So Many Kids and So Many Parents Uneducated in Body Safety

We had a beautiful day here in Melbourne on Sunday. The sun was out, the sky was blue and the grass was green — littered with families picnicking in the magnificent Botanical Gardens. My husband and I wandered the shady paths, taking in all the joy. We even visited the children’s garden — I just love how it has been designed; everything being the perfect size for children!

As I looked over the happy families enjoying the very best of Melbourne spring weather, I could not help but think of the statistics we know to be true. One in 5 girls and 1 in 8 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Pereda et al, 2009). 85% of children will know their perpetrator (NSW Commission for Children & Young People, 2009). We also know the most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual abuse is between 3 and 8 years (Browne & Lynch, 1994). As we wandered around the gardens taking in the joyful atmosphere, I did wonder how many of these caring and devoted parents had talked to their kids about Body Safety. How many of them had begun this very important and empowering conversation. I'm sure the majority had talked to their kids about stranger danger, water safety and road safety; but sadly, I suspect most had not talked to their kids about Body Safety.

Yet, the statistics would indicated that their child is more likely to be sexually abused by a family member or close acquaintance than break a limb, drown or be run over. In my mind, I was wishing ... if only all these adults, so kindly caring for their little ones, had come to hear me talk about Body Safety. What if they were all gathered to learn how they could teach their child about safe and unsafe touch. What if I was here to pass on what I know about Body Safety Education; and what if I was here to educate the community about grooming and how important it is to believe a child if they disclose sexual abuse. Imagine how many children might be saved from the devastating, life-long effects of childhood sexual abuse. Looking around these families, the sunny day dimmed for me — so many kids, so many parents and so so many uneducated in Body Safety. Please help me and other advocates by sharing what you know about Body Safety with other families. A child’s life may well depend on it.

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.

Could YOU tell a stranger about your last sexual encounter?

Well… this is EXACTLY what we expect children who have been sexually abused to do! Once (and if) they find the enormous amount of courage to tell a trusted adult (such as a parent or teacher), they will then be expected to relate the sexual abuse to the police. Could you do that? Could you tell a stranger about your last sexual encounter? And would a child even have the vocabulary to do this?

 

Many in the community uneducated in Body Safety Education (www.somesecrets.info) often ask me, ‘Why don’t children just tell if they are being sexually abused?’ In fact, a very prominent radio shock jock, John Laws [http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/broadcaster-john-laws-shocks-again-in-career-of-controversy/story-fni0fiyv-1227271652955], insensitively did just that to a brave 80-year-old survivor who phoned in to tell his story of sexual abuse as a child. The poor man was bullied by Laws and basically told to just get over it! This kind of uneducated and insensitive reaction does not help survivors to come forward.

Let’s take a closer look at why children don’t and often can’t tell. There are a multiple of complex reasons why not but here is what I know.

1. As stated previously, most children don’t have the actual vocabulary to tell what has happened to them. If uneducated in Body Safety, they won’t know the correct names for their body parts and will not be able to express exactly what happened to them.

2. The perpetrator has told them no-one will believe them. End of story. And the child is so unempowered he or she believes the abuser without question.

3. The perpetrator has threatened the child with horrific consequences if they tell, such as killing their pet, killing their parents, abusing their sibling, that they will be responsible for breaking up the family, etc. The list of terrifying threats is cruel and endless.

4. Most adults will not believe a child’s disclosure. A child has to tell three adults before they are believed. (Aust. Childhood Foundation, 2010)

5. The child is embarrassed because they think they are willing participant in the abuse and the perpetrator will only be encouraging this perspective, especially if the child’s body reacted to the sexual touch. The child, sadly, believes the abuse to be their fault. (Note: tragically, many adult survivors still believe this.)

6. And if the child is brave enough to tell an adult that they are being sexually abused, and that adult does not believe them, than chances are the child will never tell again.

7. The abuser has told the child that the sexual touch is loved-based and that this is what you do when you love someone. They may even show their victim child exploitation material to prove that this kind of sexual touch is normal between children and adults. A child, uneducated in Body Safety, has no idea that the sexual abuse is wrong.

8. What we’re asking a child to do is to tell a stranger about their last sexual encounter. Could you do that? It takes an incredible amount of bravery to disclose. Adults find it difficult. How would it be for a child?

 

The bottom line is there are many complex reasons why a child or adult may never disclose sexual abuse. My advice to educators, parents and carers is to educate your child in Body Safety Education from a very young age. An educated child will know from the first inappropriate touch that it is wrong, and to tell a trusted adult straight away and to keep on telling until they are believed. And PLEASE educate yourself and your community. The path a child’s life may take can literally depend upon it.

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's book on safe and unsafe touch 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' and her new book ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to www.somesecrets.info

'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages.

'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is now available at: http://somesecrets.info/buy-body-safety-education/

To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please go to: http://somesecrets.info/links/

 

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.

Who Is Responsible for Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse?

Some advocates believe it is solely an adult’s responsibility to protect children from sexual abuse. While I totally agree that adults must:

  1. Educate the child in their care in Body Safety Education
  2. Become educated themselves in:
    • grooming techniques used by perpetrators
    • statistics on child sexual abuse
    • the signs that a child is being sexually abused
    • what to do if a child discloses
  3. Believe a child when they disclose
  4. Educate the wider community in the importance of protecting children from sexual abuse
  5. Let friends, family and those who come in contact with their child know that their child is educated in Body Safety and to respect their boundaries…

...I also believe that by educating your child in Body Safety you are reducing the risk of them becoming a target of sexual abuse, i.e. as an empowered child who knows not to keep secrets and has been educated to tell, in all probability, is less likely to be targeted by an abuser who relies heavily on a child to keep ‘the secret’.

In my opinion, a child who knows:

  1. The correct anatomical names for their private parts and is comfortable using those terms
  2. That their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it
  3. Not to keep secrets that make them feel bad and uncomfortable
  4. The names of five adults that they trust and can tell anything to
  5. If some-one does touch their private parts or touches their body in a way that makes them feel unsafe, they can yell out ‘Stop!’ or ‘No!’ and immediately tell a trusted adult and keep on telling until they are believed…

 

... is indeed an empowered child. Let’s be honest. Our children cannot be with us 24/7. Fact. They will go on camps, they will be invited to sleepovers and they will visit family and friend’s homes. 95% of children who are sexually abused know their perpetrator (Child Protection Council, 1993). They can be groomed and abused right under an unaware and uneducated adult’s nose.

I do understand that very young children find it incredibly difficult to say, ‘No’ to an adult or older child. I do get that. And in fact, in an ideal world they should never have that responsibility. And we, as adults need to be vigilant to the grooming techniques of perpetrators. But as your child becomes older, they will leave the safety of your nest and, sadly, they may have to implement the Body Safety Education they have been taught from a young age. One hopes they never have too, but look at it this way, isn’t it better they wear a safety belt rather than rely on an adult driving the car slowly and carefully. A safety belt is there just in case.

Therefore, yes… it is an adult’s responsibly to educate a child in Body Safety and to educate themselves, but it is also in the child’s best interest to arm them with crucial Body Safety knowledge just in case we are not there to protect them… as I always say ... Forewarned is forearmed!

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's book on safe and unsafe touch 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' and her new book ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to www.somesecrets.info

'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages.

'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is now available at: http://somesecrets.info/buy-body-safety-education/

To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please go to: http://somesecrets.info/links/

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.

Christmas Body Safety Hints

As XMAS is not far away and children will be on school holidays, please keep the following in mind.
1. ENSURE your child is educated in Body Safety. That is:
* They know their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it .
• They have 5 trusted adults on their Safety Network.
• They know never to keep secrets that make them feel bad or uncomfortable.
• They know to tell a person on their Safety Network if someone does touch their private parts, asks them to touch their private parts and/or shows them pictures of private parts, and to keep on telling until they are believed.
2. BE WATCHFUL of who your child spends time with. If your child is not willing to go with certain people or does not wish to hug or kiss them — listen and respect their wishes.
3. EVEN though it will be busy amongst the happy celebrations, be aware of any out-of-characteristic changes in your child’s behavior.
4. BE PROUD that your child is educated in Body Safety and display this poster on the fridge to let everyone (including potential predators) know of this fact!  http://somesecrets.info/be-loud
5. READ 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'No Means No!' and 'My Body! What I Say Goes!' at the beginning of the holiday period and discuss the books/questions with your child.
6. COLOUR and discuss the 'No! Means No!’ poster with you childand share the free posters at www.e2epublishing.info/posters/
7. READ any of my Blogs at http://somesecrets.info/blog/ They are all useful and informative as is my parent guide ‘Body Safety Education'.
8. ENJOY the holiday season with you child and family but… keep your parent radar on alert!
9. PLEASE add any other hints you can think of in the comments for other parents/carers to be aware of.
10 Have a very MERRY XMAS! And please think about committing to educating kids and the community in Body Safety in 2017!
Much love Jayneen Sanders xx

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education and respectful relationships both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's books 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'Pearl Fairweather Pirate Captain', ‘No Means No!’, ‘My Body! What I say Goes!’, ‘No Difference Between Us’, and her parents’ guide ‘Body Safety Education — A parents’ guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse’ go to e2epublishing.info

All books are also available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=jayneen+sanders

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.

