One out of every ten children has been sexually abuse before they reach 18. There are probably children in your child’s school who are being sexual abused. According to the research, 90% of these events could have been prevented.
As a parent, it is important to discuss child sexual abuse with your family. Look for opportunities to frequently discuss key points with your child.
The child needs told that there is no way of knowing who ‘bad’ adults are by looking at them. Adults or older children who do bad things to children are often someone they may know–family, an older neighborhood kid, club leader, friend’s parents, etc. 60% of these abuses are by someone the family trusts.
Teach the child how to identify good and bad touch. Good touch makes the child happy such as hugs, slaps on the back, tickling or wrestling if the child enjoys. Have the child give you examples of good touches. Discuss that these may feel good if the person doing them is someone they love and trust; however, these same touches may not feel good if it is someone they don’t know or like.
Discuss the private zone–anything a bathing suit covers. For girls this private zone is breasts, between the legs, and bottom. Boy’s private zone is between the legs and bottom. Lips are also a private zone. The only time someone should touch these private zones is if they are cleaning the child or offering health care. You need to discuss who should be doing these two things. Make a list with your child of people who can provide this care.
Teach the child it is their body and they set the boundaries.
Discuss bad touches with the child. You can start with an example of someone hitting or kicking them. Then discuss an older child or adult asking to see or touch their private parts. The person may claim it is a game. These touching “games” makes the child feel sad, embarrassed, angry or ashamed –they are bad touches.
It is also a bad touch if the person shows his/her private parts or asks the child to touch them. The showing of naked pictures is also wrong.
Someone tickling or wrestling a child that does not feel right to the child is a bad touch. As well as an adult insisting a child hug, kiss them or sit on their laps when the child has refused. Sometimes the child may be doing this for reasons other than the adult being inappropriate with them, but it is the child’s body and he gets to set the boundaries. Explain to the person that you respect the child’s right to set limits as it is essential to his/her safety. Suggest a handshake or back pat instead.
Does the child think it is okay for an adult or an older child to discuss private parts with him? No.
Ask the child if it is okay for an older child or adult to take them away from a group to be alone with them. There is seldom a real reason for an adult to take a child to a place where others cannot view them. More than 80% of sexual assaults occur in isolated one-to-one settings.
Ask the child what to do if someone tries to play touching games with them. The child should learn it is okay to say “No” to adults if what they are doing makes the child feel bad. The child then needs to move away from them or shout.
Ask the child what he should do if an adult or an older child does play an inappropriate game with them. Stress that it is not the child’s fault but the person who did it. The child should tell a trusted adult what happen. Make a list with your child of people he thinks he can trust. The person may say to the child it is their secret and may threaten to harm him, his pet or his family. The child should tell anyway. The child should not inform the predator that he is telling.
Let others know that your child is aware of good touch/bad touch. Predators admit they look for children who are not aware that these “touching” games are wrong.
If you want additional help with talking about child sexual abuse or if you want to learn about the warning signs, please visit the sources below.
Stop it Now –a comprehensive article. A PDF
Young children videos:
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