Order your copy of God Made Me Black Because He is Creative: A Child’s First Book on Race Relationshere!
As the summer of 2020 unfolded and I saw so many adults moving to the wrong side of the fence on appropriate race relations views I was taken back. I thought our country was a lot further down the yellow brick road of race relations. I was deeply wrong. Rather than try to talk to adults whose minds would not be moved despite moving material being presented I started to think about the kids. I thought of parents struggling for a common language when trying to talk about these issues with their children. I thought of the children trying to make sense of issues that just don’t make sense. I imagine they were left feeling scared and insecure. If they were children of color I imagine there are no words to describe how they felt. Vulnerable, at-risk, hunted to name a few. I believe our country can heal from the wounds of racism. I believe this younger generation will be the last generation to tolerate systemic racism. At a peaceful demonstration, I attended in July 2020 for Elijah McClain one of the teenagers’ speakers said, “Change is coming and it is beautiful!” Amen. Please join me as we create a safer world for all children.
“God Made Me Black Because He Is Creative truly belongs in every elementary school. Equity begins with educating our children about the beauty of diversity. This book is a unifying plan for a lifetime.”
I write constantly about child abuse and child abuse prevention. I do not know why this is still such a large issue in our culture. I think some of the problem has to do with silence. Child abuse is built on silence. If you as a parent and person in charge of protecting your children say nothing, your child will say nothing to you if they are harmed. Talk to your children about child abuse even if you do not know what to say. By talking to them you are opening the door for them to talk to you if something were to happen to them. It is just this simple. If you need guidance read my landmark children’s book Some Parts are NOT for Sharing to them. www.juliefederico.com This book is appropriate for children as young as six months old. It is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to body safety. As your children age you will need other books my book educates the youngest of readers. You want to be the first one to talk about this subject with your child not the perpetrator. You want your child to learn that you want to hear from them at the first sign of trouble. If you do this your child will be harmed only once, then they will self disclosure. If you do not say anything most children will not say anything if someone violates them. It is your choice as a parent do you want to protect your kids or not? It is really that simple. I would not wait. I would have this conversation today. I think most parents wait too long to have this conversation. They think the time children are starting to do sleepovers at friends is a good time. This is too late. The average age kids are first approached is 4 years old. You only have two years they are verbal and two years they are not verbal. My 18 month old daughter understood my book Some Parts are NOT for Sharing. She was not a gifted child, just a regular kid. I tell you this to encourage you to speak to really young children about this. Here is a sample script, “Hey Luke, I was reading an article in the newspaper today about body safety. I have talked to you about a lot of things. I have never spoken about body safety. Body safety means that your body is your own. If someone touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or upsets you I want to know as soon as possible. You will not be in trouble, I want to hear this information. I want you to stay safe and live freely. I found this great book that describes more of what I am saying.” Read Some Parts are NOT for Sharing. Ask if they have questions, ask if anyone has ever touched them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Say that you want to know if anyone does this no matter who they are. Most kids are harmed by family members so just prepare yourself. 9 times out of 10 your child will not be molested in a Walmart but are much more at risk at a family reunion. Don’t freak out, just be aware. Awareness is your friend not your enemy. The media over publicizes children who are harmed in public places. Very few people report their Uncle to the news so these stories are suppressed but these stories of family members harming kids is much, much more common. I worked as a middle school counselor for over 15 years and I heard many stories of abuse. Not one of them happened in a public place, they all happened in their own homes with their own families. I am trying to raise people’s awareness on this topic and get people talking. Silence is your enemy, silence will harm your child, silence will not protect your child. What can be done to prevent child abuse? Start talking! Start reading! Start listening!
