Monday, August 31, 2009

Protecting Against Sexual Predators

Good touching, bad touching, secret touching?

Every few days, there is news of children being abused. The latest is of course Jaycee Dugard but there are so many other stories as well. I think Aaron is reaching the age where I need to start "tarnishing" him. One way to look at it is "protecting" him but in another way, its also "tarnishing" his innocence. Introducing him to the concept that there may be people who want to hurt him when right now, he trusts everyone.

Perhaps at this age, its not so much telling him about people who want to hurt him but getting him accustomed to talking about things as a sort of safeguard against the future.

I read about the good/bad/secret touching from this article. Good touches are hugs, pats on back or a kiss on the cheek. Bad touches are if somebody hits or pushes you. And secret touches are when somebody touches you and asks you to keep it a secret. The idea is to talk to your child about the day and then incorporate these aspects into normal conversation.

It sounds simple enough. Too simplistic perhaps. After all, if Aaron understands the concept of a secret, then why wouldn't he keep it? I'd have to first establish with him that he and I will share ALL our secrets. (Is that fair though? Everyone (even little ones) are entitled to some secrets....) He has only recently learnt about whispering "secrets" into another person's ear and we play games like that all the time.

I was also reading a transcript of an interview with a lady whose 11 yr old son was molested by their neighbor. She quoted some extremely scary statistics:

* One quarter of children sexually abused are abused by a biological parent.
* One quarter of children are sexually abused by stepparents, guardian etc.
* And one half of children are sexually abused by someone that the child knows.

Hey! Where are the strangers? Why is there the saying "Don't talk to strangers"? I haven't been a lot of research on the statistics at all so I don't know how accurate these are. Perhaps they are general numbers but many of the child abuse stories that do make the news are committed by people known to the children.

I did come across another statistic while looking up what has been written about how to protect children. This article mentions that a man is most likely to be a victim of sexual assault at age 4 and a female at age 14. *sigh* I guess Aaron really is coming up to the age where I have to start talking to him about these things.

I don't think my parents had this particular talk with me. And they probably didn't have to worry about internet safety either. I'm sure that's going to be something else I deal with before too long.


Bilbo said...

It's a shame we have to have these conversations with our children. I don't know what I'd do if someone molested one of my children, or grandchildren, but I'm sure the coroner would end up being involved.

Mike said...

I'm glad my kids are grown.

elizabeth embracing life said...

I would also like to add something important here. Bad touching is not just when someone touches and says to keep it a secret. Children often will keep secrets out of fear, but bad touching, anywhere on your body is when someone touches you and you don't like it, or it makes you feel uncomfortble. Kids are very good at saying that something is uncomfortable as there is no fear in expressing that.

Also, in this day and age with internet stuff my kids never really got to play at another's home, so our house was ALWAYS the hang out, which I went to great measures to make it fun, lots of work on my part, but worth it.