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Webb Weekly is a family-oriented newspaper direct mailed to over 58,000 homes each week.

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280 Kane St. STE #2
South Williamsport, PA
United States

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Statutory sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, corrupting the morals of a minor, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse… How many times have you read headlines that involve these charges recently? Obviously, one is too many, but these cases seem to be becoming more and

Statutory sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, corrupting the morals of a minor, unlawful contact with a minor, endangering the welfare of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse…

How many times have you read headlines that involve these charges recently? Obviously, one is too many, but these cases seem to be becoming more and more prevalent, not just in our community but across the country.

So many kids whose lives will never be the same.

Sexual abuse can happen to children of any race, socioeconomic group, religion, or culture. There is no guaranteed way to protect children from sexual abuse, but there are steps you can take to lessen the risk.

Being actively involved in your child’s life is the first line of defense. According to rainn.org (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), “being actively involved in a child’s life can make warning signs of child sexual abuse more obvious and help the child feel more comfortable coming to you if something isn’t right. If you see or hear something that causes concern, you can take action to protect your child.”
They also offer this advice:

Show interest in their day-to-day lives. Ask them what they did during the day and who they did it with. Who did they sit with at lunchtime? What games did they play after school? Did they enjoy themselves?

Get to know the people in your child’s life. Know who your child is spending time with, including other children and adults. Ask your child about the kids they go to school with, the parents of their friends, and other people they may encounter, such as teammates or coaches. Talk about these people openly and ask questions so your child can feel comfortable doing the same.

Choose caregivers carefully. Be diligent about screening caregivers for your child, whether it’s a babysitter, a new school, or an afterschool activity.

Talk about the media. Incidents of sexual violence are frequently covered by the news and portrayed in television shows. Ask your child questions about this coverage to start a conversation. Questions like, “Have you ever heard of this happening before?” or “What would you do if you were in this situation?” can signal to your child that these are important issues they can discuss with you. Learn more about talking to your kids about sexual assault.
Know the warning signs. Become familiar with the warning signs of child sexual abuse, and notice any changes with your child, no matter how small. Whether it’s happening to your child or a child you know, you have the potential to make a big difference in that person’s life by stepping in.

Having open, honest discussions with your kids starting early will go a long way toward making them comfortable talking to you if something should happen.

Teach your child about boundaries. Let your child know that no one has the right to touch them or make them feel uncomfortable — this includes hugs from grandparents or even tickling from mom or dad. It is essential to let your child know that their body is their own. Just as importantly, remind your child that they do not have the right to touch someone else if that person does not want to be touched.

Teach your child how to talk about their bodies. From an early age, teach your child the names of their body parts. Teaching a child these words gives them the ability to come to you when something is wrong. You aren’t doing your children any favors by referring to their body parts as cutesy names. It’s a vagina; it’s a penis.

Be available. Set time aside to spend with your child where they have your undivided attention. Let your child know they can come to you if they have questions or if someone is talking to them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. If they do come to you with questions or concerns, follow through on your word and make the time to talk.

Let them know they won’t get in trouble. Many perpetrators use secret-keeping or threats to keep children quiet about abuse. Remind your child frequently that they will not get in trouble for talking to you, no matter what they need to say. When they do come to you, follow through on this promise and avoid punishing them for speaking up.

I don’t know what’s happening in the world today, so let’s do everything we can to keep innocent children safe from predators.