Now Is The Time To Talk To Your Kids About Appropriate Touches
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
With the recent news of a local girl who was abducted and assaulted by a Casper man, Natrona County parents are on edge.
It's easy for us to tell ourselves, not in our town. I know who I can trust. Not my kids.
This recent occurrence not only shattered the lives of this young girl and her family but sent rippling waves through our community.
The statistics I found on VictimsOfCrime.org are sickening.
1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys are a victim of child sexual abuse.
Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized.
Perhaps scariest of all, 3 out of 4 of the victims were abused by someone they knew.
The best way to ensure your children's safety is to talk to them about appropriate touches NOW.
Yes, it's scary.
Yes, it's awkward and uncomfortable.
But what if it could help prevent the unthinkable from happening to your child?
What if it means that your child comes to you right away when something happens that makes them uncomfortable, instead of months or years later?
Yesterday I had the chance to talk with Glenn Woods from The Glenn Woods Show on our sister station K2 and we had an intense conversation about this topic.
I'm thankful that we didn't just talk about the scary stuff.
We spent most of the time giving parents information on how to talk to their children, and why.
We talked about age-appropriate conversations and teaching children that whatever a swimsuit covers on their body is private. If anyone wants to touch them there they must ask permission. Even a trusted adult like a doctor needs to ask first.
Glenn and I discussed the importance of giving children words to use in these situations (no, stop now, you're not my dad) as well as actions (kick, bite, scratch, and even peeing on the person assaulting them).
We talked about role-playing and how you should teach children that "in our family, we don't keep secrets." I stated that it's important to remember that sometimes children are molested not by adults, but by other children.
As parents, we must not worry about how what happened may reflect poorly on us or our family. It's all about "reacting responsibly" if your child says that someone is making them uncomfortable.
I found this information from StopItNow.org particular important to share with someone who is a parent of a child who was abused by a loved one.
There are many protective parents who continue to love or care about the spouse or child who committed the abuse. There is no reason to feel guilt or shame about such feelings. In fact, by caring about both the person who abused and the abused child, you may be in a better position to improve things. But you can do so if, and only if, you are clear what your priority is – to protect the child who has been abused.
The websites below give clear and concise information about how to talk to your children about appropriate touches, how to report any concerns or get help for yourself and your child, and warning signs to look for.
The Children's Advocacy Project Breaking the Cycle of Abuse (local Wyoming resources)
Rainn.org National Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors and Their Loved Ones
Darkness To Light The 5 Steps to Protecting Our Children
Stop It Now Prevention, Warning Signs, Recovery, Training