What We’re Doing Wrong When It Comes To Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

autumn momentsWhat We're Doing Wrong When It Comes To Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

We need to stop assuming we know with 100% certainty who we can and cannot trust with our children. Family is a matter of genetics. Likability is not a reflection of morality. Authority is based on an expectation of responsibility – not a guarantee. 

The truth of the matter: abusers deceive adults just as well – if not better, than they deceive their target victims, so much so that most people’s first reaction when a child discloses abuse is that it must be a misunderstanding or that the child is lying. Only a very small fraction of abuse is estimated to be fabricated, however, most survivors of abuse will talk about how many times they told someone before they were believed and helped. 

We apologize on behalf of our past (and current) state of society that has made human sexuality and child sexual abuse a topic to be feared, ashamed, and uncomfortable to talk about. While many people made it to adulthood “OK” raised in a family that never talked about sex or had parents that didn’t think about sexual abuse prevention, there are millions who didn’t. 

With that said – every child, from infancy, deserves to know the correct words for their genitalia, without shame or embarrassment and feel comfortable talking with people about how their bodies function. And we adults have a responsibility to learn how to protect children from abuse. 


Statistically, children that don’t know about their sexual organs and proper sexual relationships are at risk not only to be abused, but also perpetrate abuse upon other children. 
Children must be educated properly and openly by someone who isn’t going to squirm because their 4 year old wants to know how a baby is born. Trust us, they’ll still be innocent – just not as ignorant, which is a good thing. 
We Keep Treating Children Like Second Class Citizens

We force them to hug and kiss people they are uncomfortable with “out of respect.” 

We terrify them by putting them on Santa or the Easter Bunny’s lap because watching children scream & cry out of genuine fear is “funny.” 

We leave them at their grandparents house or with a babysitter and tell them, “be good and do everything they tell you to do.” 

We think it’s our right to control what they do with their bodies – because we know “best” – we don’t, and we’re actually teaching our kids that they do not even have the right to say no when it comes to their own body. And ironically, most people think children will have the foresight and power to say no when touching crosses a boundary, despite the fact that we’ve groomed them to “obey” their elders.

Other abuse prevention organizations promote this mentality: “before trusting someone with your child – ask yourself if you would trust them with your wallet.” Because that’s the truth –  even well-educated, loving parents minimize the importance of qualifying who they allow to be alone with their children and trust people, without being cognizant of the possibility of abuse.

 

We’re Fear-Mongered into a False Sense of Security

Kids go missing or are kidnapped every year – the threat is real, but the truth is, the majority of missing children cases involving the child running away, and most kidnappings are perpetrated by a family member or someone known to the child. Only a small fraction of all abductions involve a stranger, and most are resolved – only %.02 of abductions by strangers involve a situation where the perpetrator intends to keep the child or murder them. While these cases are heart-breaking, the media feeds off of our shock and fear, and gives these cases so much attention that we feel like it happens much more often than it really does. For the average of 115 children that are “stereotypically” kidnapped in our country every year, there are more than 10 times as many children being killed by abuse and neglect on behalf of their own parents. While parents fear and in turn teach their children to fear strangers, we’re not accepting the reality that the people most likely to abuse our children are the very people we know & trust. We are unprepared, and in turn, failing to prepare our own children.  If stranger = danger, we think acquaintance = safe. And it’s just not true – and actually dangerous. 

Did You Know-1-4 girls and 1-6 boys experience sexual abuse as children.Mass Media = Mass Misinformation

While the “news” is supposed to be a source of information, the driving force behind it is not the truth, but revenue. Their motivation is not to tell people what they need to know – but what will get people’s attention. And now with internet, advertising paired with every news story – the more people who click, the more exposure to advertising = more dollars.

We wonder why the “news” focuses so much on celebrities and horrible stories – because, statistically – that is what we’re “clicking” on when we go online. Most of us don’t want to know what is really going on in the world, we want to be entertained. Which is why it is so shocking to most people when they learn that 1:4 girls and 1:6 boys experience sexual abuse as children. They even think that those numbers must generalize the idea of “sexual abuse” –they don’t.  The word “sheeple” exists for a reason – because too often, we accept what we’re being fed by the media, without exercising our own powers of critical thinking or research.

This blog was written and provided by our friends at The Mamabear Effect! Make sure to visit their site for more resources and articles like this. 

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