Talking to Children about Sexual Abuse,
and How to Prevent it
Over the last month several people have asked us how to talk to their children about sexual abuse, how to prevent it, and how to empower their children. We shared a very helpful article from the Washington Post on our Facebook page, but decided there was more information you may find useful.
A large component of avoiding sexual abuse is empowering your child, giving her both tools to use and confidence to use them when faced with a potentially terrifying situation.
Teach your children the correct names for their body parts at a very young age.
Teach your children that their sexual body parts should not be touched by anyone else unless they are a doctor or someone who must touch them to provide care.
Teach your children that if someone must touch these parts of their body that their parent or trusted caregiver should be there.
Teach your children that if someone tries to touch or look at these areas, or shows them their "private" areas, they should tell their parent or caregiver right away.
Teach your children that it is OKAY TO SAY "NO" if someone tries to touch them in a way that makes them scared or uncomfortable. Related to this, you should respect boundaries that children set when playing with them and you should never force a child to hug, kiss, or sit on someone's lap if they don't want to.
Teach your children that body secrets are not okay. If someone has touched them and tells them to keep it a secret, they should tell you right away.
Teach your children that you will never be upset with them if they tell you about someone touching them in a way that made them scared or uncomfortable. They will never be in trouble for coming to you for help.
As a parent, you too can help prevent abuse.
Be involved in your child's life in and outside of the home. Know their friends' parents, teachers, and coaches.
Understand that your child may feel more comfortable talking with a trusted adult who is not you. Know who these adults are.
Be aware of the TV shows, movies, and video games your child plays, as well as the apps your child uses. Talk about how they can stay safe when using technology.
Be aware that most abusers are known by their victims.
When your child wants to talk with you, listen and be engaged.
If you have a teen be sure they are involved in activities that boost their self-confidence.
Remember that talking about sex is not a one-time thing. It is an ongoing discussion.
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