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Dianne (names have been changed) was working around the house when her young son Jason came dashing indoors dripping wet. He and a neighbor boy were playing in the shallow pool outside and Jason was busting to tell his mother what had just happened. He quickly explained that the neighbor boy suggested that they play a game that involved touching under his swim shorts. Dianne was so thankful that she had taught Jason the swimsuit rule and that her son had been comfortable enough to tell her immediately and prevented what could have scarred her son for life.
Keep your Child Safe from Sexual Predators using the swimsuit rule. Included are examples and stories on how this rule works and why it is so important.
The swimsuit rule will help protect your child from those they know like family and friends who might molest them. You can't tell who may be a danger. It could be a boyfriend, an innocent looking neighbor boy or girl, an uncle or even the grandparents. Most sexual abuse happens from someone the child knows. Stranger danger is less common.
One of the most surprising and sad discoveries is that your child will probably be in more danger from other young children than from adults. Statistics are shocking. The chances that your child will be abused in some way are 75% for girls and 60% for boys in the United States.
The swimsuit rule is teaching your child to tell you immediately if someone touches or tries to touch them where their swimsuit would cover them if they had it on. Swim shorts for the boy and a bikini for the girl. (This also includes someone asking your child to touch them in these places)
The parent needs to talk about the rule often and teach the child to know the difference between a touch that is on purpose and one that is accidental. A game should be made where the parent touches the child on the arm (or any safe place) and the child tells whether it was on purpose or accidental. (read the comment below from an expert in child sexual abuse. She disagrees on teaching your child the difference and may have a good point)
A little girl came busting into the kitchen loudly announcing that her grandpa had touched her where he wasn't supposed to have. The grandpa came in red faced and explained that he was lifting the girl off his lap onto the floor and had not intended to touch her inappropriately. In this case the parent had not taught the child the difference between the different types of touching. A game that teaches the difference can save the parents and others many embarrassing moments.
Unless trained to tell, most kids won't tell anyone about their abuse until they are older. The reasons for not telling range from the deep shame the child experiences to fearing the abuser who may threaten them in some way.
Tragic Tue Stories
Here are two sad stories that happened to someone in my family and a friend's family. To protect the people involved their names have been changed.
A neighbor boy that was similar in age (around 6 to 8 years old) to a family member named "Robert" sexually abused him. Robert didn't know what to do and like most children who are abused was deeply ashamed that it had happened. Stuffing it deep inside him his behavior was normal to his parents until he reached his teen years. During his teens he became angry and depressed and acted out some with guns and alcohol. His parents got him into counseling and the abuse was discovered. It would have been much better if Robert had told his parent's right way. The sooner the counseling starts, the better.
When a boy is sexually abused he has several responses. Depression, anger and in some cases sexually abusing others. When the abuse is from someone of the same sex the child may fear that he is gay. Many boys sexually abused by another male grow up either giving into the gay feeling and surrendering to that life style or fighting the feeling by being more sexually active with women. They feel the need to have to prove to themselves and others that they are not gay.
A good Christian counselor will teach the child that because of the abuse it is normal for them to feel that they could be gay and even have some attractions for the same sex. However they don't have to live the gay life style because of what happened to them. Temptation is not a sin until it is indulged or fed. They can follow their Christians convictions.
Girls will struggle with similar feelings and responses but tend to be less violent. Without counseling they are in danger of acting out sexually and marrying abusive men.
My friend's nephew Tim was sexually abused when he was six years old. The predator was his mother's boyfriend. Tim remembers the man chasing him around the house and trying to hide under the table before the man caught him. This experience deeply damaged him.
His response to the sexual abuse was depression, anger, violence and sexual abuse of others. He sexually abused his younger brother, the neighbor girl and whoever he came in contact with that he could take advantage of.
His rages scared his mother and landed him in juvenile prison for a year. Finally at age fifteen he raped his twelve-year-old cousin and was put in prison for over eight years. During this prison time he was sexually abused by one of the guards. Once he got out of prison he went to college and got a degree. Unfortunately after finding a nice job he and some friends robbed several banks using weapons and is now in prison for a long time. He will have spent more time in prison during his life then out.
If he had know the swim suit rule he would have reported the abuse to his mother and could have gotten the predator throw in prison and the counseling needed to prevent the ruining of his life.
Here are some resources for parents and those who have been sexually and physically abused.
An adult male abused Paul Hegstrom as a child. He grew up angry at the world. In hopes of finding something that could help him he went to school to become a minister. Becoming a successful minister did not solve his problems. He acted out by physically abusing his wife and having affairs. After a life turning event he is now a well-known counselor for men who abuse. He also has programs for women. Here are some links to resources.
Hope for Pastors who Batter
Paul Hegstrom's Web Site
Life Skills International's
The Swimsuit Rule Guestbook
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As an expert in child sexual abuse, I agree with this rule with one modification - I would not worry about teaching the child to distinguish between accidental and on-purpose touch because nobody should be touching anyone where the swimsuit would be and an embarrassed apology is in order. I would rather parents know that Uncle George is having to "apologize" relatively frequently than them not being told at all.
Great lens. Everyone needs to read this there are so many dangers out there that we have to keep away from our kids.
A great lens that I had to post to Facebook. Every parent needs to read this.
Nice lens! I'm a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. A lot more awareness is needed on the topic. Starting with the swimsuit rule, but let's not forget that most children aren't abused by strangers, over half are molested by their own family. We need to talk about all aspects of child sexual abuse. That's one of the reasons I had for writing my book. My book is actually more of a guide for adult survivors. I'd love for you to comment on my lens about it. (it's set to come out in oktober)
I totally thought this lens was going to be about not dressing your children in too-old-for-their-age swimsuits. (Which is also a problem - we were watching something on tv the other day and a 6 year old was dressed in a much too provocative bikini...) Either way though - I don't have kids but this is definitely something that parents need to teach their kids about. It's never acceptable or the kid's fault obviously but there are also ways to prevent abuse in many instances and this is a great example of how we can help keep more kids safe.
Aunt-Mollie Thank you for providing this method to help parents teach their children how to avoid being molested. We have all heard about "stranger danger" but I don't think people are aware that those close to the family or in the family pose the greatest danger.
A really important topic. It's difficult for parents to handle topics like this and often they avoid them but your stories show how important it is not to avoid difficult or embarrassing issues.
Enjoyed reading what you have wrote. I must say, everyone should read this lens.
Good job! I wish every person with a child could see this. Thank you for caring.
This page will help you to teach your children about sexual predators and the Swimsuit Rule.
How to prevent and fight sexual pedophile abuse. Child Abuse stories and prevention, information.
Preventing and stop child abuse. Keep your kids safe. The Parent's Guide to Protecting
Children from Pedophiles. Prevent child molestation.
Dear Concerned Parents,
I am writing to you in behalf of your Heavenly Father. He is seeking you like a lost sheep. You remember the Bible story? It is about a shepherd who has 100 sheep. But when he brings the sheep home one night, one is missing. He then leaves the 99 sheep and goes out into the wilderness until he finds that lost sheep.
In this parable the shepherd goes out to search for the one lost sheep-the very least that can be numbered. So if there had been but one lost soul, Christ would have died for that one. To read more click Lost Sheep