Talking about sexual abuse with children
Parents often find it very hard to discuss sexual abuse with children.
They might think the child isn’t ready for the “sex-talk”, yet. That’s not what this is about, though. Talk about sexual abuse to bring the message to your children: ‘Your body is yours! You have the right to choose your boundaries.’
Top 10 reasons to talk about sexual abuse to your child
- Statistically one out of every 4 girls and one out of 6 boys will be sexually abused by the age of 16.
- It happens near you. Whether you’re rich or poor, catholic or protestant, black or white, It happens in all parts of society at a fairly equal rate.
- The abuser is almost never a stranger. 93% are either familymembers or friends of the family.
- Even babies can be victims. Around the age of three you can start teaching your child that certain parts of their bodies are private.
- You don’t have to scare the child. When you teach your kid not to cross when there are cars on the road, it won’t be afraid of roads. It will just be careful not to cross when it’s dangerous.
- When you talk about sexual abuse regularly with your child, he/she will confide easier if something happens,
- When you practise of such private talks, you will likely find out at an early stage if your child is abused.
- It’s not just adults! Kids abuse kids. Teach your child what’s (un) acceptable in touching others. That way you will keep your child safe from abusive children …or.. from becoming an abuser.
- You don’t give them any ideas. There’s no reason to think your child will be more susceptible to fantasies about sex, just because they are aware of the dangers.
- It can actually happen to your child. Child sexual abuse happens. Often.
Parents of abused children never thought it could happen to their child either.
OK- I’m convinced…. But how do I talk about sexual abuse to MY child?
Talking to your child about this is easy. We all know the term ‘Stranger-danger’. Most abuser aren’t strangers, so you should find another way to talk about sexual abuse to your child. Here are some suggestions.
First of all, it’s not about sex. It’s about owning your body
Teach your child: The parts that are covered by a bathing suit are yours and yours alone! Except for medical tests and personal hygiëne (which is easily explained to a child) nobody should touch your private parts and you need to respect other people’s privates. You have the right to say NO and when anyone wants to share “a little secret” with you, it’s not OK. When in doubt talk to mommy or daddy. Or to your teacher, or to anyone you trust.
Start today! Don’t delay.
Start this conversation at an early age and repeat it throughout childhood.
That way your child will know he/she can Always, Always, Always talk to you about anything, even when it feels a little awkward.
For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com