Even talking about child molestation is an unpleasant subject for parents. But avoiding the topic won’t make it go away. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report, Child Maltreatment 2010, found that 9.2% of victimized children were sexually assaulted. Knowing how under-reported this crime is, I would presume that the actual figure is a lot higher. If you worry about keeping your kids safe from pedophiles, read on for useful tips. Child sexual abuse prevention is a critical and sensitive topic that requires a comprehensive approach. Here are some strategies and guidelines for preventing child sexual abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse Prevention
There are basic things you can do to lower the chances that your child will ever fall victim to a pedophile. These range from making sure your child is not alone in the presence of people you don’t know well and trust to making sure your kids know they can talk to you about anything. Never doubt their word. Never put them back into a situation in which they have expressed discomfort.
Awareness of The Problem
It is a real problem. According to Rainn.org, “One in 9 girls and 1 in 20 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault.” Studies have shown time after time that a higher proportion of this heinous crime is carried out by someone known to the child and family. Meaning that there is usually an element of trust but this trust is breached by the perpetrator of this crime.
Parents tend to be more protective and vigilant with their female kids. However, as we have all found out, no gender is safe from being molested, remember the catholic priests scandal that almost took down the Catholic Church.
Minimize the Opportunity For Anyone To Have Alone Time With Your Child
Trust your guts and follow your intuition. If you don’t feel safe around someone, your child should not be with them. Don’t allow sleepovers until you have met the parents and siblings.
Keep the door open when your child has a one on one lesson with an adult. Regularly monitor interactions between adults and children. Be aware of your child’s friends, meet the parents, visit the houses.
Teach Body Autonomy And Establish Healthy Boundaries
Educate children about what constitutes appropriate and inappropriate behavior. Teach children about personal boundaries, consent, and the importance of reporting uncomfortable situations. Every child age three upwards should know not to allow anybody to pull their pants down or skirts up without their parents being there. Having this discussion is an action of prevention because often times a familial pedophile may ease in with a little peek-a-boo game. This way over time they get the child comfortable and feeling responsible for the molestation act.
Empower children with the understanding that they have control over their own bodies. Teach them to say “no” to unwanted touch and to report any uncomfortable situations. Encourage open communication between parents and children. Create an environment where children feel safe talking about their feelings and experiences.
Be Vigilant and Informed
If your state maintains one, do an online search for registered sex offenders within a 5 mile radius of your home address. You should not live in fear or hostility but simply being aware allows you to take the blinders off and be more vigilant.
Teach Your Child To Stay In Pairs or Groups
If your child walks to school, try to see that he or she walks to school in a group with friends. A child alone is an easy target. Always travel in pairs and stay in public places. Tell your child to always be aware of their surroundings. Avoid walking past parked vans when possible. Notice people and give them a brief look in the eyes. Perpetrators are often shy of being identified. You don’t want to scare your kids but you do want them to know what is possible. I always told my own kids, most people are good but there are a few that aren’t and you have to trust your gut.
Self Defense Instruction
Have your child take martial art or self defense classes. Enrollment can start at age 4 in some centers. Kids are taught how to fight off an abductor with a healthy infusion of discipline and self control.
Personal Story Of Interaction With Pedophile
If you are wondering how valuable these tips are, I’d say they are likely more valuable that you think. Children need to learn appropriate boundaries and feel confident saying NO. Teaching children self confidence and supporting their spirit to fight back and protect themselves just may save their lives. I am convinced it saved mine.
When I was nine years old, I was sexually attacked in broad daylight in the middle of the street. It was a small town where “those types of things don’t happen.” But they did happen. I was walking back from a friend’s house a few blocks away from my own house when I saw a man by himself. He called out to me and asked me where Marshall Street was. I kept walking and called out that I did not. I sped up and I heard him speed up. Immediately, I knew in my gut he was after me so I tried to run. I heard him start running too. Not surprisingly, he ran faster than me. He caught up to me and grabbed me from behind and pressed his member to my cheek. I was able to duck down and slip free. I turned and yelled at him as loud as I could that he had better not @#&*% touch me.
My fighting and screaming were so effective because he didn’t expect it. Certainly, it was not my size or strength. He ran away and then I did too.
My mother had previously read me an article on the subject of child molestation and instructed me to talk to her if anyone ever made me feel uncomfortable. I was able to talk to her about it because she had already made me feel safe.
The police found the man and he confessed.
I hope that sharing these preventative measures and my personal story will help you open the lines of communication with your child. Have the talk and take precautions to keep your kids safe from pedophiles.
These tips are an excellent place to start with child sexual abuse prevention. Maintaining open lines of communication with children even on the subject of sexual abuse is also important to keeping kids safe from pedophiles. Kids need to know it is safe to tell you anything and that you will support them and value their feelings.
If you suspect child sexual abuse, it is crucial to report it to the appropriate authorities immediately.