I Am ANGRY About Child Sexual Abuse!


I am angry!

And I need you to be angry with me. I need — we need — societal outrage to stop the sexual abuse of children. We need caring adults to say, ‘Enough!’

shutterstock_116263561.jpg

Our fear of this topic is nothing compared to the fear of the 1 in 3 girls and the 1 in 6 boys who are sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Aust. Institute of Criminology, 1993). If this topic makes you feel uncomfortable… well imagine how a sexually abused child feels. I challenge you to look this crime directly in the eye and help me, and others like me, to stop this hideous violation of our children. If the general public continue to do nothing, the predators win. They win because of our fear. And they will continue to rape children.

And let’s get this straight; child sexual abuse is rape — over days, weeks and years. Small children endure this — terrified with pain and fear. A fear I can’t even imagine — every night… waiting to be violated. Their innocence and trust stolen, and none of it their doing. They are children. Their future lives can be taken literally through suicide, and figuratively through anxiety, depression, ongoing health issues, and simply not living the life they were meant to live. And one of the saddest parts of all of this, is that a child is most often violated by someone they loved and trusted. 85% of children know their abuser (NSW Commission of Children & Young people, 2009). It is rarely a stranger.

John Grisham was wrong when he said recently,

“We have prisons now filled with guys my age, 60-year-old white men, in prison, who've never harmed anybody (and) would never touch a child, but they got online one night and started surfing around, probably had too much to drink or whatever, and pushed the wrong buttons and went too far and got into child porn. ... They deserve some type of punishment, but 10 years in prison?”

There is no such thing as ‘child porn’ — it is child exploitation material; where every scene is a crime scene. Those viewing it are viewing crimes against children and are therefore partaking in it. And one does not ‘chance’ upon such material. Children will continue to be raped to fuel this industry. Those who view child exploitation material are not blameless.

I need you to get angry! Children need adults like you to stop this hideous crime. Ask for Body Safety Education in your local childcare centres, kindergartens and schools, and don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Be like that annoying mosquito in a dark room — small but causing havoc. Children worldwide are relying on you and me to speak up for them and to protect them. They need us to get angry! Tomorrow may be too late. :(

 

Jayneen Sanders is a teacher, author, mother of three and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jayneen’s children’s book on safe and unsafe touch: 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' go to www.somesecrets.info

For a detailed blog on Body Safety Education go to: http://somesecrets.info/blog/2014/5/9/protect-your-child-from-sexual-abuse

'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' is available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

4 Comments

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.

Why are educators so hesitant to teach Body Safety Education to the children in their care?

I’ve been thinking about this question a lot lately.

shutterstock_189640325.jpg

Why are educators so hesitant to teach Body Safety Education to the children in their care?

 

Ninety-nine per cent of educators are wonderful individuals who really care about children. I just think many are terrified of this whole topic.

 

Therefore, I personally have come to these conclusions:

(Note: I am very happy for your opinions.)

 

1. The principal is not enforcing what is actually in the curriculum (Body Safety Education is in every curriculum in Australia; please inbox me if you wish to see my summary document).

a) Because he or she thinks the teachers are already too busy to cover this topic along with everything else they have to do (the crowded curriculum).

b) The parents won’t like it.

 

2. Classroom teachers are aware of some ‘disturbing behaviours’ in their grade but would hate to be wrong about a child, and are therefore very cautious to jump to any conclusions.

 

3. They are aware of some disturbing behaviours in the grade but without a disclosure they feel powerless to act; even though they may have powerful suspicions.

 

4. If they teach Body Safety, there may be a disclosure and educators are fearful of what to actually do, their ongoing responsibilities and their role following mandatory reporting.

 

5. Educators are not trained in how to teach Body Safety, and therefore lack the knowledge and confidence to actually teach this topic to the children in their care.

 

So, how can we change all that! My answers to my own points!

 

1. Firstly, principals do need to enforce what is in the curriculum.

a) Teachers need to FIND the time to teach Body Safety as there is nothing more important than the safety of our children. I am sure road and water safety are taught; therefore, Body Safety is equally as important, if not more important.

b) Wrong! I think more and more parents DO want their kids educated in Body Safety. With so many cases in the media of the sexual abuse of children, parents and guardians are increasingly becoming more open to teaching their kids this empowering knowledge.

 

2. I can understand this; no-one wants to jump to wrong conclusions. But with ongoing Body Safety Education, an abused child may well disclose and understand what is happening to them is wrong.

 

3. Same answer as point 2.

 

4. When instructed in how to teach Body Safety, teachers will learn all about their responsibilities and what to do after a disclosure.

 

5. When instructed in how to teach Body Safety, teachers will learn exactly what they need to teach; therefore they will feel confident to impart this knowledge to the kids in their care.

 

Having educators teach Body Safety to the children in their care is a win-win situation. I can’t see any downside! Can you?

Jayneen Sanders author of the children’s book on safe and unsafe touch ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ www.somesecrets.info

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.

12 Important Skills Your Child Will Learn from Body Safety Education

As a teacher, a mother and an advocate for Body Safety Education both at home and at school, I am very proud and very loud about the work I do. As we know from recent media reports, many children have been and are silent victims of sexual abuse. In 2014 this needs to change. Our children need to be loud and proud that they are educated in Body Safety. This sends a very clear message to sex offenders that children today are empowered and know to tell!

shutterstock_80103847.jpg

Here are 12 important skills your child will learn when educated in Body Safety.

1. Your child will learn the correct names for their body parts including their genitals.

2. Your child will learn that their ‘private parts’ are those under their swimsuit. (The mouth is a private part too.)

3. Your child will learn about safe and unsafe touch.

4. Your child will learn that their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it.

5. Your child will learn if someone does touch them inappropriately to yell ‘No!’ or ‘Stop!’

6. Your child will learn that if they are touched inappropriately (and/or asked to touch a person’s private parts) and/or shown inappropriate images to tell a trusted adult straight away.

7. Your child will learn that it is okay to say ‘No!’ to a person (even an adult) if they are being coerced into something that makes them feel bad and/or uncomfortable.

8. Your child will learn about their Early Warning Signs and how to act upon them.

9. Your child will learn if they are touched inappropriately or their Early Warning Signs kick in to keep on telling a trusted adult until they are believed.

10. Your child will learn that they must never keep secrets that make them feel bad or uncomfortable. (In fact, discourage the use of secrets and talk about happy surprises.)

11. Your child will develop a Safety Network of five trusted adults that they can tell anything to.

12. Your child will learn to be loud and proud that they know their Body Safety rules.

And finally, adults will learn that they need to believe a child if she/he discloses. Remember in 98% of reported child sexual abuse cases, children’s statements were found to be true! (NSW Child Protection Council, Cited In Dympna House, 1998).

 

Jayneen Sanders is a teacher, author, mother of three and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jayneen’s children’s books on safe and unsafe touch: 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' and 'No Means No!' go to www.somesecrets.info

For a detailed blog on Body Safety Education go to: http://somesecrets.info/blog/2014/5/9/protect-your-child-from-sexual-abuse or see Jayneen's new book 'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' at www.somesecrets.info

'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' is available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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.

Top 15 Must-Have Children’s Books on Personal Safety and Emotional Health


Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse

1. Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept

by Jayneen Sanders

Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept is a beautifully illustrated picture book that sensitively broaches the subject of keeping our children safe from inappropriate touch. We teach water safety and road safety but how do we teach 'body safety' to young children in a way that is neither frightening nor confronting? This book is an invaluable tool for parents, caregivers, teachers and health professionals. The comprehensive notes to the reader and discussion questions at the back of the book support both the reader and the child when discussing the story. Suitable for ages 3 to 12 years. A free 'body safety' song, supporting teacher's pack and other useful resources are also available from: www.somesecrets.info

Available in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese and Chinese.

