A puppeteering group came to Trinity School today and performed for our Kindergardeners. The show? A miniature, “kid-friendly” showcase of molestation and what to do if someone tries to touch you inappropriately. The puppeteering group even staged a scenario of a young student getting forced into “playing doctor” by an older male and then being touched in her no-no spot. The young puppet girl then reported the incident to her puppet teacher, after which the puppet teacher alerted the girl’s puppet parents and the puppet police. The bad puppet pedophile then was carted off to puppet jail, crying.
The children watching the performance were between the ages of 4 and 6.
The whole play was a bit uncomfortable to watch, honestly. I guess though, when I really consider why I felt uncomfortable during the performance, it is because we feel the need to teach children to protect themselves from predators– and how to speak up about abuse if it does happen. More strongly put: that molestation and rape occurs. I am glad that Korean schools teach young children about sexual molestation and that they confront the problem head on. But, if I could offer one criticism it would be this: the pictorials and the enacted scenario demonstrating a young girl being preyed upon could convey the message that young boys aren’t also victims of sexual violence and molestation. Furthermore, it could convey that women aren’t also sexual predators. Now, most reasonable adults are aware that women can be predators and that boys are just as vulnerable to sexual violence as girls. But what of the 5 year-olds and 6 year-olds watching the puppeteering group? They just watch the play, performed as it is, and take it at face value. It is highly unlikely that they would be able to read between the lines. That being said, I understand that it would be extremely time-consuming to show every possible combination of scenarios for the kids.
Ultimately I hope that the kids gathered enough information from the play to know how to protect themselves in the event that someone wants to take advantage of them– and that if they have been touched inappropriately, that they know what steps they can take to [hopefully] punish the perpetrator. 안되요! (“No” in the “can’t” sense of the term) 하지마세요! (“Don’t do that!”)