There is no math formula to teach children to protect themselves from potential abusers. Parents have to take the initiative to discuss the realities of our society’s ugly side. Here is a review of a book intended for young children, that may open lines of communication.
Those Are My Private Parts by Diane Hansen
How do we talk to our children about sexual abuse? What can parents and caregivers say to prevent child sexual abuse? In a society that spends more funding dollars on intervention instead of prevention, Diane Hansen, author of Those Are My Private Parts, has found a simple yet ingenious way to answer those questions. Her book is illustrated with child-friendly drawings in primary colors. The text carries short rhythms with great messages. Every educator and caregiver, as well as children’s advocacy centers, should have a copy of this book as a tool to empower children.
Diane Hansen was spurred to action when she heard a perpetrator of sexual abuse on The Oprah Winfrey Show. The convicted child molester revealed how he had used secret tactics and tricks to coerce children into sex acts. A child molester claimed that it is harder to manipulate children who realize the danger. And the danger does not lie solely with a stranger: 93-95% of victims know the attacker! The sting of betrayal runs deep when a child has been abused by someone he/she had initially trusted. Those Are My Private Parts clearly conveys the message to children that no one has a right to his/her body.
“Aunts, cousins, step-fathers, step-brothers, Nannies, grannies, Pa-Pas or mothers Never will anyone make me play A private parts game in any way.”
Experts in the field of child abuse state that sexual abuse is a power and control issue, and sex is used as the weapon. The damaging consequences to a child who has been sexually abused are serious, including suicide attempts as well as drug and alcohol abuse. We have to protect our children! Bravo to Diane Hansen for finding a way to teach children to say, “Those are my private parts!”
(Perhaps if I had had a book like this as a child I would not have had to write a story of survival from sexual abuse.)
Review completed by Lynn C. Tolson, author of Beyond the Tears: A True Survivor’s Story