Children today are around more adults on a daily basis, than ever before. From childcare to sports practices to dance classes, not to mention camps and after-school programmes, children are interacting with many adults regularly on the daily basis. Children as young as 6 years old can understand the basics of good touch, bad touch and confusing touch. These young children can also understand the definition of sexual abuse and are not afraid of the words that send chills down the spine of adults. That’s why it is so important to talk to children as early as 6 about ‘bad touch’. And children even younger can begin to learn about their bodies.
A good touch can be explained as the way people show their care and genuine concern for you. Good touch is healthy for a child and is presented in the following ways:
Pat on the head
Kiss o the cheek or forehead
Shaking hands or giving high fives
Pat on the back or shoulders
A bad touch can be explained as the kind you don’t like and would want to stop right away. Bad touch can be characterized in the following ways:
Touching the private parts of the body
Patting or rubbing of the upper thigh near the groin area
Touching or patting the buttocks
Kissing mouth to mouth.
METHODS TO PREVENT UNHEALTHY TOUCH
It is always important to recognize appropriate and inappropriate touching. Here are some ways in which you can handle unhealthy touch:
Safe body rule: open and direct communication at an early age about sexuality and private body parts using the correct names for genitals and other parts of the body with parents will help you understand what is not allowed.
Speak up: being close to your parents and talking about age-appropriate sexual matters in a respectful manner will give you the confidence to speak up if something wrong happens. You should not be embarrassed or scared to talk about your own body and related issues. You should learn to get away from unsafe situations and tell a trusted adult.
Listen to your gut feeling: if someone touching you or doing something to make you feel uncomfortable, then you should listen to your feelings and remove yourself from the situation.
Role plays: practicing scenarios amongst your friends will help you to know what to do if you are in a situation where a sexual predator tries to sexually abuse you.
Learn to say NO: you need to understand that you have the right to say NO to any “bad touching” by an adult. Constantly reinforce the idea that your body is your own and you have to protect it and take care of it.