Friday, July 06, 2012

8 Ways You Can Protect Your Children from Sexual Abuse

Remember the TV show Diff'rent Strokes?  It was the story of a wealthy white businessman who took in two black boys form Harlem after their mother (who was the businessman's housekeeper) died.  The star of the show was Gary Coleman who played a character named Arnold.  Arnold was famous for giving his older brother a funny look and exclaiming, "Whatch you talkin' 'bout Willis?"

There was one episode of the show that had a serious impact on me.  It was a two part episode about a bicycle show owner who befriend Arnold and his friend Dudley with the intention of sexually molesting them.  I don't know if I fully comprehended the concept of molestation at the time, but I always knew something was seriously creepy and scary about the bicycle show owner and the theme of episode.

The idea of a child experiencing sexual assault or molestation is one of every parent's worst nightmares.  The story of Jerry Sandusky has put the act of sexual molestation and the existence of sexual predators prominently into the mainstream, and it serves as a reminder that more often than not our children are exploited sexually by someone they, and their parents, thought they could trust.  This alarming fact means parents need all the wisdom they can get when it comes to the decisions they make and the freedoms they give their kids.

Pastor Justin Holcomb and his wife Lindsey write and speak widely on the topic of sexual abuse, its affects and what people can do to begin a healing process in their lives.  Their book, Rid of My Disgrace, was called by one reviewer, "a tremendously helpful resource that takes a sober look at the hope of the gospel in the face of the ravages of sexual assault."

In a blog post Lindsey writes, 
We’ve written quite a bit about sexual assault on the Resurgence because it is a huge issue (1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men have been or will be assaulted during their lifetime). Heartbreakingly, many of the victims of this epidemic are children: 15% of those assaulted are under age 12, and 29% are between ages 12 to 17. Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of sexual assault.
The sad truth is that without a doubt, you, or someone in your life has been the victim of sexual assault.

As parents it is our responsibility to do all we can to protect our children from this horrific act.  And with that responsibility in mind, Lindsey shares 8 things parents can do to protect their children.  Please visit her blog post for further explanation on each of the 8 points.
1.  Explain to your child that God made their body.
2.  Teach proper names of private body parts.
3.  Invite your child's communication.
4.  Differentiate between good touch and bad touch.
5.  Don't ask your child to maintain your emotions.
6.  Throw out the word "secret."
7.  Identify whom to trust.
8.  Report suspected abuse immediately.
For more information on things you can do to protect your child visit StopItNow.org.
For more resources from the Holcomb's visit Sexual Assault at theResurgence.com.

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