 

2. My Body Belongs to Me

by Jill Starishevsky

Without being taught about body boundaries, a child may be too young to understand when abuse is happening—or that it’s wrong. This straightforward, gentle book offers a tool parents, teachers, and counselors can use to help children feel, be, and stay safe. The rhyming story and simple, friendly illustrations provide a way to sensitively share and discuss the topic, guiding young children to understand that their private parts belong to them alone. The overriding message of My Body Belongs to Me is that if someone touches your private parts, tell your mom, your dad, your teacher, or another safe adult.


Sex Education

3. It’s Not the Stork!

by Robie H. Harris

Young children are curious about almost everything, especially their bodies. And young children are not afraid to ask questions. What makes me a girl? What makes me a boy? Why are some parts of girls' and boys' bodies the same and why are some parts different? How was I made? Where do babies come from? Is it true that a stork brings babies to mommies and daddies? It's Not The Stork! helps answer these endless and perfectly normal questions that preschool, kindergarten, and early elementary school children ask about how they began.

 

4. Where Did I Come From?

by Peter Mayle

Where Did I Come From? covers all the basic facts from love-making, orgasm, conception and growth inside the womb, through to the actual birth day. It names all the names and shows all the important parts of the body.

Where Did I Come From? tells the facts of life as they are - without any nonsense, and in a way that children can understand and parents enjoy.


Grief/Death

5. A Place in my Heart — Understanding Bereavement

by Annette Aubrey

Through rhyming, the author deals sensitively with bereavement reassuring young readers that emotions they may be experiencing are ‘normal’ and shared by others.

 

 

6. Badger’s Parting Gifts

by Susan Varley

Badger is so old that he knows he will soon die. He tries to prepare his friends for this event, but when he does die, they are still grief-stricken. Gradually they come to terms with their grief by remembering all the practical things Badger taught them, and so Badger lives on in his friends' memories of him.

 

7. Isaac and the Red Jumper

by Amanda Seyderhelm

Picture book for 5-12 years about child bereavement. To be read by a parent, counsellor, teacher to a bereaved child. Full colour illustrations, and a list of questions at the back of the book to help children heal their grief process using creative activities. Isaac is heartbroken when his best friend Freddie dies. His house freezes, and his red jumper turns grey with grief. His friends try to console him but it's only after Isaac receives a special visit from Freddie that he understands love and friendship last forever, and are alive in spirit. Isaac and the Red Jumper will appeal to anyone who is bereaved, and is looking for a creative way to heal. Amanda Seyderhelm is a PTUK Certified Therapeutic Play Practitioner.


Mental Illness

8. Can I Catch It Like a Cold?

By Centre for Addiction &n Mental Health

In simple, straightforward language, the book explains what depression is and how it is treated. It also prepares a child for working with a helping professional. And perhaps most important, it reassures a child that he or she is not alone.


Divorce/Separation

9. Mum and Dad Glue

by Kes Gray

A little boy tries to find a pot of parent glue to stick his mum and dad back together. His parents have come undone and he wants to mend their marriage, stick their smiles back on and make them better. This rhyming story is brilliantly told with a powerful message that even though his parents may be broken, their love for him is not.

 

10. Dinosaurs Divorce

by Laurene Krasny Brown

Dinosaurs Divorce will help children understand divorce and what it means.


Trauma/Violence/Anxiety

11. How Are You Feeling Today Baby Bear?

by Jane Evans

A gentle story to help children aged 2 to 6 years who have lived with violence in their home. Baby Bear lives in a home with the Big Bears, and loves to chase butterflies and make mud pies - they make Baby Bear's tummy fill with sunshine. Then, one night, Baby Bear hears a big storm downstairs in the house and in the morning, Baby Bear's tummy starts to feel grey and rainy. How will such a small bear cope with these big new feelings? This sensitive, charming storybook is written to help children who have lived with violence at home to begin to explore and name their feelings. Accompanied by notes for adults on how to use each page of the story to start conversations, it also features fun games and activities to help to understand and express difficult emotions. It will be a useful book for social workers, counsellors, domestic violence workers and all grown-ups working with children.

 

 

12. A Terrible Thing Happened

by Margaret Holmes

This gently told and tenderly illustrated story is for children who have witnessed any kind of violent or traumatic episode, including physical abuse, school or gang violence, accidents, homicide, suicide, and natural disasters such as floods or fire. An afterword by Sash a J. Mudlaff written for parents and other caregivers offers extensive suggestions for helping traumatized children, including a list of other sources that focus on specific events.

Note from Jane: I have used this book many times with children from very young up to 10 to 11 years as a way to let them fill in the blanks using gentle suggestions of possible feelings, often helping children who lack the names for their unprocessed feelings. The book can also be used with children who are dealing with grief.

 

13. The Huge Bag of Worries

by Virginia Ironside

Wherever Jenny goes, her worries follow her - in a big blue bag. They are there when she goes swimming, when she is watching TV, and even when she is in the lavatory. Jenny decides they will have to go. But who can help her?

Note from Jane: A great book to use with anxious children as it helps sort worries through and make them seem more manageable. It emphasizes that we all have worries and what to do about them. I use this with older children too, as it always makes me get my own worries in perspective!

 

14. When Worries Get Too Big

by Kari Dunn Buron

More than any other issue, 'losing control' can cause major problems for children. Through the irresistible character of Nicholas, this book gives young children an opportunity to explore with parents or teachers their own feelings as they react to events in their daily lives while learning some useful relaxation techniques. Children who use the simple strategies presented in this charming book, illustrated by the author, will find themselves relaxed and ready to work or play.

 

15. Sitting Still Like a Frog (mindfulness)

by Eline Snell

Simple mindfulness practices to help your child deal with anxiety, improve concentration and handle difficult emotions.

 

 

Please note: two new empowering books for young children from the authors of this blog.

 

No Means No!: Teaching children about personal boundaries, respect and consent; empowering kids by respecting their choices and their right to say, 'No!'

by Jayneen Sanders

'No Means No!' is a children's picture book about an empowered little girl who has a very strong and clear voice in all issues, especially those relating to her body and personal boundaries. This book can be read to children from 3 to 9 years. It is a springboard for discussions regarding children's choices and their rights. The 'Note to the Reader' at the beginning of the book and the 'Discussion Questions' on the final pages, guide and enhance this essential discussion. It is crucial that our children, from a very young age, are taught to have a clear, strong voice in regards to their rights — especially about their bodies. In this way, they will have the confidence to speak up when they are unhappy or feel uncomfortable in any situation.

Also available in Australia from somesecrets.info

 

Kit Kitten and the Topsy-Turvy Feelings: A Story about Parents Who Aren't Always Able to Care

by Jane Evans

Once upon a time there was a little kitten called Kit who lived with a grown-up cat called Kizz Cat. Kit Kitten couldn't understand why sometimes Kizz Cat seemed sad and far away and others times was busy and rushing about. Kit Kitten was sometimes cold and confused in this topsy-turvy world and needed help to find ways to tell others about the big, medium and small feelings which were stuck inside. Luckily for Kit, Kindly Cat came along. Many children live in homes where things are chaotic and parents or carers are distracted and emotionally unavailable to them. This storybook, designed for children aged 2 to 6, includes feelings based activities to build a child's emotional awareness and vocabulary. A helpful tool for use by parents, carers, social workers and other professionals to enable young children to begin to name and talk about their feelings.

 

Complied by Jayneen Sanders and Jane Evans. 

Jayneen Sanders <http://somesecrets.info/about-the-author/> is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

Jane Evans <http://www.parentingposttrauma.co.uk/> is a trainer, public speaker, author and Mum. She has worked with families affected by a range of complex needs and trauma of 20 years and is committed to support everyone in raising children using only kindness.

 

6 Comments

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.

Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse

http://somesecrets.info/blog/2014/5/9/protect-your-child-from-sexual-abuse

The statistics on the sexual abuse of children are staggering. Some estimates place the incidence as high as 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before their 18th birthday (Aust. Institute of Criminology, 1993).  As parents, teachers and community members, what can we do to ensure both our children and children we come in contact with are protected, informed and safe? These 4 key points are crucial.

1. Education

Learn how to protect your child from sexual abuse by educating them in Body Safety, and educating yourself and your community.

2. Awareness

Become aware of the statistics surrounding child sexual abuse and grooming techniques used by pedophiles.

