Our preceding articles 9 Tips For Parents To Keep Their Children Safe From Sexual Predators and 6 Things Principals Can Do To Protect Their Students From Sexual Abuse focus on what parents and school administration can do to protect children from sexual abuse.Besides creating awareness about child-sexual abuse in parents and school staff, it is important that even children know what to do in such situations.
Here are few tips for children to protect themselves from sexual abuse.
1. Stay In Groups
Always stay in a group with your friends or trusted family members. Stay in groups even when you do your daily activities like going to school, playing on the playground. Be careful and attentive about the people around you and the people with whom you spend a lot of time. Never ignore suspicious behavior. Staying in groups minimizes the chance of predators preying on you.
2. Go To Crowded Places If You Are Left Alone
Do your best not to sit alone in empty classrooms and go to a place crowded with other students, like school corridors, playgrounds. Do not stay alone even in the school premises, go to any crowded places nearby like any shop or the children’s common room. If you feel suspicious about people around you and have no one else to ask for help, immediately run onto the road or to a crowded bus stop or any safe public place and yell for help.
3. Yell Out Loud
If someone tries to bother you or make you uncomfortable with their words or actions, quickly get away and yell “This person is bothering me.” This frightens the predator and you can find immediate help from people around you. Screaming out for help always alarms people around you and the predator too. However, screaming without words does not alert the people around you for they might just think you are a child who’s having a tantrum. Remember, the first thing you should do when someone bothers you is yelling out as loud as you can that the person is troubling you.
4. Keep Your Parents Informed
Always keep your parents informed about your location. If you are attending a private tuition, make sure that your parents know the person and have checked his background. Avoid staying back late after class. Always be alert and attentive and avoid taking lifts from strangers. Stay in public places because they are safer and you can find immediate help if something goes wrong. If someone troubles you in a public place, do not panic, immediately call for help. If people are so hesitant to intervene an abduction or abuse, try to grab them and get their attention. Hold on to any large object near you and yell out as loud as possible, if you do not find people around you.
5. Inform Your Parents Or A Trusted Adult Immediately
If someone makes you feel uncomfortable with his words or actions, do not hesitate, talk to your parents or any other trusted adult about it immediately. Make them realize that you are not comfortable with the person’s behavior. If your parents ignore you, talk to a trusted teacher about this or even call up a child helpline (number is given at the end of the article). You might hesitate about sharing such details with your parents but you should understand that the keeping quiet will only hurt you.
6. Learn To Say ‘No’
When someone takes advantage and tries to make you uncomfortable, you might panic and not know what to do because the predator in question is usually a person who is bigger and stronger. But you do have the power to say no, to refuse and scream. The predator might make you feel guilty but they do not have the right to force you to do anything. Say no, threaten to inform the police or your parents or relatives.
7. Stranger Alert
Predators can be very friendly and good to children. If someone is constantly trying to isolate you from your friends and family members, something is wrong. Be attentive and avoid them. Beware of strangers/relatives who often give you gifts for no reason or keep suggesting outings alone with you or want to spend time alone with you.
Since the early stages of their childhood, children are taught that they should respect and obey their elders. But remember that just because a person is an adult he/she does not have the right to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. If someone tries to take you away forcibly to a deserted place, do not panic. Scream, shout and kick. Fight back using your elbow or knee (they cause major injuries) and yell as loud as possible for help and run away from the predator.
9.Be Safe When Alone At Home
Predators usually try to attack children when they are alone and have no one else to call for help. When you are alone at home, keep your door locked and do not let anyone else in other than trusted family members or friends. Have an emergency neighbor or a trusted adult who can help you if you are in trouble. If the predator forcibly enters your house, immediately get out of the house and rush to a safe public place or to your trusted neighbor or friend. You can even dial emergency numbers such as that of the Police (100) so that that you will have some back-up.
10.Don’t Feel Guilty, You Are Not At Fault
When children face sexual abuse, they lose confidence and start feeling that they are trapped and have no way out. They start thinking that its their mistake. Don’t feel guilty about the abuse, remember that you are not responsible for it and there is always a way out. If you feel there’s no way out, you can always call Child Help Line – 1098 and report abuse.
What more tips would you like to give to children to protect themselves from any form of abuse. Please share your suggestions and experiences with us in the comments section below!