said a recent study revealed an increase in the number of sexual abuse cases in society.

He cited numerous reasons for the increase such as the rising number of satellite channels offered to viewers in the Kingdom, poor economic conditions, unemployment, rising divorce rate and delayed marriage.

“Most abuse cases involve relatives targeting weaker members of the family. It’s often someone in the family who sexually abuses a child,” he pointed out.

Al-Hussain also blamed expatriates for the increasing number of sexual abuse cases in society, citing incidents when members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) caught several expatriate workers for sexually abusing children.

“Some expatriate workers were caught selling pornographic films and decoding cards for satellite porn channels.

I believe the study doesn’t reflect the actual number of victims as many children and families tend not to report such cases,” he added.

Psychologist Jafar Al-Abad said children who fall victim to sexual abuse often feel guilty, ashamed, worried, frightened, depressed, frustrated, distracted, forgetful, hostile and suicidal.

Victims may also suffer from different disorders that affect their academic performance.