Aida Zabidi
Reflecting on Syed Azmi, a local activist who was been recently updating on paedophilia and sexual abuse, I'm surprised at the outpouring of shock from the community.

It has been something that has been so taboo to talk about, but it exists, and it happens.

Reflecting on my own experiences as a medical officer, I've met victims of abuse. 
I'm not a senior doctor. 

I've worked five years, of which two have been in district and two as a house officer before being placed where I am now. In my time dealing with the general public, I've come across four cases of rape and sexual harassment; of which one I've had to make a police report for and three where the victims have told me during a sexual history - and those were the ones I asked. 

The themes were similar, started in youth by people who were either family members or those who were close to them. 

The last case I saw was when I was working in Muar, where the child was being raped by her father, and he had been doing so for the past six years. 

She was fourteen when I met her. I remember telling her I had to make a police report, and her father might be put in prison. She nodded assent. 

I can't imagine what must have gone through her mind at that point. 

Her mother knew. She knew the whole while, and even as the police came, and in a later interview I had with the detective in charge, the mother tried to defend her husband every step of the way, to throw a wrench into the investigations any way she could. She blamed her daughter. 

What was scary? Her husband worked in a school. 

Four cases isn't a lot, some may say - but four cases in a short career means that this isn't as uncommon as people think. 

Open our eyes. 

Educate our children, and please understand the importance of sex education. 

I hope the increased awareness of this social ill will help more victims come forward and seek help, and perhaps changes, as small as they may be, can start to happen.

I wrote about my experience of what to do in a rape case here and how to deal with it.
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