Child Abuse Prevention Month

There is probably not a more worthy group of women that can acknowledge the importance of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month more than moms can. Soon-to-be moms, step-moms, foster moms, adopted moms, grandmothers, no matter what word you use to define yourself, we can all agree that keeping kids safe and healthy is our top priority.

It’s also probably safe to say that the idea of child abuse is a terrifying one. One we may want to shut it out of our minds and sweep it under the rug. However, that may be the worst thing we can do… and here’s why. According to the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas:

  • 1 in 4 girls will be sexually abused before her 18th birthday.

  • 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before his 18th birthday.

  • Only 1 in 10 of them will ever disclose their abuse.

These statistics literally overwhelm me. As a child life specialist, I have worked with hundreds, maybe thousands, of children. To think that so many of them may have been victims of abuse is alarming. As a soon-to-be mom, it just scares the crap out of me.

But, here is the good news. Child Abuse is 100% preventable. One of the ways we can prevent child abuse is just by talking about it with our kids.

I’m sure like many moms out there, you’re wondering “how the heck do I even begin a conversation with my innocent, precious child about such a disgusting topic?”

Here are some suggestions to get the conversation started:

  • Teach your children the correct names of their body parts.

  • Educate your children about the difference between “secrets” and “surprises.” Secrets can be harmful and hurtful. Surprises are meant for fun occasions like birthday presents and parties.

  • Teach your child to respect his or her own personal space, as well as the personal space of others. Tell your child to picture a hula-hoop around his or her waist. Explain that no one has the right to come inside that hula-hoop without permission…and that if they do, tell that person, “NO STOP!” Then go tell a trusted adult what happened.

  • Make a list with your children about who trusted adults are in their life.

  • Keep it an open conversation. Let your child know that they can come to you with whatever fears or questions he or she may have, and that you can address them together.

  • There is no “right time” to discuss these important ideas with your children, the time is now.

As adults, it is the law for us to report suspected child abuse. You can report abuse by phone: 1-800-252-5400 or 911 or online at the Texas Abuse Hotline.

In Travis County, we are lucky to have the Center for Child Protection which is our local non-profit Children’s Advocacy Center that houses law enforcement, child protection services and other professionals who provide forensic, medical, therapeutic, and education services to our Austin community.

This April, and every month out of the year, let’s stand together as mommas to educate, empower and prevent child abuse however we can. #bethevoice


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