Teaching children the dangers of hidden sexualised behaviours

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, children are often groomed 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 in an effort 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 and who showers them with love and affection.

However, once the child predator feels confident they have gained the child’s trust, sexualised behaviour begins. This may commence with the child being exposed to various images that “normalise” sexual behaviour.  Some sexual experiences will physically hurt the child but not all.  Some sexualised behaviour will feel pleasurable and the child will not understand that the behaviour is “sexual abuse”.  This is very confusing for a child.

Consequently, when we teach our children about sexual abuse we need to communicate this very clearly. Teach your child that any behaviour that is done in secret, or is hidden, is wrong and they must tell someone about it and keep telling until the abuse stops.

I hope this information helps you to better educate your child about sexual abuse.

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