“In 2014/2015 it is estimated that 563 841 sexual offenses occurred but on 62 649 were reported. 8174 of these cases when to court and only 1% of these perpetrators got jail time for their horrendous crimes.”
So out of the 563 841 sexual offences that occurred in 2014/2015 only 81 perpetrators went to jail! Think about that for a moment. Over half a million women were abused and 81 men went to jail.
This is almost unbelievable.
It is not just enough to tell your son’s not to hit girls. It is not enough to rely on showing your children what a positive relationship looks like.
You must talk to your children about abuse. You can’t do it in a bird and the bees sort of way, where you tell them what it is and hope they figure it out along the way. You need to really talk to them, answer questions, call them out on behaviour, discuss what it means to abuse someone. This is important because children don’t automatically know what behaviour is unacceptable and they may not see anything wrong with what they are doing.
It’s not going to be a happy discussion nor is it going to be easy, but you need to start today. It is also not a discussion for boys only, girls need to be aware of what it is as well. We have talk to all our kids about it. Jack and Emma are a little young to get it but they are, by default, around when we have these talks, so we answer their questions if they have any.
So, what do we talk about and how do we address the topic of abuse?We use a lot of real life situations, it is easier for children to understand if they have experienced it or seen it happen. We are lucky that both kids still talk to us about what is going on, so we hear a lot about things happening at their schools. This gives us an opportunity to highlight negative behaviour and talk about a better way to deal with it. While I am online a lot, I really wish my kids weren’t because it seems this is where a lot of the abuse begins.
Both David and I spent a lot of time trying to teach them how to fight constructively. Fighting and dealing with conflict is a part of life, even in happy, functional relationships with no abuse. A lot of abuse , in my opinion, comes from a place of frustration, not knowing how to deal with emotions correctly. David and I fight, sometimes we raise our voices at one another and sometimes the kids see that. They also see us talking it out and figuring out how to deal with it. We encourage them all to talk to us if they are angry or hurt so we can work through it, even when it is not nice. It is not always easy and the younger two are still at the stage where it is “easier” for them to throw something or smack but we still use these as opportunities to talk to them about a better way to deal with it.
Fortunately, this hasn’t happened much, but I call the older two out a lot on behaviour that is disrespectful towards their friends, girlfriends or people in general. They are still kids and they don’t always see that their behaviour is unacceptable. I have been at galas where young boys have been downright vile and parents sitting with them have done nothing. It is not ok. Shrugging it off as “boy’s will be boy’s” is not ok..
An important message that I was raised with and one we want our kids to know is that we will always be there for them. Many women (and children) stay in abusive situation because they don’t have anywhere to go or anyone they trust to ask for help. I don’t want my kids to ever feel like that, now as children or as adults.
1st for Women have just launched a platform called For Women . If you are in an abusive situation, visit the site Provision section, there is some helpful information like how to apply for a protection order, which is an extremely powerful document that offers protection to both you and your children. There is also a helpline you can call if you need help or want to find out where you can go or how you can get more help. There is help out there. You are not alone.
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