Arm yourself with these 3 little words

Happy children in nature at sunset

The overwhelming majority of children who are sexually abused (in fact, over 90%) aren’t abused by strangers lurking in the dark. They are abused by someone either they or their parents know, love or trust.

Because of this, it’s vitally important for parents to educate their children about what to do in the event they are ever approached by a sexual predator or actually find themselves in an abusive situation. Teaching children these 3 simple words can make all the difference in the world!

#1: NO!

There is tremendous power in this two-letter word. Sexual predators often test a child’s level of compliance before escalating molestation. Predators are more likely to abuse a child who is passive, trusting or complicit. Empower your child to say “NO!” to someone who ever tries to touch a private body part. Actually practice having your child use his/her outdoor voice to yell, “NO!” Even though this is a serious message, it’s okay to have some fun with it! Keeping the lesson lighthearted will help your child better retain it, too.

#2: RUN

Privacy and silence are a predator’s best friends. Predators seek to isolate their victims, so it’s important children know to immediately get away from someone who threatens them, makes them feel uncomfortable or actually touches a private part of their bodies. “Run” is a concept easily understood by kids — have them run to a safe place, preferably to you or to another adult they trust, right away.

#3: TELL

Predators rely on silence and employ a variety of tactics to keep their victims from telling anyone about the abuse. Sadly, these tactics work all too well… 73% of children who are sexually abused don’t disclose abuse for at least one year. Another 45% don’t disclose for another five years… still others never tell anyone of their abuse. It is vital the children in your life know to immediately tell you or another trusted adult if someone ever tries to touch a private body part or makes them feel uncomfortable or “icky” in any way.

These 3 simple words every child should know to stop sexual predators really can (and DO) make a difference. You can do it! Help protect the children in your life today by teaching them what to do in the event they ever find themselves in this unimaginable place. Stopping sexual predators can be done… but we must first arm our children with the tools to know what to do. Once they come tell us about the abuse, we can take it from there.

Thank you as always to Ginger Kadlec for this useful piece.

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