Resources for Parents
Let’s Stay Safe! – With its delightful pictures and child-friendly rhyming text, Let’s Stay Safe helps us give our children essential life lessons in safe and unsafe behavior. Developed by Project Y.E.S. as part of its Karasick Child Safety Initiative. Available at most local Jewish book stores.
Abuse in the Jewish Community: Religious and Communal Factors that Undermine the Apprehension of Offenders and the Treatment of Victims by Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D. Book can be purchased here.
Sex-Wise Parent: The Parent’s Guide to Protecting Your Child, Strengthening Your Family, and Talking to Kids About Sex, Abuse, and Bullying. – Dr. Rosenzweig shows you how you can help protect your children from sexual abuse, trauma, and bullying through your everyday interaction with them. She will walk you through the steps you can take to combine your own family’s values with age-appropriate information for children at all stages of development. And she’ll show you how to do it in a way that will improve the trust and communication between you and your child.
Oprah’s Conversation with Child Molesters – She calls it the most honest conversation she’s ever had with sex offenders. Oprah sits down with four admitted child molesters for a frank, graphic discussion of their crimes. Watch the two-hour conversation in its entirety—an Oprah.com exclusive. (Trigger warning!! Might be distressing for some viewers).
Talking Openly About It
We need to understand why children are afraid to tell;
- The abuser shames the child, points out that the child let it happen, or tells the child that his or her parents will be angry.
- The abuser is often manipulative and may try to confuse the child about what is right and wrong.
- The abuser sometimes threatens the child or a family member.
- Some children who do not initially disclose abuse are ashamed to tell when it happens again.
- Often the abuser is someone the child knows.
- Children are afraid of disappointing their parents and disrupting the family.
- Some children are too young to understand.
- Many abusers tell children the abuse is “okay” or a “game.”
- Fear of not being believed by parents, teachers, friends or others.
We need to know how children communicate;
- Children who disclose sexual abuse often tell a trusted adult other than a parent. For this reason, child protection training is vital for those that have a connection to or work with children.
- Children may tell “parts” of what happened or pretend it happened to someone else to measure an adults reaction.
- Children will often “shut down” and refuse to tell more if you respond emotionally or negatively.
We need to talk openly with children;
- Good communication may decrease a child’s vulnerability to sexual abuse and increase the likelihood that the child will tell you if abuse has occurred.
- Teach your children about their bodies, about what abuse is, and, when age-appropriate, about sex.
- Teach them words that help them discuss sex comfortably with you.
- Model caring for your own body, and teach children how to care for theirs.
- Teach children that it is “against the rules” for adults to act in a sexual way with them and use examples.
- Teach them what parts of their bodies others should not touch.
- Be sure to mention that the abuser might be an adult friend, family member, or older youth.
- Teach children not to give out their email addresses, home addresses, or phone numbers while using the Internet.
- Start early and talk often. Use everyday opportunities to talk about sexual abuse.
- Be proactive. If a child seems uncomfortable, or resistant to being with a particular adult, ask why.
- One survey showed that fewer than 30% of parents ever discussed sexual abuse with their children. And even then, most failed to mention that the abuser might be an adult friend or family member.
We need to talk to other adults about child sexual abuse;
- Support and mutual learning occur when you share information with another adult.
- You raise the consciousness of your community and influence their choices about child safety.
- You may be offering support and information to an adult whose child is experiencing abuse, and may not know what to do.
- Potential abusers will be alerted to the fact that you are paying attention.
- You may be offering support and information to an adult who had experienced sexual abuse.