From the age of 3, we can educate and empower all children with basic body safety rules – Teaching them how to say NO if people do things that make them feel uncomfortable or if people try to touch their private parts.
(The My Body is My Body Programme songs and Children’s Workbook will help you with this)
We need to let them have power over their bodies – for example:
Let children choose if they want to be hugged or kissed by relatives (this can sometimes be very uncomfortable for children). Let them shake hands instead if this is what would make them happier.
Please remember both girls and boys are sexually abused, so both need education in this subject.
Children need to know body boundaries. (I will go into more detail about this and how to approach children in a positive, non-threatening way when we do the tutorials on the My Body Is My Body Program)
It is so important to have these conversations with children so that they know what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Secondly – We need to develop a supportive environment for children. They need to know that they can safely tell people if they are worried, feel threatened, or are being hurt or sexually abused. One out of every 3 children never reports their abuse because they are afraid. They fear getting in trouble; they feel that it is their fault or maybe because they just don’t know how to tell.
Some severe physical and emotional consequences, both in childhood and later in life, are more likely to be experienced by the child if they do not tell.