Sorry, dear readers. This is not so. Don’t take such assumptions, too lightly. Truth is, reality is, sexual abuse cuts across all barriers, be they racial, cultural, social or economical and in most cases, mind all, the molester is someone the child knows. So it is the bounden duty of EVERY parent to be having a discussion on these lines with their child. Children, you will realize, are not generally threatened by this information, they embrace it.
Clear explanations are warranted from parents. Explain to your child that good touch is when Mom, Dad, Grandma or Grandpa hug or kiss if they are going somewhere. Explain to your child that bad touch is any touch that makes them feel weird, uncomfortable, nervous or frightened. Children should be taught to rely on their instructs, their gut reaction. Most children, have an uncanny sense of being able to sense that something is not quite right, somewhere. They seem to have a kind of radar, an inner sense that directs them away from some imminent discomfort zone or danger. They may resist somebody’s presence, shy away from somebody’s touch, avoid the company of someone who may actually be your friend, relative or acquaintance. Just do not force them to face such occasions in the future. If you sense that they are genuinely trying to avoid someone allow them to be so. Do not try to convince them against such fore signs. The most important thing a parent has to teach the child is they should not let anyone touch them in their private parts.
‘Private parts’ is a vague term which your child may find confusing to understand. Teach them that those areas which are covered by a swimsuit is termed as their ‘private parts’. Encourage your child to always tell you if something like that happens to them. They should be told that they should not hold such secrets even from their teachers in school, their caregivers at home or centres, their parents or grandparents at home. Teachers in school should give enough confidence and build a trustful relationship with every child so that he / she is feels encouraged, if some such secretive matter is shared with the teacher in school. The child should not be made to feel embarrassed or shy to share such matters with someone whom they love and trust.
Many times children fear a grown up and have not developed the assertive skill of learning to say ‘NO’ to someone who may be a molester. So most important, teach your child that she / he has to be bold enough to say ‘NO’ to someone who asks them to do something that may make them feel frightened, weird or uncomfortable. Also they should never hesitate or delay in reporting about such instances immediately to the parents at home and the teacher in school. They should not hold it as a secret. It was seen that 30% of the children who were abused sexually never reported it to anyone.
In such cases, children become withdrawn, confused and frightened within. They may be filled with fear of the unknown. Sometimes this could make them aggressive too.
So even when we leave children under the care of someone who may be a person well known, we as parents, should be very watchful about our child’s behavior before and after such occasions. They may either resist too much or they may show our extra sense of curiosity and eagerness to have more such occasions. In either cases, if you sense extremes of behavior, it is best you check out on them, inadvertently but seriously, nevertheless. Try to talk to the child also on such occasions and try to see what they say to your pointed questions, without showing your probing concern for it.
All said and done, may of us may still wonder: How do I start up with my child? How do I talk? What do I say? What areas should I emphasize upon?
I shall write a few lines on these queries in the next article, the following week.
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