Talking to your kids about their bodies can be a tough time for parents.
The book “Don’t you dare touch me there” serves as a resource to help parents educate their kids.
Author and survivor of sexual abuse, Suzettra L. Walker, says parents need to have open conversations about their child’s body and boundaries as early as the age of four.
“If we’re able to introduce it right now, it’s not as awkward even for children,” said Walker. “It’s a conversation that’s already going on. So it’s easier for parents to jump into it and piggyback off that.”
Experts say one in 10 kids will be sexually abused by the time they turn 18.
“The boogieman is most often someone that the children know,” explained Walker. “It’s important even to let them know that if it is someone you are close to if you’re uncomfortable of being touched it’s perfectly fine. We encourage them to say something.”
The executive director for Child Enrichment Inc says parents have to make proactive choices to protect children before abuse happens.
“90 percent of kids are sexually abused by the person they know,” said Kari Viola-Brooke. “So it’s confusing to a child when they go to Easter, and their parent says to hug your Uncle Johnny. That’s confusing when they’re saying they have to do that.”
Viola-Brooke says it starts by teaching kids the proper name of their privates areas when potty training or during bath time.
“You may know that in your family but if your child goes to school and say somebody touched my coin purse, and you don’t know they are talking about their private part,” explained Viola-Brooke. The teacher may not know they need to make a report about that.”
Both Viola-Brooke and Walker tell me the book should be in areas where kids spend most of their time.
“We need the community to go out, buy that book, read it to their kids,” said Viola-Brooke. “Teach their kids these things.”
“If there is a child that you are connected to in any area of your life, the book should be available in those areas,” said Walker.
Some signs that a child is experiencing abuse are more obvious than others.
If you suspect a child being abused, contact the authorities.
The executive director for Child Enrichment Inc says parents should listen to the child’s words and expressed emotions.
Believe the child and stress that his or her safety is essential.
Not press the child for more information. Also, reassure the child that he or she has done nothing wrong.
Click here to purchase “Don’t you dare touch me there.”
Photojournalist: Gary Hipps