Gone are the days when parents feel at ease when their kids are in the next compound; playing with other kids about their age. If there is one thing to be concerned about back then, that would probably revolve around ensuring they don’t get hurt physically. Sexual abuse has become common in the society lately, and several procedures has being around on helpful ways to curb the menace. While these everyday procedure may not have made a strong impact to stopping this abusers, it would be interesting to know that strategies are readily in place towards its reduction.
A lot has changed lately. Parents are more concerned about not exposing their little children to the things they are not supposed to know about yet. The society we live in as made a 7 year old girl appear attractive enough to an older man of 30, and one would wonder where the world got it wrong.
Sexual abuse posses in different forms, resulting from words, actions, displays and appearance. But no matter how confusing it appears, below are helpful ways to protect your child from sexual abuse and assault.
Know your child
Make yourself available to study your child. Keep track as she grows, and pay attention mostly to the things she do on a regular. You would be notified by your instinct when something changed. The earlier you are aware of these changes, the quicker you can tackle them.
Give the appropriate information
Let them know and understand the correct body parts. As far as I am concerned, a spade is called a spade. We all call it “breast”, why would you want to give it a new name? Give your child the appropriate name and information for each body part. Let them know the dangers involved when exposed, or when granted access to someone else. Letting them know the right names for each part of their body allows them to be able to describe a scenario to you when something is going wrong.
Know their friends
Ask about her friends in school. Show interest in the people involved in her life and the things they do. Ask the things her friends likes to talk about. This gives you the idea of the possibilities of knowing the things she’s being exposed to while away.
Teach them to set boundaries
Let them know the difference between respect and “blind obedience”. Most cases of sexual abuse arises from being sent on errands, followed by the culprit’s instruction to bring the item into their rooms. Teach your child about the dangers involved in this regard. Respect is when you allow your child to be sent on errands by neighbours. NOT taking those items to their rooms is the boundary you must set as a parent; especially a mom.
It is very important also to tell your child about their body parts that is limited to being touched by them ONLY. Not even their dad is allowed to touch those parts. Tell your child she owns her body, and must resist any touch by anyone whenever she deemed fit. No unnecessary hugs by Aunties, and no sitting on the laps of Uncles. No way!
Let them know you are always there to run to
Curled from the fact above regarding setting boundaries and saying NO to entering rooms. Let her know she has nothing to fear about saying NO to Uncles request to come inside their rooms. Give her the courage to stand firm on that decision. Let your child know she can always run to you incase Uncles take offence.
Be accessible to your child. Give them your attention when you realize they want to talk about something; anything.
Encourage them to speak up
You should know, that these abusers uses threat on the child. Most of the time, they force them to keep it a secret; threatening to hurt them if they ever speak up. Encourage your child to be bold enough to talk about it. Assure her she won’t get into any trouble whatsoever by talking to you.
When they summoned the courage to report something to you for the first time, rage over it on the concerned person. Fight for her. Give her the impression you can always take up any issue regarding her body seriously. When a child realize the power and strength in speaking up in time, she would always tell you everything.
Take immediate actions when you see these signs
Below are possible signs you will notice when your child start to get exposed to unusual things.
- They begin to walk funny. The signs could be physical too
- They become a caretaker of other children. You would realize they start to protect other children from a particular individual.
- They start sucking their thumbs
- They start being seductive. Someone might be showing them pornography.
If you notice any of these signs, ask questions and do a lot of follow ups.
The worst thing you can do is thinking it can never happen. Most often than not, you close your eyes to the fact that an individual can never hurt your child. That’s okay.
It is okay to go rage on whoever is involved in questionable act with your child. I won’t get angry if you do. I bet no public authority would too.