In 98% of reported child sexual abuse cases, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, Cited In Dympna House, 1998).
Today is the last of our series in Teach Your Child Body Safety and based on our readers the series was very helpful and appreciated.
I want to thank Rachel Grant Coaching <firstname.lastname@example.org> for allowing this series to be re-published.
If you have any questions or comments please contact me at email@example.com
Always know serving you is my greatest pleasure!
Darlene J. Harris
Teach Your Child Body Safety-Part 4
This week, we conclude our series on teaching a child body safety by exploring the most critical aspect — we must believe our children!
I cannot reinforce strongly enough how important it is to believe a child if they disclose sexual abuse. In 98% of reported child sexual abuse cases, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, Cited In Dympna House, 1998).
Our reaction to a child’s disclosure is crucial to their ongoing well-being and healing. If we react with disbelief, they may never tell again and their suffering will only increase. If we react with shock, horror and/or anger, the child will most certainly take their cues from us, and believe that in some way they are to blame.
It takes an enormous amount of courage for a child (or adult) to disclose sexual abuse that may have been ongoing for years. They will, no doubt, have been threatened with horrific consequences were they to tell. To find the bravery to overcome such threats, is a true act of courage. But what a child needs more than anything from the person they disclose to—be it a parent, relative, teacher or friend—is compassionate reassurance. Therefore, stay calm and reassure the child:
- you believe them
- they have done the right thing in telling
- they are incredibly brave and courageous
- they are in NO way to blame
- they are loved
- they are safe and will be looked after
- you will do everything you can to stop the abuse.
It is our responsibility and duty of care to the child, to remain calm as well as receptive and compassionate, once the child begins to disclose. If they disclose amongst a group, take the child aside and find a safe place for them to continue. A disclosure from any sexual abuse victim takes an enormous amount of courage—so please, as the trusted recipient, respond to such bravery with kindness and compassion.
Lastly, sexual abuse prevention education is not only a parent’s responsibly, it is also the community’s responsibility. Ask your child’s kindergarten or elementary school if they are running such a program. If they are not, ask why not. And PLEASE lobby for it. Remind them that sexual abuse is irreversible but it can be prevented.
Jayneen (aka Jay Dale) is an experienced teacher, editor, author, publisher, and most importantly a mother of three daughters and an advocate for sexual abuse prevention education (Body Safety Education) in homes and schools. Jay has written a number of books to empower children and to give them a voice including: Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept, No Means No!, Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain and a information guide for parents and teachers entitled Body Safety Education. Jay works passionately and with ongoing commitment to ensure children are taught age-appropriate sexual abuse prevention education.
For more information on this topic and Jay’s empowering children’s books ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’, ‘No Means No!’ and ‘Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain’, and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to www.educate2empower.info
To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please go to: http://somesecrets.info/links