Monday, February 20, 2012

Protect Your Children From Sexual Abuse

I am writing this post specifically for parents. When I was a child, my feelings were never of any consequence to my abusers or to my parents. My dad was one of my incest abusers. He didn't care how I felt. He never once asked me about my feelings about the incest. He didn't want to know. All he wanted was my acquiessence to his demands.

My parents never gave me choices of any kind. I was always told what to do and was expected to do it whether I wanted to or not just because they were the adults in control. I never learned how to speak up for myself or how to make intelligent, healthy decisions for myself.  Because I was expected to obey all adults, I didn't have to be groomed by my abusers. I didn't know that I had the right to say no.

Parents, please do a better job of protecting your children than my parents did. Please teach your children the following things:

1.  Children have control over who touches them.  Also discuss what touches are not okay. Use language that your child will understand. Don't wait too late to have this conversation with your children because you don't want to scare them or confuse them.  Use age appropriate language and examples. I was abused before the age of three. So were many other children. At three, I called myself an adulteress. I knew what sex was because of the abuse.

2.  Tell your children that they can tell you anything. Let them know that they can talk to you about whatever subject is important to them and you will listen. Let them know that you will not blame them if they are hurt by someone else. Let them know that you will believe them no matter what they tell you.

3.  Feelings matter even if they belong to a child. Let your children know that their feelings are important to you. It is okay to feel whatever they feel, even if they feel angry at you. That doesn't make them disrespectful. Don't ignore them or their feelings. Let them see you feeling and they will know it is okay for them to feel too. They learn from watching you. If you deny or stuff your feelings, they will too.

4.  A child has the right to say no to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable. Just because an adult says something is okay doesn't mean that it is. If they are afraid to tell you, tell them to tell a teacher, the principal or a policeman. Keep telling their story until they find someone who believes them and takes action to protect them.

5.  Do what is necessary to keep your children safe from child molesters, even if those molesters are family members or friends. No child should ever be abused and have to live with the consequences of child abuse. Child sexual abuse leaves lasting scars. If your child is abused, get them help whether they act hurt or not.

6.  Your children are not here to meet your adult needs. Be a parent to your children. They are not your parents. Don't make them the adult in your relationship. Don't share your secrets with them. Don't share intimate details about your spouse with your child. Don't make your child responsible for your safety or for your emotions or for your behavior.

7.  Secrets between children and adults are not healthy. Secrets allow children to continue to be abused. So tell your children to say no to secrets. Molesters look for children that they think will keep their secrets.

8.  Be trustworthy with your children. Don't lie to them. Children need to be able to trust their parents to keep them safe. If they can't trust you then they learn that the world is not safe. Fear should not be a child's constant companion. Teach your children to trust their own selves and their "gut" to protect themselves. Teach them to follow their intuition. Teach them to be still and listen for that inner voice that guides them.

9.  If your child tells you that they have been sexually abused or touched inappropriately by an adult, believe them. Do not invalidate their pain or their story. This can do more damage to your children than the actual abuser. Don't make your child doubt themselves.

10. Most important of all is parents do not sexually abuse your child. Incest is a lifetime prison term of suffering. Sexual abuse by a parent is much more damaging than sexual abuse by a stranger.  Scientific studies now show that childhood sexual abuse, especially incest, changes the brain of a child in a way that is not found in children who have not been sexually abused.

A similar list was first written and posted on a guest blog article that I did back on June 21, 2011 on the blog called S.A.S.S.U. Sexual Assault Survivors Standing Up. You will find the link to the original article below:

These are very important steps for protecting your children from the sexual predators of the world. You may not think there are any predators near your child but you would be wrong. Child molesters live in almost every neighborhood today. If a child cannot depend upon their parents for protection, they will not learn how to protect themselves. Please protect your children. Don't wait for someone else to take charge to change the world. Take some action to protect the children in your life.


Pam said...

Patricia, This is a post full of great information. Number seven, about secrets between adults and children really popped out at me. That's a great thing for children to understand and a powerful warning sign that an adult is over-stepping the boundaries that exist between adult and child. Thanks for sharing these.


Patricia Singleton said...

Pam, you are very welcome. Secrets between adults and children are usually about adults over-stepping boundaries. Thanks for pointing that out.

Corinne Edwards said...

Dear Patrica -

I have forwarded this important post to everyone on my email list who has children.

A valuable and important contribution.

Thank you

Patricia Singleton said...

Corinne, thank you for passing this on to everyone on your email list. I appreciate you and your support.

Faith McDaniel said...

Patricia, again you words touch me, especially "Don't share intimate details about your spouse with your child." As I grew older and became more questioning and defiant, my father actually asked me, "Would it be better for me to cheat on your mother?" as he explained how cold and prudish she was and that was why he was teaching me so much...and that it was better to keep it in the family. These are certainly words no child should hear! As always Patricia, I applaud your strength and wish you continued success on your journey!

Patricia Singleton said...

Faith, thank you for your contribution to the article. My dad had that same conversation with me at least once. He said if I said anything my mom would be hurt and he didn't want to do that. I didn't understand his reasoning back then and I still don't today. I thank you for your words of encouragement too.

Cairn Grow said...

Hi PAtricia,
I have been thinking about the last ten years i have spent working in various positions at middle and high school levels in schools. I have seen, time and time again, that teachers often speak to students in ways they would not dare speak to anyone else. It can be argued that kids need provoke, however I believe results can be had with more patience. What i see is that kids have learned that they are not allowed to have a voice. If they can't be themselves at school, they are certainly not going to attempt to go outside of themselves in a rocky home life. Just another example of how we train our kids wrongly and tell them the opposite. I am hoping to address this in local schools. Thank you for this wonderful post. :) Cairn Grow

Cairn Grow said...

Oh dear, I just wrote a lengthy bit and I think I lost it in the process of proving that i am not a bot. Bummer. too tired to try again. Tomorrow... :)

Patricia Singleton said...

Cairn, good for you. Someone needs to speak up for our kids whether it is in the home or in the school systems.

A friend just shared with me that her grandson was being shamed at school by his teacher. She told me that she was proud of his parents for going to the principal who confronted the teacher and told her that you don't do that to children. The teacher told the little boy that he could never do anything right. She said it in front of his peers.

It is sad how some adults treat children. More of us need to be willing to speak out for our children.

Patricia Singleton said...

Cairn, unless you left 3 comments, the first one went through and I just commented on it. I know how frustrating it can be to write a long comment and then think you lost it.

Cynthya said...

If more of us understood that what hurts one of us hurts all of us, there would be a much better chance for world peace.

Congratulations, Patricia, for succeeding in supporting children everywhere who aren't seen as having their own voices.

Patricia Singleton said...

Cynthya, thank you and welcome to Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker. We need to give our children their own voices but so many parents don't.