Kanka Foundation, Inc.
Education and awareness is the key to unlocking the door to child sexual abuse. Children need to be able to recognize inappropriate behavior and touch for what it is. Most parents teach their children about
stranger danger which accounts for 20% of cases of child sexual abuse. Although this danger exists, it is imperative that parents teach their children
about familiar danger.
There are two statements of fact that you should teach your children:
Teach children the proper names of their body parts. Don't use false, made up names. If a child discloses sexual abuse to someone, there will be no confusion as to where they were touched.
Make sure your children understand that no one is allowed to put their mouth on their chest, vagina, penis, rectum or buttocks and that the child is not allowed to put his or her mouth on anyone else's private zones.
Open the line of communication with your children. Let them know that they can come to you about anything and that you will not get mad. Children lie to avoid getting into trouble. If they know that you will not get mad at them, they will more readily come to you with their problems. Many times, there are no physical signs of sexual abuse and it is the word of the child against the adult. If you establish an open line of communication with them, they know that they will be believed.
If your child discloses sexual abuse to you, try to stay calm! If you get upset and raise your voice, you may frighten your child into silence. They may take your reaction as something that they did wrong. Make sure they understand that they did nothing wrong to bring on the abuse. THEY ARE NOT AT FAULT!
If your child is playing outside a neighbor's house and they decide to go inside to play, make sure they know to come home and get your permission first. You want your children to know they are not to go into their friend's house without getting your permission. Make sure you do the same with your children's playmates. You do not want them to think that it is OK to go into anyone's house without your knowing firsthand.
Make sure your children know that no one is going to hurt the child's family if they tell about sexual abuse. In cases of familiar danger, family members and friends who abuse may tell the child that they will hurt mom, dad, sister or brother if the child tells or that the abuser will be hurt or put into jail if the child tells. Make sure your child knows that no one can hurt their family and that someone who sexually abuses a child will lie to them in order to protect themselves.
Children may get confused by their feelings if someone they know is sexually abusing them. Oftentimes, bad touch can be stimulating and feel good to the child. Make sure they understand that even if the touch feels good to them, if it is in one of their private zones, it is wrong and they need to tell.
Teach your children how to wash their bodies at an early age. The sooner they learn about their private zones, the sooner they can be taught about sexual abuse awareness.
Constantly REINFORCE sexual abuse safety with your kids. Children do not retain important information in their heads when they are young. It will be easily forgotten or dismissed. By constantly reinforcing what you teach them, you are increasing the likelihood that the information is remembered.
Remember, NICE PEOPLE CAN DO BAD THINGS and JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS NICE, DOESN'T MEAN THEY ARE SAFE.