We don’t have to spell out how dangerous the world has become for our children. They’re the most vulnerable members of society, with so much yet to learn and so little time to learn it all in, more efforts need to be made to make children and parents alike aware of the danger of not having this conversation.
We understand that this will not be an easy discussion to have and it will make you and your children extremely uncomfortable especially since conversations such as these do not come easily to us as a nation. However, since prevention is always better, this is a conversation that needs to be had!
One need not look any further than any local news channel to know of the horrible atrocities are being committed by monsters that live among us and to ensure that our children are kept safe, they must be made aware of at least some aspects of this overall disturbing and nasty business.
Although the current government has come up with legislation that is a step forward to ensure perpetrators of these crimes are held accountable for their actions, it still does not present a full solution to the problem. There are still individuals out there who will not leave any opportunity to take advantage of the innocence of children. That’s where parents, older siblings and teachers step in.
While the age old “Stranger Danger” method has become a unified slogan for initiatives against child abuse and harassment worldwide, it is very important to understand that the danger does not only lie with people our children do not know. Statistically, children are most vulnerable if they have been taught to feel comfortable around their abuser who may be a family member or close to the family.
According to a 2019 report by Dawn, out of a reported 3832 cases of child sexual abuse a whopping 1,787 cases were where the child knew the abuser well where as only 410 cases were chalked up to strangers being involved. This is a very serious issue and needs to be acknowledged and definitely not shut down as a preposterous claim as an overwhelming number of statistics support this claim.
Having understood that the fear and danger might come from those closest to you or your child, it is important to lay out a few ground rules to equip your child with enough skills to protect themselves when you might not be around.
Teach your child about personal and physical space and how to not let anyone (including uncles/aunts/family friends) from invading it by touching or holding them without their permission. This might be hard to establish as a rule at first because the people around you may not appreciate being put in this “danger” category, however, this will help your child identify the people in their vicinity who might be willing to exploit their relationship with them.
Although statistics state that people close to you or your child may really be the major area of concern, that does not mean we should undermine the importance of teaching our child not to interact with strangers. Rules such as do not give out your personal information, eg. your address, your name, don’t follow people you may not know and to always talk to an adult they trust if a stranger asks them for such information and never accept anything from a stranger.
Teach your child the difference between good touch and bad touch. This is important and can be done well through role play activities where your let your child know what parts of their body are off limits to everyone. If someone is touching them inappropriately, they need to alert a trusted adult immediately and it is important to teach them that they will not be scolded or punished for this.
Building trust and a safe zone for your child is perhaps the most important step since they need to know you’ll be there if something goes wrong,