This statistic is for North America alone. In homes where domestic violence is present there is little hope, no safety, and a daily struggle for one’s simplest existence. Leaving relationships where there is domestic violence is no easy task just ask full time domestic violence advocate Andrea Martinez who fled an abusive ten year relationship. Leaving and the recovery that followed was an insurmountable task that Andrea conquered. She is still recovering from the alarming pain. In recovery from her own experience Andrea decided to help other women who are living with domestic violence by starting the first Purple Light Campaign in Denver a few years ago with the support of Latina Safehouse. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In celebration Andrea decided to have homes put a purple light in the front porch light of their home. She is hoping to flood the city with these encouraging purple lights. She has two goals; to raise awareness of domestic violence and bring hope to women who have not left their abuser yet. There is a lot of work to be done in Denver around domestic violence prevention. Domestic violence is built on silence. Let’s start talking in Denver about domestic violence, it is time for a change. October is still a few months away, it is never too early to celebrate Domestic Violence Awareness Month. https://tinyurl.com/ycxkyvtj
If you would like to support Andrea and her worthy Purple light project contact: Latina Safehouse @ 303-433-4470 for a purple light.
If you are living with domestic violence or know someone who is help is available now:
If you are looking for ways to support someone that you know who is living with domestic violence or if you are in this situation yourself these are some ways to on how to prevent domestic violence:
*Men can not abuse women that they do not see everyday. This is obvious but it is good to repeat. When you move out it will be much more challenging for your abuser to violate you everyday. Location is key. Distancing yourself from the abuser by moving or staying with friends for a while will give you a reprieve. This tip will not give you a reprieve if you tell the abuser where you are staying. He needs to not be able to find you.
*Documenting abuse that is happening or has happened can go a long way to stopping the abuse. If there are physical marks left from the abuser be sure to document this and save the photos in a place where the abuser can not find them. Send them to a trusted friend if you have one. But be careful who you trust. This will go a long way to help you if you ever press charges.
*Seek counseling from a trained domestic violence counselor. This is a backend solution to help stop domestic violence. It will not immediately stop the abuse. But if you can find some clarity and a place to have your thoughts heard you are getting close to understanding how to prevent domestic violence. Having someone to bounce ideas off of as to what is normal spousal behavior is nothing short of amazing. This tip can get the ball rolling for you to see the abuse as it is. Abuse. And it will prevent further domestic violence. This issue is not his problem solving style, it is not the kids being a pain, money issues, you not keeping the house clean enough or not making the right thing for dinner. It is much more simple. It is abuse. With this information where does one go next? Hopefully a seed is planted to begin planning your escape. A trained therapist can be a lifeline. Many domestic violence shelters offer this service for free.
*Diversion is always a great tip. Your partner comes home after a long day. He is not in the house more than 8 minutes before you can tell he is about to blow. If you are alone, say, “I forgot something at Safeway for dinner.” Then exit as quickly as possible and do not speak any other words. If you do he could pull you into his raging anger. If you have kids discuss with them some weeks prior that you may come to them and say, “We need to leave now.” Explain to them what this means and why. If you have kids take them WITH YOU or you are leaving them as sitting ducks. I would keep spare shoes and masks in the car so that if you had to pick one of them up and just leave you could. This will not solve your problem, but it will buy you time. Some abusers just need time alone to decompress and they can return to center. Others not. It is always helpful to remember what your problem is? No, you are not a bad wife. You are living with an abuser. Always keep this in the front of your mind. This will not change when he gets a raise or your teenage daughter stops going through one of her moods. You live with an abuser, for now. No apologies, no covering up for him, no denial. Look at things as they are, when you can accept this there is a great deal of freedom just waiting for you to enjoy. This is the first step to freedom! Congratulations. When you need a mental refresher on how to prevent domestic violence re-read this article.
Julie Federico has written a children’s book for those living with domestic violence. She also speaks to groups about how to prevent domestic violence. You can order Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT at: www.juliefederico.com
Versión en español de Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT. Este libro es un salvavidas para los niños que viven en hogares dondé hay violencia doméstica.
Ven a pasar un día con unas pececitos agradables y aprende que hacer cuando estamos enojados. ¿Está bien empujar? ¡No, no es! Pero hay muchas cosas que están bien. Podemos pintar o posiblemente jugar al fútbol.
