I have been very saddened these last few days as I have been following the news of Leon Kalnatarov , a seven-year-old boy who was murdered by young adult twins in Bnei Ayish, Israel.
According to the news, this boy visited the twins’ home often, formed a relationship with them, I suppose, and was found dead in their home a few days ago.
These twins were also reported to have exposed themselves to several children over the last few days.
Police are still investigating whether or not Leon was sexually abused before the murder.
I have a feeling that he was; if not right before, then definitely throughout this ‘relationship.’
What’s going on here?!
Why do we keep hearing about sexual abuse in the news and in our own communities?
What can we DO to stop it?
I don’t have all the answers. I am not sure that anyone does.
I know that I believe in the power of the family system; in the power of education, and in the power of not being afraid to speak the truth.
I have been trained and given trainings on how to prevent abuse and there are a few different schools of thought out there:
There is the Good-Touch/Bad-Touch® program which teaches children how to protect themselves from sexual violence.
There is Darkness to Light organization that focuses on teaching the adults in children’s lives how to protect their children from sexual abuse.
And The Care for Kids program that focuses on teaching young children about healthy sexuality in a fun way. The idea behind the Care for Kids program is that the more that children know about their bodies and the difference between what is healthy and unhealthy – the better the chance of them NOT becoming victims of child sexual assault. (Interviews with abusers showed that predators ‘picked’ children that know the least about sexuality and the way bodies work. They use that as an opportunity to ‘teach’ – read: trick – kids about what is ‘normal’ when it comes to sexuality.)
So, what’s the best way to help prevent sexual abuse?
Like I said before, I am not sure anyone has an answer for that, but my educated guess and gut feeling tells me to incorporate all three approaches when teaching kids about prevention.
We have to give them a voice and give them the tools to be able to say NO, GO, RUN and TELL someone.
We, the adults in our children’s lives, must become aware of the occurrence of sexual abuse and what we can do to help prevent it.
And we, the adults in our children’s lives, MUST be the one’s to teach our children about healthy sexuality, the beauty and holiness of their bodies, and when it’s okay to share our bodies and when it is NEVER okay to.
The way I see it, it all comes back to the relationship we have with our children. A strong, healthy, open, and honest relationship is the foundation for being able to have these conversations with our children; for them to be able to tell us when something is wrong or if someone is hurting them; and for us to guide them in making healthy choices for themselves.
I intend to write a handbook for parents on how to talk to their kids in a fun (non-scary) way with their children.
Until then, on the Monday of every week, I will add a new post here on tips for how we can all build better and stronger relationships with the people in our lives – so that we can create a home, a community, and hopefully a world that is more respectful, happy, loving, and safe.
So make sure to check back every Monday to find out how you can Get R.E.A.L. in your relationships.
…yourself and the people you care most about!