HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD FROM SEXUAL ABUSE?
When we hear of sexual abuse in children, parents have always had the habit of assuming these are not meant for their children and it is only a matter restricted to news papers and media and hence try avoiding their child’s exposure to such news and similar resources. But the reality is something different. “Eleven arrests in three weeks raise alarm over rising child sexual abuse in Kerala.” “The number of cases registered under the Protection of Children. More worrying is the official data of the Crime Records Bureau of the Kerala Police. It shows that 2,093 cases were registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Pocso) Act in 2016, a sharp rise from the 1,569 cases in 2015 and 1002 cases in 2013. This year alone 149 cases were registered in January. Now this is alarming and if there is a problem there definitely has to be a solution and who will be the stake holder to bring about a solution, Is it the government? NGO?, Schools? Colleges? Society? Agree that each one has their own role to play in bringing about a solution for this sensitive issue. But end of the day the victim and their parents are the most effected and we parents must collectively think of solving the root cause. And the first and foremost step towards his would be educating both our girls and boys about sexual abuse and what it means. Hiding information and avoiding the discussion will not help but will lead to issues which we may not be even aware of.
Here are few suggestions for parents on what and how could they communicate to the child at different stages of their development:
-> Information is helpful not harmful: Research shows when Parents talk about sexuality and sex education to their children, those children are responsible and know how to decide for a sexual activity before they get involved into one.
-> Goal is to become their Go to- Talking to children about sex, gender and reproduction in their earl years identifies you as their trusted source of knowledge and Guidance.
-> Don’t wait until they ask for: By waiting you will be indirectly assuring that their first sources of knowledge isn’t you.
-> Don’t give “Too much Information too soon”. Kids will absorb what they can and want. So if you give too much of information beyond what they can understand and comprehend they will tune out.
-> Gender Conversations matter: Helping children understand their stereotypical gender roles will encourage them to be themselves and accept other children for who they are too.
-> Let your kids’ questions guide your conversation: Kids are generally curious and if they perceive adults to be approachable, they will come up with lot of questions and we can frame our conversations on sexuality and sex education based on that.
-> Talking about where babies come from is different from adult sex; Please be sure that you answer your child’s questions specific to the age. During the early years of childhood, the child is more curious to know about the science behind the new life. Which can be later connected to adult sexual behavior.
-> No Gender rules: There are no specific rules on which gender parent should talk about this to which child. Everybody can talk about these irrespective of being a male or female. Clarity and Sincerity is what children love to understand and perceive.
The huge benefit of talking to your kids from an early age is that you have empowered them with the knowledge to be able to make good decisions about sex. You will also have a relationship with them where they know that they can talk to you about anything. The information that you have given your child is important, but what really matters is that you are talking about it! That is what really matters!