En el segundo libro de Julie Federico, los lectores conocerán el tema de la violencia doméstica en una manera relevante y aprenderán que El Enojo Está Bien, la Violencia NO.
Spanish version of Anger is OKAY Violence is NOT. This book has a dual purpose it teaches toddlers about temper tantrums and anger control. It is also a lifeline to children living in homes where domestic violence is present. This book offers hope and protection to the most vulnerable victimes of the domestic violence circle. My hope is to teach children to report domestic violence when the adults in the home can not. Sometimes there are too many reasons to stay with the status quo. But I can tell you over time all of the reasons you have for staying will be eroded when you see the damages that have been done to your children. Children are very open to the wounds of domestic violence more so than adults. Please protect yourself and your children from domestic violence.
This column will be addressing the challenges single parents face when handling body safety and child abuse prevention with their children. Although this information is valuable to everyone.
Why is it important that single parents in particular talk to their children about personal boundaries? According to the National Incidence Study of Child Abuse: “Living with married biological parents places kids at the lowest risk for child abuse while living with a single parent, and a live-in partner increased the risk of child abuse to more than eight times that of other children” 8 times. The number is a little overwhelming, to say the least. First do not beat yourself up over this static. Single parent homes can be superior to having children raised in a horrific marital environment. I believe that knowledge is power and with the knowledge, I deliver you can keep your children safe from unwanted touch. The most important words I have to say to you today are prevention, prevention, and prevention.
Reasons why single parents need to be vigilant about this topic are obvious. Your children are not always under your watchful eye. In two-parent families, one person may take on a chief child care role. In a single parent family, this role is usually provided by a nanny or other childcare provider. Children spending large periods of time at daycare and need this information months before they arrive at the daycare. Many time this is impractical as some children enter daycare at six weeks of age.
Parents who are divorced have a more difficult time monitoring who comes into their child’s life than a parent who is not is not divorced. Children whose parents are divorced spend time at both parents’ houses and are not always under the same level of supervision at each house. Divorced parents send young children out of state at times for extended holidays and summer vacation. It is not possible to do background checks on all of the people your children will be spending time with. You are not there to observe your children with these other people and have no way of knowing how they interact with your child, or even if they should be interacting with your children.
Both sexes are in danger when discussing child abuse. Boys often thought to immune to these issues are not. Boys are at risk for childhood sexual abuse almost as much as girls. According to From Darkness to Light a child advocacy foundation. 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18 and 1 in 6 boys. It is imperative to have conversations with boys as well as girls around body safety. No child is safe from unwanted touch.
What should parents say to their children and at what age should these conversations begin? It is easy to talk to children about these issues because they do not have the same feelings that adults do around this subject. The message you send to your children is “Your body is your own. It is not okay for anyone to touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable.” Keep it simple and straightforward. What most parents are completely shocked about is how early you need to start talking about this topic. I say babies as young as one month old can have the body safety book Some Parts are Not for Sharing read to them. I say this because the average age kids are first approached is at the tender age of 4 years old. Four is not even formal school age yet so parents cannot depend on school officials to introduce this to your children. Many parents protest at this point and say “This is too young I do not want to talk to my baby about this!” I can tell you with 100% certainty that prevention is fun and easy. Spend your time protecting your child from this awful crime. It is much easier and less heartbreaking to do prevention than remediation. It is also important to repeat this message to children multiple times. Once is not enough.
In conclusion what parents need to remember is it is never too early to start talking to children about body safety. When I “talking” I mean even just reading Some Parts are Not for Sharing or another body safety book. I wrote Some Parts are Not for Sharing to help parents keep their kids safe, it also gives parents age-appropriate language to use. The book is for children age’s 0-8 years old. My personal goal is for every child everywhere to have the book read to them. Keep talking about this topic because kid’s brains are always changing. I believe most child abuse is preventable if kids had the necessary information before they were approached. Most children are harmed by someone they know. 90% of kids who are raped know their perpetrator.