3. Know the Signs

Understand and recognize the signs of child sexual abuse.

4. Believe a Child

Believe a child when they disclosure sexual abuse—it is paramount for their future recovery and healing.

1. Education

Teaching Your Child Body Safety

The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual abuse is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages (Browne & Lynch, 1994). We teach road safety and we teach water safety—it is imperative we teach children Body Safety. If you are concerned about teaching your child these skills, just keep in mind they are age-appropriate, non-graphic, and they also encourage your child to be assertive—a crucial skill in any bullying situation, and a great attribute to have when your child becomes a teenager!

  1. As soon as your child begins to talk and is aware of their body parts, begin to name them correctly, e.g. toes, nose, eyes, etc. Children should also know the correct names for their genitals from a young age. Try not to use ‘pet names’. This way, if a child is touched inappropriately, they can clearly state to you or a trusted adult where they have been touched.
  2. Teach your child that their penis, vagina, bottom, breasts and nipples are called their ‘private parts’ and that these are their body parts that go under their swimsuit. Note: a child’s mouth is also known as a ‘private zone’.
  3. Teach your child that no-one has the right to touch or ask to see their private parts, and if someone does, they must tell you or a trusted adult straightaway. Reinforce that they must keep on telling until they are believed. (Statistics tell us that a child will need to tell three people before they are believed.) As your child becomes older (3+) help them to identify five trusted adults they could tell. These people are part of their ‘safety network’.  Have your child point to each digit on their hand and say the names of the people on their 'safety network'. Note: at least one person on their 'safety network' shuld not NOT be a fmaily memeber.
  4. Teach you child that if some-one (i.e. the perpetrator) asks them to touch their own private parts, shows their private parts to the child or shows them images of private parts that this is wrong also, and that they must tell a trusted adult straightaway. Reinforce that they must keep on telling until they are believed. 
  5. At the same time as you are discussing inappropriate touch, talk about feelings. Discuss what it feels like to be happy, sad, angry, excited, etc. Encourage your child in daily activities to talk about their feelings, e.g. ‘I felt really sad when … pushed me over.’ This way your child will be more able to verbalize how they are feeling if some-one does touch them inappropriately.
  6. Talk with your child about feeling ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’. Discuss times when your child might feel ‘unsafe’, e.g. being pushed down a steep slide; or ‘safe’, e.g. snuggled up on the couch reading a book with you. Children need to understand the different emotions that come with feeling ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’. For example, when feeling ‘safe’, they may feel happy and have a warm feeling inside; when feeling ‘unsafe’ they may feel scared and have a sick feeling in their tummy.
  7. Discuss with your child their ‘early warning signs’ when feeling unsafe, i.e. heart racing, feeling sick in the tummy, sweaty palms, feeling like crying. Let them come up with some ideas of their own. Tell your child that they must tell you if any of their ‘early warning signs’ happen in any situation. Reinforce that you will always believe them and that they can tell you anything.
  8. As your child grows, try as much as possible to discourage the keeping of secrets. Talk about happy surprises such as not telling Granny about her surprise birthday party and ‘bad’ secrets such as someone touching your private parts. Make sure your child knows that if someone does ask them to keep an inappropriate secret that they must tell you or someone in their ‘safety network’ straightaway.
  9. Discuss with your child when it is appropriate for someone to touch their private parts, e.g. a doctor when they are sick (but making sure they know you must be in the room). Discuss with your child that if someone does touch their private parts (without you there) that they have the right to say: ‘No!’ or ‘Stop!’ and outstretch their arm and hand. Children (from a very young age) need to know their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it inappropriately.
  10. Read your child ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ on a monthly to two monthly basis when your child is young. The book can be read and reread to children 3 to 12 years. It is also ideal to read before camps, sleepovers, etc. Go to www.somesecrets.info for more information and purchasing details. Also teach your child ‘The Body Safety Song’ at http://somesecrets.info/body-safety-song/

Lastly, sexual abuse prevention education is not only a parent’s responsibly, it is also the community’s responsibility. Ask your child’s kindergarten or elementary school if they are running such a program. If they are not, ask why not. And PLEASE lobby for it. Remind them that sexual abuse is irreversible but it can be preventable.  

2. Awareness

Statistics tell us that 95% of sexually abused children will know their perpetrator (Child Protection Council, 1993). They will be an immediate family member, a close family friend or some-one the child has regular contact with.

Grooming

  • Be aware of any person who wishes to spend a great deal of time with your child, seeking out their company and offering to take care of them at any time. For example, an abuser will often ‘help out’ the targeted family at short notice, appearing as a reliable and trustworthy friend. This is the persona a pedophile will go to great lengths to establish.
  • Be aware of any person who pays special attention to your child, making them feel more special than any other child; providing them with special treats, presents, sweets, etc. These ‘treats’ may be provided without your knowledge, and be the first of your child’s secrets they are being groomed to keep.
  • Be aware of any person who spends a large percentage of their out-of-hours recreation time with children—often without other adults present or preferring to be ‘alone’ with the children.

In saying the above, of course we want our children to spend quality and loving time with the special adults in their lives. However, it is important we stay alert.

Important Things to Know About Pedophiles

  • Pedophiles can be any person in the community and from any social democratic. They can be single, married and have families of their own. Up to 95% of child sexual abusers are male (Bagley, 1995).
  • 1/3 of reported offenses are committed by adolescents (Bagley, 1995) and increasingly a childcan be abused by another child slightly older than themselves.
  • Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents (Sedlack et al, 2010). However, children living with both biological parents or in foster care can be targeted.
  • Pedophiles plan their abuse in detail, sometimes over years—grooming both the victim and their family by portraying the persona of a friendly, helpful and reliable person.
  • Pedophiles will actively encourage the targeted child to keep secrets. The secret at first may not be of a sexual nature. These ‘fun’ secrets are intended to build up a sense that the abuser and the child have a ‘special’ relationship.
  • Pedophiles convince the victim that the abuse is normal and love-based. They will use 'guilt’ and ‘blaming’ techniques to coerce the child into believing that they are an equal participant in the ‘shameful’ secret, and therefore are equally too blame. The child can be so ‘guilt ridden’ they may never disclose.
  • Pedophiles use threats and bribes to ensure the child keeps the secret. ‘Keeping the secret’ is of extreme importance to the offender — if the child does tell, the consequences for the offender are catastrophic. Therefore, they will use whatever means they can to ensure the child never tells. This includes subtly discrediting the child by making them out to be a liar—so if they ever do disclose, they won’t be believed.

3. Become Alert

Note: one or more of these indicators does not mean your child is being sexually abused, but if they do show some of these indicators, then there is good reason to investigate further.

General Signs of Sexual Abuse (0 to 12 years):

  • overly interested in theirs or other’s genitals
  • continually wants to touch private parts of other children
  • Instigating and/or forcing ‘sex play’ with another child (often younger, more than 3 years difference in age)
  • sex play that is not appropriate i.e. oral genital contact between a 7 year old and a 4 year old (note: with the increase in pornography viewing on the internet by young children, sex play is becoming more worrisome among similar-aged children)
  • sex play with another child happening more than three times, despite careful monitoring and discussion about inappropriateness
  • persistent masturbation that does not cease when told to stop
  • seductive/advanced sexual behaviour
  • sexualized play with dolls or toys
  • sexualized play involving forced penetration of objects vaginally or anally
  • chronic peeping, exposing and obscenities
  • touching or rubbing against the genitals of adults or children that they do not know
  • persistent use of ‘dirty’ words
  • describing sexual acts and sexualized behavior beyond their years
  • drawings and/or games that involve inappropriate sexual activities
  • strong body odor
  • sores around the mouth
  • bruising or bleeding in the genital area; bruising to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs
  • withdrawn and anxious behavior (irritable, clingy, listless)
  • secretive or say they have a ‘special’ secret that can’t tell (this may be to gauge your reaction)
  • child or child’s friend telling you about interference directly or indirectly
  • going to bed fully clothed
  • increase in nightmares and sleep disturbances
  • regressive behavior, e.g. a return to bed-wetting or soiling
  • sudden changes in behavior, e.g. from a happy child to an angry and/or defiant child
  • appetite changes (sudden and significant)
  • unexplained accumulation of money and gifts
  • not wanting to go to a certain person’s place or to an activity
  • indirectly dropping hints about the abuse (again, to gauge your reaction).

