Friday, April 11, 2014

Sexual Assault Awareness Month: It’s time to talk

What began as organized protests in England in the 1970s, to raise awareness for sexual violence against women, has developed into a global initiative to raise awareness about the rape, sexual harassment, incest, molestation, and sex trafficking of both genders. Through tireless efforts from the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NCASA), in 2001, April was designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM).

With a theme of “Talk Early, TalkOften,” the 2013 SAAM campaign focuses on healthy sexuality and its connection to child sexual abuse prevention. Talking with our children about sex isn’t a comfortable subject for some parents, but avoiding an uncomfortable conversation is not giving your child your best. The SAAM campaign encourages parents to start talking with their children to prevent child sexual abuse and offers a plethora of tools to engage in age appropriate talks with children. Materials are available in both English and En Espanol.

Guess what? Child sexual abuse is not gender specific. According to the study, “Prevalence and Psychological Sequence of Self-Reported Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse in General Population,” Briere, one in seven boys will be sexually abused at some point in their childhood. In the report, as with many others, it is acknowledged that the statistic is actually higher due to the fact that often the crime of child sex abuse is not reported.

While we as adults can choose to become polarized in the fear of discomfort, imagine how a child must feel. How often have you heard a friend say that they wish that they’d been able to talk to their mom or dad about sex? Unfortunately, this writer hears it too often. The ability, the comfort that our children have to speak with us about sex, is our responsibility. So take some time, check out the SAAM website and talk to your kids.

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