TEACHING: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How can I provide support to someone close to me who has been abused?

It can be hard to know how best to help loved ones who are survivors of sexual abuse. Your primary
role is to support and reassure. Don’t judge, criticize, demand to know details about abuse, or minimize
what has happened. On The Younique Foundation website, there is an entire book on supporting
survivors as well as blog posts to offer guidance.

Additional resources: Supporting Survivors on Their Healing Journey, Supporting Hope e-book (both on The Younique Foundation website)

How do I break the silence about my own abuse?

Talking about your abuse takes courage, but it can be a key step in healing. When you’re ready to talk
about your abuse, pick someone you trust who will be understanding and supportive. Remember this
is your story, and you get to decide what you share. Don’t feel obligated to disclose more than you
want to.

Additional resources: 5 Ways You Can Break the Silence of Your Abuse (on The Younique Foundation
website)

If I know or think that a child is being sexually abused, what should I do?

Nearly every state has mandatory reporting laws, so you need to report sexual abuse if you know or
suspect that it’s occurring. In general, you should report to Child Protective Services. On the Defend
Innocence website, there’s a blog post that will help you find the local agency in your area.

Additional resources: How to Report Sexual Abuse in the United States

Has the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse gone up or down over time?

Gathering data about the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse is challenging. At Defend Innocence,
we use statistics that come from the ACE study, a thorough, longitudinal study conducted by the
Centers for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente focusing on the impact of childhood abuse and
neglect. Other studies on sexual abuse have been conducted that arrive at different prevalence
numbers, but no new study has been as rigorous as the ACE study.

Additional resources: Why the ACE Study Is Important to Parents

A registered sex offender just moved into my neighborhood. What should I do?

First, don’t panic. Gather facts from the sex offender registry and other credible sources. No one
wants a sex offender to reoffend, so do what you can to make them productive members of your
community. They want to be successful. With all that said, be vigilant in talking to your child about
safety, and be cautious in any interactions with your neighbor.

Additional resources: Trust Your Intuition When It Comes to Your Child’s Safety, 6 Perpetrator Grooming Patterns Every Parent Needs to Know

What if someone in my family is the perpetrator? How should I handle interactions at family gatherings? How and what should I communicate to other family members?

Unfortunately, this issue arises frequently. Approximately 30% of child sexual abuse perpetrators are
family members. If you find yourself in this difficult situation, your primary goal is to protect the child.
Be sure to check in with your child before and after family gatherings and tell them they don’t have to
do anything they don’t want to. Also, as hard as it might be, you need to communicate with other
family members and Child Protective Services about what you know.

Additional resources: Keeping Your Kids Safe During the Holidays, What If a Family Member is thePerpetrator?

If I know or think that a child is being sexually abused, what should I do?

Nearly every state has mandatory reporting laws, so you need to report sexual abuse if you know or
suspect that it’s occurring. In general, you should report to Child Protective Services. On the Defend
Innocence website, there’s a blog post that will help you find the local agency in your area.

Additional resources: How to Report Sexual Abuse in the United States.

Are children even perpetrators?

About one third of perpetrators are under the age of 18. Sadly, children who perpetrate have often
been abused themselves. In these situations, it’s important to get help for both the perpetrator and
the victim so that they can deal with the trauma they’ve suffered and go on to lead a happy and
fulfilled life.

Additional resources: 5 Facts About Child on Child Sexual Abuse

How and when should I teach consent?

This conversation can start young. Initially you can teach your child that they’re allowed to show
affection on their own terms and say no. As they get older and start to have questions about sexual
relationships, you can reinforce that no one has a right over someone else’s body.

Additional resources: 5 Tips for Teaching Your Child the Importance of Consent, The Gift of Teaching Consent, Teaching Your Kids to Say “No”

How do I start having conversations about healthy sexuality with my kids?

You don’t have to have one big conversation where you talk about everything. Start small and build
from there. If you need some ideas, check out our “Parent Tools” tab on the Defend Innocence website.
You can find activities that will give you a place to start.

Additional resources: 5 Tips on How to Start Conversations on Healthy Sexuality

Is it appropriate to teach my three-year old about healthy sexuality? What should I teach?

You can start teaching kids about healthy sexuality from a very young age. There are even things you
can teach infants and toddlers. Begin by teaching kids the names of their body parts. Build from there
and talk about things like safe and unsafe touch. You can find blog posts that give specific ideas for things you can talk about with your kids at various ages.

Additional resources: Little Healthy Sexuality Talks blog series, 5 Easy Conversations about HealthySexuality for Kids of All Ages, “For Parents” resources.