Sexual Assault – How to protect yourself and your family (Part 2)
Adolescence is a scary time for children, and one in which they are most at risk for sexual assault. Prepare for the possibility that as adolescents, they may engage in some risk-taking behavior and try to minimize that risk by educating them about the danger of sexual assault by friends, acquaintances, or others. This danger is enhanced when teenagers are abusing drugs or alcohol.
• Encourage your teenager to trust her or his instincts and if a situation makes him or her uneasy, to get out of it.
• Stress to them that they can always talk to you if they have been hurt or scared (regardless of the circumstances surrounding the incident).
TO ENHANCE COMMUNITY SAFETY, COMMUNITY MEMBERS CAN:
• Talk openly about the sexual assault of adults and children, men, women, boys, and girls.
• Understand the issues involved in sexual assault. Know the statistics.
• Assume preventing sexual assault is everyone’s responsibility.
• Talk to your children about personal safety issues as they relate to child sexual abuse. Do this when you talk to your children about bike safety, crossing the street, or talking to strangers. It is, in many ways, just another personal safety rule about which children need to be aware.
• Increase your knowledge about risk reduction measures you can take to protect yourself.
• Invite your local law enforcement, probation/ parole department, rape crisis center, or child abuse prevention organization to a neighborhood discussion group to learn about the issue and to process people’s emotions.
• Get to know your neighbors.
• Organize neighborhood block watches, if desired by your neighbors.
• Do not wait until you are informed that a sex offender is living nearby to begin educating yourself and family on issues of sexual assault.
• Find out what the statistics on child sexual abuse, adult sexual assault, offender arrest, and incarceration are in your community.
• Beware of the media’s ability to sensationalize the most horrific of stories concerning the sexual assault of children or adults. These stories, while real and very frightening, are not the norm.