Please note the following post is graphic in detail
Teaching children that they will know when they are being sexually abused because it will “hurt” is not helpful. Not all sexualised behaviour is violent or physically painful.
As we know, some people who abuse children will groom them over a period of time before any sexualised behaviour takes place. During this stage of grooming there will be demonstrable shows of affection, kindness, genuine interest in the child in everything they say and do and may even include gifting the child money or favourite toys or games. This is all done to win over the child and gain their trust. To a child who is vulnerable this may feel like Christmas; finally, somebody who listens to them, who loves them, who showers them with love and affection.
However, once the person doing the abusing feels confident they have gained the child’s trust, sexualised behaviour begins. This may commence with the child being exposed to images that in turn, “normalises” that behaviour to the child. Some sexual experiences the child is subjected to will physically hurt them, but not all. This confuses the child. Some sexualised behaviour will feel pleasurable to the child and they will not understand this to be “sexual abuse”.
Consequently, when we teach our children about sexual abuse we need to communicate this very clearly. Teach your child that any behaviour, sexualised or otherwise, if it is done in secret or is hidden in any way it is wrong and they must tell someone about it.
I hope this information is helpful to you and helps you in an effort to better educate your child about sexual abuse and what types of behaviour to look out for.