In news media, there are often stories of children facing sexual abuse. We are all shocked, scared and worried about our kids’ safety. But we can teach our children some basic safety rules
By FM Bureau
Child sex abuse (CSA) is a reality and we can teach our children some basic safety rules for their protection. These rules are simple, easy to learn and even a four-year-old can learn to protect himself/herself effectively. Most parents do not talk to their children about sexual abuse. They are uncomfortable about talking about sex and feel unable to handle questions that will be asked by kids.
Talk to your children about safety, not about sex! The way you teach kids to cross road, handle fire or work with knives; you can teach kids to be safe from unsafe touch. It really is simple as you will know from the following discussion.
Who can talk to kids
Any parent or teacher can do the job well. Women are often seen as more trustworthy by kids so a mother or a female relative/teacher can do the job well. If father participates in the session, authenticity increases a lot and kids like involving whole family. This improves their sense of confidence and safety.
Talk to whom-
You can educate kids as young as 4 years!
Talk only about the “no touch” areas
There are three areas of body that are “no touch” areas- chest/breast, bottom/buttocks/bums and area between legs. You must tell kids that nobody is allowed to touch them in these three areas.
You will note that there is no mention of abuse/sex at all. You only talk about safe and unsafe touch. Children of all ages understand this language very well.
If you are not parent of the kids participating in the session, then you must help the child identify a “safe adult” and clearly communicate with the adult in front of the kid. Tell that adult that he/she is identified safe person by the child and if the child received inappropriate touch, the child will let the safe adult as soon as possible.
It is important to conduct this conversation in front of the child as it completes the loop of communication and safeguards the child.
Most important: Repeat this talk with kids every six months as booster effect makes it very effective like vaccines.
Some kids will ask difficult questions. Some of them with answers are:
To help you stay safe from harmful people.
Other kids of your age and playmates can touch you while playing on the ground and is usually okay. If any kids touch you there again and again then let the teacher or parent know about it.
Any other question that you are uncomfortable to answer, you can safely tell the child that you cannot answer that question straight away, but will give the answer when the child is a bit older. Children understand this age barrier very well as they are told all the time about things they cannot do till a specific age e.g. – driving, marrying, buying a house, getting a job, etc.
Older children are often trapped by abusers by using blackmail. They are often shown/given sexually explicit material and later blackmailed into sex. This can be effectively prevented by having a trusting and reasonable relationship with your adolescent. If your kids are sure that you are a sensible person and will not give harsh punishment/dressing down for mistakes, they will confide in you and cannot be blackmailed.
Please do not hesitate to conduct a session for your own kids and kids around you. You will be doing them a huge favour.
You can conduct this session in a school
A lot of impact is generated when the whole school undertakes an exercise like this. Students talk among themselves about it and that really raises awareness to a great extent.
Some preparation can help you a lot
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