You may have seen the stories about abuse circulating. They are not new. The latest in Lagos, a case currently in court, involves a two year old. A two year old was raped in a place her Parents thought she would be safe at – school.
Parents, we must protect our children by arming them with the right information. The predator is not tame in his methods to ‘groom’ and assault our children. We must in turn be bold and steadfast in preparing our children to defend themselves if they are ever in the situation.
Do not believe it will not happen to your children, protect them!
Firstly, I want to touch on are these facts:
A. The predator who assaults your child is known by them (and possibly you too).
90% of abusers were people known by the children
30% of abusers were family members (statistics from the US)
B. The average age for abuse to begin in a child is 8 years old but, it could be younger. As we see in the example i my opening paragraph.
C. Talking to our children is our best defense. What we say and the words we choose, will be adapted as they grow older. I provide plenty of examples of ways to phrase the conversation.
D. Your child is never too young for you to begin these talks. You teach your child their facial body parts before age 1. From 1+, you can help your child label their private body parts, using the correct words and then build on the conversation as they get older.
E. The aim is to teach our children what abuse may look like, so that if a Predator tries anything, your child is uncomfortable, knows to trust that something has happened that is worth reporting to you and takes that next step to report to you.
OK, lets get right into it:
1.Teach Body Part Names
Please do not use bum bum or pee pee and private parts is not enough. When children know the correct names they can correctly identify to us and to a courtroom exactly what happened more easily.
Breast, Penis, Nipple, Vulva (outside), vagina (inside part).
The best place to do this is during your child’s bath or as you’re getting them dressed up or during during diaper changes.
Keep a cool and calm demeanor as if you were talking about saying please and thank you. You don’t want to scare them.
2. Introduce the concept of Safe and Not-safe touch
There are two types of touch: ‘safe touch’ and ‘not-safe touch’. This is better than using bad or good touch because sometimes a child may feel guilty about what has happened because it felt good even as it simultaneously felt bad or made them feel ‘somehow’.
Use these sentences:
Mum and Dad give you hugs and kisses – that’s safe touch. Mummy or Daddy can give you a bath – that’s safe touch.
Mummy or Daddy or Ms Rika (your nanny) can help wipe your vulva after you wee wee – that is a safe touch.
But someone who is not mummy or daddy, hugging or kissing MIGHT be a ‘not-safe’ touch.
You don’t have to hug or kiss anyone else who is not mummy or daddy, if you don’t want to.
No one should kiss you on your mouth or put anything in your mouth.
No one should touch your vuvla or vagina or put anything in your vagina. These are your private parts (add the term private parts for older children, but I wouldn’t bother with a younger one. Better for them to just know actual names so you don’t burden them with too much info).
No one should touch your penis. This is part of your private parts (add the term private parts for older children, but I would’nt bother with a younger one. Better for them to just know actual names so you don’t burden them with too much info).
No one should touch your breast or nipple. That’s not-safe touch.
No one should ask to look at your penis or breast or vulva or vagina.
No one should ask you to look at or touch their penis or breast or vulva or vagina.
3.Tell them what to do if someone does touch them in their private area
You can exaggerate the NO, DON’T TOUCH ME THERE part.
Tell your child: it is OK to not do what someone says if you feel uncomfortable or there has been not-safe touch. Even if they are an adult or someone in charge. It is OK to run away if you don’t feel safe or if someone gives you a not-safe touch.
If anything happens that is not a safe-touch, tell me or tell your Daddy immediately.
4.Do not keep secrets from me
Tell your child that there should be no secrets between them and any other adult or child.
If someone tells you to keep a secret, don’t listen to them, come and tell me (mummy) or tell Daddy. Even if they tell you they will hurt you or me if you tell, tell me anyway.
5. Tell your child – I will always protect you
If someone gives you not safe touch tell me, I will never be angry. No matter what happened, come to me and I will help me.
You will never get into trouble for telling me if someone made you sad or uncomfortable. Or for telling me a secret someone else told you to keep.
You can always tell me.
6. Pictures or videos should not make you feel uncomfortable
Your body belongs to you and you alone. Nobody should take pictures or a video, of your body. Nobody should show you pictures or videos of other people’s bodies.
If they do, you should say NO and come and tell me immediately.