SPEAK NO EVIL: I WAS MOLESTED
The prof stressed how a crafty lawyer who defends sex offenders can argue that terms such as wee-wee and cha-cha (and all the other “toddlerized” names we teach children) are vague and inconclusive. The best bet, the instructor said, was for your child to clearly indict the predator ( if ever the case may be) by using proper anatomical names in their statements and testimony. “He touched my penis…” “He made me show him my vagina…”
And strangely enough it’s been discovered that such terms as penis, vagina, breasts, and anus — all proper medical terms — have no secret power to turn our kids into degenerates. They can actually say these words and not sully themselves for eternity. Who knew?
MANY adults do not teach their children these proper terms because, in such a strange way, they are afraid of these terms. The most taboo word seems to be vagina. I knew a man in his mid-to-late forties who had a daughter, and while she was a baby he couldn’t bring himself to say the word even to his wife. This was his darling baby girl, and although she did have a vagina, referring to her private regions with that word somehow made it seem sexual and dirty. It was much better to call it a (something else). But lest you think this man a rare example, never forget that Oprah Winfrey, a self-proclaimed abuse victim of MAJOR influence to women, refuses to speak the word vagina. Not even when discussing it medically with Dr. Oz! She instead initiated a national catch-phase, influencing women for generations to come to refer to it as a… (all together now) Va-jay-jay (snicker snicker). Ahhh, doesn’t that feel cleaner? Va-jay-jay just sounds so cute and doesn’t carry any of the uncleansable nastiness that infects the ear when one hears the term vagina uttered out loud.
As you can tell I’m quite annoyed by all this foolishness, but I don’t want to condemn or demonize any parents who may actually have taught alternative, child-like names for body parts. I guarantee they just really never thought about it. But here’s thing… it’s a big deal.
THE FIRST REASON Your Child Won’t Tell You They’ve Been Molested
As a society we are both obsessed with sex and mortally embarrassed by it. What do you think most parents reaction would be if their toddler initiated masterbatory behavior in front of social company? Usually it’s a strong and shocking rebuff that makes the child feel embarrassed. Most parents and grandparents have built a communication wall around the topics of genitalia and sex abuse in the belief they are protecting the child’s innocence. In reality all this does is make these topics taboo and “off limits” for a child to broach with anyone! If we, as adults, are embarrassed and uncomfortable just saying the words penis or vagina, how embarrassed and uncomfortable will our children be if they are experiencing a problem with their genitalia? A rash? A pain? Bleeding? A rape! Although you as a parent are doing everything you can to preserve your child’s innocence by shielding them from “offensive language” — the predator who plans to shatter that innocence has no such reservations.
A sexually molested child has been violated. Oftentimes the victim has been so manipulated by the predator that they are convinced it is their fault. There is shame, embarrassment, and guilt. Incredible shame and embarrassment! It takes a lot for them to feel safe and comfortable revealing this humiliating assault. 90% conclude it is safer to repress it and move on. Even if the abuse is continual. The strategy is “pretend it never happened.” This has positive rewards for the predator and disastrous results for the child. And trust me, the predator knows this. They will do everything in their power to reinforce this strategy to the child. “Everyone will know what a slut you are…” “You think your father is going to respect you as a man after what you just let me do?”
YOUR JOB: Reduce The SHAME
If you, as a parent, truly wish your child to feel comfortable discussing anything with you then you need to establish that comfort and safety by opening the door to all taboo topics. Sex and drugs, in particular. How you do this is up to you. But as an adult/parent please overcome your own discomfort so that your child can overcome theirs. 20% of all children will be sexually abused. 90% know their attacker, so don’t believe for a minute your child is safe simply because you keep them away from dangerous looking strangers.
If you need a safe way to initiate the discussion of molestation without delving into the sexuality of it, I encourage you to get a copy of Predator Incognito. It’s a safe and entertaining way for you to introduce the topic without shocking your child with a bombshell from left-field discussion. Most likely they won’t even realize that the wall of communication has been breeched. I wrote it as a Parent-to-Child read because this conversation needs to happen. But I am also keenly aware that this is a sensitive topic. I did everything possible to make is as palatable and informative as possible without crossing any lines of impropriety.
One predator can ruin your child’s entire life. You have it in your ability to prevent this from happening.
The 2nd Reason Why Your Child May Never Tell You They Were Molested.