Empowering Our Children: Sexual Assault Awareness


A woman talking with her daughter.April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and it is important to highlight how we can best educate and empower ourselves and our children. Early education around sexual trauma is key in giving children the knowledge that will protect them throughout their lifetime.

The impact of sexual violence on survivors is immeasurable. As an LCSW in private practice working primarily with individuals who have experienced trauma — I have made it my mission to teach my children body autonomy, the concept of consent, and how to speak up when something feels “off.”

According to the CT Department of Education and Department of Public Health, “14% of [Connecticut] residents report that they have personally experienced childhood sexual assault.”

As a solo mother raising two girls, it’s been my goal to offer them the language and knowledge they need to maintain awareness and safety. I’ve done this by using age-appropriate information and literature and reinforcing concepts through play. Below are some tips for engaging your kiddos in conversation to promote awareness and prevention of sexual violence.

1. Body Autonomy

Teaching body autonomy to our children starts with providing accurate information about their bodies. This begins with correctly identifying their body parts using anatomically correct names. My favorite book on this for little ones is “My Body! What I Say Goes.” by Jayneen Sanders.

2. Consent

Teaching children about consent is also an important tool. Modeling respect and offering choices with our children if they seem uncomfortable, as displayed by their body language, or if they directly voice their distress. Children may seem open to new experiences, a hug from Mom’s friend or a high five from an uncle one day— but, on other days, they may not have interest. OR they may be trying to listen to their bodies and instincts.

Allowing children to decide who, what, and when they express their affection or connection is key. My favorite book for littles is “Yes! No!” by Megan Madison, Jessica Ralli, and Isabel Roxas.

3. Model Behavior

Teach and model healthy behaviors. Include your children in the “uncomfortable” conversations, as it will greatly reduce shame and increase their ability to identify safe and trustworthy adults.

You can learn more about sexual violence statistics specific to Connecticut by following the link cited below. You can also support local crisis centers through donations, offering your time to a crisis hotline, or simply inquiring about their impact on your community.

Here is a list of local centers.

If you, your child, or someone in your circle has experienced sexual trauma, please know there are resources available. You are not alone, and healing is possible! 



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