When I think of the many times as a child and young adult that I was preyed upon by some sick person, it makes me wonder how anyone survives to adulthood. If I weren’t touched inappropriately, then inappropriate things were said to me, or someone tried to talk me into doing something that I didn’t want to do. Every woman I know has some story like that from childhood. It really is like being a baby animal on the African plains. Wearing a steak around your neck.
And I appreciate that parents and schools try to teach children to avoid these situations, but the whole “stranger danger” concept doesn’t help at all, because these predators are usually not strangers. They’re relatives, “friends”, or professionals/authority figures whom you are taught to respect. I was once groped by the family physician.
We have to figure out some way to teach children to listen to their inner voices. If something feels wrong, we have to teach them that that instinct is more important than respect or trust. We have to teach them that there are boundaries that no one, NO ONE can cross, and that they have rights. We have to give them permission to say, “No, I’m not doing that.” We have to make sure they understand that if someone says, “Don’t tell,” that’s the very moment in time when they have to tell.
And parents need to be taught, too, that the world is a whole lot less safe than they’d care to believe. Unfortunately, predators can come in many forms. And your child is out there alone on the plains a lot more often than you realize.