I want to preface this by acknowledging that I have been incredibly lucky that I have informed, compassionate parents. I am incredibly loved and supported. These are just some thing I wish I knew and things you can tell your children. (This post is assuming that you have already informed your child about the safety in reference to all adults.)
1. It can literally be anyone (family included)
My mom always told me to tell someone if someone were to ever touch me inappropriately, but as a child I never understood that family was included. Did you know that most cases of sexual assault/abuse are by people you know? It’s sometimes the people you think you should trust most.
2. It’s not your fault and you aren’t in trouble.
I think it is important to remind your kids that they aren’t at fault and they won’t be in trouble if they tell. Now that I am about seven years out from my abuse, I am aware that it was not my fault. I also know that I wouldn’t have been in trouble if I has spoken earlier. As a child though, it can feel like they are doing something wrong. Abusers may even suggest that if told they would get in trouble. Please encourage your kids to tell if anyone touches them, including family and no matter what happens they will not be in trouble.
3. It’s okay to tell an adult about it, even if it’s not your parent.
When telling about the abuse, children will most likely confide in someone who is outside of the environment. When I first told about my abuse, I told a teacher of mine that I felt safe to talk to. I had amazing parents who I know I could have talked to about this, but these conservations aren’t easy to bring up with people who are connected to the individual who is hurting you. As children, we are normally afraid of disappointing our parents. Confiding in another person allows for a stable support person to help your child through this experience of talking about the abuse. Going through the CPS process is difficult.
Let your kids know that anyone that they feel is truly safe and can help them, can be a person to reach out to.
4. You are allowed to say no, even as a child.
I can not emphasize this enough. Teaching your children that they have to respect all authority no matter the situation is unhealthy. Of course, they still need to learn how to be kind and respectful to adults, but learning how to say no to them is equally important. Even when it makes adults angry or uncomfortable, it is ok to say no. Understanding that you have a right to your own body is so necessary no matter how old you are. Giving your child the education about their body and always allowing them to say no to anything including high fives, hugs, kisses and more, allows for them to develop healthy boundaries that will help them very often throughout the future.
Note that these are things I wish I knew personally. Each situation is different and educating your children as much as you can will benefit them in the end.
If you want to learn more about the statistics of child abuse, visit this website: