A Mom Reflects on Parenting and Prevention
As a data-driven professional my career has been spent measuring. I measure my sales team’s success against their targets. I measure a campaign’s success in the marketplace. We even measured poops and pees when our daughter was first born (doctor recommended) … although the line charts weren’t actually necessary. Most of what happens in our lives can easily be measured.
This past year I came to realize child sexual abuse prevention is one thing that cannot be measured – unless it’s averted.
When my children were born, I knew I did not want them to be a statistic. At least not one of the one’s that we see on the news each evening.
We stumbled across the Parenting Safe Children Workshop and signed up. Feather taught us how to prevent our girls from becoming one of the statistics. We took her teaching seriously. We always asked caregivers questions about child safety. We talked regularly with our girls about body safety, making the point they were in charge of their bodies and had to give permission for anyone to touch them. I even told my daughter’s doctors that they needed to ask her permission before examining her. Prior to dropping them off at any activity we went through the regular script, “Don’t go to the bathroom by yourself, don’t go anywhere alone with an adult, don’t go outside the building unless I’ve texted you and you can see my car.” The exact words changed and morphed over the years but the gist and the intent were the same.
We talked about secrets vs. surprises, being isolated or separated when in a group, and the list went on.
Fast forward to last fall: My two girls are now in their teens and they, along with another teammate, came to me and another mom to share “something wasn’t quite right at practice.”
They proceeded to share in detail what amounted to a situation where the coach was grooming the post-puberty girls. He had begun to try to get them alone and was becoming bolder in his actions. The girls on the team made a pact, to not tell the adults, but these three young women recognized everything their parents had been telling and teaching them was coming into play – and they needed help.
After they told us, and asked for help, we quickly assured them they had done exactly the right thing and that the adults would handle it going forward. The girls never saw the coach again. The parents took action by contacting the owner who engaged a child abuse specialist, engaging a detective through law enforcement, and beginning counseling to ensure all stones had been uncovered.
How many of these cases happen every year – where a child, from the time they were toddlers, has been taught basic body-safety techniques and averts what could have been a very dire situation.
An educated parent and an empowered child can avert a child sexual abuser.
Read the daughter’s post here: