1. Teach children about the appropriate names for their body parts.
Although this can feel uncomfortable, this is a basic and powerful prevention tool. Children who are known their anatomy are less likely to be a target of an abuser. Teaching your child anatomy can also create a healthy and safe space them to reach out to you if something does happen. Additionally, this helps provide children the language to disclose more easily.
2. Teach them the Safe Touch Rules.
- Your private parts are between your knees and your nose—where your bathing suit goes.
- Your body belongs to you, and only you.
- If someone tries to touch your private parts, they should yell “NO!!” Then they should run away and try to get to a safe place where they should tell a grown-up that they know and trust.
If something happens, it’s never the child’s fault. Remind them that they did a good job telling an adult. They were very brave and you’re proud of them.
3. Teaching consent from an early age is a great tool for preventing sexual violence and reinforces the idea that they have ownership over their bodies.
Fun way to teach what consent means-
I LOVE F.R.I.E.S.:
F-Freely Given- Consenting is a choice you make without pressure, manipulation, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
R-Reversible- Anyone can change their mind about what they feel like doing, anytime. Even if you’ve done it before, and even if you’re both naked in bed.
I-Informed- You can only consent to something if you have the full story. For example, if someone says they’ll use a condom and then they don’t, there isn’t full consent.
E-Enthusiastic- When it comes to sex, you should only do stuff you WANT to do, not things that you feel you’re expected to do.
S-Specific- Saying yes to one thing (like going to the bedroom to make out) doesn’t mean you’ve said yes to others (like having sex).
Note for parents and care-givers, consent isn’t only necessary for sexual acts. Asking for consent ranges from asking to touch someone else’s property to someone’s bodies. It’s important to model behavior this for children. Additionally, we recommend not forcing children to give hugs or kisses to family members or family friends unless they want to do so. This demonstrates that they have control over their bodies at all times not just when an adult says they do.