Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Safe Touching Rules

I know childhood sexual assault is an uncomfortable subject. It is an uncomfortable reality, and we do our children a grave disservice by not preparing them for the battlefield we send them out onto each day. I have said it before, The statistics are these: 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before their 18th birthday. 70% of rapes are commited against children. Only 2-10% of sexual abuse is commited by strangers. Most children do not tell anyone about their abuse. (Blue Sky Bridge, 10/30/2007) So, I am discussing these issues with my daughters in a positive and empowering way so that they will know their rights as individuals and so that they will not be easy targets.

I came across these rules from a Victim's Advocacy Group in my area, last week. These rules are worded in such a way that makes sense to children, so you can say them verbatim to even very young children. Children love rules. They appreciate the way rules keep behaviors predictable, and they especially love to point out when someone is breaking the rules. I think these Touching Rules are a good tool for us parents to have in our repertoire. So, please copy them. Type them up in a fun font. Hang them in your child's room or in their bathroom or just talk about them occasionally.

Touching Rules
  • My body belongs to me.
  • No touching if I don't want it.
  • Private parts are very special, children do not share them.
  • No one is allowed to make me share my private parts.
  • No one is allowed to share their private parts with me.
  • No one is allowed to touch my private parts.

Exceptions to the touching rules are health care, hygiene, and safety.

(These should be discussed with kids so that no one is able to take advantage of the exceptions.)

If someone breaks the touching rules, go to a grown-up for help.

If something gives me the "uh-oh" feeling, go to a grown up for help.


Julie Pippert said...

That's a great list, and a great topic.

I am proactive with my girls, and from the beginning set certain rules, which have served us well (no idea how important they'd be). The idea behind my rules is to prevent some insidious ideas sneaking in.

I don't force my children to give or receive hugs and kisses. They must be polite and give a greeting verbally (or a goodbye) but another adult's desire for physical contact DOES NOT trump my kid's barrier.

Family resisted a little sometimes at first but have grown to understand my slow to warm kids will melt and hug, if given safe space to do so.

Stop means stop.

Tickling is light and stops pronto when requested.

And most of the rest along the lines of the rules you posted.

I do my best to emphasize that their body is for THEM, for life and they have to make healthy choices for it; and most of all, the choice is theirs.

Using My Words

Lori said...

This a great list Emily. Thank you for posting it. I also appreciate the additions that Julie made. I have never forced my children to give out hugs and kisses either- even to perfectly loving, well-meaning family members.

I need to be more proactive with this information. Thank you for this reminder, and helping me to find the right words.

Emily said...

Well said, Julie.

Not forcing our kids to be affectionate, when they don't want to is, I've just recently learned, really important. ("Go give Aunt Heidi a hug")

Jen M. said...

I think this is so important to tell our kids - girls AND boys. Thanks for putting this out there.

painted maypole said...

great rules. I've started talking with my daughter about this, and the other day i patted her affectionaately on the behind, and she said to me "you're not allowed to touch me there." "You're right," I said, and stopped (sadly)

Christine said...

this is a great list. my daughter and i have been over many of these and lots of this she learned in school as well.

very important stuff here.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

Good list.

niobe said...

Your list is excellent.

Another important (and often overlooked) tool to combat abuse is to maintain a strong parent/child relationship, especially as the child becomes older and more independent. Children are much more vulnerable to sexual predators when they feel alone or insecure. The abuser exploits the child's need to be accepted and loved.

Often a child (especially a pre-teen or young teenager) will tolerate sexual abuse because the abuser is the only adult who, in the child's mind, really seems to want to spend time with him or her and who really listens to him or her.

Angela said...

Thank you for doing this...for spreading such important words...in a kid friendly way ; )

Emily said...

We discuss this a lot, but I do get into trouble because of the exception. See, I really don't want my son telling me I cannot wash his hair because it is his body! So, I like this list, because it makes it clear I still get to brush his teeth...