We teach our children water safety, road safety and sun safety just to name a few but what about body safety around private parts? The statistics for sexual abuse amongst children are alarmingly high all over the world and as we know, the impact of sexual abuse has lifelong harmful effects. Research suggests that children can become even more vulnerable to repeated abuse in the future if not addressed as early as possible.
The perpetrators come from all walks of life. Statistically, over 90% are known to the victim. Child sexual abuse occurs when someone uses their power, force or authority to involve a child in sexual activity. Sexual abuse usually starts with grooming and can include sexual comments, flashing or touching, masturbation, oral sex, penetration, taking photographs and showing pornographic images.
It is so important that we as parents and carers, know how to talk to children about body safety, what to do, what to say and who to tell, so that we keep them safe. This should happen as soon as a child knows how to talk and must continue throughout their lives. We can start to empower our children by teaching them the right names of the genitals and what private means, how to be body safe, unsafe feelings, touch, secrets, who to tell and what to say when they have warning signs that something is not right. Research shows that confident children who know the names of their genitals and who have supportive safety networks are less likely to be abused.
As a parent the thought that my children might be sexually abused is one of my worst nightmares! So let’s be parents who are always there and available for our children no matter how hard the conversation might be.