Preventing Sexual Abuse of Our Children

Educating Ourselves Regarding Child Sexual Abuse

  • Porter County Sexual Assault Recovery Project: 219-465-3408

What is Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse can include inappropriate touching or any kind of fondling of breasts or genitals, intercourse or attempted intercourse, exhibitionism; voyeurism; exposure to pornography through the Internet or other devices; use of a child to create pornography between a child and another person (whether an adult or another child); or explicit conversation of a sexual nature with children.

What You Should Know About Sexual Abuse

As a parent, it is important that you are aware of the prevalence of child sexual abuse in our society today. Child sexual abuse is not something that happens to someone else's child. The offender is most often someone who is loved and trusted by the child and family, and is usually a relative, friend, babysitter, or neighbor. Latest reports indicate that 1 in 4 females and 1 in 6 males will be a victim of incest, child molestation, or rape by the time they are 18 years old.

What You Should Teach Your Child About Sexual Abuse

Explain to your child what sexual abuse is and how to prevent it. Good parent-child communication is perhaps the most critical prevention strategy. Your child will not be able to protect her/himself from something she/he vaguely understands. Take time to talk to, listen, and observe your child every day. Learn details of the day's events and your child's feelings about them. Encourage her/him to share concerns and problems with you. When faced with a potential child sexual abuse situation, a child should not have to debate over whom to tell and worry about if he/she will be believed.

Children need to learn how much other people can physically and emotionally ask from them.

  • Explain that their body belongs only to them and they have the right to say no to anyone who might try to touch them, even to close friends and relatives.
  • Tell your child that some adults may try to hurt children and make them do things that make them uncomfortable.
  • Help them distinguish between a good touch and a problem touch. For example, a good touch makes you feel warm, safe, and happy inside. A problem touch makes you feel angry, scared, or mixed-up inside. Often these grown-ups call what they are doing a secret and may threaten the child not to tell. They might even say that they would harm the child or the child's parents. Emphasize that this is wrong and the child should tell you no matter what the threat.