Stories of child abuse can be seen everywhere. Someone told me that her mom left her with a neighbor and despite her begging not to be left there, her mom did anyway and she was sexually abused by her neighbor. The neighbor told her he would kill her if she told her mother. She spent 10 years living with that trauma until one day, she decided to share her secret with her mom. Sadly, as she said it with tears in her eyes, her mom didn’t show any remorse at all. Her abuser died three months after she was raped.
Stories like this one are found everywhere. The US has one of the worst records among industrialized nations, losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. However, what concerns me the most is that sometimes the abuser tries to use the church as a haven to continue with this depraved behavior. Abuse is found in churches too.
In this post, I would like to talk to parents about three little-known ways to prevent child abuse. Our children will not know about child abuse unless they are taught. For this reason, parents need to make home a safe place for their children. Parents must create an atmosphere of trust and security where they can talk openly about difficult, but age-appropriate topics. After creating an atmosphere at home where the child feels safe and secure, you need to teach your children to say NO to inappropriate touching, bad secrets, and strangers.
Say NO to inappropriate touching
Parents need to teach their children the following: “my body is mine and no one should touch it without my permission”. Our children need to know from an early age which parts of their body are private and the importance of saying NO when someone tries to touch them. Teach your child to report any touching that feels uncomfortable or wrong, even if it is by a family member, teacher, coach, pastor, or church official.
Say NO to bad secrets
Explain to your child that there are good and bad secrets. The good secrets come from things that you love and wish to receive, such as gifts, surprises, etc. The bad secrets are the unpleasant ones. If someone touches your body in secret, without your authorization, it is a bad secret and needs to be reported immediately. Child abuse data show that the majority of children keep their abuse a secret. As a parent, you need to keep the line of communication open with your children. So they can come to you with difficult subjects, such as abuse.
Say NO to strangers
Even though the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know, you still need to teach your child not to talk or have any contact with strangers. The devil is looking for an opportunity to destroy our children.
These three pieces of advice could help your child stay away from abuse. But keep in mind that there are other forms of abuse, such as being exposed to sexual acts or sexually explicit materials not intended for minors, as well as indecent exposure. Encourage your child to talk to designated safe adults any time they feel unsafe.
Get the child professional help right away
The best thing you can do for a child who has been abused is to get professional help right away. Psalm 127:3 says that children are a heritage from the Lord. We are responsible before the Lord for our children. Let’s protect them from the evil one by providing a safe place at home where they could feel secure.
Let’s teach them to say NO to inappropriate touching, bad secrets, and strangers. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to write to me.
May God bless you. And remember: A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).