Child molestation is a topic I’ve been worried about since the moment I found out I was pregnant. What if someone touches my kid? Can I legally murder a predator? Is it my fault? I asked Courtney Watson, MFTi to talk me down from my panic ledge by discussing how we can talk to our kids about their bodies and consent. We also get into ways to advocate for our children and heal with them and the entire family if a violation does occur. This will hopefully be the first of a series of episodes where we discuss age appropriate sexual behavior and responses to that behavior. Because just like all things in parenting, there is no one size fits all solution.
- Read Courtney's detailed blog post about this topic. IT'S ESSENTIAL!
- You can contact Courtney directly via her website (http://www.doorwaytherapeutics.com/)
- Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18.
- An estimated 60% of perpetrators of sexual abuse are known to the child but are not family members, e.g., family friends, babysitters, child care providers, neighbors.
- About 30% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are family members.
- Only about 10% of perpetrators of child sexual abuse are strangers to the child.
- Not all perpetrators are adults—an estimated 23% of reported cases of child sexual abuse are perpetrated by individuals under the age of 18.
- A common presumption is that children will give one detailed, clear account of abuse. This is not consistent with research; disclosures often unfold gradually and may be presented in a series of hints. Children might imply something has happened to them without directly stating they were sexually abused—they may be testing the reaction to their “hint.” *
- If they are ready, children may then follow with a larger hint if they think it will be handled well. *
- It is easy to miss hints of disclosure of abuse. As a result, a child may not receive the help needed. *
- Disclosure of sexual abuse is often delayed; children often avoid telling because they are either afraid of a negative reaction from their parents or of being harmed by the abuser. As such, they often delay disclosure until adulthood.
- When children do disclose it is frequently to a friend or a sibling. *
- Of all other family members, mothers are most likely to be told. Whether or not a mother might be told will depend on the child’s expected response from the mother.
- Few disclose abuse to authorities or professionals.
- Of all professionals, teachers are the most likely to be told.
- How Can I Protect My Child From Sexual Assault?
- 10 Ways To Teach Your Child The Skills To Prevent Sexual Abuse
- I find the Basic RIE Principles a helpful tool when approaching my child's body and consent to touch it. Especially when it comes to diapering.
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