How To Help Your Child Protect Him/Herself From Child Sex Abuse
In the first of this series, we learnt what exactly is Child Sexual Abuse. Such cases are also becoming more rampant by the day as more people are coming forward and reporting such activities. When we listen to such stories, don't we, as parents, feel like doing a little bit ourselves? Every child may not face abuse, but every child deserves to know what is wrong and must be spoken to.
Here are a few things that you could keep in mind while talking to them about sexual abuse:
NAME BODY PARTS CORRECTLY:
Children don't know how to bring up such a topic mostly because they haven't learnt the names of their body parts and they don't know how to start a conversation. Name their body parts for them as they are. When they hear you talking about it, they feel free to do so as well. Teach them to take care of their body parts well.
EDUCATE THEM ABOUT PRIVATE PARTS:
Teach them the right anatomical names of their private parts. Tell them that these parts are sensitive to touch and they would get hurt if someone else touched them there. Let your children know that they can decide who gets to touch them and that it's not wrong to refuse to kiss or hug even a relative if they don't wish to.
Teach them to call a penis/ vulva as it is, so that any offender hearing that the child knows these names, will be scared that they would complain.
TEACH THEM THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SAFE & UNSAFE TOUCH:
You will need to explain correctly to your child why some forms of touch may be safe while others may not. You could give them examples such as the ruffling of hair, a handshake or a high five is safe while someone touching their private parts isn't safe. Any kind of touch that leaves them feeling confused or uneasy is not right as well as should be spoken about. Also, if anyone tells them to keep such things a secret, it should immediately be told to either parent.
STEPS TO FOLLOW IF FACED WITH SUCH A SITUATION
Here are some ways in which you can prepare your child for self-defence, in case offended:
1. If someone touched their private part, teach them to point their finger straight into their face and yell out "Don't touch my chest" (name of whatever part is being touched). This will scare off the offender.
2. RUN. Tell them that they should run as quickly as they can and find a safe person that they trust. Either a teacher or any other elder they know they can rely on without wasting any more time with the offender.
3. In case the abusers catches hold of you and doesn't let you run, SCREAM. Tell them to scream as loudly as they can and for as long as they can. They shouldn't try to fight off the offender as this might cause more harm to the child.
8 SAFETY RULES THAT YOUR CHILDREN MUST REMEMBER:
1. No one is allowed to touch your private parts and you are not allowed to touch anyone else's parts as well.
2. Do not let anyone touch their private parts in front of you.
3. Do not touch anyone else's private parts if they ask you to.
4. Do not take your clothes off if someone asks you to.
5. It is not okay for someone to take a picture/video of you when your clothes are off.
6. A doctor/nurse/maid can touch you only in the presence of an adult or by their approval.
7. It is not okay for someone to show you pictures/ videos without their clothes on.
8. You can choose to say NO to whoever you wish to. It is your body and you get to decide who hugs or kisses you.
We need to shed our hesitations and be open with our children. We may not be able to protect them at all times and in every situation but we can empower them to do the same, starting at home.
To read our complete series on Child Sexual Abuse, click below:
What must you know about Child Sexual Abuse, All you need to know about the Ill effects of Child Sexual Abuse, The Essential 5 Step guide to empower your child against Child Sex Abuse, How to find out if your child has been sexually abused?