A very serious post about something serious that you need to take seriously

Holy crap. Wait, that’s not enough. HOLY. CRAP. For years we’ve been getting the same email home from the kids’ elementary school. This guy Victor Pacini is coming to the school to talk to the kiddos, blah blah blah, it’s a presentation about sexual abuse, yada yada yada. FYI, I included the blah blah blahs and yada yada yadas not because this stuff is unimportant, but because that’s basically what went through my head every time I skimmed the email each year.

Not anymore.

Because this year, after Victor gave his presentation to the students at our school, guess what happened? One of the students came forward. I shit you not. Victor talked to the kids about sexual abuse, and then one of the students came forward privately to their parents and told them something that had happened to them. Something bad. Their parents had NO idea.

Look at your arm right now. If it’s anything like mine, your hairs are standing on end.  

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. Or one of them at least. Because we can’t lock our kids up and shelter them completely. Every day they’re with teachers and babysitters and nannies and friends and uncles and aunts and grandpas and coaches and priests and counselors etc etc etc. The people we trust.

And that’s why something can happen. Because we trust them to be alone with our most prized possession in the whole entire world. Seriously, I get tears in my eyes typing this.

So as soon as I heard that Victor’s presentation had made such a big difference in one kid’s life at OUR school, guess what I did? I reached out to Victor to say two things:

  1. THANK YOU!!!!

  2. How can I help other parents?

Within 24 hours my cell phone was ringing and it was Victor calling me to talk. And let me just say that he is one AMAZING human being. Over 110 kids have come forward to report something after hearing him speak. ONE HUNDRED AND TEN!! And probably even wayyyyyy more because a lot of these things are kept confidential so I’m sure he doesn’t hear about all of them.

And do you know what a difference it makes when a kid comes forward and gets help instead of keeping all that scary stuff all bottled up inside? It is HUGE. Not to mention all the kids who may have stopped someone from touching them inappropriately after his presentation.

Anyways, you can read all about Victor on his website and his books and his podcast and even get him or one of his presenters to come to your school, but since I know moms barely have time to even shower or pee, I’m going to give you a few of the most important things he taught me when we spoke. So here goes, four things you absolutely need to know about protecting your kiddos when it comes to sexual abuse:

  1. “No one touches your private parts unless it’s to keep you clean and healthy.”

You want to start talking to your kiddos about this stuff as early as kindergarten, maybe even earlier. “No one touches your private parts unless it’s to keep you clean and healthy.” Use those words. Because yes a doctor can touch you IF your parents are in the room. And yes a grandparent can touch you IF it’s to clean you in the tub. You DON’T want to scare them but you DO want to talk to them.

  1. Safe secrets and unsafe secrets

Teach them that there are “safe secrets” and “unsafe secrets.” A safe secret is something like “I’m keeping Ella’s birthday party a secret so I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings.” An unsafe secret is something like “My friend told me her music teacher is touching her.” Kids need to understand this difference.

  1. Erin’s Law

Are your kids learning about sexual abuse in school? If your kid is in public school in any one of these states, it is a LAW that they have to:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming

It’s called Erin’s Law, only here’s the thing. Lots of schools have been slacking and not doing it even though they’re supposed to, so check to make sure your school is. And if you live in a state that’s not on this list, demand that your government get Erin’s Law passed where you are. It will literally save lives.

  1. Talking about it is less scary than the alternative

Don’t be scared to talk about it. I know it can be super uncomfortable and you don’t want to scare your kiddo but you want them to know that A. it shouldn’t happen and B. they can ALWAYS come talk to you if it does. As Victor says, you are one of their trusted heroes. 

We use car seats in case they get into an accident, and bike helmets in case they fall, and socket covers in case they get curious, and baby gates in case they are crawling, and like a million other things to protect our kiddos. Think of this as another one of those things you do just in case. Hopefully they’ll never need it. But it’ll help prevent them from becoming a victim, and help protect them in case they ever do.

I’m ending this with a big fat HUGE thank you to Victor Pacini for taking the time to chat with me and for dedicating his life to helping thousands of kids, maybe even yours.

If you liked this, please don’t forget to like and share it. Thank you!!

