Sexual abuse and harassment. While it has been happening since the beginning of time, it has been a recent hot topic in the news. From big names like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein, to moms and dads, and cousins and friends. The harsh and scary reality is, the perpetrator can be anyone and the abuse can take place anywhere; this is precisely why it is critical that children are taught about the difficult subject.
Jeff Herman has offered advice about the best ways to talk about and educate children about sexual abuse. First, he suggests that conversations about sex crimes and predators needs to start early. However, that conversation needs to be kept age appropriate. For example, parents should use the correct terminology for body parts, however, young kids do not need to know all that is involved when it comes to sex. Most importantly, however, is that kids understand which parts of their body 100 percent off limits 100 percent of the time are. As children turn into tweens and teens the conversation needs to morph into one that is more mature, offering more details. Second, all children, no matter their age, need to understand that when they, or someone else, says no or it really means no. They also need to understand that they shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell someone to stop. Third, he suggests that the conversation needs to be on going. It isn’t something that can be discussed when children are young and then never be talked about again.
The topic of sexual abuse isn’t something that should be shamed and not discussed. Shying away from the topic won’t protect a child from the dangers of sexual abuse. However, open communication can help protect them; being open and honest can help protect time; being a source they can turn to can help protect them. That should be the ultimate goal, to help protect children from the dangers of sexual abuse.
Jeff Herman, for more than 20 years, has dedicated his career as a lawyer to the advocacy of those individuals who have survived sex crimes. It all started 20 years ago when a mother and father came to Jeff Herman looking for help. Their child, who has autism, came home from school and announced that one of the volunteers at his school had inappropriately touched his private parts. Horrified, the boy’s parents sought help and justice for this man, who turned out to be a convicted pedophile in another state. From this point on, Jeff Herman changed the course of his career to be and advocate and help find justice for these victims.