Child sexual abuse: Teach your kids about 'The Underwear Rule'

Child sexual abuse: Teach your kids about 'The Underwear Rule'

Teach your kids 'The Underwear Rule' to make them aware and better prepared against child sexual abuse

Further rape cases—this time involving minor girls—have yet again surfaced from various parts of the country.

While the first case was reported from Ghaziabad, where a 62-year-old man raped a 6-year-old girl, the second was reported from Bengaluru, where a friend raped a 17-year-old girl. The third case has come from Bengal, where two minors were raped a man in his early 30s.

All these cases have one thing in common- all the victims knew the offenders. This commonality points to the fact that lack of awareness about ‘Good touch, bad touch,’ has made our children more vulnerable to sexual predators. In fact, it has also led to an increase in the rate and numbers of crimes against children.

In a 2014-report released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), 89,423 cases of crimes against children (below the age of 18) were registered. This is higher than the numbers registered in 2014, at 58, 224.

So how do we deal with the menace of child sexual abuse?

Apart from teaching your children about ‘Good touch, bad touch,’ you must also teach them about ‘The Underwear Rule.’ Yes, you read it right! A campaign started by the Council of Europe in 2011, it is a simple guide that helps parents teach their children about sexual abuse.

The Underwear Rule to spread awareness about child sexual abuse

Under the aegis of the campaign ‘One in Five,’ the The Underwear Rule programme guides parents to teach their children about where other should not touch them and how to react and where to seek help, if abused.

So what is The Underwear Rule?

It’s quite simple: a child shouldn’t be touched on parts of the body, which are usually covered by undergarments. However, if parents or a caregiver or a doctor examines them, then it may be acceptable, as long as the child is not uncomfortable.

This method also teaches them that their bodies are their own and nobody can touch them without their permission.

Take a look at this video to better understand the concept:

Continue reading to know how to teach your kids the underwear rule.

How to teach The Underwear Rule?

You can start a conversation with your children about sexual abuse as early as possible. However, in this method, you must follow five basic rules:

  • Teach your kids that your body is your own: Make them understand that nobody has the right to touch their bodies without their permission. Be it a known family member, relative or friend. If your child is not comfortable, there is no need to push them to befriend that person. Make them understand about sexuality and ‘private body parts.’
  • Teach them the difference between good touch, bad touch: Teach children that a good touch is when they are comfortable with it, and a bad touch is when their private parts are touched without their consent.
child sexual abuse

Secrecy is the ultimate weapon of sex offenders, therefore, you must inform your kids about not keeping any secrets from you

  • Teach them about good secrets and bad secrets: Teach them that if a stranger or even a relative is trying to make them keep a secret, they must come clean to their parents. Remember, secrecy is a weapon of sex offenders.
  • Teach them that prevention and protection are the responsibilities of adults: Tell your children about how to prevent and protect themselves and that taking care of them is an adult’s responsibility. Notice if your children are feeling shameful or are acting aloof. It is a warning sign of sexual abuse.
  • Teach them to report and disclose closeness to unknown strangers or those known: Children must be instructed about adults who are part of their safety network. Encourage your kids to select people they trust. Also ask them to keep you informed about who is befriending them or to stay away from strangers.

By following these simple steps, you will not only make your children aware of child sexual abuse, but also help them understand what is wrong and right.

Remember that there is no particular age to teach your child about The Underwear Rule. In fact, the younger the child, the better aware he would be. If you are shying away from the topic then know this: it is probably more difficult for you as an adult to discuss this than it is for the child to understand.

So start today and protect your child against child sexual abuse.

(Image courtesy: TheUnderwearRule)

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding child sexual abuse, please share them in our Comment box below. 

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Written by

Deepshikha Punj

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