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Some advocates believe it is solely an adult’s responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse.

I totally agree that adults must educate children in their care in body safety this will hopefully reduce the risk of them becoming a target of sexual abuse.

Adults themselves need to become educated in:

  • Grooming techniques used by perpetrators.
  • Statistics on child sexual abuse.
  • The signs that a child is being sexually abused.
  • What to do if a child discloses.
  • Believe a child when they disclose.
  • Educate the wider community in the importance of protecting children from sexual abuse.
  • Let friends, family and those who come in contact with their child know that their child is educated in Body Safety and to respect their boundaries.

An empowered child that knows not to keep secrets and has been educated to tell, in all probability, is less likely to be targeted by an abuser who relies heavily on a child to keep ‘the secret’.

In my opinion, a child who knows:

  • The correct anatomical names for their private parts and is comfortable using those terms.
  • That their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it.
  • Not to keep secrets that make them feel bad and uncomfortable.
  • The names of five adults that they trust and can tell anything to.
  • If some-one does touch their private parts or touches their body in a way that makes them feel unsafe, they can yell out ‘Stop!’ or ‘No!’ and immediately tell a trusted adult and keep on telling until they are believed.

Let’s be honest. Our children cannot be with us 24/7. Fact.

They will go on camps, they will be invited to sleepovers and they will visit family and friend’s homes. 95% of children who are sexually abused know their perpetrator (Child Protection Council, 1993). They can be groomed and abused right under an unaware and uneducated adult’s nose.

I do understand that very young children find it incredibly difficult to say, ‘No’ to an adult or older child. I do get that. And in fact, in an ideal world they should never have that responsibility.

We, as adults need to be vigilant to the grooming techniques of perpetrators. But as your child becomes older, they will leave the safety of your nest and, sadly, they may have to implement the Body Safety Education they have been taught from a young age. You hope they never have too, but look at it this way, isn’t it better they wear a safety belt rather than rely on an adult driving the car slowly and carefully. A safety belt is there just in case.

Therefore, yes… it is an adult’s responsibly to educate a child in Body Safety and to educate themselves, but it is also in the child’s best interest to arm them with crucial Body Safety knowledge just in case we are not there to protect them, as I always say…forewarned is forearmed!

To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please go to: http://somesecrets.info/links/.

Have you discussed body safety with your children?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • Thank you for your thoughts on this matter.

    Reply

  • Thank you . This education is important and perhaps maybe implemented as even part of the school curriculum in PD since children is always at risk from the day they are born . This could be carers, teachers, other parents etc and is very scary because it happens in private and no-one knows about it . We must keep communicating with our children and if possible be vigilant with them such as where they are going and who with etc… for safety reasons .

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  • It’s very important to discuss this with children in age appropriate way. The most important thing is that your child knows that they can come to you or trusted adult with about anything and they know they won’t be in trouble.

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  • oh yeah, you do have to educate your children somewhat. It can be very uncomfortable but it can be preventitive. Not an easy topic to discuss

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  • I think the entire community is responsible. Obviously parents have a major role in explaining body parts etc. to their children, but this needs to be reinforced at school. Everyone should be aware of signs and look to protect the young and innocent.

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  • One must remember that there well maybe a point in time when a doctor has to look and touch a private place and this also needs to be explained to the child.


    • Yes, but making sure a trusted adult is with the child during the examination.

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  • Fully agree with you – I always taught my children the way of life and we had many round table discussions about all sort of things, so that my eldest son was protective of his sister when one of his mates came on too strong, etc. and my daughter had a crush on someone and asked could she have a script for the pill as she thought she mightn’t say no if she was in that sort of a predicament. It is definitely up to the parents to teach the children.

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  • I completely agree with this article. I used all of these ideas with my daughter and always made sure she knew she could always come to us for anything. She is 19 now and she is still comfortable coming to me about anything, and I mean anything.

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  • What a great reminder to us all – I know I need to go over this stuff with mine again and will do so.

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  • It’s such an important topic. Thanks for writing such an insightful article.

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  • Lke bc

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  • Ultimately, it’s up to adults to keep our kids safe, but of course it’s been proven you can’t always trust adults with children. So as back up, we need to instil in our kids how to be safe and it’s ok to tell mum or dad anything, no matter what others say

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  • Thank you! I do not understand people having different names for body parts. A body part needs to be referred to by its correct anatomical name and by its correct function and we have always taught this to our children. A child owns their own body and no one regardless of their relationship to the child – parent, relative or friend is allowed to touch it! This includes not encouraging the children to hug adults and relatives. I loathe when I see parents pushing their children forward to hug relatives and I say “no” when they do this to children. Some people do it as a sign of respect, but it is disrespectful to children! Our children need to be enabled to protect themselves and for adults to protect them too from vile predators.

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  • I have a toddler. We have taught her correct names of body parts. I do follow you on Facebook.

    Reply

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