Sexual abuse cuts across social class, age, culture or creed. While there is no sure-fire way to protect one’s child from this menace, steps can be taken to prevent and curtail the danger.
As a society, we have a collective responsibility to fight this menace and protect the child. As a parent, you directly responsible for the safety of your child. It is your call to take proactive steps to protect your child from sexual abuse.
Child sexual abuse can cause serious damage to cognitive, social, and emotional development of a child, therefore prevention is key.
1. Prevention is staying in tune with your kids and preparing them. Give them age appropriate lessons about sex from time to time. Make sure they know appropriate boundaries with their bodies and touch, what is allowed and what isn’t, and from whom.
2. Teaching them to say NO. Through role play, show them how to say “no” and what to do if they find themselves in such situations. Make sure they know they have a voice, and that you will listen to it.
3. Be a nurturing parent. Children need to know that they are special, loved and capable of following their dreams. Learn about how children grow and mature and have realistic expectations of what your child can and cannot do.
4. Listen to your children. It is often difficult for sexual abuse victims to talk about what happened to them. It may also be difficult for parents to believe their children if the suspected attacker is someone close to the family. However, do not ignore or discredit the child’s account of what happened.
5. Ensure your child feels safe. When leaving a younger child with a carer, be sure your child feels safe, comfortable and shows no sign of nervousness.
6. Sending a girl child on errands to a male should be curbed. At night, children should not walk alone and should avoid poorly lit areas at night. Walking in well-lit areas with groups may discourage sexual predators from attacking.
7. Unsupervised wandering in the neighbourhood. Do not let your children wander around the neighbourhood unsupervised. It is a lot easier to abuse an unsupervised child.
8. Know who your child is spending time with. Coax your child to divulge details of what they do together.
9. Get involved. Advocate for services to families. Join our Mums Netwalking Campaign Against Violence Towards Women And Children.