Taipei, Nearly 15 percent of elementary and junior high school students in Taiwan have endured verbal sexual abuse, with nearly a quarter of victims choosing to remain silent, according to the results of a survey released Tuesday.
In the survey conducted by Taichung-headquartered non-governmental organization Taiwan Fund for Children and Families (TFCF), 14.9 percent of respondents said they have been on the receiving end of off-color wisecracks that reference to sex or their physical traits.
Furthermore, of the victims, 23.2 percent choose not to stand up for themselves by either telling the offender to stop or reaching out to others for help, the survey showed.
Only 64 percent of the respondents said they have told the offender to stop, while 48.8 percent said they have sought the help of friends, classmates or an adult, the survey showed.
Wang Hsin-ting (???), supervisor of TFCF's Hualien chapter, said that many times, the reason why the victims choose to not stand up for themselves is because of low self-esteem.
"Many of the respondents are children going through puberty and often start to become highly critical of themselves," she said.
The results of the survey are an important indicator to spread awareness among the general public that children going through puberty often need help adjusting to the proper mindset of their bodily developments, Wang said.
With proper understanding, these children will know that there is nothing wrong with themselves and maintain a higher self-esteem even if someone makes a negative remark about them, Wang said.
Low self-esteem is detrimental because she has seen cases of underage sex and self-harm, Wang said.
"The reason why they choose to self-harm is because it helps them to temporarily forget about their frustration," Wang told CNA. "In Hualien, we usually see at least one child per class displaying acts of self-harm due to low self-esteem."
Tsai Wen Chin (???), research development division director of TFCF's Social Work Department, said that from the results of the survey, parents and guardians should be paying more attention to their children.
"Paying more attention to your child will lessen the harm they may face," she said.
The survey was conducted online Feb. 3-17 among 841 children aged 7-15 across Taiwan.
TFCF has been involved in the protection of children since 1987 and holds about 400 events annually to promote and provide support to vulnerable children and their families, according to TFCF CEO Betty Ho (???).
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel