As you know, I'm an author and a blogger. On my platforms I discuss sexual trauma and healing. Stats show that by the time Black women reach the age of 18, 60% will be sexually traumatized. This means about 1 in 5 Black women will be sexually violated this includes molestation and rape. With this being the reality of our daughters, mothers, sisters, nieces, cousins, wives, girlfriends, friends, etc. why aren't we teaching them early about their bodies and how to protect it? Why aren't we making safe guarding their bodies just as important as their ABC's and 1, 2, 3's? No, I'm not saying predators get a pass, what I am saying is prevention is better than a lifetime of trauma. Unfortunately, during those precious developmental years, they are prone to being victims of predators in their immediate circle. The myth of some shady character in a van with candy sprayed on the side is just that, a myth. Stats show most victims knew their predators. That means someone within the family or associated with the family like a coach or a pastor most likely will prey on children as oppose to a stranger. Armed with this information why aren't we doing enough?
Before you start getting paranoid and asking everyone around your child 21 questions, ask yourself if you provided your daughter with the tools necessary to assert her mind and fend for herself when you're not around. I know we make it a priority to teach stop, drop and roll, in case of a fire but do you have a quick and easy guide to aid your daughter in protecting her body? Now, I don't have any children, but I do have a young sister, she's the apple of my eye, and if anything were to ever happen to her I would be devastated. Being a survivor myself, and survived my first attack around her age, I couldn't imagine the same fait for her. So I made it a point to tell her that her body is hers, first and foremost. If she doesn't want anyone touching her body including her parents or me, she has the absolute right to say no. No one can trump her no or make her feel bad for saying no. As adults, do we say this to our children? I know growing up I had the talk with my mother that no one should touch my body, and if someone does tell her, HOWEVER, she would consistently tell me that I should obey adults and not cause any trouble. Any adult had power over me and if I didn't obey I would have to deal with her later. The mix signals were a conundrum but knowing my mother meant business, I followed her law about obeying adults.
Knowing what I know now, I taught my sister to be self-assured. On her own, my sister is vocal and doesn't shy away from people or things. She's a little fighter and feisty as ever, however, in an uncomfortable situation adults can regress so I know for a child it's certainly possible. For my sister I told her to let her voice be heard, let your yeses mean yes and let your no's mean no's and don't let anyone try to trick you out of it. The importance of me sharing that advise with her is to arm her with confidence if at any time an authority figure tries to bribe her or use their trust as manipulation she unequivocally understands that what she said and she stands on it. She's unshakable about her decision. To drive the point home, I wanted her to understand if in that situation yelling and making as much commotion is to her BEST benefit. We as adults attempt to mold children into quiet little mouses knowing that children are boisterous, energetic, and full of animation. I wanted her to know that there is a time and place for everything and if any time facing a dilemma like that kicking, screaming, yelling, hitting, biting is WONDERFUL. Even giving her "cheat codes" like a hard kick to the groin of a male will disable him. Drawing attention from people who might not even be aware of what's going on is FANTASTIC. Predators keep preying because they think a child has no protection, and no one will know of their devious ways. Bursting their plans dead in his or her tracks is NECESSARY.
Lastly, I shared with my sister that anyone who makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to disassociate with them. "You don't have to entertain them. That means sitting on their lap. Staying with them. Being left alone with them or whatever. You don't even need a reason as to why you feel awkward about him or her. If it's in your gut or you just "feel weird" around him or her, that's good enough too. No one can question that or force you to change your mind, not even me. If you feel like that, or someone did try to violate your body, tell dad. I don't care who it is, what they promised or if they try making you feel bad about what happened by saying they'd get in trouble, or they'll hurt you if you tell. Regardless tell dad. Tell your mom. Tell someone you trust. Tell me. No one will be mad at you; I could never be mad at you. Everyone will believe you." Reassuring a child that no matter what they say they could never lose their value in your eyes and what they say will be taken seriously encourages a child to speak their truth without any restraints. It also confirms to her that she is safe, protected, and loved. Hopefully this message helps you on your mission to protecting the love ones in your life. Don't restrict this message to just girls. PROTECT our boys also.
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Be Entertained. Be Enlightened. Be Loved. ✌🏿