An Important Question

Of late, as an author and an advocate of sexual abuse prevention education, I have been asking myself a fundamental, yet very important question. A question that links to the reason why no publisher wished to publish my children’s book on sexual abuse prevention education, and why one bookshop refused to have me do a reading in their store! Quote: “Parents won’t perceive this topic very well."

My question is:

Why don’t parents teach body safety to their kids?

Or even: Why do they actually even hesitate?

To me, it is a no brainer. Prevention education is key. Prevention education gives a young child knowledge and power. Personally, I have never had a problem with talking to my kids about their body and their rights in relation to their body. We had real names for my children's genitals when they were little, and they knew NO-ONE had the right to touch their body. And if they did, they were to tell, tell, tell. My teenage daughters today still refer to me as the weird mum who talked about ‘those things’. I didn’t think I was weird at all—quite the opposite, really!

So, as you can imagine, it is very hard for me to understand why parents actually hesitate or simply don’t  talk to their kids about body safety. It is a bit like a person being racist; I truly and honestly just don’t get it!

When I put this question to a male friend of mine, he answered: “I don’t want my kids to loose their innocence. I don’t want them to know there are bad people out there. And I certainly don’t want to talk to them about sexual abuse.”

“Mmmhhh” I thought. This man needs to be taken to task. Here was my reply:

1. Isn’t it better to provide your child with some body safety knowledge just in case someone takes their innocence in the most horrific and life-destroying way. (Note: 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will suffer sexual abuse before 18 and 93% will know their perpetrator.)

2. You teach ‘stranger danger’, don’t you? Doesn’t that involve talking about ‘bad people’?

3. Sexual abuse and the act of sexual abuse is never mentioned to the child. When you teach road safety, you don’t show graphic images of road trauma, do you? It is the same with sexual abuse prevention education, you simply tell you child their body is their body and no one has the right to touch it. And if they do, tell and keep on telling until someone believes you.

So I put it out there:

Why don’t you teach body safety to your kids?

Love to hear from you.

But I guess if you are reading this blog, you most likely do teach body safety!

Well then, please ask your friends, neighbours and relatives:

Why don’t you teach body safety to your kids?

The more we all ask this question, the more we might get the answer we want:

"But I do!"

Comment

Jay Sanders

Jayneen (Jay) Sanders is an experienced primary school teacher and a successful children's book author. She is also the mother of three teenage girls and has been a primary school councillor for over seven years. Her time spent in primary schools inspired her to ask: ‘What are we doing in schools to protect our children from sexual interference?’ When she realised very little was actually being done, she decided to write a book to help parents, carers and teachers to broach the subject of self-protection and to encourage children to speak up.