Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
How would you feel if someone you trusted or even loved was sexually abusing your child behind your back? Imagine the shock, betrayal and suffering that would bring you, and moreover, your child for the rest of their life? The stats are high - 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and contrary to popular belief, most abusers are known to the child. Instead of turning a blind eye/sweeping it under the rug/ making it taboo (which pedophiles THRIVE on) we NEED to look at it. If we want our children to be safe, we have to do the hard work and confront this heartbreaking truth. Want to know how to avoid this happening to your child? Here are a few preventative tactics to think about: Are we teaching our kids safety & boundaries by 1) modelling boundaries in our adult lives 2) allowing them to say “no” to physical affection from others? Are we facing the difficult discomforts of our own childhood & if applicable, recognizing and dealing with our own childhood trauma? Are we teaching them the difference between keeping secrets and surprises? Are we teaching them that we are someone they can open up to about anything and show emotion to without judgment or penalty? Are we fully and compassionately listening to them and asking lots of questions about how they feel and why? Instead of justifying their feelings with our assumptions/other people’s thoughts/ or being distracted on our phone/with other tasks. Are we telling our children the truth and teaching them the reality of sexual abuse - do we know what it is? Are we teaching them techniques for safeguarding? - do we know any? [No Go Tell protocol & 5 trusted adults & personal safety] Are we teaching them the proper words for their genitals? Are we taking responsibility for the hard choices and letting our kids be kids? What message are we sending our kids with the actions we are taking and choices we are making for them? Are we giving our kids choice and control in their own lives? All in all, are we empowering or dis-empowering our children? It all begins here because, yes there are sick people out there and no, you cannot tell a pedophile by looking at them. Not all of them are convicted and sent to jail. One pedophile could abuse MULTIPLE children before being caught. Even convicted pedophiles are released back into society and allowed to continue to live their lives safe and comfortable.
The only real thing that any one of us can do right now is look at how we are protecting our children and try to prevent this from happening. In the meantime, we can advocate for a reality in which child sexual abuse, violence and rape don't exist.