So every night my mother would come to tuck me in at night.
Every night without fail.
And every night without fail, this would happen.
She would come to my bed, look it over and say, “My goodness Tonya! With all of these dolls and animals, where do you plan to sleep?”
Listen, I would figure that out later.
What was important to me was that, the many dolls and stuffed animals would protect me from the shadows in the dark.
I was so afraid of the dark. I stayed up watching the shadows move with the moonlight.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a tremendous fear of the unknown.
I am now certain that that is why I never told my mother I was being sexually abused by people she trusted to babysit us in her absence.
I didn’t tell her even though she asked us. And guess what, my mother asked me and my two siblings often. It was just a regular thing.
We took vitamins. We drank cod liver oil. We were told that no one should touch us. We knew that we should tell.
She asked us. Often. All of the time. At random intervals.
“Is anyone touching you?”
“You know that you can always tell me, right?”
I dreaded question. I knew what I was going to say.
My default reply would be, “no”.
Because I was just like most children my age.
Afraid of the unknown.
The first thing that we must give children in order for them to feel safe is a safety net of accurate knowledge and information.
Knowledge is power.
For sexual violence prevention all children need three things from their safe parents/guardians:
· Accurate and current education about unsafe people in the world.
· Information about body safety and personal boundaries.
· Loving and honest answers about what will happen if they come to their parents to tell them that someone is touching them in a bad way.
Here are 8 simple phrases of comfort to get the conversation started. I used these phrases with my son when he was around the age of two or three.
You can start with these five words:
“No matter what anyone says”:
1. ……We will be safe
2. …….You will be safe
3. …….Our family will be safe
4. ………I will not go to jail
5. ……..I will listen to you
6. ………I will not blame you
7. ……..I will not be angry with you
8. ………. I will be proud of you