In Older Children (Adolescents):

Note: they may also display some of the above indicators

  •  self-destructive behavior such as drug dependency, suicide attempts, self-mutilation
  •  eating disorders
  • adolescent pregnancy
  • persistent running away from home and/or refusal to attend school
  • withdrawn, angry
  • saying that their body is dirty, ruin, damaged
  • pornography interest; verbally sexually aggressive obscenities

4. Believe a Child

I cannot reinforce strongly enough how important it is to believe a child if they disclose sexual abuse. In 98% of reported child sexual abuse cases, children’s statements were found to be true (NSW Child Protection Council, Cited In Dympna House, 1998). Our reaction to a child’s disclosure is crucial to their ongoing well-being and healing. It we react with disbelief, they may never tell again and their suffering will only increase. It we react with shock, horror and/or anger, the child will most certainly take their cues from us, and believe that in some way they are to blame. It takes an enormous amount of courage for a child (or adult) to disclose sexual abuse that may have been ongoing for years. They will, no doubt, have been threatened with horrific consequences were they to tell. To find the bravery to overcome such threats, is a true act of courage. But what a child needs more than anything from the person they disclose to—be it a parent, relative, teacher or friend—is compassionate reassurance. Therefore, stay calm and:

  • reassure the child you believe them
  • reassure the child they have done the right thing in telling
  • reassure the child that they are incredibly brave and courageous
  • reassure the child that they are in NO way to blame
  • reassure the child that they are loved
  • reassure the child that they are safe and will be looked after
  • reassure the child that you will do everything you can to stop the abuse.

It is our responsibility and duty of care to the child, to remain calm as well as receptive and compassionate, once the child begins to disclose. If they disclose amongst a group, take the child aside and find a safe place for them to continue. A disclosure from any sexual abuse victim takes an enormous amount of courage—so please, as the trusted recipient, respond to such bravery with kindness and compassion.

 Statistics on child sexual abuse http://somesecrets.info/blog/2014/1/20/10-confronting-child-sexual-abuse-statistics and http://somesecrets.info/blog/2014/1/20/terrifying-statistics-linking-child-sexual-abuse-and-the-internet 

Jayneen Sanders is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s children’s book on safe and unsafe touch: 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' and 'No Means No!', also the parent's guide 'Body Safety Education - a parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' go to www.somesecrets.info

Now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

Key Organisations for Further Help

RAINN: http://www.rainn.org/get-help

Childhelp: http://www.childhelp.org/pages/hotline-home

 

33 Comments

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.

Mindful, Resilient and Focused Learners

shutterstock_146077487.jpg

As a mother of three teenage daughters and an experienced elementary school teacher, I am deeply concerned about our kids. Let me explain. Children today live in a world filled with technology — ipad interaction from birth, social media from pre-teens and access to everything and anything on the Internet from a very young age. Don’t get me wrong, as a teacher I know technology can be an amazing tool for learning. Extraordinary really. What does deeply trouble me, is the negative aspect of child/learner interaction with technology.

I have come back to teaching after four years away. What I found on my return, was many children (dare I say the boys) had a much lower attention span than I had previously experienced in my teaching practice. Where once I had five- and six-year-olds listening and focused for 15 minutes, they were now only engaged for around five minutes. After that period of time, eyes started to roam, feet began to fidget and turning around seem a more entertaining thing to do!

In a time of technology overload, and on-line and off-line societal pressures, I have come to the conclusion that we need to formally teach our children the following:

1. To be mindful of others and of themselves. That is, to show respect and empathy towards others, and to show respect and empathy towards themselves.

2. To be resilient. That is, we need children to feel confident about themselves and to be able to accept disappointment and even rejection without loosing a sense of self. The teaching of resilience goes hand in hand with children learning to be assertive — both about their bodies and their mindset.

3. To be focused learners. That is, I believe we formally need to teach children in a school environment to focus on a task and to slow their mind down, allowing them to sustain longer concentration.

In a practical sense, what can we as educators and parents do to assist our young children to become mindful, resilient and focused learners; and in turn, become mindful, resilient and focused teenagers and adults? Teenagers and adults who can survive the enormous pressures placed upon them — especially via social media.

Mindfulness

• Talk about and explore feelings and emotions with your child. Discuss what it feels like to happy, sad, angry, etc. Ask your child when they may have felt that way. ‘How did you feel when…? Why did you feel like that…?’

• Read stories regularly with an underlying moral message, eg ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein or ‘John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat’ by Jenny Wagner and discuss how the characters in the book were feeling. Take time to discuss the key messages after the reading.

• Encourage children to empathize with others in various social situations, ie, ask, ‘What would you have done if you were that little girl or boy?’

 

Resilience

• Encourage children if they first don’t succeed at a task, to try and keep on trying.

• Always provide positive reinforcement for jobs and tasks well done or attempted — as long as the child has tried to the best of their ability.

• Encourage good sportsmanship and model joy when others succeed.

• Listen to children. Children’s voices need to be heard and respected by adults. They have the right to say ‘no’ and the right to voice their wishes.

• Teach Body Safety from a young age so children will know their rights in relation to their body (see http://somesecrets.info/blog/2013/12/29/how-to-educate-your-child-in-body-safety). This knowledge will carry through into their teenage and adult lives.

Note: most often a child who is resilient and assertive will be a confident child. With the pressures on teenagers today, confidence is one thing they will definitely need.

 

Focus

• Reduce the amount of screen time your child has and the multi-tasking with various ipads, smart phones and computers available.

• Try to avoid giving your child your smart phone/ipad to keep them ‘entertained’. (I have seen a five-year-old show withdrawal signs from her ipad and consequently unable to focus on an investigative task at school.)

• Try a weekly mediation with your child, eg have them lie on their back in a comfortable spot (with eyes closed) for ten minutes, while you take them into an imagined special garden of their own with a pond, flowers, etc. Say, ‘Imagine you are opening the gate to your special garden, as you walk down the path you see…’

• Encourage children to take time to browse through picture books (the library is an ideal place for this) with detailed images and to really explore each image. ‘Where’s Wally?’ books are great for this.

• Provide old boxes, recycled plastics, tape, etc. and have children take time to build something based around their own imagination.

• Encourage outdoor play, family strolls, bike rides, outings, etc without time constraints.

As the world spins faster and faster and technology continues to grow and pull us into its web, mindfulness, resilience and being a focused learner will be crucial skills for all children as they progress into their teenage and adult years.

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s book go to www.somesecrets.info

Now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

5 Comments

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.

Pedophiles Groom Both the Child and the Family

Up to 95% of child sexual abusers are male (Bagley, 1995). They can be single, married and have families of their own. Up to 1/3 of reported offenses are committed by adolescents (Bagley, 1995). 95% of abusers will be known to the family (Child Protection Council, 1993). They will be a trusted friend and/or family member.

shutterstock_76381213.jpg

It crucial to note, that child sex offenders ‘groom’ both the child and the family. It is also important to note, that the sexual abuse of children has no social boundaries.

Child sexual offenders are skilled at deception and conniving in all their perverse undertakings. They will:

Always plan their sexual abuse of a child. In fact, they may plan and ‘groom’ for a number of years before making sexual contact with the child. They will plan in detail how they will spend time with the family and the child, how they will get time alone with the child, and especially what threats they will use on the child in order for the abuse not to be revealed. Ensuring the child ‘keeps the secret’ is of extreme importance to the offender — if the child does tell, the consequences for the offender are catastrophic. Therefore, they will use whatever means they can for the child to keep the secret. This includes subtly discrediting the child by making them out to be a liar — so if they ever do disclose, they won’t be believed.

Choose a victim very carefully. They will test the child’s reaction to touch. In fact, one male offender stated in an interview that he will firstly stroke a child’s arm and if they cuddle up closely and are receptive to the touch, than that child will be his next victim.

Work very hard at being liked (even loved) by the child and his or her family. For example, the abuser will often help the family out on short notice, appearing as reliable and trustworthy friend. This is the persona a pedophile will go to great lengths to establish.

Scheme to get ‘alone time’ with a child (or group of children) and will spend a lot of their out-of-hours recreation time with children.

“Because the offender is often a person well-known and trusted to the child and their family, they usually can easily arrange to be alone with the child — therefore the abuse is commonly repeated. This abuse rarely involves violence because instead of force, these offenders use promises, threats and bribes to take advantage of their trusted relationship with the child’s family and the subsequent powerlessness of the child. In some cases, this can go on for years.”

(NSW Child Protection Council, 2000)

Target busy parents who are in need of extra help. They will also target vulnerable and disadvantage communities.

Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are at the highest risk: they are 20 times more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents.” (Sedlack et al, 2010)

Change jobs and addresses to avoid detection.

Grooming is about power over the child and using that power to maintain the secret. It is about making sure the child never tells. Grooming can take place over days, weeks or years. A groomer taking time to ‘groom’ enables trust between the abuser and the child (and the family) to build up. This trust, in turn, creates opportunities for regular abuse to occur.

Grooming techniques can include:

Making the child feel extra special by giving them special presents and treats and/or taking them on outings. The child will be made to feel as if they are the groomer’s ‘confidante’.

“The strategies employed by offenders to gain the compliance of children more often involve giving gifts, lavishing attention and attempting to form emotional bonds than making threats or engaging in physical coercion. Many sexual encounters with children were proceeded by some form of non-sexual physical contact.”

(Smallbone & Wortley, 2000)

Helping families at the ‘drop of a hat’ so trust is built up over time, enabling the abuser to spend more time alone with the child without suspicion.

Physical contact such as rubbing the child’s shoulder or an arm, stroking his or her hair and then watching for the child’s reaction. If the child is receptive, the touching will continue. The touching may well begin as an ‘innocent’, ‘fun’ game of tickling that the child enjoys, but later when the abuser deems the child ‘groomed’, the touch will turn to sexualised contact.

Encouraging the child to keep secrets that at first may not be of a sexual nature. These ‘fun’ secrets are intended to build up a sense that the abuser and the child have a ‘special’ relationship. Note: an abuser will use ‘guilt’ and ‘blaming’ techniques to coerce the child into believing that they are an equal participant in the ‘shameful’ secret and are equally too blame. The abuser may even make the victim feel they encouraged the sexual contact. The child can be so guilt-ridden they may never disclose and this is the perpetrator’s key aim.

Using threats and blackmail to ensure the child keeps the secret. Threats such as the child will go to jail if they tell and they will never see their family again, that no-one will believe them and that they will be destroy the family, etc. The abuser will work very hard to ensure the child never tells.

The above information only reinforces why we MUST educate our children in body safety before they become victims of the grooming process, ending in them being sexually abused by the perpetrator and in many cases, for a number of years.

Children need to to know these three key and life-changing rules:

1. Their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it.

2. They must never ever keep secrets that make them feel bad or uncomfortable.

3. If someone touches their body, they must tell, tell, tell; and keeping on telling until they are believed.

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

 

For more information on this topic and Jay’s children's book on safe and unsafe touch 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' go to www.somesecrets.info

'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages.

http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Jayneen's new book 'Body Safety Education — A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is now available at:

http://somesecrets.info/buy-body-safety-education/

 

To talk to someone about child sexual abuse or any abuse, or for support as a family member or friend to someone who has experienced sexual abuse, please call in Australia:

Victoria: Sexual Assault Crisis Line (SACL) 1800 806 292

Australia wide: 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732)

Or contact counselors at SECASA on (03) 9594 2289

 

 

13 Comments

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.

Terrifying Statistics Linking Child Sexual Abuse and Porn Internet Use

• European researchers (COPINE) … found 78% of offenders charged with downloading or possessing abusive images had abused children prior to, or soon after viewing images. On average, each offender had abused up to 30 different children.

Unknown.jpeg

(Personal correspondence with Briggs 5th Jan 2006)


• 1 in 4 men arrested for possessing child pornography had a history of molesting children.

(Software Tracks Child Porn Traffickers On-line, USA Today 16th April 2008)

 

• In the US National Juvenile Online Victimization Survey by Wolak, Mitchell and Finkelhor (2003), it was found that a majority of the offenders arrested for possession of child exploitation materials were men. Most of these offenders possessed images of children who had not yet reached puberty. 83% had images of children ages 6 to 12 years, 39% had images of children 3 to 5 years and 19% had images of toddlers or infants.

(Griffith & Roth, 2007 cited in Choo 2009)

 

• After sex offender treatment, 80–85% of inmates convicted of possessing or distributing child pornography admitted that they had molested children, according to two studies by Andres Hernandez. At the time they were sentenced, 26–45% acknowledged molestation.

(Software Tracks Child Porn traffickers On-line, USA Today 16th April 2008)

 

• 1 in 5 children who use a computer has been approached over the internet by pedophiles within the past year.

(United States Department of Justice, cited on Protect Your Children On-line)

 

• Only 25% of children will tell a parent about an encounter with a predator who approached or solicited sex while on the internet, and less than 10% report sexual solicitation to legal authorities.

(iSAFE Inc December 12, 2006)

 

• Studies in 2000 reveal that of teenagers between 10 and 17 who regularly use the internet: 20% received sexual solicitation or approach over the internet in the last year: 1 in 33 received aggressive sexual solicitation and 25% had unwanted exposure to pictures of naked people having sex.

(National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Crimes Against Children Research Center and Office of Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention 2000)

 

• The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center receives 400 calls a month from children who believe they have been approached by a pedophile on the internet.

(Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center2007)

 

Compiled by Jayneen Sanders

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

See Jay’s children's book Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept on this site.

Now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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.

10 Confronting Child Sexual Abuse Statistics

The sources for the following statistics are available below.

Would you like a copy?
To download right/control click on on the link and select "Save Link As..." or "Save Target As...".
pdf for printing 
jpeg for reposting

 

1. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. (Aust. Institute of Criminology, 1993)

2. In 95% of cases, the sexual offender is known to the child, that is, they are a relative or trusted friend. Only 5% of child sexual assault cases are ‘stranger danger’. (Child protection Council, 1993)

3. 84% of sexual victimization of children under 12 occurs in a residence. (Snyder, 2000)

4. 453 pedophiles revealed they were collectively responsible for the molestation of over 67,000 children; that averages 148 children per individual. (Abel, 1994)

5. The most vulnerable age for children to be exposed to sexual assault is between 3 and 8 years with the majority of onset happening between these ages. (Browne & Lynch, 1994)

6. 20% of women had experience childhood sexual abuse, with the age of abuse being under the age of 12 years for 71% of these women (Fleming, 1997)

7. In 98% of child abuse cases reported to officials, children’s statements were found to be true. (NSW Child Protection Council, cited in Dympna House 1998)

8. 1 in 3 Australians would not believe a child if they disclosed sexual abuse. (Australian Childhood Foundation, 2010)

9. 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least 1 year. 45% do not tell anyone for 5 years. Some never disclose (Broman-Fulks et al, 2007)

10 As high as 81% of men and women in psychiatric hospitals with a variety of mental illness diagnoses, have experienced physical and/or sexual abuse. 67% of these men and women were abused as children (Jacobson & Richardson, 1987)

For more child sexual abuse statistics see Child Sexual Assault: Facts and Statistics http://www.bravehearts.org.au/files/Facts%20and%20Stats_updated141212.pdf

2 Comments

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.

Links Between Child Sexual Abuse and Internet Pornography

As a teenager growing up in the seventies, I knew pornography existed through schoolyard chatter and discussion. I knew it existed in the form of magazines and videos — most often obtained behind a blacked-out door, only enterable if you were over 18. And for those who did enter, you hoped none of your friends or family saw you!

In 2014, internet pornography exists, and it is free and all-too-accessible to anyone of any age with an internet-enabled device such as a smart phone, tablet, computer or game console.

students_computer_young_boy.jpg

 

First up, in a time of internet pornography, the key for any parent has to be and must be an open and honest dialogue with your child from a very young age. It is important that your child knows they can come to you to talk about anything. With our technological explosion, your child will see and be shown images and information they will most certainly need to talk to you about.

My advocacy is sexual abuse prevention education (body safety) and I advocate for body safety to be taught to children from a very young age. And just like teaching your child about water safety or road safety, it must be in an age-appropriate and non-threatening manner.

http://somesecrets.info/blog/2013/12/29/how-to-educate-your-child-in-body-safety

When teaching body safety with young children, I always advocate that we, as parents, listen to and importantly believe our children; have them comfortable to speak to us about anything that worries or disturbs them; and to always reassure the child that they are never at fault. In the time of internet pornography, these rules also apply.

That being said, let’s investigate briefly the link I personally see between internet pornography and child sexual abuse.

• Some initial research studies do indicate that child sex offenders will view pornography with their victims. After the initial grooming of the child (and their family) they will show the child sex acts to normalize the behavior, and in some cases, arouse sexual curiosity. And, as is the case with all predators, using that curiosity to lay blame on the victim’s shoulders.

