When I asked Stacey Honowitz to contribute an article for our Child Abuse Prevention Month series, I asked her not to pull any punches. As a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse prosecutor, Stacey sees it all and has a powerful message for how we need to protect our children. I don’t know how to stress enough that every parent needs to read this, and take action!
Sex Abuse – We Are Too Scared to Talk!
I have been a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse prosecutor for close to twenty-four years, and I have noticed that many times when I talk to parents and inquire as to whether they have had this discussion with their kids, the answer is no.
Are you serious?! In today’s society when there are sexual predators on television every other minute, you are too nervous to have a talk with your child about private parts and touching?
Its unreal to me and my colleagues who are in the business of protecting kids and punishing the perpertrators.
In this day and age of sex all over the internet and cable television, people are too embarrassed to say the words vagina, penis and penetrate to their kids but will let them watch reality television fake celebrities get drunk, have sex and get naked on tv. It just makes no sense that I have kids in my office who could have gone for help and might not have been a victim several times over if they just knew what the proper steps would be if someone had touched them, penetrated them orally, anally or vaginally or made them feel uncomfortable about their bodies in certain ways. There are the real cases that I see, and age of the victim is no factor for the pedophile.
If truth be told, I am very harsh on people who cannot accept that a sexual predator could be lurking anywhere and that their child no matter how rich or poor could be the victim of their actions. What people fail to realize is that the abuse has NO boundaries. A victim could be black or white, jewish or christian, fat or thin, tall or short or as previously mentioned, rich or poor. The abuser really does not descriminate in who he is picking as long as that child is vulnerable.
What is sexual abuse, and why are we so afraid to admit that these talks need to be had?
Why are schools only interested in discussing sex education in the upper schools, rather than possible sexual abuse with the younger kids? Parents want to pass rearing their kids to the teachers in schools, and the teachers feel that topics like this are off limits to them and should be handled strictly at home.
The truth is, everyone should participate in educating a child about their bodies and what to do if they feel as if they have been victimized.
What are the proper steps and the warning signs that something might be going on?
First of all, as soon as you think your toddler is ready to understand body parts, teach them that their “privates’ are called vagina or a penis. What is the big deal, they learn about their eyes, nose, ears and throat. I know its funny to label your private something cute, but if your child eventually tells someone that they were touched in their “pocketbook” they might not know what they are talking about. Its parents that thinks those words are so uncomfortable to say, at a young age it’s second nature for them to say vagina and penis.
Teach them not to be afraid to tell you or another adult if they have been touched. Education is knowledge, and as we know knowledge is power.
If there is another adult who seems to want to only spend time with your child, especially when you are not around, don’t be afraid to question it. The onslaught of gifts, trips, babysitting, usually does not lend itself to just being a good nice person. Many times we know that the true pedophile is at work, grooming their victim. Question the behavior, you might have good reason.
I wrote my two books so that parents could break the ice with their kids about this delicate matter. “My Privates are Private” and “Genius with a Penis don’t Touch” are great tools to help with this. Take advantage of them and keep the conversation going! If you need help, contact me through my website, staceyhonowitz.com. Conquer this topic, and you and your kids will feel empowered!
Are you concerned that your child may be a victim of abuse? Don’t wait – take action right now! Contact us for help in walking through the process of reporting and healing.