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 #