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Posts from — May 2011

Child Sexual Abuse and Your Children

I just saw a video on Child Sexual Abuse shared by a friend on Facebook and like all topics close to my heart, this topic got me to want to talk. So here goes – This post is for all my friends out there who have just become or are going to become parents. I hope it helps keep your children safe!

Take a moment to watch this video; it has staggering numbers and interesting insights.

(Just in case the video doesn’t show, click here)

Child Sexual Abuse is quite common, so common that we should squirm in discomfort but we don’t because we don’t know the actual numbers. Children don’t talk about it!

I should know, I was abused as a child but I didn’t tell my parents because the treats would stop and I didn’t really understand that it was abuse. That particular insight hit me in teenage when I learnt the work ‘sex’. Then there were all the other emotions attached – shame, guilt, fear, you name it. It took me years to finally open up and tell my parents. My Mom took it well and was so supportive. The only question she asked me about it was ‘Why didn’t you tell us?’

Why didn’t you tell us?

Thats a great question and looking back I ask myself the same thing, Why didn’t I tell them? There were lots of reasons, it was a neighbour and family friend we trusted, I got treats for ignoring his fingers, I didn’t really understand what he was doing, I didn’t want the chocolates to stop, I didn’t want to be scolded or told I’m telling silly stories… It’s a long list!

The truth is children don’t understand they are being abused at a young age and that is our fault. We don’t talk about it or make our children comfortable with sharing everything under the sun with us without the fear of being reprimanded. At an age where the child understands what is happening to them the chances are higher of them saying no or asking for help. The crucial years are until they are about 12.

Here’s a few things you can do as a parent –

1. Talk to your child. You don’t need the child to understand the concept of sex at 1 or 2 but you definitely can make a child understand what touch is ok and what is not. Extend this education slowly as they grow, its important for them to know this!

2. Win their trust. Make sure your relationship with the child is such that he or she can tell you anything. Don’t judge them, shrug them-off or say something is silly; for them it isn’t.

3. Check on them. Off and on ask them about the people around them. Who does what with them, what do they play, what do they say and be ok with all the replies you get. It may sound silly but there are clues there. A lot of them.

4. Screen EVERYONE. I can’t stress this enough. When it comes to your child don’t trust anyone. Always screen and be alert. The highest numbers of abusers are inside the trust circle.

5. Get involved with your child. Children need love and attention and if they aren’t getting enough of it at home they will look elsewhere. That’s when it’s real easy for someone to take advantage of them.

Have you heard stories of abuse? Have your own?
Got suggestions for parents? What do you do with your kids? Please share them in comments, I’d love to hear from you.

(Sharing about my being a victim of child abuse publicly wasn’t easy and I’m not looking for pity or a ‘oh I’m sorry for you’. I’m over that and I’m sharing my story because I think it is so important for my friends & their kids out there to understand just how real and possible Child Sexual Abuse is. I want to help children out there and make sure they don’t go through it too. Abuse is not just in that moment; it’s for a lifetime!)

Update: I came across an excellent video through a friend that shows how you can teach your children about “Bad Touch”. Hope it helps you keep your children safe!

May 12, 2011   3 Comments