Talking To Your Kids About Sexual Assault

Many parents tend to shy away from the topic of sex when it comes up in any discussion with their kids. The reply they all give is “we will talk about it when you grow up”. Now my question is, “At what age do you know if a child is old enough to have the sex talk? ” It is only after you have discussed sex with them then you can talk about sexual assault. A topic like this is a huge one, which is the reason you should have it with your children. For the past two weeks, we have been hearing about the cases of girls being raped and killed in the process. Which is the reason why I have decided to talk on ways we can talk to our kids about sexual assault. 

Talks about sexual assault can be a part of the safety conversations you’re already having, like knowing when and how to act, how to take care of those around them, and using their instinct. The major thing is to have this conversation with your children when they are young, and let it happen often. 

Talk to your kids about sexual safety when they are young

When we talk about safety, it does not exclude any age or gender. The majority of the abusers of minors happen to be close relatives and friends of the family. You now see why it is important to enlighten your kids about their bodies – what they should allow, and what is inappropriate. This talk will help them know when something is not right, and they need to speak against it. 

  • Teach them the names of their body parts. Once your children are able to identify their body parts, they won’t have any problem expressing their concern about them, and asking questions.

  • There are private parts too. While you are teaching your kids about their body parts, let them know there are parts of their body no one else should see or touch. In case a health practitioner wants to examine these parts of their body, be there!

  • Tell them to say “no” and respect their “no”. Tell your kids to say “no” when they feeling uncomfortable with the way they are touched. Also, we should respect when our kids say no. For example, if your child does not want to stay with someone alone at home, or during a family gathering, respect their decision of saying “no” to such a person. 

  • There shouldn’t be any secret. Abusers often tell kids to keep secret, using this to manipulate and use them. Let your children know that they can tell you anything, especially when they are being told to keep a secret from you. If they witness another child being touched in an inappropriate way, they should tell as well. 

  • Don’t instill fear in your kids. The moment your children are scared of talking to you about whatever they face or encounter, then they start to either keep secrets from you or talk to someone else. As their parent, you should be their safe place so they can ask you any questions bothering them. Also, let them know they won’t be punished for talking or asking questions. 

  • Be a model of good behavior for your kids. Kids emulate habits they witness their parents do. So when you are around them, it is good to show them how to act the right way. This can be you helping an old person with his/her bags or sharing with someone in need. When you become a model of good behavior to your kids, they then realize that what you do is a normal, positive way to act. 

  • No matter what, make time for them. One major reason why most kids don’t open up to their parents is that the parent is always busy. The moment you are willing to give your undivided attention to your kids no matter what they have to say, they won’t have any problem approaching you on sexual matters. 

Teenagers should not be left out of sexual safety talks

Due to the stories and news that teenagers are exposed to on social media and screens, it is better to engage in sexual assault conversations with them so you can know what they feel about it. Use these mediums to start the conversation.

  • Use the media. With the recent happenings of the cases of rape and assaults, ask your teens their opinion of what they feel and know about them. You can sit through the news and ask them questions. Requesting their opinion shows that you value their point of view – which allows more conversation. 

  • Tell a story. Sharing experiences makes the conversations real to them. If you don’t have any personal story to share, you can tell that of someone you know. 

  • Don’t ignore the real talk. Most teens pick up misconceptions about sexual assaults from the internet, movies, and social media. Let them understand that these things are real – use statistics. Like most of the abuser are known to those that are abused, and there is no way to pick out a rapist just by looking at them. In 80% of most assault cases, they are committed by known friends, relatives, or family members.
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