Ultimately, prevention of child sexual abuse begins and ends with vigilance from parents, teachers, and other adult figures. That being said, it never hurts to give children accurate, age-appropriate information about child sexual abuse and let them know that they have the support of trusted adults. Along with close supervision, clear communication is vital to effective prevention.
But how do you approach such a sensitive and serious topic with children?
Stick to Concrete Examples
When speaking with children about sexual abuse, use clear, easy-to-understand examples. For instance: “If someone you know, like a friend or family member, ever touches you in a way that makes you feel weird or asks you to play a game that involves something like touching or taking off your clothes, please let Mommy or Daddy or another adult you trust know so that we can tell that person to stop.”
Model Healthy Boundaries
Help your children practice setting healthy boundaries. For examples, if they’re at a family event and don’t want to be kissed or hugged, help them find alternative ways to show respect to family members (such as high fives, waving, shaking hands). Tell them that they have the right to say “no” to unwanted contact, and make sure other adults respect this right, even if they’re friends or family.
Explain Manipulation Tactics
Child sexual abusers often use tricks, bribes, and fear tactics to coerce victims into silence. Explain tricks to your children and also reassure them that you will support them, no matter what happens. Say things like, “You can tell me about anything and I will believe you and help you any way I can because I love you.” “If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel weird, don’t blame yourself.”
Don’t lie to your child. Don’t get angry, stressed out, or otherwise intense when faced with an unsettling disclosure. Basically, stay calm, respectful, and open, and your child will know to come to you when something has happened.
If your child has been sexually abused by a teacher, a clergy member, or another adult figure in a position of institutionalized authority, contact the compassionate child sexual abuse attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm for legal representation. We can inform you of your rights and answer any questions that you may have in a FREE case evaluation. Our number is (800) 522-7274. Call us today.