Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Prevent Child Sexual Abuse – Talk ‘Birds and Bees’

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Disclaimer: My experience in this matter is limited to my younger sister’s conversations since she was 13 for seven years now. A few friends also shared their experiences with “the talk.”

A sad girl
By Education Week

Let me first clarify what I intend to write here. I do not mean that you go and expose your kids to all the complications of life and confuse the hell out of them.

All I intend to do is make you aware of the importance of preparing your children to save themselves from the possible sex offenders who may hover around.

And if you think that your child is protected and lives within a safe bubble, I, without intending to make you paranoid, must tell you that your child’s predators are nearer to them than you can imagine. Please note that anyone – girl or boy of any age – 3 or 13 or more can be a victim.

Okay, so how to begin?

  • It is better that you do not start it on a serious note.
  • Please pick it up as a general regular conversation, maybe in a commercial break while watching TV. Pause when the program resumes. And bring it back in some other time. 
  • The voice should be loud and clear, not hesitating.

What to talk about?

  • First, talk about love. Talk about evil and talk about disguise. Tell them some stories to explain these concepts. You may try a ‘Krishna’ there, and you can tell how the evil can approach us in disguising the goods.
  • Now, talk about different degrees of love – mother’s love, father’s love, siblings’ love, love that binds an entire family together, love outside the family – among relatives and friends and neighbors.
Family laughing together
By Coompia77/ Shutterstock
  • You may also include how a mother and a child communicate only through touch in the very early stages.
  • Once you get to the point of ‘touch,’ proceed gradually. Maybe to bring in an example saying that the Dad squeezed the Mother’s hand to mean that someone they were talking about was watching them.
  • Now, you can talk about the ‘good touch’ and the ‘bad’ touch. At the same time, bring in a talk on private parts.
  • Tell them that any touch that makes them feel uncomfortable should be opposed. Then make it clear that they should report the incident without delay.
  • This is not a one-time talk. Bad touches are unacceptable and should be brought into adults’ notice should be discussed regularly.

What to do?

  • Show what kinds of touches are allowed. Do not demonstrate mechanically. Make it natural in everyday life within the family members. Show examples of ‘bad touches’ from a TV show. Tell them the punishments for a molester.
  • For younger kids who need assistance while bathing, talk about private parts then and possibly tell them the differences between the opposite sex. 
  • When talking about this topic, try using the standard terms of the organs instead of your “cute little nicknames.” 
  • Never ignore any complaints brought to you by your child, even if you think that such a complaint has no basis. Investigate and then conclude. Also, let your child know that you worked on it.

When to start the talk?

  • I recommend that you take baby steps with your baby. Start the talk when your baby can understand you.
  • If you have not done it then, you can start it any day, anytime.
  • For the best, start it TODAY!
    • Mother having a conversation with her sonBy Photographee.eu/ Shutterstock
  • It is easier to talk to younger kids, the preadolescents.
  • If you have an adolescent child, you may have to answer some of their inquiries related to human sexuality.
  • Do not hesitate. If you feel odd, then both of you can watch a documentary on reproductive evolution on Earth. That will give it a biological vibe, and maybe, it will be easier to talk.

What do you have to be prepared for?

  • The child may be hesitant about what you are speaking. That may be because your child is already exposed to the prevalent taboo in society to some extent.
  • At times your child may also resist your touch to pick on you, saying that it feels uncomfortable. Bear with that; your child’s safety is more important than you getting to caress your child.
  • Unfortunately, you may also find that they are already facing trouble. The trouble may be coming from a predator of the same sex as well. 
  • Do not react severely. Take steady and planned steps.

I have been a victim myself to my neighbor, and I know how bad it is. I wish I had told my parents earlier. My parents wish they had talked to me earlier.

Stop child abuse
By istockphoto

Hridi was raped when she was five by her uncle; she wishes she had never told her parents; they silenced her.

Bheem was 16, yet he ran away from school; he wishes he had complained against his seniors to the authority.

Maithili, at 13, was molested by her sister’s father-in-law; her parents wished that they never married their daughter in that family.

Chandan, at 13, is not content because his molester, a teacher from his school, was never punished.

ACT BEFORE YOU REGRET IT!!

 

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