How to talk to your child about sexual abuse - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

How to talk to your child about sexual abuse

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The conversation can be uncomfortable and awkward, but experts say more parents should be talking with their kids about sexual abuse. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused during their childhood.

That is why psychotherapist Traci Withrow says parents should candidly bring up the dangers of sex abuse to kids. 

"You do it regularly. You don't just have one big talk about sexual abuse, you make it a part of raising your child," Withrow said. 

Tiffany Murphy has done just that with her three children. 

"I make sure I ask them, 'is anyone touching you?' You make sure and tell mommy. Mommy will make sure she talks to them," Murphy said. 

Murphy realizes the conversation is a must these days. 

"I catch them going in the tub, coming out of the tub, when I'm changing their underwear," Murphy said. 

Withrow says parents need to be open with their kids about anatomy, and shouldn't be making up childish names.

"You teach your children about all of their body parts, using the proper anatomical names for private parts. You use a regular everyday tone of voice," Withrow said.

It can be hard, but if you're not talking about it with them, someone else might be. 

"You start from the minute they have vocabulary. From the minute they're talking, as young as possible."

Another DOJ statistic states that 93% of sex abuse cases involve someone the child knows. 

"Children need to be taught that it can be anybody. Now remember, if anybody touches you, even if it's someone you love. Even if it's someone you trust, even if they tell you shouldn't, tell mommy," Withrow said.

That's why Murphy plans to keep talking, to keep her kids safe. 

"You can't trust anyone anymore. I don't trust anybody with my kids period," Murphy said.

There are signs to look for to tell if a child is being sexually abused, such as behavior changes, including regressing to younger behaviors, like bed-wetting or thumb-sucking. 

Also, if a child a using new adult worlds for their body parts, that could be point to sexual abuse. 

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