Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse
By: Citta Nirbito
Every parent’s greatest fear that at some point his/her child will become a victim of sexual abuse. Based on the statistic, 1 in 5 children will become the victim by his/her 18th birthday. Knowing this alarming fact, Discovery Center and International Wellbeing Center worked together to educate parents on how to recognizing and preventing sexual abuse since early childhood. Discovery Center is a preschool and early childhood education center in Jakarta that have focal activities of learning through doing, not through watching. Since preschool age, children in the school have been taught by the teachers about their bodies (private parts), to help them understand the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touch, as well as sharing bad and good secrets with their parents.
It can be uncomfortable at first to teach and give knowledge to children about sex education and private parts using the proper names, but It allows families to build the first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes. International Wellbeing Center did a workshop for parents to help parents and caregivers in protecting their children from sexual abuse. According to miss Lia Sutisna (child-parent counselor at the International Wellbeing Center), “Child sexual abuse is more prevalent than most people think, and the offenders are usually people parents and the children know, not strangers”. It is also important for children to understand the difference between touch that is appropriate and inappropriate. We must read books to them from an early age on this topic and would talk about who can help them in the bathroom or bath and that it was OK for the doctor to check their private parts at appointments when Mom or Dad is present. We also tell them they don’t have to hug or kiss a family member if they don’t want to and teach them how to express this without being rude. It is important to empower children to be in charge of their bodies instead of at the mercy of adults. Lastly, to teach about sexual abuse offenders, it is important to teach your kids about “tricky people.” Tricky people are grown-ups who ask kids for help or tell kids to keep a secret from their parents.