CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE: Here Is How You Should Educate Your Child About It

By Shaifali Verma

This article was first published on YourDOST

How Should We Talk To Children About Their Bodies?

It is very important that you talk to your children about their body so that they feel comfortable about their body and body parts. Teach children correct names of their body parts, because children often find it difficult to explain about sexual abuse due to their lack of knowledge about their own body.

Helping to learn correct names of their own body parts gives children correct words to explain. It is also imperative to teach children about their private parts of the body which they cover with under-garments.

How To Explain My Child About Safe And Un-Safe Touch?

Begin by elaborating the two kinds of touches: Safe Touch and Un-Safe Touch

Safe touch – These are touches which can make them feel cared and don’t harm them in any way.  This includes a pat on a back, hugging etc.

Un-Safe touch – Teach them that as they already know kicking, punching, pushing, pinching can hurt the other person, similarly there is one more kind of Un-Safe touch which might feel safe but they would not want it. Teach them to say NO in such circumstances and such a touch can also come from a familiar person. Emphasise that they still they have all rights to say “NO” to it. Teach your child to say “no” in a strong way.

I Have Two Kids One Is 6 Years Old And Another Is 9, How To Explain Is My Confusion?

Once they know about their body parts it becomes easier to teach them. Tell them that “they are the boss of their body”. Make them aware that they have all rights to decide about who should be touching their body and how.

  • To a six year old, you can say that when a bigger person touches your private parts that is not healthy and clean, therefore let’s set a rule we will never let any bigger person get that close.

  • Also make them understand that cleaning, bathing, changing clothes are part of this rule, however it is absolutely okay to let the kid’s parents to change their diaper, bathe them or clean them and

  • Healthy parts exclude if a doctor is touching them in presence of their parents.

With your nine year old you can have an open communication, explain him/her about un-safe touch, and it is when somebody touches their private body parts and that is unhealthy.

What All Should I Be Telling My Children Regarding Un-Safe Touch?

You should teach your children these:

  • IT IS NOT OKAY if someone touches your private body parts.

  • IT IS NOT OKAY to touch someone else’s body parts even if they ask you to do.

  • IT IS NOT OKAY for someone to touch their own private body parts in front of you.

  • You can decide who can touch you. You have right to say “NO”.

  • IT IS NOT OKAY iF someone asks you take off your clothes, except if they are doctor or nurses trying to see if you are hurt or sick.

How Can I Help My Child To Escape From A Situation Like This?

You can tell your children that if someone tries to touch you in a wrong way then they can:

  • Say “NO”, tell the person you don’t like it and you don’t want them to touch you.

  • RUN AWAY! Tell them to get away from the person whose touch you don’t like

  • Scream for help

  • Always come and tell Mummy and Papa about it even if that person asks you not to tell.

  • If somebody touches you in school go tell the person you trust and also tell Mummy and Papa about it.

  • Try to stay away from the person and avoid staying alone with him/her.

How To Help My Child Recognise Whether It Is Un-Safe Touch Or Not?

Teach your child that Un-Safe touch is bad and therefore should never be kept as a secret, but don’t feel you are bad. It is the person’s fault and encourage them to narrate a list of what are bad or unsafe touches, i.e.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if the person touches your private body parts below your neck till your thighs.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if it hurts you.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if a person touches or tickles you under your clothing.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if it makes you feel scared or it makes you cry.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if a person asks you to keep it as a secret.

  • IT IS A BAD TOUCH if a person threatens to hurt you or anybody related to you, they are just trying to scare you.

How Should One Deal If Such An Event (Child Sexual Abuse) Takes Place?

  • It is very important to stay strong, stay strong by your child and help him to come back to daily routine.

  • Never blame the child for the incident, it is not his fault also blaming the child make him/her lose your trust.

  • Report the authorities, it is very important that some legal action is taken against the person.

  • It’s important that you let others know that this person is “Un-Safe” in order to safe guard other children. However, make sure you do not disclose the identity of the child who has been abused.

  • Try to get in touch with local support groups or take the child for counselling, this will help the child to remain confident and will give him/her space to express their emotions. (Dealing with child sexual abuse, 2014)

If you are going through a difficult phase in your parenting, chat with YourDOST expert live from 11 AM to 1 PM here.

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