Sexual Abuse Prevention Starts At Home
As the very important month of sexual abuse awareness is quickly approaching, it is time to take a look at how we as parents can personally educate ourselves on the topic of sexual abuse prevention. I am the author of “I Said NO!” a kid-to-kid guide to keeping your private parts private. I wrote this very important book with the help of my son. There are many great books out there on this topic and I encourage you to do your own research and read as many of them as you can with your children. Reading books to your children is an important start and one of the tools parents can incorporate in this toolbox. However, as parents we can do so much more in regards to prevention. If we simply read books to our children we leave out a huge piece of prevention. As adults, we are ultimately responsible for keeping our kids safe.
My son’s experience and story, as well as many other stories are shared in in a kid-friendly manner. This book, and the stories in it, were gathered through the years during my experiences as a child, student, camp counselor, teacher, mom, and sexual abuse prevention facilitator. The motivation for writing our story came after a scary sleepover. My two children slept over a neighbors house when they were 5 and 7 years old. These were good friends of ours and we had known them for years. This was before the time of cell phones and unfortunately during some health complications of our newborn. We were a Navy family at the time. Our family lived relatively far away from our support system. We learned to make friends quickly and depend on the kindness of neighbors and friends.
During this sleepover my son experienced an event with his friend. This little boy was about one year older than my son. They had played together many times and enjoyed riding bikes, going to the playground, and playing catch. The friend asked my son to do things that were more than “normal kid curiosity”. The boy used manipulation techniques that scared my son. He said things like, “If you don’t do what I am asking you to do, I won’t be your friend anymore. He also tried bribery techniques like, “If you do what I am asking you to… I will give you $50.00 Bucks! My son knew that this was a bad situation so he took action. He went down the hall to tell his sister what was going on. She was at the sleepover too. My children read the book, “Your Body Belongs To You” by Cornelia Spelman. My kids had a very solid awareness of what was safe in regards to their bodies. My son tried to tell the mom in the house about what was going on. It was late and she just yelled at the kids and told them to all go to sleep. My son tried a few things to get out of the situation. He ended up telling the mom that he felt sick and he slept in the bathroom to get remove himself from the situation.
This wasn’t an ideal solution. But, he was creative enough to get himself out of a situation that he knew did not feel right. He listened to his instincts. In the morning when I picked my two children up, I knew something was wrong right away. My son shared with me the events of the night and how he was scared. I felt horrible and did not know what to do. I was angry that my friend let this happen in her house. I blamed myself!
After researching the topic of sexual abuse prevention I stumbled upon a wonderful organization called Darkness2Light.org. This website is full of really important and powerful information, resources and videos. Every parent or adult that cares for children in any way should read this information and take the Stewards of Children training. If I had spent more time education myself on the facts, I might have been more successful at keeping my children safe. I highly encourage you to take the Stewards of Light Training and become a facilitator. If you live in the Virginia Beach area, please feel free to contact me. I am very happy to come to your school, church, or youth organization and do the training for you. Please take a minute to visit me at www.kimberlykingbooks.com for more information on this difficult topic.
Below is information from the Darkness2Light website:
5 Steps to Protecting Our Children
Realities, Not Trust, Should Influence Your Decisions Regarding Children
It is highly likely that you know a child who has been or is being abused.
- Experts estimate that 1 in 10 children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.3 This means that in any classroom or neighborhood full of children, there are children who are silently bearing the burden of sexual abuse.
- Youth are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than adults.28, 29
- About 35% of victims are 11 years old or younger.29, 30
- 9% of 10 to 17-year-olds receive a sexual request while on the Internet.32
- 30% of children are abused by family members.29, 33
- As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts.29, 33
- Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children.29
- Over 90% of children who are commercially sexually exploited have a history of child sexual abuse.26
- About 75% of child pornography victims are living at home when they are photographed. Parents are often responsible.26
Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who “tell” and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn’t come from strangers but from friends and family.
People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy, seeking out settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.