It's not a topic we want to think about, let alone discuss with our children. I wish it was a non-topic - yet the news is filled with stories of abuse daily. And they are the reported ones.
The thought that someone would hurt a child is too heinous for most of us to consider. Yet we need to educate our children on body safety and as April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, it is the perfect opportunity to tackle the issues head-on.
Last June I wrote a piece on reducing child sex abuse and the importance of educating our children. (Read here if you're interested: http://www.kylieorr.com/blog/2014/7/2/reducing-child-sex-abuse-educating-our-children).
However, abuse comes in many shades - sexual, physical, verbal, psychological. It is painful enough for most adults to contemplate, so trying to educate our children seems like an epic task.
Adding to that is the need to not only educate kids in body safety - teaching them what is appropriate touch, giving them the tools to reject any affection or physical interaction that makes them feel uncomfortable, and reassuring them that they can and should talk to a trusted adult about anything that is bothering them - but on top of all that, we need to educate ourselves to believe kids.
It is tricky as a parent knowing what to discuss, how to broach the subject without feeling awkward and uncomfortable, and we also don't want to freak our children out. There are guides on hand that can step us through the education process, such as Body Safety Education by Jayneen Sanders (available here: http://somesecrets.info/buy/body-safey-education).
Children should float around in a protective bubble of happiness, and really to do that, they need to be armed with a battalion which can empower them to stand up to abusers. To know the adults in their life will listen and respect their children's intuitive responses to people they are wary of, goes a long way to building an armour for our children.
It would be great if schools could incorporate body safety education into the curriculum too, wouldn't it? Until then, it is up to us as parents and caregivers to give our kids the information they need to keep them safe.
So, I'm off to have an awkward but empowering conversation with my kids about body safety.