Acts of sexual abuse against children are not uncommon. According to the United States Department of Justice's National Sex Offender Public Website, approximately 1.8 million children throughout the country have suffered through sexual abuse. 62,939 cases were reported in 2012 alone.
As frightening as these statistics may be, there are steps we can take to help reduce the risk that our children will become victims of sexual abuse. Three proactive steps parents can take to keep our kids safe include:
- Avoid word confusion. A pediatrician that often treats children that are the victims of this form of abuse recently wrote a piece giving some tips to empower kids in these situations. One piece of advice was to call body parts what they are. "Eyes are eyes, knees are knees and penises are penises." Using cute names can confuse things.
- Keep it simple. Give kids an easy way to understand what can and cannot be touched. For some, the easiest way to explain this idea is that no one should touch parts of the body that are covered by a bathing suit or by underwear. Let kids know that they can tell you if contact from someone makes them feel uncomfortable, regardless of where they are being touched.
- Teach kids the power of no. Let kids know it is okay to say no to getting touched. Kids should be able to say no to grandma giving them a big, giant kiss this holiday season. Giving them the ability to control what happens to their bodies instead of forcing that act of likely innocent affection can give kids the skills to say no in a situation that is not so innocent.
Keep in mind, the majority of sexual abuse cases against children are committed by those who are close to the family. Church youth group activities generally come second, followed by school activities and sporting events.
Unfortunately, even when steps are taken to help empower our children against this form of abuse, cases of sexual abuse can still happen. If your child or loved one is the victim of sexual abuse remedies are available. Contact an experienced attorney to discuss your options and obtain justice for your family.