Yasmine Abdelazim, an Egyptian mother has just discovered that her 10 year old has been talking to a Facebook user who asks her to send nude photos of herself. When this mum went on the user’s profile, she was shocked to find over 4,500 Egyptian children on the friends list among other mutual friends of her child’s! Some mothers also went on this profile and found out that most of the children are from reputable schools, and some of them were mutual friends with her child, apparently this pedophile know what he/she is doing!
Our team immediately called Yasmine to explain this shocking incident, “I always go on my daughter’s private Facebook messages. I was horrified when I saw this message and talked to my daughter about it. My daughter told me that she sensed that something wasn’t normal and she stopped talking to this person” Yasmine tells us.
We talked to Sara Aziz Founder of SAFE, an Egyptian NGO combating child sexual abuse. “As parents we must have supervision and monitor all the time what our children see. Also the right relationship that is built on friendship and trust between a mother and her child will allow the child to come and report something like this” Sara says. “Befriend your children to create a strong bond so they can turn to you instead of turning to their friends. You are not just there to drive them to the club or prepare their lunchbox, you are more than that” she adds.
SAFE believes that early awareness about sexual abuse is extremely important. “Starting 3 years old for both genders, boys are victims as well. Also we’d like to say “crossing boundaries” instead of sexual abuse, using the right terminology is important and makes more sense to us” Sara explains.
Sometimes parents don’t know what to do when their child comes to report sexual abuse. Some parents panic and others react in a very aggressive way. The child who is a victim of sexual abuse already feels fear and guilt, so the right reaction is the main pillar of solving the problem, “Listen, believe and help! these are the main pillars of handling this issue. Listen and not hear the story. Sit with the child, talk to them and give them space to tell the story. Don’t make it hard on them to talk, be patient and listen without panicking” Sara says.
Children are very emotional and they tend to think that any stranger could be a good friend . “An abuser knows how to frighten the children and makes them feel responsible about it. They are very close and slowly becomes a friend to the children to abuse them. Abusers could be men or women by the way but it’s a very small percentage to be a woman, 10% approximately” Sara tells.
For prevention of sexual abuse, children need to be awake and aware about this issue. Parents have to tell kids not to share their locations and photos and explain the reason. “At SAFE, we explain to children that we have good people we have evil people, as simple as that. Also parents have to seek consultancy during the abuse. Parents can come to us for sessions or even have a quick call for an urgent consultancy and by the way, the reaction of parents and the way of handling this issue is 50% of the therapy. Yes it’s a very harsh situation on the parents, but you need to react properly and calmly” Sara concludes.
SAFE told us that this year, cyber bullying reports are very high and they are currently investigating the reason behind that.
Find SAFE on Facebook here.
The internet is a space that must be monitored by parents and cannot be left alone for them to spend time on unattended. Children need to be protected against pedophilia online as well as in real life. If you check this account and see that she has over 4K friends and tons of little kids from Cairo it should make you wonder. Also there is a reason why Facebook starts at 13 years not younger.
It starts with a photo sent in a chat and ends with so many nasty options that are out there. Sexual abuse must be discussed openly. Our children must understand if someone asks to see their private parts that they shouldn’t be afraid to holler out loud and claim their right to protect their bodies. We must teach them to do so.
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