The last couple posts focused on awareness and protecting children, and since I’m on a child abuse prevention kick right now I’m going to continue on from there. The truth is, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make sure your child never encounters someone who wants to do something inappropriate. From a babysitter, to a teacher, or a coach, you can’t always be there to make sure no one does something they shouldn’t.
One of the reasons children are victimized is because they are usually in an environment where the adult is always right, no matter what the child thinks at home. They are used to doing things they don’t want to do because they are told to, and they are dependent and thus have to follow rules that may not even make sense to them. Unfortunately, this blind sense of always being wrong compared to an adult leads to tragedy when a sexual conflict comes up.
***Trigger warning*** for anyone reading this who has experienced child sexual abuse, you should make sure you’re in a good place to read this, or come back later.
A child will may not be comfortable with the touching or the abuse that goes on, but if it is done by a trusted a adult, they will have a hard time saying no, or knowing that it’s wrong. We have to teach our children that there are some things that no one can do, some things that adults can not be right doing, that no one can be right doing.
This doesn’t need to be graphic and traumatic. For instance, using a doll or pictures in a children’s book to explain that no one should ever touch them in certain places, and if it happens, to scream no, leave, and tell another trusted adult immediately. Too many acts of child abuse are more mentally coercive than physically coercive, the attack is dependent on the child being too afraid or confused to stop the assault or draw attention to it. Even if it seems like something children shouldn’t have to face, it’s becoming more and more likely that they will face it, and to be armed, they need to have a rigid idea of what is and isn’t allowed. They need to be taught that if they feel uncomfortable they always have a right to yell and find another adult. And they need to know that they have a right to say no to people in authority.
Without going into more detail, I think you get what I mean about telling them. And you can’t be TOO vague, like that safety kid’s song “stay outside of my line or I’ll tell on you” because kids are awfully literal and won’t understand. They need to know locations and that touching and even being shown certain things is something to scream about and tell on. That adults are wrong when they do these things.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions and not professional or legal advice.