• Men, women and teenagers who watch child sex acts on screen may have an increased danger of acting out what they see; whereas if they were not exposed to such crimes, they may not have offended against a child. Note: in my opinion, there should be no term ‘child pornography’ as it is a criminal sex act against a child or children, and is a crime scene. Those viewing it are par-taking in a criminal act. 

• Groomers on-line may expose teens to pornography in order to arouse sexual curiosity and encourage them to meet for sexual acts. While most young women are disgusted by what they see, young boys are more likely than teen girls to be aroused and curious.

• Older siblings exposed to internet pornography may (please note, this is a ‘may’) act out what they have seen on younger siblings who they have ready access to.

In my opinion, the lack of age-appropriate sex education for our children and our culture’s prudish attitude towards sex, are forcing teenagers to turn more and more to internet pornography as the only readily available source of information on sex. Unfortunately, what they are seeing through pornography are distorted and disturbing images of what sex and sexual relationships entail.

In summary, as parents, let’s be vigilant about our children’s use of the internet. Let’s make sure we have open and honest discussions with our children and teach them age-appropriate sex education. And finally, let’s teach our children body safety (from a young age) so if they are ever targeted by a predator, they have the knowledge and skills to know exactly what to do and to speak up. 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education (body safety) both in the home and in schools. Jayneen is the author of the children’s picture book ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’; suitable for children ages 2 to 12 years. 
The book also includes body safety instruction and discussion questions for parents and teachers. Available on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

and Jay’s website.

For more information on teaching body safety and Jay’s book go to www.somesecrets.info

 

3 Comments

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.

How to Educate Your Child in Body Safety

dreamstime_l_26105286.jpg

We teach our children water safety and road safety — it is equally important to teach our children ‘body safety’ from a very young age. As both a teacher and a mother, I strongly recommend to all parents that ‘body safety’ become a normal part of your parenting conversation. The sexual abuse of children has no social boundaries, and providing children with body safety skills both empowers them with knowledge of what is good and bad touch, and teaches simple but effective assertiveness — a crucial life-skill.

The statistics of 1 in 3 girls and I in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday is truly frightening, and as many experts point out, this statistic only reflects reported cases. Also 93% of children WILL know their perpetrator. The community’s focus has so often been on ‘stranger danger’ — however, the reality is, the perpetrator will most likely be someone in the child’s immediate family circle and a person they know and trust.

To assist parents and educators, here is a summary of the KEY Body Safety Skills every parent/educator should teach their child. Please note, these skills can be taught gradually and in daily conversations as your child grows.

Body Safety Skills

1.         As soon as your child begins to talk and is aware of their body parts, begin to name them correctly, e.g. toes, nose, eyes, etc. Children should also know the correct names for their genitals from a young age. Try not to use ‘pet names’. This way, if a child is touched inappropriately, they can clearly state to you or a trusted adult where they have been touched.

2.         Teach your child that their penis, vagina, bottom, breasts and nipples are called their ‘private parts’ and that these are their body parts that go under their swimsuit. Note: a child’s mouth is also known as a ‘private zone’.

3.         Teach your child that no-one has the right to touch or ask to see their private parts, and if someone does, they must tell you or a trusted adult or older teenager straightaway. Reinforce that they must keep on telling until they are believed. (Statistics tell us that a child will need to tell three people before they are believed.) As your child becomes older (3+) help them to identify five people they could tell. These people are part of their ‘network’.

4.         Teach you child that if some-one (i.e. the perpetrator) asks them to touch their own private parts or shows their private parts to the child that this is wrong also, and that they must tell a trusted adult (or older teenager) straightaway. Reinforce that they must keep on telling until they are believed. 

5.         At the same time as you are discussing inappropriate touch, talk about feelings. Discuss what it feels like to be happy, sad, angry, excited, etc. Encourage your child in daily activities to talk about their feelings, e.g. ‘I felt really sad when … pushed me over.’ This way your child will be more able to verbalise how they are feeling if someone does touch them inappropriately.

6.         Talk with your child about feeling ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’. Discuss times when your child might feel ‘unsafe’, e.g. being pushed down a steep slide; or ‘safe’, e.g. snuggled up on the couch reading a book with you. Children need to understand the different emotions that come with feeling ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’. For example, when feeling ‘safe’, they may feel happy and have a warm feeling inside; when feeling ‘unsafe’ they may feel scared and have a sick feeling in their tummy.

7.         Discuss with your child their ‘early warning signs’ when feeling unsafe, i.e. heart racing, feeling sick in the tummy, sweaty palms, feeling like crying. Let them come up with some ideas of their own. Tell your child that they must tell you if any of their ‘early warning signs’ happen in any situation. Reinforce that you will always believe them and that they can tell you anything.

8.         As your child grows, try as much as possible to discourage the keeping of secrets. (Perpetrators rely heavily on children keeping secrets.) Talk about happy surprises such as not telling Granny about her surprise birthday party and ‘bad’ secrets such as someone touching your private parts. Make sure your child knows that if someone does ask them to keep an inappropriate secret that they must tell you or someone in their 'network' straightaway.

9.         Discuss with your child when it is appropriate for someone to touch their private parts, e.g. a doctor when they are sick (but making sure they know you must be in the room). Discuss with your child that if someone does touch their private parts (without you there) that they have the right to say: ‘No!’ or ‘Stop!’ and outstretch their arm and hand. Children (from a very young age) need to know their body is their body and no-one has the right to touch it  inappropriately.

10.      Read your child 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' on a monthly to two monthly basis when your child is young. The book can be read and reread to children 3 to 12 years. It is also ideal to read  before camps, sleepovers, etc. Go to www.somesecrets.info for more information and purchasing details.  Also  teach your child 'The Body Safety Song' at http://somesecrets.info/body-safety-song/

Lastly, sexual abuse prevention education is not only a parent’s responsibly, it is also the community’s responsibility. Ask your child’s kindergarten or elementary school if they are running such a program. If they are not, ask why not. And PLEASE lobby for it.

Some general grooming techniques to be wary of

     Be aware of any person who wishes to spend a great deal of time with your child, seeking out their company and offering to take care of them.

     A person who pays special attention to your child, making them feel more special than any other child; providing them with special treats, presents, sweets, etc.

     A person who is always willing to help out and ‘babysit’ when you are extremely busy and pushed for time.

Note: sexual offenders will always plan who they target, they will work hard at getting both the child and the family’s trust. They will create opportunities to be alone with children or groups of children and may well target vulnerable communities. They frequently change jobs and address to avoid detection. They will often spend a lot of time with children outside of their jobs. Sex offenders may well set up a scenario where a child has a reputation for lying so as to discredit them if they ever should disclose.

Normal sexual behavior

Children have a natural curiosity about their bodies and sex. This is normal. If you see any of the following behavior try not to react in a negative way. Sexual curiosity is how child learn about their gender. Age appropriate sexual behavior is as follows:

           babies, toddler and young children exploring their genitals and enjoying being naked

           questions about why they have a penis and girls don’t (vice a versa), i.e. trying to work out the difference between what it is to be male and what it is to be female

           showing others their genitals

           playing doctors and nurses and/or mommies and daddies; kissing holding hands with children of a similar age

           using slang words or ‘rude’ words they have picked up

           looking at each other’s body parts (particularly children: under 7, close in age and those who know each other ) in mutual agreement, i.e. no-one is being forced to show each other’s their body parts

           as they get older, curious about where they came from; may be giggly and embarrassed about body parts discussion

 

Some general signs that a child (0 to 12 years) may be being sexually abused

Note: one or more of these indicators does not mean your child is being sexually abused, but if they do show these indicators, then there is good reason to investigate further.

     overly interested in theirs or other’s genitals

     continually wants to touch private parts of other children

     instigating and/or forcing ‘sex play’ with another child (often younger, more than 3 years difference in age)

     sex play not appropriate i.e. oral genital contact between a 7 year old and a 4 year old

     sex play with another child happening more than three times, despite careful monitoring and discussion about inappropriateness

     persistent masturbation that does not cease when told to stop

     sexualized play with dolls or toys

     sexualized play involving forced penetration of objects vaginally or anally

     chronic peeping, exposing and obscenities

     touching or rubbing against the genitals of adults or children that they do not know

     persistent use of ‘dirty’ words

     describing sexual acts and sexualized behavior beyond their years

     strong body odor

     sores around the mouth

     bruising or bleeding in the genital area; bruising to breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen or thighs

     withdrawn and anxious behavior

     secretive or say they have a ‘special’ secret that they must not tell

     child or child’s friend telling you about interference directly or indirectly

     going to bed fully clothed

     increase in nightmares and sleep disturbances

     regressive behavior, e.g. a return to bed-wetting or soiling

     unexplained accumulation of money and gifts

In older children (adolescents)

     self-destructive behavior such as drug dependency, suicide attempts, self-mutilation

     eating disorders

     adolescent pregnancy

     persistent running away from home

     withdrawn, angry

     pornography interest; verbally sexually aggressive obscenities

 

Jayneen Sanders (aka Jay Dale) is a teacher, author, mother of three teenage daughters and an active advocate for sexual abuse prevention education both in the home and in schools.

