It’s the most difficult conversation you will have with your child, no matter how young they are.
Child sex abuse in is an urban reality and the numbers are staggering. A survey of over 45,000 children in the 12-18 age group, across 26 states in the country, revealed that one in every two children is a victim of child sexual abuse. Most never report it. What’s worse, in most cases the abuser is known to the child.
You want to empower your child with tools to deal with any situation and at all ages.
Experts say talking to children about body parts and inappropriate touching is an important first step and you need to constantly have this conversation.
Teaching them about body parts and what is private is important. Experts suggest you don’t shy away from using actual words for body parts – vagina, penis. It’s important they know the words and can articulate when someone touches them inappropriately.
To a 3 to 5-year-old, you need to empower your child to say NO. It’s okay to say no to shaking hands, kissing or hugging. You are the BOSS of your body.
And while you teach them to respect their elders, you also have to tell them to shout and scream if that elder hurts you.
Not All Children Will Shout or Scream
That’s because in most cases, pedophiles are known to the child and have spent time ‘grooming’ them. Experts say they sometimes spend months grooming the child, showing them videos, getting close to them and creating a special bond. They make the child believe what they are doing is perfectly normal and it’s their secret, not to be spoken about.
It becomes important that you don’t ignore the signs. Listen to them, don’t dismiss their concerns and take their pleas seriously. Your support is the single most important factor in their recovery.
The below video, My Body Belongs to Me, perfectly articulates what a child will understand.
Watch Out for These Red Flags
- Withdrawal from friends or usual activities
- Changes in behavior — such as aggression, anger, hostility or hyperactivity — or changes in school performance
- Depression, anxiety or unusual fears or a sudden loss of self-confidence
- Frequent absences from school or reluctance to ride the school bus
- Rebellious or defiant behavior
- Attempts at suicide
This video by Poddar Jumbo Kids uses puppets to educate children about Good Touch, Bad Touch.
Experts suggest any indication that your child is being abused should be dealt with immediately. Its important that your child gets immediate medical attention, counselling and support, that the child feels loved and supported even when they are going through the most intense, negative feelings.