Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend Feather Berkower’s course, Parenting Safe Children, designed to educate parents and caregivers on how to keep children safe from sexual assault. Although previous to the class I was fairly informed about victim grooming and the importance of teaching kids the names of their anatomical body parts, I was missing the in-between — the best practices for looking out for a child and how to prepare them for possible encounters with a predator if my best attempts fail.
To say this class is important for parents and nannies would be an understatement. When the hospital recommends classes for new parents before Baby arrives, this one should definitely be on that list. It’s crucial. According to Berkower’s research, one in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted by the age of eighteen, and that’s only the reported incidents. Chances are that number is actually much higher. No one wants someone they love to have to experience the trauma of sexual assault. It can be easy to say that it’ll never happen to your child or that you are a good parent and already know what to do, but it can happen to anyone, with or without good parents. You can’t be too educated about how to protect your child from sexual assault.
As an adult, you are responsible for children’s safety. We tell kids not to talk to strangers or what to do if they get lost, but is it fair to put that liability on them? In Berkower’s course, she provides easy-to-follow practical knowledge for what sexual assault actually is, what a predator looks for in a victim (or moreover, their parents), how adults can protect children through everyday interactions, and how to gain support from friends and family. Her education, training, and research as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker is evident as she does a great job laying out relevant information quickly and effectively, while involving the audience. I took home strategies I could apply immediately, like how to discuss body-safety rules with my nanny-kids, teaching them when it’s okay to say ‘no,’ and how to incorporate pertinent life lessons into everyday games and conversations.
Since Parenting Safe Children is based in Denver, I was able to attend a live class, but that doesn’t mean you have to be in the area to take part. Berkower offers online courses for individuals and groups outside of Colorado. Additionally, Berkower’s website offers beneficial resources for addressing difficult topics and a way to test your knowledge of sexual assault prevention. Learning about and implementing childhood sexual assault prevention strategies is necessary in a world where even one child is at risk. I can’t stress how important it is to stand up and speak out for the sake of your child’s safety and well-being. I urge every parent, teacher, caregiver, and anyone who interacts with kids to attend (in person or online) a Parenting Safe Children seminar. You will be so glad you did!
Enough is enough.