I was sent an article recently, written by Stacey Steinburg from Huffington Post, the article was simply entitled:
6 Tools to Help Protect Children from Sexual Abuse
Here are the six steps she outlined in the article
Accept that sexual abuse is prevalent. 1 in 662,000 children will become an Olympic athlete. 1 in 2,872 children will become a doctor. 1 out of every 4 girls and 1 out of every 6 (world wide statistics say it is more like 1 in 2) boys will be sexually abused. Put down the STEM kit and stop obsessing about finding the perfect pair of running shoes. Realize that the best thing you can do to help your child succeed is prioritize his or her safety.
Know that in about 93 percent of sexual abuse cases, the child knows the abuser. Stranger is not the real danger. The abuser is typically a family member, a babysitter, a coach, or a teacher. Although most of the abuse is done by men, females also sexually abuse. This is typically where parents get scared. “Who can I trust?” It’s important to evaluate everyone in your child’s life.
Name the body parts. Butt, vagina, vulva, penis. Using cute names tells children that those areas are funny and that you, as the parent, are uncomfortable talking about those parts of their body…When we give a child proper vocabulary, we give her (him) tools to get help when she needs it.
Teach body awareness. When a child cries over a cut on his (her) finger don’t say, “You are fine, don’t worry about it.” If we minimize his feelings, we teach the child that we know his body better than he does.
Talk about body safety. When you are tickling your child and she (he) says “stop,” stop. She (He) might obviously want you to continue. She (He) might even scoot her (his) body over towards you. Say, “stop means stop. And no means no. When you are ready for me to tickle again, just ask.” Allow her (him) to ask before continuing the tickling. This teaches a child that she is in control of her body.
(I added the alternate gender where appropriate, most commentators in this area, are blinded by cultural sexual biases and yes I am dogmatic on this point. I was sexually abused by both parents and by both genders. I have daughters and a son. It is VERY important to ensure they all are taught this – TA)
The last tip is a big one for us. Remove the word “secret” from your child’s vocabulary. A secret is something that is kept hidden forever. A surprise is a gift or event, which is revealed at a certain time. It is always eventually told. Use words like hidden, mystery, private, surprise, confidential, or super agent (instead of secret agent). There are no “good secrets” or “bad secrets.” Tell your children that families can have surprises, but no secrets.
( I though this was a tremendous point – TA)