To keep our children safe from Sexual Abuse
We adults are ashamed of procreation and the word ‘sex’, so we tend to not talk to our children about it. But if we can’t talk to them about sex, how can we possibly talk to them about getting potentially abused.
As a society we do acknowledge that children get abused. Child abuse takes place in every culture, geography and age.
To address this challenge, there are various methods to teach children to ward off and report a potential paedophile.
‘Good Touch/Bad Touch’ OR ‘Safe Touch/Unsafe Touch’
The problems in this approach are:
- Marking some areas of the body as ‘bad’ or ‘unsafe’ can negatively impact the child’s perception about his/her body.
- The concept is quite complicated for a child to understand.
- If the perpetrator shows pornography, or talks explicitly to the child, he/she will not be able to decipher it as being unacceptable.
- A perpetrator would obviously choose an opportunity to touch the child when no one is around. If the child is alerted only when the perpetrator touches the child, it would be too late.
So, this form of educating a child, can be confusing and inefficient.
‘No, Go, Yell & Tell’
Now this concept is based mostly on the fact that strangers are potentially perpetrators. The problems with this approach are:
- Children would unnecessarily develop fear for all strangers.
- Studies have shown that in 90% of child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is NOT a stranger but known to the child.
- And if the child is not equipped for what to say NO to, how will the child say a No.
So, this method also proves to be confusing and insufficient to educate a child.
The 5 Alerts — ‘See Alert, Talk Alert, Touch Alert, Alone Alert & Hold Alert’
These alerts are a concept brought by HowToTellYourChild.com, a social platform that I initiated due to my own challenges with teaching my children about sexual abuse.
Most of the shortcomings of the other methods have been addressed in this concept. A simple, fun video is used as a tool to educate children on this concept.
The limitations of this method are
- In rare & extremely unfortunate cases where parents are perpetrators, the child will not be alerted.
- For younger children, the parents/care givers have to be actively involved in helping children make their ‘circle of love’ & ‘care-taker’ list.
But these will remain a short coming in the other methods too.
To address the fact that it’s not enough just to educate children, but to educate adults in the society, HowToTellYourChild has a video to help adults understand & respect the boundary of a child. This video can be used to talk to the child’s caretakers, helpers, staff at day cares , schools and other community spaces where the child spends his/her time without the presence of the parents.
Here is the video that sensitises adults on the topic of child abuse:
This platform is used in many schools & communities across multiple countries. And it has received a heart-warming response where victims have reported incidents and have emerged victors too.
Do visit our site and you can mail me at email@example.com. I would love to hear your ideas, inputs and feedback.
After all, this is not just my battle. It’s Ours.