Lastly, do not be afraid to talk to kids about this. The only thing to be fearful of is if you choose to say nothing. The key to success is to remember prevention, prevention. If you are a single parent remember prevention, prevention, prevention.
Are you still seeking one more present for your little one? Some Parts are NOT for Sharing is a children’s book for readers 0-9 years old. This is probably the most important holiday gift that a parent can give a child, the gift of safety. This book teaches children in a non-threatening manner what to do if they encounter unwanted touch and what parts of our bodies we share with others. This book is a lifeline for children navigating the world they live in. The book is simple and uses straightforward language, it offers vital information that every family needs. This book is also available in Spanish. To order visit: goo.gl/oto5Mb
Recent review by Kaycee666
“Short story, very important content that children need to know!
It is a short story book; it is direct and to the point and I love the way it is worded. I feel it is very easy for my four year old to understand and am grateful for the content of the book as I had no idea how I would explain the subject to my toddler otherwise.”
As school is back in session and your children are meeting new teachers and people it is important to review body safety rules with them for the upcoming year. You may be asking, “What is body safety?” Good question. Body safety is teaching children that their body is their own. No one should touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. Most importantly if someone does touch them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable you want to know about it. By reviewing or introducing this information it does two things. Firstly and most importantly it opens the door for your child to confide in you if something happens. If you say nothing, they will say nothing. Child abuse is built on silence and is like a house of cards. Without the silence one card falls, then the whole structure collapses. Many parents do not say anything out of fear. Fear that if they say something somehow this will invite the abuse. This thinking is flawed but permeates our society. See no evil, hear no evil. Meanwhile, children are being abused at an alarming rate. This static is from the Huffington Post: “Every 98 seconds someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. That means every single day more than 570 people experience sexual violence in this country.”
I could not find an accurate breakdown for children and sexual assault because this information is under-documented. Most children do not tell an adult about being harmed. If you give your children this information chances are that they will talk to you if something happens. If you open the door to this subject with children it will go along way to keeping them safe.
“The primary reason that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Some never disclose (Smith et al., 2000; Broman-Fulks et al., 2007” http://www.cachouston.org/child-sexual-abuse-facts/
The second reason this information is so crucial is that when sharing this information with your child you are reinforcing with your child what they already know to be true. When children are touch inappropriately radar goes off blaring, “This is wrong, this is not safe.” By you talking to your child about this before something happens you will be present in their mind and will be with them in thought if something unsafe does happen. They will say to themselves, “Mom and Dad told me this wrong. They told me what to do. I know what to do.” With this scenario you and your children are golden. Your child will only be encountering unwanted touched most like once before you intervene. Child abuse is very simple. It is built on fear and silence. Parents can go a long way to keeping their children safe by doing preventative education. It is not hard to protect your children from unwanted touch; it is very hard to clean up after long-term abuse has occurred.
I worked as a middle school counselor for over a decade and heard awful stories of trauma and abuse. One day it dawned on me, “Is no one talking to the little people?” I wanted to begin talking to the little people for all of the children at my school that I could not protect. My students were 11- 14 years old. The abuse they encountered happened from 2-8 years old. I could not help them; I could not do anything but remediation work. One afternoon I wrote Some Parts are NOT for Sharing in one sitting. I believe it was God inspired. I am just the vehicle to send out this message. My first draft was my last draft. The first publisher I sent it to picked it up and published my work. If you have ever tried to write a book or known someone who has, you know God completely drives this story. It is never this simple. It was ten years ago in August that I wrote the book. I am getting my message out to young people but there are always still so many, many children I have not reached yet. Hoping to spread some prevention information this fall to the children of Denver. There is no greater gift that a parent can give their child than the gift of safety. To order Some Parts are NOT for Sharing visit E bay: goo.gl/77fStV
This book is also available in Spanish.