Talking about sexual abuse

One in four girls will be molested by the time they turn 18, as will one in six boys.

Those are grim statistics for our children from the Parent Handbook distributed by the Salt Lake County Children’s Justice Center. Sadly, many kids will never admit they are victims because they are ashamed of what happened, feel guilty or don’t know how their parents will react.

That’s why I love a new book by author Linda Kay Garner that was published this month by Shadow Mountain (part of Deseret Book). “Some Secrets Hurt” tells the story of Maggie, who is being molested and doesn’t want to tell her secret. In the end, she tells her parents and they help protect her.

Although many molestation cases may not end that neatly, I like that this picture book is written in simple language with colorful illustrations that a child can read and understand.

I also like that it addresses the issue that molesters aren’t always strangers. It says, “Maggie’s secret is not about a stranger. Maggie’s secret is about someone she knows very well. Maggie’s secret is about someone her whole family knows and trusts.”

The book also has tips for parents on how to talk to their kids about sexual molestation and how to handle a situation where their children are victims. I hope most parents don’t rely solely on a book to approach this subject with their kids, but I think it’s a good place to start and a great tool for parents.

Check out the book’s Web site at www.somesecretshurt.com

How do you talk to your children about inappropriate touching? When should that conversation start and what’s the best way to approach it?

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