For more information on this topic and Jay’s book go to www.somesecrets.info

Now available on Amazon in 7 seven languages. http://www.amazon.com/Jayneen-Sanders/e/B00BDCGZ1W/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

17 Comments

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.

Our Last Taboo — Child Sexual Abuse

SadGirl-HR.jpg

Every day I feel more and more hopeful that our last taboo in this our ‘modern’ and ‘forward-thinking society’ is being, not only discussed, but acted upon. The prevention of child sexual abuse and its devastating aftermath, is finally being talked about in mainstream society. Not as quickly and not as openly as I would like, but I do believe more and more parents and educators are willing to discuss what they can do to prevent future generations of children from its crippling consequences.

When I wrote Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept three years ago, the subject of child sexual abuse was so taboo we could not find a publisher willing to publish a book specifically written to help prevent it! But now two years after publishing the book ourselves, I can tentatively say, this subject is seemingly no longer the taboo it once was. Don’t get me wrong, we still have many miles yet to travel with this crucial issue, but at least some parents and educators are now seeing that educating kids in body safety can make all the difference to a child who is being groomed or may well be groomed in the future.

Something so simple as discussing rudimentary body safety with a child  can be the difference between a childhood stolen and childhood lived and enjoyed as it should be. As we educate children in body safety, let’s not forget to educate ourselves.

Remember, child sexual abusers groom both the child and the adults around them. Be vigilant and be aware, but most importantly, educate children in body safety and share your new found knowledge on this subject with other parents and educators. I am hoping beyond hope for a snowball effect.

Why I Wrote Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept

Many years ago when I was having a break from teaching, I worked as an editor at an educational publisher. One of the first books I ever edited was a teacher’s resource called ‘Keeping Children Safe’ by Dr Freda Briggs. It was all about teaching children body safety and it had a huge impact on me as a young woman. Many years later when I became a mother, I made sure my three daughters were educated in body safety and knew the difference between good and bad touch. Knowing I had educated them from a young age (3 years onwards), was reassuring when they went on their first sleep-over and school camp.

So when I became a school councilor at my children’s local primary school, I was shocked to find that there was no protective behaviours program in the school. Every time (and I was on school council for 7 years) I asked why not, I was put to the bottom of the agenda. I felt extremely frustrated, so I decided I would do something about it. I challenged myself to write a picture book that parents and teachers could use as a tool to open up the discussion on sexual abuse prevention. My husband was not convinced I could do it (bless him!) but I was determined I could. I had seen story used in philosophy classes with young children and I knew it was the perfect vehicle to talk to children about difficult and sensitive topics.

I wrote the manuscript for ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ about three years ago and the final book was released in October 2011. The journey to get this story published, as not been an easy one. I approached three mainstream publishers and even though I am a published author, the publishers I approached all said the same thing — it was too ‘educational’ for them. I also approached two illustrators. Both felt uncomfortable with the topic. I then approached Craig Smith, who I had worked with before, and the wonderful and talented illustrator said yes! He also said, quote: ‘This manuscript makes me feel uncomfortable but that is every reason why I should do it’. What a lovely man! His illustrations are so beautiful and sensitively done.

My husband and I have a very small publishing company — so small that we had never actually published a book. ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ is our first! We decided about two years ago if mainstream publishers wouldn’t publish Some Secrets, we would.

Protective agencies and professionals who deal with sexually abused children have embraced this book, and we thank them for this. We do all our own marketing and many agencies have placed information about ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ on their websites, in their newsletters and linked to us on Facebook. We rely on professionals, parents and teachers to spread the word, and we are very grateful when they do.

Returning to my original motivation for writing this book – it is really two fold: one to have sexual abuse prevention education mandatory in every state curriculum in Australia and world wide, and secondly (and for me, a very important reason) for parents to see ‘body safety’ as just a normal part of their parenting role. Parents and teachers are comfortable with educating kids about road safety and water safety – why not body safety? The statistics are 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday and 93% will know their perpetrator. Surely preventative education is the key! As one reviewer of ‘Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept’ said ‘Parents or teachers can let the story do the talking, taking the pressure off them to start a conversation about abuse.’

This book can be read to kids as young as 3 through to 12. The Note to Reader and the Discussion Questions guide parents and their children through the essential discussion.

Finally, and this is my personal plea to parents — let body safety, protective behaviours or sexual abuse prevention education (whatever you choose to call it) be just a normal part of your parenting. Remember — confident children are rarely target by perpetrators. I saw a video recently of a child sexual abuser being interviewed and he said, quote: ‘I am the nice man next door, your friendly bank manager, the man you and your family go camping with. Then one day you can't go and I take your kids.’ It was chilling viewing.

We need to protect our kids and we need to talk to them about body safety. We need to do exactly what the perpetrators don’t want us to do — we need to make sure our kids are educated and that they know that some secrets should never be kept!

Thank you

Jayneen Sanders

 

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.

Reassurance After a Child has Disclosed Sexual Abuse

Reassurance After a Child has Disclosed Sexual Abuse

It is our responsibility and duty of care to the child, to remain calm as well as receptive and compassionate, once the child begins to disclose.

 

Read More

Which Child is Being Sexually Abused?

I am currently back teaching, working daily with 24 + active kids ranging from 5 to 12 years. I am loving every moment of their raucous enthusiasm and their overall joy of learning… but as I instruct, laugh at their bubbly chatter and generally call for order, at the back of my mind something more sinister has been nagging at me.

Finally, after a few weeks of in and out of various classrooms, I faced up to what I know to be true. Of a classroom I may enter of 24, six year olds — 3 of the girls and 2 of the boys, are being, have been or will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. These are the statistics; this I know to be true.

I now look around a sea of happy, excited faces, and wonder which ones ‘they’ are. Which of the little ones in front of me, crowded around my feet in a sharing circle, go to bed night after night terrified; so terrified by their secret, that they cannot and may never tell anyone. Children frightened beyond anything I could ever write in this blog, because if they do tell (as they have been told many times by their perpetrator) their mother will be killed, their dog or favourite pet slaughtered and/or they will go to jail and never see their family again — and of course it will be all their fault. These are just some of the kind of threats these terrified children (as young as 2) have to endure. We also know, young children believe in fairies, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny; uneducated in body safety, they are going to believe every word their perpetrator tells them. They cannot and will not tell their crippling secret for fear of the reprisal. The bravery it would take for a young child to disclose sexual abuse — taking into consideration the kind of threats they are issued — is beyond my comprehension.

 Again, I look around the classroom and wonder is it the shy little girl who doesn’t mutter a word, is it the nervous little boy who tries so hard to be good, or could it be the disheveled clever little girl who daily has dark circles under her eyes. I don’t know. I can’t tell. It could be any of the 24 six year olds in front of me.

What I do know is this…it is an utter disgrace that schools and parents do not actively teach ‘body safety’ to children from as young as three. How dare our fear and our denial surrounding the sexual abuse of children, make some kids carry a burden so heavy that they may never recover. In fact, further into teenage hood and adulthood they may well take their own life. Children who have been sexually abused will never experience the life they should have lived. They will grow up damaged and doing all they can to become survivors of the horrific crimes perpetrated against them

Yet, as I see it, adults worldwide are totally at fault. We have let our children down. By burying our heads in the sand, we have forced children to carry these terrible burdens — life- and soul-destroying burdens. We can and MUST do more. I, for one, will not sit around and watch anymore kids go into this world uneducated in body safety. And I am calling upon our schools and parents worldwide to educate all kids; so they know, right from the first inappropriate touch, that it is wrong, and to tell someone and keep on telling until they are believed. Our duty of care to children is to educate and to believe. It can be as simple as that. All children have a right to a safe childhood. They have a right to a ‘childhood’, full stop. Their innocence should never be taken away merely because we failed to educate. Please join me by spreading the word to parents and schools to educate kids in body safety. Our children are relying on us to do so.


 

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.