Child sex abuse is fast becoming a problem in our society, and it is not uncommon to hear really sad stories of the terrible things that some children and teenagers have suffered at the hands of sexual predators. No other time in history but now has it become ever more important for young ones to have information on what’s right and proper, what’s improper and objectionable, and ways in which they must protect themselves.
1. Learn and Use the Correct Terms for Body Parts
Why is this important? Because if you are touched inappropriately, you should be able to clearly communicate to your parents or anyone else in authority about what happened. Always endeavour to use the right words. No euphemism. They are body parts like your head, hands, and legs. There are no reasons to feel embarrassed mentioning them.
2. There Are Reasons Why Some Body Parts Are Called PRIVATE
Your penis, vagina, vulva, bottom, breasts and nipples are private. There are very good reasons why they are so termed. Noticed how they go under your clothes? And unlike your head, eyes, and hands are hidden from view of others? They should remain that way, and no one has a right to them except you. Not even your parents, a relative, or your siblings, except a medical professional who has to conduct an examination of those areas. Even at that, you must be on guard.
3. Your Visible Body Parts Too
Perhaps you may think there are public parts. No there aren’t. Your entire body is yours alone, even the visible ones. So when someone touches your arm, your shoulder, head or back without invitation. It is still wrong. These parts are not theirs, they have absolutely no right to it.
4. Think About What You Will Do Under Possible Scenarios
To think about possible scenarios is to arm yourself with appropriate information on what to do should it ever occur. You could ask yourself: What would I do if someone touched me in my privates, or elsewhere that made me uncomfortable? Why is it important to tell? Who would I tell? What if the person tells me to keep it a secret? What if they threatened to hurt or even kill me?
You should know that sexual predators only use threats to protect themselves from exposure because they are aware that what they are doing is wrong, and can get them in trouble. Use this fact to your advantage, be made powerful by the fact that they are scared because you have the law on your side.
5. Practice What You Preach
Don’t ask to see the privates of your friends, siblings or relatives. Don’t touch others without regard for their rights to their bodies. Don’t put yourself in a position where the same might be asked of you. Also, when you treat others with this much respect, you become impelled to demand same for yourself too!
6. Don’t Be Forced Into Hugging Anyone, Not Even Relatives
Hugging is often seen as a social necessity especially among friends and family. This is not bad, so long as you do not feel uncomfortable doing it. Do not be pressured into hugging someone if you would rather not. A polite verbal greeting or handshake (if you feel like) is still socially accepted. You are not being rude!
7. Trust Your Feelings
No, you are not over-reacting. If you feel something isn’t quite right, it’s because it isn’t! Your brain processes emotions and feelings from your environment faster than you can attach words to them. So, if you feel uncomfortable by something, it’s because your brain also registers the threat.
If something doesn’t feel right, get away from it immediately and tell a trusted adult about it. It is more important to stay safe and to trust yourself than to be polite. It is okay for you to question, disobey, and even run away from anyone whose behavior is making you acutely uncomfortable.
Remember that you are the only rightful owner of your body, you share this right with no other!