How can you protect your kids?
Sexual abuse is not about sex… Let alone love. Whatever ‘excuses’ a sexual predator may make.
It’s about power. Plain and simple.
Power over the abused.
Sexual abuse is when an adult – or older child – uses a younger or smaller child for the predator’s own sexual stimulation or gratification.
There may be reasons why a predator abuses others. But never excuses. There is no excuse…
Is there a way to make it less likely that our children will be subject to abuse?
Yes! Abusers rely on silence, secrecy and ignorance… Make sure that your kids – whether they’re your own, students, a sports team or another group – know about abuse. Give children the knowledge which can help to keep them safe. Give them the knowledge that they will be able to quickly detect when someone is trying to ‘get them ready’, or groom them, to be their victim. Give them the knowledge and confidence to ask for help.
Teach your kids the vocabulary of sexual abuse – as well as all other forms of abuse. Allow them to name body parts such as penis, vagina, vulva, anus, scrotum, mouth and breasts as well as all their other body parts. Please don’t have them believe that such words are ‘dirty’ or ‘secret’ and have them list all the other words used instead of these words too (ie dick, one-eyed monster, pussy etc). Before we can talk any further, we must have the vocabulary and language. And it is likely to bemost difficult and embarrassing for the adult or parent!
Yes, it is a shame to have to talk with kids about abuse, including sexual abuse. Perhaps they ‘shouldn’t’ have to know about ‘such things’ and maybe they are entitled to their ‘innocence’. I think they’re also entitled to be safe? Yes it is very important to address these issues very carefully and tactfully and not to scare our children. Let’s protect our kids by giving them this information and the comfort to talk about their bodies? Kids younger than 12 or 13 are usually ‘safer’ because they tend to have closer supervision from parents and there are often ‘parent helpers’ when they’re in groups.
Kids often become babysitters themselves at 12 -14 and this information may be new to them and if they experienced abuse this may be the first time that they realized that what happened to them wasabuse and was wrong. And a sobering thought? Seeking help may not only help them but also the younger kids who could become their victims.
Unfortunately most sexual predators have a history of being abused themselves. On the other hand, having been abused certainly does not mean that you will become an abuser. Absolutely not. If you do have a history of sexual abuse, however, see a counsellor before you put yourself in a position of responsibility for a child or children.
Sexual abuse can be divided into contact and non-contact forms of abuse – and an important point here is that victims can just as easily be male or female…