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Sunday Women Matters with Blondie - How can we protect our children from child molesters?

13 Jul 2014 at 15:52hrs | Views

There are people who feel that children should be protected from the realities of life as long as possible. If we lived in an ideal world then their position would be well taken.

The realisation that there are adults who can intentionally harm children is painful.

We owe it to our children to provide them with the basic tools they need to help them in potentially dangerous situation.

Children have lived in anguish over repeated instances of molestation simply because they feared discussing the matter with their parents.

Creating an environment in which children feel free to discuss matters of concern to them, is a vital step in the process of dealing with child sexual abuse. Ideally parents should create an environment in which children feel free to discuss any encounters they may have with adults. How can parents help foster such an environment?

The most important element is your attitude. If you dismiss as inconsequential all of the minor concerns expressed to you by your child, he or she is less likely to be forthright about issues of major concern.

This does not mean that parents become paranoid about the mutterings of children, but if a child asks unusual questions about friends, relatives, neighbours or the adults who supervise him or her, it may be worthwhile to follow up on those questions.

The most important lesson to teach our children is that no one has the right to touch their bodies. Children should be told that they have a right to say No and tell on anyone who touches them inappropriately. We need to teach our children to inform us whenever an adult asks them to keep a secret of any unusual discussions or strange requests.

That way, they will not be easily silenced by child molesters' threats. Parents should never force a child to submit to physical contact such as hugging and cuddling. When a child discloses an incident or fear that may be disturbing them, never respond with statements such as "I told you so" or "I never want to hear. . . " It may lead to non disclosure of sexual abuse incidents. Silence is a child's most damaging response to an incident of sexual abuse.

When such an incident occurs, a child needs support, comforting and professional counselling. Silence has another chilling consequence. Without disclosure, the molester is encouraged to continue his crimes. One silent victim will lead to yet another victim.

Source - Lorraine Blondie Sibanda
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