Opportunity Knocks to Talk about Rape and Sexual Assault
Guest post from John Nelson at Rape Assistance & Awareness Program
We all care so much about the youth in our lives, but we often miss a major opportunity when we choose not to talk with our kids about rape and sexual assault. Many people get nervous about how to talk to kids about this issue. The next time opportunity knocks, we want you to be ready! Below are some tips we share with parents in our Together Keeping Children Safe training.
1. Perpetrators are quite skilled at gaining the trust of everyone in a child’s life- they can sometimes spend years grooming a potential victim.
2. Use medically correct names for the parts of your child’s body, even at an early age. This helps give youth the language to speak up when they experience sexual violence.
3. Most of the time, when a child experiences sexual violence, their perpetrator is a person in a position of trust, such as a parent, family friend or mentor. It’s much less common for a child to be abused by a stranger.
4. Give the youth in your life the freedom to decide who can or cannot touch them. This puts them in a position of having ownership over their own body at an early age and reinforces the message that they are in control.
5. If a young person tells you they are experiencing sexual violence, believe them! It is very rare for youth to lie about experiencing sexual violence.