5 Reasons Why Parents Don’t Discuss Child Sexual Abuse

parenting sexual abuse

According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time they are 18. Also, a whopping 44% of rape victims are under age 18. We know. These statistics break our hearts, too.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and four times more likely to contemplate suicide according to the Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN).

Knowing sexual abuse is a real threat for children is only half the battle, though. Talking to them about it is necessary to keep them safe. Unfortunately, many parents, particularly those of little children, have a hard time speaking to their kids about sexual abuse.

Here are some of the top reasons parents don’t discuss sexual abuse with their children:

  1. Belief #1.  Child Sexual Abuse Doesn’t Happen in My Community

Wrong. Child sexual abuse happens everywhere, from big cities to small farming communities and everywhere in between. No matter your location, religion, race, or yearly income, your life can be affected by it.

  1. Belief #2.  Our Children Know Better Than to Talk to Strangers

Sadly, 93% of all child sexual abuse happens at the hands of someone the child knows and trusts. Parents who teach only stranger danger are doing a disservice to their child.

  1. Belief #3.  My Child is Too Young to Handle This Discussion

You may be surprised to learn that the best age to start talking about child sexual abuse prevention is when a child is three years old. You can teach your young child about appropriate and inappropriate touch. It’s easier than you think! Start by saying something like, “Did you know that the parts of your body covered by your bathing suit are private? Private means they are for no-one else to see or touch?” Be sure to include any exceptions to this rule for potty training, hygiene and doctors’ visits. Also, explain that if someone does give them the “bad kind of touch,” (ie. something that makes them feel weird in their belly) that they are to tell Mommy or Daddy or their teacher.

  1. Belief #4.  I Don’t Want to Frighten My Child

Do you avoid teaching your child about traffic safety for fear he/she will be scared to cross the street? Of course not! Teaching body safety is equally important and, if done properly, can empower children.

  1. Belief #5.  My Child Would Come to Me if Something Ever Happened

Most children don’t immediately tell their parents. In fact, most kids have really good reasons not to tell. Typically, the perpetrator convinces them that the act is “their little secret” or that their parents will be angry with them. Be sure to tell your children that you would never ever be angry at them and they should come to you immediately if they ever became a victim of sexual abuse.

Children who have been the victim of sexual assault will require love, support and understanding. Parents of survivors should consider seeking the guidance of a trained therapist. You child will need help learning how to handle the feelings and process the abuse. You will need help, too. Most parents (just like survivors) feel guilty, overwhelmed, confused and betrayed. You might need some guidance to know how best to support your child, yourself, and the rest of the family. This is what good sexual abuse treatment provides.

If you or someone you know is a parent of a child who has been sexually abused and is interested in exploring treatment, please contact Hope For The Journey today. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help.

Speak Your Mind


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Round Rock, TX 78665


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