Using Correct Anatomical Terms Can Prevent Childhood Sexual Abuse
The recent news about the prevalence of sexual abuse isn’t pretty, and, unfortunately, as we have learned, even the young are far from immune. In their recent book, Protecting Your Child From Sexual Abuse: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Kids Safe (Skyhorse, 2018), Professors Elizabeth Jeglic and Cynthia Calkins offer tips and guidance for parents.
In an interview with the CUNY Graduate Center, Jeglic and Calkins, who are also professors at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, discussed what parents should know about sexual violence, common misconceptions about offenders, and what you should do if you suspect a child is being abused.
GC: What advice you would give to parents who want to learn more about this topic?
Jeglic and Calkins: Parents should know the facts. The overwhelming majority [93 percent] of children are abused by a family member or someone known to them— not by a stranger. In addition, 10 percent of sex offenders are women and one-third of sex crimes against children are committed by another child or adolescent.
Parents should use correct anatomical language when referring to sexual organs starting in childhood. One study found that sex offenders were less likely to offend against a child if the child knew correct names for body parts; the offender felt that there was a greater risk that he or she would get caught as these children were more likely to talk to their parents.
Also, Internet-enabled devices should not be kept in bedrooms at night: the majority of communications with adult strangers take place after parents are asleep.
Explore This Work
Protecting Your Child From Sexual Abuse: What You Need to Know to Keep Your Kids Safe
Skyhorse Publishing, 2018
How to Protect Children from Child Abuse (GC News)