12 Aug 2021
Sexual assault: 4 things your child might say
posted by: Mile High Mamas
Most children who are sexually assaulted by someone that they love, rely on, trust or need never tell anyone while the abuse is happening. However, there are many children who do try to tell. They try to tell through their affect, their behavior and the hints that they drop.
Who commits child sexual assault?
- 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of 18
- 90% of child sexual assault is committed by people in a position of trust, known to you and your children
- 30% to 50% of all child sexual assault is committed by youth
- While random acts of physical and sexual violence do occur, child sexual assault is most likely committed by a family member, teacher, neighbor, coach, babysitter, clergy, or someone else you already know
Because children often try to tell in this indirect way, it is so very important for adults to always be listening to the things that children say and often even blurt out.
“I don’t want to be a boy scout anymore.”
“I don’t want to go back to camp.”
“I don’t want piano lessons anymore. I want to quit.”
“I don’t like gymnastics. The teacher is mean. I don’t want to go.
“We finish what we start in this family.”
Imagine a child trying to tell that they are being sexually touched and our response is dismissive? And then later we may ask “why didn’t you tell me?”
Children do tell. They tell in these indirect ways.
I’m not suggesting that every comment a child makes is a disclosure of sexual assault. Not at all.
But I am suggesting that we need to listen very carefully and ask questions. “Why?” and “tell me more” can go a long way in helping children feel heard so they can share their worries, not only about possible sexual assault but any worries and concerns they may have.
Denver-based Parenting Safe Children’s founder, Feather Berkower, LCSW, has dedicated her career to helping parents and educators nationwide to protect their children from child sexual assault.
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