Knowledge Might Be The Difference

I just came across a very interesting article with some really shocking numbers about child abuse. As parents we are constantly on the tips of our toes to make sure our children are kept safe. Well, at least I am. But how can you make sure they are safe if you really don’t know what to keep them safe from? We all know the basics: Don’t talk to strangers, don’t post to many information online, don’t send certain pics to people, don’t open the door for someone you don’t know and so on.

When we teach our children those rules we always talk about adults, right? Or did you ever consider mentioning other kids? Well, okay maybe we mention older kids but never children their own age. Because we don’t consider them a risk for sexual abuse. At least I never did. If I think about issues with same aged kids I think of bullying. Nothing else.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 1 in 6 boys and 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused before the age of 18. You want to hear something even scarier? According to the US Department of Justice only 10% of perpetrators were strangers to the child and 23% of the perpetrators were children themselves!

After reading this article suddenly the issue doesn’t lie hidden behind bushes in a park, lurking for my child to walk past. The predator is no longer only hiding in a public bathroom, waiting to grab a child and sexually harass it.

No!

Almost all of them knew their perpetrator and more often than not – it is another kid! Yes – another kid.

Suddenly the danger zone includes sleepovers, play dates, childcare centers and so on. It all gets to a whole different level. It’s bloody scary! So far you told your kids to be careful with adults they don’t know. Now we all know or just realized that the majority of the abused children actually knew the perpetrator. So that makes it already tricky as friends, neighbors and teacher and even family members can’t be simply ignored.

Now it’s the children too.

Does your child go on playdates? Do they go to daycare or pre-school? Do you have friends or family over to your house? Do they play at the neighbor’s house? The fact is – you cannot fully prevent the risk of your child being sexually abused. I know that is hard to stomach – but unfortunately it is reality.

So what can you do besides locking your child up and never ever let it leave the house without an entourage of bodyguards? Locking up our kids is no option, we all know that as much as we would maybe sometimes like to do it, if only for a short time. And who can actually afford an entourage of bodyguards? I can’t. So all that’s left is education.

Knowledge might be the one difference that might save your children from being a victim!

You can find a list of the 10 most important areas to cover with your child here. As harsh as it sounds, if I can make my child look less a victim than another child just because my child knows some pointers, than I’ve done my part as a mother. As much as I’d like to, I can’t protect every child. My job is to look after my children. So if I teach them what the right things to do are and if I make sure that they know more or less what they are dealing with in this world also in regards to Social Networks I’ve done a lot.

I just find it hard sometimes to keep the balance. The balance between being protective and being too worried. I wanted to use the words over-protective but I honestly struggle using them. Is there such a thing as being over-protective? I’m not sure really. I think you can never be careful enough and in a way you can also never be protective enough.

I want to keep a balance between trusting in the good in this world and trusting in the fact that everything goes well and still give my children the tools to protect themselves. It starts with educating them about what they have to be careful of and as it was said in above mentioned article: We teach them to be careful with a hot plate, with sharp knifes and so many other things. We can also teach them what is okay and what isn’t in regards to their bodies. I guess once they’ve understand that and the whole stranger-danger idea it’s about building on it and make them understand how dangerous it can be to share on social networks.

Being a parent is for sure not an easy ride. And while our grandparents and parents had to deal with many similar things and with things we don’t even worry about anymore, we face an entirely different threat to our kids. In order to make it easier for them to stay safe we need to proceed carefully, otherwise they just think we are the crazy old people not understanding the fun of the new technology (I usually like to say: Hey, we build it. And we built it for a reason. Of course we understand what it’s for…).

The earlier we start teaching our children what they need to protect they easier it will be for them later on to stand up for their rights and hopefully keep away from harm. It starts with educating them and then maybe give them the right tools to also defend themselves physically. Something I hope they will never have to do. I’ll keep my fingers crossed…

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25 thoughts on “Knowledge Might Be The Difference

  1. I could write a lot about this topic, but because I know by experience, it is not always so simple, as we would wish it to be, it is not always possible to protect our kids. There will always be something or so, where we can not be able to handle the situation. But you are right, teach the kids, that no one are allowed to touch them, where they don’t like to be touched and learn them to say no, no matter what. This can prevent some situations, but not all.
    Even kids can be dangerous for each other, most often it is a trusted and adult person, who will abuse them and right there they have problems to avoid the abuse.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Ugh….there are “dangers” lurking around every damn corner. So hard as a parent to protect your children from everything!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very thought provoking, Sandra. As always. Yes, we never can be sure to have done it all and we cannot keep our kids as prisoners. As you say we can only teach them to know how to react, to step up, to say know, and to tell people they trust. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. One of the worse things we did in the UK was stranger danger, a whole generation of kids were on the look out for the wrong type of predator. I do agree with you that as parents the best thing to do is encourage our children to know its wrong and talk to us (or responsible adult)

    Liked by 2 people

  5. From experience, sadly it’s almost never a stranger. I was abused by a family member that I trusted. Children have to be taught that no one, even a trusted person can touch you anywhere private.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. My daughter and I did a mum and child self-defense programme every weekend when she was six. The martial arts academy was run by a fellow who was a former detective. It certainly gave her confidence and she developed some empowering tools for life. I allow her a little independence but am always within reach and as long as I can see her, I’m okay. I wish we didn’t have to think about the dangers out there, but its so important to educate our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great thing to do. My kids both do Taekwondo and my daughter also started with Krav Maga. I think it just gives them the confidence they need. Hopefully they will never need it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • “We can also teach them what is okay and what isn’t in regards to their bodies.” I would add that we can teach them the same concept with regard to their souls or self-image or psyche or whatever you want to call them. My girls also took karate for a while. I think their involvement in that as well as sports teams (they took soccer and had excellent non-bullying or fanatic coaches) and also what they learned in school in this area helped them to protect themselves in all ways. One of my daughters was in the same Girl Scout troop for almost her entire childhood and youth where most of the mothers and daughters were nonjudgmental, just plain fun and mutually supportive of each other. My other daughter was not as fortunate.

      I didn’t check any of your links but I’m sure they would mention that our kids have to know that they can come to us, their parents, with any situations in which they didn’t feel comfortable or were scared and know we will never judge them and always believe them. Of course, they must also know that we expect them to be truthful with us. I found that my own involvement with their activities, like joining them on camp-outs or volunteering as a soccer ref, and observation of their social interactions (i.e. being able to make my own judgements about their “friends”) also helped ME to be comfortable about who they were spending time with away from me.

      It’s a big scary world for our little ones sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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