The ‘Parent-Ripple Effect’
When my three daughters were little I taught them simple Body Safety. I taught them that their body was their body and no-one had the right to touch it. I also told them that if someone ever did touch them in a way that made them feel bad or uncomfortable, that they must tell me (or a trusted adult) straight away. Teaching this message was natural for me, just as natural as teaching water and road safety. It was with some surprise that I learnt not all parents teach these skills to their children. And what was even more surprising (and unsettling) was to learn that very few schools run Body Safety programs. It is my belief, by not teaching these skills to our children, we are leaving them unprotected to the predatory nature of child sex abusers.
As a mother and a teacher, I have become an advocate for Body Safety Education both in homes and in schools. As a children’s book author, I decided I could also help by writing a children’s book Some Secrets Should Never Be Kept
on this topic. A book that parents and educators could use with children to initiate the all-important discussion on Body Safety.
With 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys sexually abused before their 18th birthday and with 95% of kids knowing their perpetrator, I believe society can do more to protect our kids.
Therefore, I am asking you as parents to assist me. I can’t do this work alone. I need the help of the ‘parent-ripple effect’.
Start the parent-ripple effect for your child by:
- Teach your own child Body Safety from as young as two years old, so they will grow up knowledgeable and empowered.
- Tell other parents, family members and friends the importance of teaching children Body Safety. Even if you only encourage one other person/family to educate one child, this may be life-changing. And Body Safety Education is life-changing. So many survivors say to me, if only they had been educated to know, from the first in-appropriate touch, that the abuse was wrong.
- Ask your child’s daycare centre, kindergarten and/or school if they are teaching Body Safety, and if not, why not? If they fail to give you a satisfactory answer, continue to persevere. Please don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. There is absolutely no downside to teaching kids Body Safety.
- Be loud and proud that YOUR CHILD is educated in Body Safety. Inform relatives and friends so they can reinforce the lessons your child has learnt. Being loud and proud also sends a clear message to any perpetrators who may be lurking that your child is ‘off-limits’ and is educated to tell!
- Become informed about this issue and share your knowledge with other parents and caregivers. The ‘Parents’ section of the somesecrets.info website shares information on how to teach Body Safety.
The parent-ripple effect is very powerful, especially with the use of social media. Spreading the word about teaching kids Body Safety is simple and costs nothing, but it could make all the difference to just one child.
Many schools tell me they don’t teach Body Safety because parents don’t want it. Let’s prove them wrong and let our educational settings know that indeed we do want our kids to learn simple, age-appropriate Body Safety so they can grow into confident, assertive adults.
There is no downside to teaching Body Safety, and please never underestimate the power of the parent-ripple effect!
As one wise survivor said to me:
the more light we shine on this issue, the less shadows for abusers to hide in.
On behalf of kids everywhere, thank you so much for being part of the parent-ripple effect to prevent child sexual abuse.
Please share with us when you have achieved the parent ripple effect in your child’s school.
Jay Sanders has also recently published her new book, Body Safety Education, A step-by-step guide for parents and carers on how to protect children from sexual abuse through personal Body Safety Education. This guide contains simple, practical and age-appropriate ideas, as well as important information on how abusers groom. Body Safety knowledge empowers children. It goes a long way in keeping them safe from sexual abuse, and ensuring they grow up as assertive and confident teenagers and adults. There is no downside!