Keeping silent about rape for years not rare

Keeping silent about rape for years not rare

Young victims of sexual crimes are known to remain silent for years before telling anyone about their ordeal.

Clinical psychologist and senior director of youth services at the Singapore Children's Society, Dr Carol Balhetchet, said that victims often feel dirty and helpless after the crime.

Some even feel guilty as they think that they were the ones who had initiated the sexual encounter. This is especially so if the perpetrators are family or family friends.

"Victims may only decide to speak out when they decide that they are old enough and are able to stand on their two feet," said Dr Balhetchet.

Founder and senior counsellor at Family Life Centre, Mr David Kan, said that parents should look out for a sudden change in their children's behaviour.

They should also take the time to get to know their children so that any possible changes in their personality can be easily detected, said Dr Balhetchet.

TAKE CHILDREN SERIOUSLY

She said: "Please believe your child if she tells you that she has been sexually assaulted. Then, make a police report so that the case can be investigated."

She said that no child will go out of his or her way to create such bizarre stories.

Mr Louis Lim, a lawyer with William Poh & Louis Lim, said that in Ms Linda's case, it is difficult to establish evidence.

"Because the case was so long ago and no police reports were made, the police will have to interview people who were close to her at the time of the incident to see if she had experienced any apparent depression or emotional change. They will also have to check her medical records," he said.

When asked how the charge for the perpetrator might be altered if he is convicted, Mr Lim said: "The past case will not affect the current sentence. A new charge will have to be made for the old offence."

Additional reporting by Anne Hwarng


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