WATCH: Child Sex Abuse Survivor Weighs In On Malta’s PSCD Sex-Ed Debate With Powerful Appeal To Parents
'I want parents to understand that you need to protect your children because it could happen to anyone'
A lot has been said about a Year 6 activity book that aims to provide pre-teens with a basic sexual education, but nothing quite as powerful as this appeal by a child sex abuse survivor.
“I want to let mums know that you need to teach your children about it from an early age,” Nicola Cutajar, 35, said in a video message which she also posted onto The Salott. “I never had [this education] when I was younger. It was kind of a taboo subject back then and wasn’t really spoken about, and I don’t blame my parents for this because we didn’t really used to think about it back in the 80s.”
“I was sexually abused by a neighbour, from the age of four onwards, and this wouldn’t have happened to me if I knew that it was wrong. Again, I don’t blame my parents because you didn’t really talk or think about these things back then.”
“So please explain to your children about sexual abuse from a young age, because it needs to be taught. It happened to me 30 years ago and I’m still dealing with it. I’ve been to therapy but the scars will always be there and I just want to raise awareness that you can stop this from happening to your children."
“I just want parents to understand that you need to protect your children because it could happen to anyone”
The PSCD activity book was flagged earlier this week by a mother, who described its content as “filthy and diabolical”. As an example, she warned the book contains pictures of a ‘gay superhero’ and a dialogue between a prebuscent boy and girl describing their feelings when they approach each other.
The Ministry of Education responded to the controversy that ensued by publishing the entire activity book online.
The book introduces Year 6 students to concepts such as sexuality, pregnancy, puberty, sexual orientations and sexual harassment, as well as a section about healthy eating.
It urges children to discuss things regarding their development that concern them, encourages discussion about sexual encounters, and introduces them to terms such as ‘wet dream’, ‘sexual abuse’, and ‘consent’.
Notably, it also includes this warning:
“Remember that your body is yours and you have the right to say NO if someone forces you or tells you to do something you do not want to do. Remember also that you have a right to accept hugs and kisses, but not everybody is the same, so before you kiss or hug someone ask them first. You can phone on the telephone number 179.”