If you have children in your life, then it is only natural to want to protect them from harm. Unfortunately, not every adult takes this stance, and there are many who instead choose to exploit and abuse children. Our team at The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center is committed to helping victims and their families get the support they need to heal from this kind of trauma, and we are also committed to preventing abuse however we can. In this article, we will focus on child sexual abuse, and go over a few of the ways that you can help to prevent it.
Educate Kids About Their Bodies. One thing you can do to help prevent child sexual abuse is teach children about their bodies. Use the correct words for body parts, as knowing what these words mean and feeling comfortable using them will help children communicate if something inappropriate happens. In addition to naming every body part, you should also teach children that some parts of their bodies are private and not for other people to see.
Teach Kids About Body Boundaries. Another way you can help prevent child sexual abuse is to teach children about body safety and body boundaries. We recommend that you explain matter-of-factly that no one should touch their private parts or ask them to touch someone else’s. In addition, you should teach children that no one should ask them to keep “body secrets” –if someone has crossed a body boundary, they should tell you right away. Make sure they know they won’t get in trouble for telling a body secret, as abusers often use fear of punishment to manipulate kids into staying silent.
Explain that These Rules Apply to People They Know. A third way to help prevent child sexual abuse is to make sure that the children in your life understand that the rules about body boundaries and privacy apply even to the people they know, including relatives, neighbors, teachers, and even other kids. The sad fact is that most abuse is perpetrated by someone the victim already knows and trusts, and abusers use that trust to manipulate the victim into keeping the abuse a secret. By making sure that your child knows that absolutely no one should be touching them inappropriately, you help give them the tools to keep themselves safe.
Of course, these are not the only ways to help prevent this type of abuse, but they do make a real difference. If you would need more information on this topic, we encourage you to reach out to our team.