Happy April everyone! Did you know that today is the start of child abuse prevention month? Today’s topic is a lot different from what I’m used to blogging about. I had the honor of sitting in on a virtual workshop with Feather Berkower, published author, passionate speaker, and child sexual assault prevention expert. Feather is a licensed clinical social worker and one of the nation’s leading experts in child sexual assault prevention. She’s impressed over 150,000 children, parents, and youth professionals throughout the United States. Over the 3 decades of her career, Feather started her focus on educating children but switched her main focus to educating adults because they are the ones who can protect children from sexual assault. She’s even spoken with male and female sex offenders in prisons and out-patient treatment groups, giving her that inside knowledge that can help prevent future assaults. Her goal is to make communities “off-limits” to child sexual assault.
*Feather is co-author of “Off Limits – A Parents Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse“.
My generation can probably attest to this but our parents never really opened up too much about sex. We used different names for vagina and penis. It was just a touchy, icky, sticky subject. I remember my oldest sister was the one to give me “the talk”. If I remember correctly, it was a very vague conversation in the car.
Let’s admit it, this is not a lite hearted subject to think about let alone talk about but the first step to making our children safer is by educating ourselves. Adults are always going to be responsible. We have to feel uncomfortable so that our children don’t have to. If that means learning the cold hard facts then so be it. Children of all kinds are at risk. Did you know that 95 percent of sexually assaulted children know their abuser? Always keep in mind that we are NEVER to put the responsibility of sexual misconduct on a child.
The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk is a highly recommend book about trauma.
Educate the Youth
We as parents, guardians, caregivers, etc, need to also know how to educate the children. I’ve already begun to teach Isaiah the proper terms for his body parts. Many clinicians have concluded that knowing the correct terms can increase body positivity, confidence, and inspire more open relationships. Continue to let them know that they are the BOSS of their own body. Teach them body safety rules. Some examples include:
- No one should ask a child to keep a secret.
- Private parts are not to be shared with other people.
- Say no!
- They are the boss of their own body.
Children are not responsible for an adult’s feelings. Once again, adults are always responsible. How can we further educate and tell our children the truth? Feather recommended a couple of books you can purchase and read with your kids.
- Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg
- What Makes A Baby by Cory Silverberg
- My Body is Special and Private by Adrianne Someone ( I personally have this book and read it to Isaiah!)
Build A Prevention Team™
Share this information with your family and friends. Explain to them how important it is for everyone to be on the same page. Which is protecting our children and achieving safer parenting. The top 4 places where assault takes place are school organizations, sports, places of faith, and around family (or during playdates). Communicate to the world that your kid is off-limits.
Another great resource you can check out is Amaze.org.
Thank you to Feather Berkower for doing this workshop for my family and me. It definitely gave me a lot of confidence as a parent. Everyone please take a moment to check out her website and social media below. She posts a lot of resourceful information.
As always, thanks so much for reading! Questions, comments, and feedback are always welcome. If you enjoyed this post, please comment, like and share! Make sure to check out my Instagram; @tianiangela_ and my latest video on YouTube💋