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. 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!
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 have a look at Jayneen’s children’s books on safe and unsafe touch: 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept', 'No Means No!', and 'My Body! What I Say Goes!'. For adults, the book 'Body Safety Education: A parents' guide to protecting kids from sexual abuse' is recommended reading.
The children's book 'Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept' is also available on Amazon in 7 seven languages.