I am a mother of 5, raising my children in small-town Ohio you would think it would be a perfect place to raise them, but really how safe is it? On June 28th I attend “Darkness to Light” training. It was shocking to hear some of the facts about child sexual abuse. Of course being a mother all I could think about is, “I can’t leave my kids with anyone, I am going to have to quit my job, they also are not playing sports, going to camp or even to church again”. I then call my husband and he doesn’t really “laugh” at me but just says “Laura stop, you know the signs, you know how to teach our kids where it is not ok for people to touch them (areas swimsuits cover and the mouth), and you know to explain to our kids that they have to tell us if anyone touches them wrong. They also can tell someone “no” if they don’t want to give them affection”. All are valid points, so I didn’t rush to quit my job, I still had a lot on my mind though.
When we think of child sexual abuse we often times think that it is just physcial, but it can also be visual and mental.
- 70% of all reported sexual assault (including adults) occurs to children under 17. It’s not just sex acts with adults it can also be child to child with the more “powerful” child dominating the over the other child.
- 90% of the time it is someone who we trust to be with our children. 30% of the time it’s a family member, 60% it is someone who is trusted and plays a role in the family.
We are going to teach our children that secrets are bad.
“Mommy and daddy don’t like secrets but we do love surprises. So if anyone every asks you to keep a secret you need to tell mommy or daddy right away.”
“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”
― Benjamin Franklin
So why would I want my children to ever keep secrets from me. Allowing our children to think secrets are good, is leaving a door open for an abuser to harm your child and then use your child to keep it from you when the abuser explains that it’s a secret.
Your child may not be dead from sexual abuse but part of themselves will be, and it will be something very hard for them to overcome.