<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The shocking incident wherein a four-year-old child was sexually assaulted by her classmate inside a private school premises on Friday has once again raised serious concerns about our society. On the other hand, some experts have said the normal curiosity of a child should not be misconstrued as assault.Medical experts suggested that the accused seemed to be in the ‘oedipal stage of development’, in which kids are eager to identify with a gender. “The age between 3 and 5 years is when the gender identification takes place. Sexual conflict arises during this age, which sometimes leads to such incidents. The question is why did the child get involved in such a crime,” said Dr Sameer Malhotra, senior consultant psychiatrist, psychotherapist, and de-addiction specialist at Max Hospital.Over-exposure of kids through social media or any kind of abuse at home are among the leading reasons behind this kind of hampering. “One needs to understand the reason behind this curiosity. A child needs to go through project testing, in which he can explain whatever is running in his mind through art,” Dr Malhotra added.Explaining the role of parents in such cases, educationist Ameeta Mulla Wattal said they should be “counselled” as well to understand what sexual assault means. “Children in this age are too young to understand the meaning of sexual assault and molestation. They are often curious about each other. Such cases should be handled very sensitively,” she said.She added that such things are very normal at this age and parents should understand that. “A four-year-old molesting another four-year-old is something that is really difficult to believe. Parents should understand the psyche of kindergarten-going children. They should be given proper counselling,” she said.Several principals also backed Wattal’s comment and said that 7-8-year-old children are too young to “molest”. “It’s unbelievable that a four-year-old can molest anyone. Even if such an incident happened, it should not be considered as perversity,” said principal of a private school in east Delhi.According to Nimesh Desai, Director, Institute of Human Behavior and Allied Sciences (IHBAS), more watchfulness is required to avoid such incidents. “Crime among children is a multifactorial phenomenon and we can’t hold one or two things responsible for it. Parents, guardians, and teachers have to be more watchful to avoid all this.”

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4-year-old too young to molest