As a non-profit working hard to provide children with a future of options, we believe decisions made about children should be made based on their best interests. We believe every child deserves a childhood which excludes discrimination and includes the chance to develop and thrive.
Within the framework of these values our volunteers work to prevent child sexual abuse by creating a consciousness among parents of 2-8 year olds and by empowering these children.
We use “Cuentos que no son cuentos” [Stories that aren’t just stories] and a number of other mediums like music, drawing, dance, cartoons and drama to help children understand they have the power to protect themselves. In a Protect Me Project visit (and the subsequent use of our materials) boys and girls learn words and phrases to use as well as actions, allowing them to express their feelings and rights.
This is all very positive, and children are assisted and empowered many other ways as well. We’ve heard many stories how these methods and tools have prevented kids from being molested. These tools have the potential of being extremely effective.
Providing children with tools to protect themselves from abuse does not imply they are responsible for their own protection, nor does it imply they are responsible if an abuse occurs.
Each individual responds differently when frightened. One runs, the other freezes. The fact that a child was unable to say a firm, “No!”, or couldn’t run away – or even move – doesn’t mean it’s their fault they were abused.
The responsibility for creating an atmosphere in which children are protected lies squarely on the shoulders of the adults in their lives. As parents and guardians it is our job to know who is allowed to be alone with our children and when. We must be vigilant of their competency and communicate clearly what we expect from them.
When child sexual abuse occurs it is NEVER the fault of the child. Never.
We must provide our children with the tools they need to protect themselves because abuse occurs when a child is alone with a perpetrator. However, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to control who has access to our children and when. Let’s be vigilant to know the people who have access to our children. Let’s own our mandate to create a world where our children are free to grow into a life with options.