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Children's Health

4 things you can do to protect your children from sexual abuse

Dr. Tomi





There’s no foolproof way to protect children from sexual abuse but there are ways to reduce the risk.

1.Know the warning signs. This has been discussed in the previous article, 20 signs your child is being sexually abused

2.Be involved in your Child’s life. Being active in a Child’s life can make warning signs more obvious to detect and make the child more comfortable coming to you if something isn’t right. How does one get more involved:

  • Show interest in their day to day lives. What they did, whom they did it with,
  • Get to know the people in your child life, children and adult, their friends and their parents and other people they encountered.
  • Choose care givers carefully: household, school, afterschool activity.
  • Talk about the media: when incidence of sexual violence are covered by the news discuss it with them, ask them questions e.g. “have you ever heard of this happening or what would you do in this situation?” which can lead to a discussion of something similar that happened to him or her.

3.Encourage child to speak up. When one knows that their voice would be heard and taken seriously, it gives them the confidence to speak up if something isn’t right.

  • Teach your child how to talk about their bodies. Teach them to name their body parts so when they say a name that’s different you can easily investigate the source and decide if there’s any danger to it.
  • Let them know they won’t get into any trouble. It has been said that for most predators, sexual abuse isn’t all about sex but also about the feeling of having power over another person. Most predators use threats to keep the victim silent. Frequently remind your child that they won’t get into trouble and please follow through on this promise.
  • Teach them about boundaries. Let them know that no one has the right to touch them or make them uncomfortable and as well, they don’t have a right to touch someone else inappropriately.
  • Ask open ended questions. E.g. instead of how was your day, did you have fun, how was school today…all of whose answer could be a word, yes or I’m fine. Ask questions like is there anything else you want to talk about or tell me what you did today at school.

4. Be available


Child sexual abuse is a serious and excruciatingly painful experience for the victim and his or her family, its effect can last a lifetime. It’s even more common than we know of as most cases are not even reported or never even come to light; it should be abhorred and reported immediately. If you are a victim or you know a victim, know or let them know that the experience doesn’t define you and you are not alone.

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Dr Tomi Sofela (MBChB) is a graduate of Olabisi Onabanjo University in Ogun State registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria. She is on a mission to pursue fulfillment and enjoys watching movies, reading novels and organizing friends and family get-together.