Reduce the risk your child will be sexually abused
It may feel like you can’t do much to prevent your child from being molested. However, parents can definitely reduce the risk of sexual abuse by being educated about some behavior signs in adults that could indicate they pose a risk to a child.
Since more than 80% of sexual abuse incidents occur in one-adult/one-child situations, you can reduce the risk substantially by simply reducing opportunity. Carefully consider any situation that places your child alone with an adult in an unsupervised situation. Support activities for your child that can occur in a group setting where there are several adults present. If your child must be left alone with an adult while you’re away, arrange for someone to drop in unexpectedly from time to time.
The following are some strategies which can reduce the risk you child will become a victim.
•Learn how sexual abusers think and become familiar with the tactics they use. The primary method is to develop a personal friendship with parents to build trust and gain access to your child while appearing to be above suspicion.
•Increase your supervision and reduce one-adult/one-child situations.
•Be vigilant and observe the behavior of adults around your child. Notice if your child’s behavior changes, e.g. gets upset, gets quiet or withdrawn when they are around a particular person.
•Look beyond the individual who may appear nice, friendly, trusting and focus instead on their behavior.
•If you get an uneasy or nagging feeling, don’t dismiss it. Trust your gut instinct.
•Ask your child how they feel when they are around that person. Let the adult know that you don’t take your child’s safety for granted. When you do that, you send a message to potential abusers that your child is not an easy target.
If you are uneasy talking with your children about this topic remember this quote from Fredrick Douglass: “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair a broken one.”
I found some excellent books and websites that may be helpfulwhen discussing sexual issues with your children.www.enoughabuse.org and www.childluresprevention.com and www.stopitnow.org are outstanding websites. The following books are well-reviewed on Amazon :
•No More Secrets! How to discuss child molestation with your children
•Tell No One- A story of childhood abuse and survival
•Bobby and Mandee’s Good Touch and Bad Touch Children’s Safety Book
•Listening and Talking to a Sexually Abused Child
•Finding Sunshine After the Storm: A workbook for healing from sexual abuse
•Sex is a Funny Word- A Book about Bodies, Feelings and You!
•It’s Perfectly Normal- Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health
•Who Has What? All about Girls and Boys Bodies
•Amazing You- Getting Smart about Private Parts
•The Care and Keeping of You- the Body Book for girls
•Boys Body Book- Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up You!
•Boys Guide to Becoming a Teen
•Asking about Sex and Growing Up
•A Workbook for Children Healing from Sexual Abuse
I hope you find and use these resources with your family. Remember: It’s never too late to talk about sex and growing up! You just might learn something new yourself!