The Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation Stranger Danger Awareness
NEW JERSEY STRONG news – Hamilton Headlines hamiltonheadlines.com reports –
Hamilton, NJ: The Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation offers Stranger Danger Awareness Education. Familiar danger accounts for 80% of the sexual victimization of children.
On July 29, 1994, Megan Kanka was attacked and murdered by a neighbor. The tragedy led to the creation of Megan’s Law and the National Sex Offender Registry. The Megan Kanka Foundation produced the following Safety Message:
Education and awareness is the key to unlocking the door to child sexual abuse. Children need to be able to recognize inappropriate behavior and touch for what it is. Most parents teach their children about stranger danger which accounts for 20% of cases of child sexual abuse. Although this danger exists, it is imperative that parents teach their children about familiar danger.
Familiar danger accounts for 80% of the sexual victimization of children. Be it family, friend, babysitter, neighbor, playmate or someone familiar to them, children need to recognize what is appropriate behavior and what is not.
There are two statements of fact that you should teach your children:
- Nice people can do bad things
- Just because someone is nice, it doesn’t mean that they are safe.
Teach your children about good touch and bad touch. Make sure they know what their private zones are, chest, vagina, penis, rectum and buttocks. Explain to them that no one is allowed to touch them in those places. The only exception would be in the presence of a doctor with mom or dad’s permission. Make sure you include family, friends and people who they are familiar with and trust, when explaining who is not allowed to touch their bodies.
Teach children the proper names of their body parts. Don’t use false, made up names. If a child discloses sexual abuse to someone, there will be no confusion as to where they were touched.
Make sure your children understand that no one is allowed to put their mouth on their chest, vagina, penis, rectum or buttocks and that the child is not allowed to put his or her mouth on anyone else’s private zones.
Open the line of communication with your children. Let them know that they can come to you about anything and that you will not get mad. Children lie to avoid getting into trouble. If they know that you will not get mad at them, they will more readily come to you with their problems. Many times, there are no physical signs of sexual abuse and it is the word of the child against the adult. If you establish an open line of communication with them, they know that they will be believed.
If your child discloses sexual abuse to you, try to stay calm! If you get upset and raise your voice, you may frighten your child into silence. They may take your reaction as something that they did wrong. Make sure they understand that they did nothing wrong to bring on the abuse. THEY ARE NOT AT FAULT!
If your child is playing outside a neighbor’s house and they decide to go inside to play, make sure they know to come home and get your permission first. You want your children to know they are not to go into their friend’s house without getting your permission. Make sure you do the same with your children’s playmates. You do not want them to think that it is OK to go into anyone’s house without your knowing firsthand.
Make sure your children know that no one is going to hurt the child’s family if they tell about sexual abuse. In cases of familiar danger, family members and friends who abuse may tell the child that they will hurt mom, dad, sister or brother if the child tells or that the abuser will be hurt or put into jail if the child tells. Make sure your child knows that no one can hurt their family and that someone who sexually abuses a child will lie to them in order to protect themselves.
Children may get confused by their feelings if someone they know is sexually abusing them. Oftentimes, bad touch can be stimulating and feel good to the child. Make sure they understand that even if the touch feels good to them, if it is in one of their private zones, it is wrong and they need to tell.
Teach your children how to wash their bodies at an early age. The sooner they learn about their private zones, the sooner they can be taught about sexual abuse awareness.
Constantly REINFORCE sexual abuse safety with your kids. Children do not retain important information in their heads when they are young. It will be easily forgotten or dismissed. By constantly reinforcing what you teach them, you are increasing the likelihood that the information is remembered.
- Teach your children how to dial and use 911.
- Children should not be left alone at anytime.
- Teach your children their name, address and telephone number.
- Children should team up for safety.
- Children should be seen and heard
- Become familiar with who is watching your child during school and after school programs.
- The name of your child should never be visible to the public on clothing, backpacks, lunchboxes, etc.
- Research the background of your baby sitter.
- Contact your local police of any suspicious persons or activities.
- Provide your children with instructions and procedures when lost or separated.
- A child should never enter any house or vehicle without his or her parent present.
- When home alone, never open the door to anyone except your parents or family members.
- Teach your children never to give out any personal information over the internet or telephone.
- Teach your children that it is OK to say NO and run.
- Instruct your children never to speak to strangers.
- Never leave your child unattended in a shopping cart in the supermarket.
- Always keep children in line of sight while shopping in a store.
It is up to you as the parent to educate your children about child sexual abuse.
Remember, NICE PEOPLE CAN DO BAD THINGS and JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE IS NICE, DOESN’T MEAN THEY ARE SAFE.