I counseled an eight year old sexual abuse survivor in the nineties. This child’s tale was horrendous; his first words to me, at our first session, were “Please don’t make me say what my Daddy did to me.” His wisdom led me to avoid aspects of assessment when I serve young survivors; in other words, I don’t ask children what happened. In all the years since then, every child volunteers their story within the first four weeks of our sessions. I’ve learned from the children I’ve served.
As a Darkness to Light (D2L) Stewards of Children authorized facilitator and a professional who has supported young child abuse survivors (CSA) since the early eighties, I am deeply aware of the need for child abuse prevention. D2L states one in ten of America’s children will be abused before their 18th birthday.
I wrote Inside Out: Your Body is Amazing Inside and Out and Belongs Only to You, after due diligence revealed a paucity of body-positive child abuse prevention education. Red Flag, Green Flag promoted Stranger Danger, even though about 93% of abused children know their abusers. Good Touch, Bad Touch avoids the reality that a perpetrator may groom a child and instill feelings of pleasure; as a sexologist, I know the body responds to touch.
Since 2010, Inside Out has been taught in schools to nearly 5,000 children; it is also taught by counselors and childcare workers in one-on-one situations. My data shows post-intervention increases in body awareness, feelings of self-worth, and retention of the Seven Big Lessons in the book surrounding body autonomy, communication with trusted adults, and secrets.
Be part of the solution. Be an adult who protects children.
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