Learning about body consent is a vital tool for children, teenagers and adults to understand.

Teaching children about body safety doesn't make them scared but evidence has shown that it empowers a child. It helps them to know that they have value and it takes the power from a would be abuser and gives it back to the child. They feel like they can protect themselves and gives them more confidence in their daily lives.

A child who knows that they are in control of their body is less likely to fall victim to sexual abuse, sexual assault and later intimate partner violence. 

*personal story might trigger*

I was asked recently if tickling is an abuse, at first I thought no, but then I thought about my childhood and how I was tickled  often even after I would say no, they'd keep on going until I was crying. I realised that this was where I was taught that 'no' didn't mean no if it was for me. I never learned about body consent. You see, I lived in a family, maybe it was an era that would say that if an adult said jump you would say how high? We don't ask questions - we complied, so I learned to comply. When I was sexually abused in my early teens I accepted his grooming and his threats and kept it quiet. But it led me on a path where I accepted bad behaviour and abuse for the next 23+ years. I learned if I wanted to be loved - comply. If I didn't want to be rejected - comply. My first husband confirmed this and added that if I didn't want to be hurt - comply. Eventually I realised that I was going to die at my hands or his if I stayed in the relationship and his last affair was the final nails in the coffin. It took 15 years of marriage before I realised this and I knew it was time to fight for a better future for my four beautiful kids. Although I did think I might die trying to as he would kill me. I was so broken when I left and I still had no idea about body safety, consent or any self-protective behaviours. I was like a child in an adults body. The abused id received over the years had depleted everything about me. A few Years later after I was remarried my kids felt safe enough to disclose, that when they went back to their dads he was sexually abusing them. I never taught my kids body safety either, how could I when I didn't know it myself? 

Years later I've now written a three book series to empower our children with self protective behaviours. Called Brave Little Bear - www.attheark.org.au. I couldn't protect my kids but I will protect as many others as I can now.

April is international sexual assault awareness month and this month we are starting a new campaign #mybodymyconsent. You can help this go viral by sharing it and if your brave enough to share your stories.

Let's empower our kids, our families and our village.

#empoweringkids #
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