Read the Full Article from the Philly Inquirer's online blog!
popular sex abuse prevention programs focus on teaching kids about
"good touch-bad touch", but the words of one adult survivor of sexual
abuse must be heard: "No one ever tells a child that a wrong touch might
actually feel good!" In fact, molesters often count on a child not
knowing this critical fact of life, and use a child's physical response
to convince him or her that they were a willing participant. Similarly, a
young man who does not know that his arousal came directly from his own
brain may choose to 'blame' his arousal on someone and attempt to
coerce them to relieve it, an all too familiar story heard from sexually
aggressive adolescents. Parents of young children have an opportunity
to set a foundation for sexual health and safety by helping make sure
their child understands how their genitals work.
Transmitting this message to kids can be as easy as doing nothing.
Simply, a non-reaction to a baby handling their genitals gives the
message that as parents we'll treat all body parts equally. As babies
become toddlers, we can set boundaries around genital play, focusing on
privacy, much the same way as we present potty-training; there's a time
and place for everything. We can also begin to introduce the difference
between privacy and secrecy; a child can learn that there are things she
can do in private, but Mom and Dad need to know about them. Parents of
toddlers can prepare to answer questions coming from a child who knows
that he can ask his parents anything.