In the United States, there is an epidemic of child sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can happen to any child, anywhere, no matter their background. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse tends to be common in organizations that involve a mass number of children and people who are supposed to be mentors and/or role models. The Boy Scouts of America is a prominent example. More than 12,000 children have been sexually assaulted while participating in Boy Scouts of America programs. Many parents think that they can protect their children from sexual abuse, but the best way to protect children from sexual abuse is by teaching them to protect themselves. Here are three powerful ways to teach your child how to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
Talk About Body Parts Early On
It is important to teach your child about their body parts at an early age. Children are curious and they pick up on information faster than you think. They also tend to explore their own body parts at an early age. As awkward as it may be, parents should teach children about their body parts as early as possible. This can keep them from learning this information elsewhere (like an inappropriate place or from an inappropriate person).
Teach Body Boundaries
As a parent, you’ll want your child to keep their innocence for as long as possible, but in today’s society, children are learning about sex at an alarmingly early age. Once you’ve taught them about their body parts, you absolutely must teach them about body boundaries. Children are often confused when they’ve been sexually abused because they don’t understand the boundary that has been crossed. By teaching children about body boundaries, this allows them to clearly tell the difference between appropriate and inappropriate body contact, which can make it easier for them to report such incidents.
Teach Them to Report Things That Make Them Scared or Uncomfortable
According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), there is some incident of child sexual abuse found every nine minutes by child protective services. Many of these cases are unreported by the child themselves because the child is scared, unsure of who and what to tell, and even feeling guilty about the abuse. Teaching a child the importance of reporting sexual abuse, and more importantly, teaching them that they aren’t responsible for it, can empower a child. This will lessen or eliminate their fear, and they’ll be more likely to report sexual abuse incidents.
It’s important to teach our kids how to be safe not only with their bodies, but with technology. If you enjoyed this article, check out this other article on how to keep your kids safe when they’re online!