HOW TO RESPOND WHEN A CHILD DISCLOSES SEXUAL ABUSE - PART 2
series: PREVENTING SEXUAL ABUSE by meera seshadri
Some phrases that are really powerful of course in addition to "I believe you" is continuously checking in with how they're feeling. So checking their emotional barometer so to speak. Is this okay? How are you feeling about this?
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Many times these children have never been asked how they feel about anything or given a choice. So really checking in with them. Even with seemingly mundane activities like, do you like to do this activity? Would you like to do something different? How are you feeling today? Do you like playing with this group of children or would you like to do something alone?
So really making sure that you incorporate into your language a lot of choices into the questions that you ask children and making sure that they don't feel forced or coerced to do things, that they may not want to do.
It is important that they get a sense of freedom and control in their daily life along with routine. So constantly offering them choices and saying, is this okay? How does this feel? And then maybe checking in every couple of weeks to say, are you enjoying this space? Do you like coming here every day? Those things can be really helpful.
Meera is a health communications specialist, researcher, and activist working at the intersection of gender-based violence prevention and sexual health promotion. She has spent over a decade working to increase access to, and utilization of, comprehensive...
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sexual health resources for adolescents in communities worldwide, developing violence prevention and education programs at Emory, Georgetown, and Harvard Universities and working as a consultant and curriculum development specialist for Soteria Solutions, the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the World Bank.
She is passionate about confronting the ideological and institutional challenges that affect young people's health, wellness, and autonomy. Meera works in coalition with university, non-profit, corporate, and community stakeholders to create policies and environments that prioritize gender equity, intersectionality, and social justice.