Sexual abuse is often kept hidden because the victims feel ashamed or embarrassed to say anything. That’s why children need to be taught how to speak up if they experience it.
Although you might feel awkward about bringing this topic up with your child, it’s a necessary part of child-raising in modern society.
Here are three ways to approach this delicate topic.
Talk about sexual abuse openly and honestly
Talking openly and honestly about sexual abuse is the best way to teach children how to speak up. Let your child know that it’s not their fault if they’re abused. Talk to them about the unusual ways sexual abuse can occur and let them know you’re always available to answer questions about this topic.
You should encourage your child to speak up if they experience sexual abuse. Let them know that you believe them and will help them. By empowering your child in this way, you’re helping them become confident and capable of managing any unexpected situations.
If your child shares a story of being sexually abused, report it to the authorities immediately. Law enforcement representatives and victim advocacy groups will guide you through the disclosure process. Reporting abuse can help victims recover from abuse as well as prevent the abuser from victimizing another child in the future. If your child refuses to visit your doctor, order an at home STD test. It will check for seven sexually transmitted infections. If it shows positive results, seek medical assistance. If left untreated, infections become increasingly worse.
Teach your child how to identify sexual abuse
Most adults would never dream of touching a child in a sexual way, but unfortunately, it happens. If you suspect that your child has been abused, talk to them about it. Be sure to let them know they have done nothing wrong. Make sure they know they can come to you with anything.
It is also imperative to teach your child the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching. Let them know that nobody has the right to touch them in an inappropriate manner. Explain to them how they have the right to say no to anyone, including adults. Talking openly about sexual abuse can help your child heal and prevent it from ever happening again. Aside from talking to your child, you can also instruct your kid about sexual misconduct through children’s books that cover this topic.
Teach your children how to react if sexual abuse occurs
Children should also be taught how to respond to sexual abuse. Explain to them why they should never keep sexual abuse a secret and should speak with an adult they trust as soon as possible.
Ensure that your child understands that they can always come to you for help. As a supportive parent, let them know that you will be there for them. And finally, help them create a safety plan for what they can do if they ever find themselves in an abusive situation.
Create a Safe Place for Your Child to Talk
Statistics about sexual abuse estimate that one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before turning 18. While the steps outlined here provide a roadmap for you to educate your child about sexual abuse, they will be ineffective if your child refuses to engage in meaningful conversations with you. For your child to share what’s on their mind, you must create a safe space to talk. Let them know they can come to you for anything, big or small, regardless of what happened to them. Establishing this type of trust will encourage your child to come to you if something goes wrong.
Photo by Kindel Media
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