Child Sexual Abuse: A Recurrent Puerto Rican Case

9 Apr

On March 14 of this year, an eleven year old girl was violated and sodomized by a janitor in a classroom of the elementary school Dr. Víctor Rincón, the school she attended in the municipality of Humacao[1].  The janitor, Juan Flecha-Medina, achieved access to the girl because he was also the gardener and handyman of the girl’s grandmother, who also worked at the school.  During the lunch time, Flecha-Medina opened one of the classrooms he used to clean, and met with the girl, whom he forced to come under the threat of death.  The horrible situation was discovered by sixth grade students that were playing near the classroom, and saw the act through a hole in the wall.  When Flecha Medina noticed that the children were watching, he left the room to frighten them, and the girl was able to leave the classroom.  The girl didn’t dare to report the act, and tried to act normally during the rest of the day.  However, the witnesses told what happened to the school’s social worker, and that was how the case was known.  Later news reported that the girl is being homeschooled by the moment, and that she is receiving psychological help[2].  The witnesses will also be receiving psychological help because they showed to be affected by the situation.  In fact, one of the children said that he could not sleep that night because he was terrified by what he saw.

This case is not an isolated one.  Statistics for 2007 reported 2,031 cases of child sexual abuse in Puerto Rico[3].  However, the case is alarming because it occurred in a school during a normal day of classes, and it was reported by children, who also lack the capacity to presence such a situation.

A document written by Dr. César Mascareñas for the Mexican family orientation program “Esperanza para la familia”, mentions that children who have experienced sexual abuse suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder[4].  Posttraumatic stress disorder is the name given to a series of behaviors presented by people who have experienced severe trauma, usually three months after the trauma occurred.  The children that suffer from this trauma exhibit some characteristics that could help parents identify that something is wrong with them.  Those characteristics are the following: insomnia, over response to anger, lack of concentration, excessive alert to what happens around them, and exaggerated response to stimulus.

A brochure published by the “Oficina de Orientación al Ciudadano Contra la Obscenidad y la Pornografía Infantil en la Radio y la Televisión” encourages parents to prevent child sexual abuse[5].  It recommends parents to practice the next suggestions: talk to children about sexual abuse; tell children that most adults do not hurt children and want to protect them; call sexual organs by their correct name; explain children that private parts should never be touched by anyone; suggest solutions to children about what to do if someone touches them; teach kids that they can say no to adults; mention children specific situations that must never happen; pay attention to any sign presented by children; and ask children to communicate if someone has touched them and to tell any secret that someone has asked them to keep.

Cases like the one mentioned before reveal that child sexual abuse is a serious situation in Puerto Rico that cannot be neglected.  Although the government and mental health professionals encourage the prevention of child abuse, a decrease in the number of such cases will not be achieved without the cooperation of parents and teachers, the people who play the most critical role in a child’s development.  For that reason, I strongly encourage parents and teachers to give children the tools necessary to avoid sexual abuse.  I also recommend the practice of recurring meetings between parents and teachers to discuss the situation, and the practice of school programs to educate children of all ages about sexual abuse.


[1] Pacheco, I. (2012). Abominable acto contra niñita. Retrieved from http://www.primerahora.com/abominableactocontraunaninita-624838.html

[2] Pacheco, I. (2012). “Sí hubo negligencia” en caso de niña violada en escuela. Retrieved from http://www.primerahora.com/sihubonegligenciaencasodeninavioladaenescuela-625409.html

[3] Orta-Vélez, L.; Soto-Cortez, L. (2009). Abuso sexual a menores. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/guestaf0fa1/abuso-sexual-0e-menores

[4] Mascareñas, C. (2012). Trastornos psicológicos en niños abusados sexualmente. Retrieved from http://www.esperanzaparalafamilia.com/Rev/Articulos/PDFs/PDF0119.pdf

[5] Oficina de Orientación al Ciudadano Contra la Obscenidad y la Pornografía Infantil en la Radio y la Televisión. (2012). Proteja a sus niños contra el abuso sexual. Retrieved from http://www.gobierno.pr/NR/rdonlyres/5AAF87FC-ECF9-4B22-A74A-0FBA0BCA2B8C/0/FolletoAbusoSexual.pdf

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9 Responses to “Child Sexual Abuse: A Recurrent Puerto Rican Case”

  1. flopezrivera April 9, 2012 at 11:01 am #

    The paragraph in bold should be revised (the importance of the problem should be developed), and information about the protocol followed to manage cases of child sexual abuse must be included. Does the first paragraph should be shorter?

  2. dalizk April 9, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    Great editorial! It was really informative, well written and relevant.
    I believe that you wrote an explanatory editorial because it’s explaining a situation but it’s also calling for action so it also has a little bit of persuasion in it.
    I saw some preposition mistakes, like in the sentence
    “During the lunch time, Flecha-Medina opened….”
    I think you should eliminate “the” after during.
    Also,
    “The janitor, Juan Flecha-Medina, achieved access to the girl because he was also the gardener…”
    The word achieved is not used correctly in that sentence. I think you should change it to “gained”
    The topic you chose is really relevant and shocking. We have to look more into that because if we don’t teach our children proper sexual education these things happen because they are afraid to talk. You gave really good points on how to educate the kids. Great job!

  3. opiniongal April 9, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

    Nice editorial! It did caught my reading eye. I think it’s complete in everything. It’s clear and the way you expose this awful situation is very good. I also like that you focused on this problem that has been, and still is, ocurring in our society

  4. Enulau April 9, 2012 at 1:04 pm #

    Content:
    I believe the editorial is a critique to the social faults the country is facing. You gave references and information like statitistics.

    Some corrections:
    -The only elements that bothered me were some of the verbs you chose. For example, “whom he forced to come under the threat of death”, “to come under” gives, to me, a sexual reference (like, to go under) which, given the fragility of the case, I would completely avoid using.
    There are some other verbs that I would have changed, but perhaps that comes down to stlye.

  5. Michi April 9, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

    Your editorial subject is interesting. Not just because I’m a big fan of Law and Order SVU but because sexual abuse in minors is something that really needs to be stopped.

    Your content was good and sources as well but you need to broaden your options to help prevent this from happening a little better.

  6. anaisgalindez April 9, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Excellent editorial!
    You explain the the theme or problem, critique and are persuasive about it. The content is interesting, especially the title, the information is clear and I can feel too much your emotion. Your facts are straight and you have intro, body and conclusion. You expose your opinion very good!

  7. Marla's voices April 9, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

    Your editorial is clearly explanatory, but I must confess this is a topic in which I really need to read your opinion. Your emotion towards it is kind of hidden. The facts are strong and well worded. The 5w&h are addressed correctly; I will love to read your conclusion.

  8. letrecillasenglishclass April 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Your contente was clear, despite I agree that you should add the protocol for his type of situation. Also you can write about how the case against Flecha-Medina is going. There are fluency in your writing. Very interesting!

  9. stevenyn3 April 9, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    I believe your editorial is a form of critique because you use the word “I” in various sentences. The topic is very relevant because is a very recurrent social problem in this country. There are some errors in the verbs you used, but my classmates already adress and help you with that problem. I can say that you did a very good job with the resources you found because you also brought some statistical evidence to the editorial. Other than that, I believe it’s a good and solid editorial draft .

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