Stories of child abuse are seen everywhere. Someone told me that her mom left her with a neighbor and despite all her supplication not to do that, her mom left her, and she was sexually abused by her neighbor. The perpetrator threat her that if she shares this secret to her mom, he will kill her. She lived 10 years traumatized. Until one day, she decided to share her secret with her mom. Sadly, she said with tears on 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 anywhere. The USA has one of the worst records among industrialized nations, losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. In fact, a report of child abuse is made every ten seconds. However, what concern me the most is that sometime this abuser tried to use the church as safe heaven to continue with his deprave behavior. Abuse is found in churches too.
In this post, I would like to talk to parent about three little-known ways to prevent child abuse. Our children will not know about child abuse, unless they are taught about it. For this reason, parents need to make home a safe place for their child. Parent must create an atmosphere of trust and security where they could talk openly about age appropriate difficult topics. After creating an atmosphere at home where the child feels safe and secure, then you need to teach your children to say NO to inappropriate touching, bad secret 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 authorization. Early in their age, our children need to know how to recognize what are their private parts of the body, and the importance of saying NO when someone try 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 secret. The good secret come from things that you love and wish to receive; such as, gifts, surprises, etc. The bad secrets are the ones that are unpleasant. If someone touches your body in secret, without your authorization, is a bad secret and needs to be reported immediately. Child abuse data show that the majority of children keep their abuse experience a secret. As a parent, you need to keep the line of communication open with your children, so they could come to you with difficult subject 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. They devil is looking for an opportunity to destroy our children.
These three advices could help your child stay away from abuse, however, 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.
The best thing you can do for a child who has been abused is to get the child professional help right away. Psalm 127:3 say 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, and teaching them to say NO to inappropriate touching, bad secret and stranger. If you have any question on this topic, feel free to write to me with your question. May God bless you, and remember: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (Proverbs 17:22).