There are 11 comments for this article
  1. Heather Kinsler at 9:52 am

    My son’s doctor used this language every time he had a physical exam his whole life. “The only reason it is ok for me to do this is because I am a doctor, and your mom is here.” She also encouraged me to talk to my son about addiction because it runs in his family from a very early age. Explaining that he can’t experiment in the same way other kids can, and that it’s not fair, but it’s reality. We need to remember that our kids are smart, and if you give them the tools they are capable of making good decisions, and understanding more than we give them credit for. The more open and honest you are with your kids, the more they are likely to be open and honest with you. (In age appropriate language, of course, and not in great graphic detail, obviously.) But it’s when kids are kept in the dark, and unprepared for the scary things life can throw in their direction, that serious, scary repercussions can occur.

    • Karen at 11:33 am

      Yes! Our awesome pediatrician has the same talk with both my kids and I reenforce it throughout the year to make sure they remember this rule. There are books such as It’s Not the Stork and It’s So Amazing that addresses what’s appropriate and not appropriate and geared to ages 4 and up. I go through these chapters with my kids from time to time as well. They are great resources.

  2. Lisa at 10:05 am

    What if Grandpa is using cleaning in the bath as an excuse to molest? I have a serious problem with saying it’s okay for a grandparent to touch a child in the bath as long as it’s to clean them. Unless the child is in desperate need of cleaning and is under three and a grandmother is around, this should never happen.

    • Dana Deshotel Broussard at 10:23 am

      Great point! I wholeheartedly agree, Lisa, and that’s why we should talk to our kids individually as well. What if Grandpa is actually raising the child? It’s different for each family, so talking to our kids is sooo important!

    • Franni at 10:30 am

      I’m sorry but, if you have any inkling that grandpa isn’t a safe person the child should never be left in any situation where they would need cleaning. Also (and I mean NO disrespect or anything else by this) females are also known to hurt children. Its people in general. Sad world reality.😢

      • Lisa Eades at 4:53 pm

        The first inkling may come too late. While both genders can certainly molest, most often the perpetrator is male and a trusted one at that. Our family has been impacted by both female and male perverts and neither came with a sign attached to them advertising their intents. With that being said I stand by my original comment.

  3. Crystal Reardon at 12:36 pm

    I appreciate you getting real on your blogs. We’ve talked to our boys about this, and will continue to do so. This provided more information and I wanted to say Thank you!!!
    p.s. I always appreciate the funny stuff too. 🙂

  4. Jen at 5:25 pm

    Feather Birkower from Parenting Safe Children (https://parentingsafechildren.com/about/) is another such speaker. We don’t have secrets. We do have surprises. Surprises are things we don’t tell because we know when everyone will know.

    Feather taught me a couple of things. First, as a parent YOU are the first one to respect space and body limits. I now have a child who is highly resistant to medical care. We discuss when he will have appointments, what will happen, that he has to because as parents we need to keep him safe and healthy, and that we will be there the whole time. That is the extent to which he loses his autonomy. Children who aren’t allowed to close the bathroom door for privacy at home can not necessarily demand that privacy from someone else.

    One of the most important things is to LISTEN and BELIEVE my kid. Pedophiles look for kids they can groom. A kid who talks to and is heard by their parents is not the kid they want to work on.

    My daughter was a student in a school where a teacher was arrested for abuse. My daughter had been under his care at times. I was terrified. When we were at the pediatrician to make sure nothing happened to her, I realized that all the time I had sat down with her in front of that man to talk about her day, problem solve, giggle, or show love had probably been the best shield I could have put in front of her.

  5. Angel at 4:47 pm

    My 6 year old, who will be in first grade next year, has been taught about consent, who can touch where and when, that her body is hers from her hair to her toes and who to tell when/if something makes her uncomfortable, scared, hurts, or tries to make her keep a secret that isn’t a surprise. She knows to say stop, go to a teacher, parent, or other trusted adult and get help should something happen. We talk about it at home and her preschool talks about it every year, starting in the 2.5 year old class.

    Well, this past March I picked her up from the after school program at her kindergarten school and started my normal questions “what’s something that made you happy today?”
    Her response? “Well… I don’t know, but something made me uncomfortable, sad and hurt”
    She then told me how she was touched by two 5 year old boys, under her clothes, while playing doctor. She told me she said stop. She told the teacher. Nothing happened to the boys. They were not separated. I wasn’t informed at pick up. But I believe because of our talks and what her old preschool taught her, she told me right away.

    Over three months later we’re still dealing with the emotional, mental, and physical trauma from the whole situation. I have no idea where she’s going to school next year, but it’s not going to be where she was due to their responses. One thing I do know is talking to kids about this early works. My girl knew to keep speaking up until she was heard and I’m so proud of her for that.

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