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!