Keeping Your Kids Safe From Sexual Abuse

by | September 11, 2018

The sexual abuse scandal at the Vatican is still reeling from a damning report released by a grand jury earlier this month in Pennsylvania that found 300 Catholic priests across the state had abused more than 1,000 children in the past 70 years, and the fallout from an explosive letter that accuses Pope Francis of covering up a scandal in the U.S.

This isn’t the first time the church has been accused of covering it up, and even though we hope it’s the last – we know that sexual predators are across the globe in every walk of life. And as parents, we need to know and enact ways to keep our children safe. 

First, know that sexual abuse of children is not on the rise according to GMA. Context is key. According to our best estimates, sexual abuse of children is not actually more common now. The stories are horrible and every child who is abused is one child too many, but it is important to know children are not at greater risk today. That said this is still something we must take seriously, as almost 300,000 children experience sexual abuse every year, according to the latest government statistics, and that abuse is nine times out of ten, to be done by someone they already know and trust.  

sexual abuse
CREDIT: SHUTTERSTOCK

Sexual Abuse Prevention

Teach them the correct names for their bodies 

Penis and vagina are the correct terms and should be used. If you prefer to use a monkier at home, that is perfectly fine, but kids should know and be comfortable using the correct words also. Not only will it teach them that there is nothing to be ashamed of, it will also get them immediate help if they have to tell an adult what is going on. 

They are private and there are no exceptions 

Children should know that what is private, stays private, and no adult, regardless of what they say changes that. Teach them about personal spaces, sticking their arms out and how that is their personal space. If an adult tries to come into that personal space, they are to shout ‘leave my penis alone, this is my personal space’. 

What to do if an adult violates that personal space

Have this conversation with your children. Yes, it may feel uncomfortable, and awkward, but not as uncomfortable as not having it and them not knowing. Explain that no matter whatever happens, you will ALWAYS believe them, will always trust them, and no one can ever harm you. Having an adult outside of mom and dad that they can trust is also key. Abusers use tactics that they’ll harm their parents, or no one will believe them. So have every available avenue there for outreach. 

Be aware of what is going on in your child’s life

Sleepovers, parties and anytime your child is not with you, know who they are with, who is going to be there and what they are doing.  

Trust yourself. 

Sometimes we have that little alarm feeling at the back of our minds, and ignore it because we don’t want to seem overbearing or cause a scene for no reason. Trust it and trust your kid, it’s there for a reason. 

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Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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Comments

One Response to “Keeping Your Kids Safe From Sexual Abuse”

  1. S
    September 11th, 2018 @ 8:58 am

    Actually, “vulva” is the correct term. The vagina is inside the body.

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