Child sexual abuse is a heinous crime, and it becomes the duty of society, community, parent, school and teacher to safeguard a young child whose ability to communicate may be limited. A neglected or unnoticed case of child sexual abuse puts the child at a greater risk of similar incidences in future, and encourages the paedophile.
To avoid this, teach your child how to identify abuse withe the acronym HELPING. These are signs that will signal to them that they need to ask for help and share troubling incidents with their parents. HELPING can be broken down as:
H – Hug and Hoot: Teach the child that if someone hugs her again and again, she has to ‘hoot’ or shout in a loud voice. And she should come back home and tell mummy or papa.
E – Environment Friendly: In your absence, inform neighbours or a trusted friend and ask them to check on your child. But of course, ALWAYS verify and cross-check information about care givers.
L – Love Making Scenes: We don’t always control what we are watching on TV and whether kids are watching. But if the situation is unavoidable, use it as an opportunity to educate them. Like how too much of kissing, putting hands on the neck, tummy, or thighs ‘bad touch’ and should be reported.
P – Pledge Patience: Take a pledge with your kids as part of a ‘fun’ game where you talk and share daily news on what happened at their school and in turn share your routine at office or home. Lend a patient ear to all what they have to say. They should be able to say anything and never fear punishment or a scolding for sharing mischievous acts.
I – In Between Legs/Chest/Bums: Don’t wait for such incidents to occur to take a cue and talk about sex education to your kid. Casually talk to your child about bad touch – in between legs, chest, bums, lips. Make it a routine, and not a one time “then keep your mouth shut” activity.
N – Neutral Response: As parents we tend to fix and perpetuate certain notions in our kids minds, especially to do with sex. If your teenager shares such details with you about themselves or someone in their circle, maintain calm and don’t instinctively shut the child up. You have to listen.
G – Genitals Name and Privacy: Don’t teach toddlers cute names for private parts. As soon as they start talking, teach them the right terms, including those for undergarments. Use their toys and name the parts. Also teach them that no one should remove their dolls’ clothes, or theirs either.