We’ve all seen the headlines of the papers over the weekend – 75 cases of child sexual abuse in 4 years in our schools. A child raped in after school care.

The fact that the statistics of child sexual abuse are as high as they are is frightening, and in my opinion totally unacceptable! 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused as children.

I don’t know about you but that just makes my blood boil! How are these paedophiles still getting away with this? How are these numbers still so high? What the weekend of news has highlighted is part of the answer, and that is because it’s always ‘hush hush’, covered up, not talked about.

One woman, a mother who would not be silenced and would not give up, despite being told to by almost everyone, was the sole reason that this got blown out of the water! But what if she did give up, like I’m sure many have before, because it’s made too hard to speak up and speak out? We should be able to send our children to school and not have to worry whether or not they are going to be groomed or perpetrated upon. IT’S ABSOLUTELY DISGRACEFUL!!!

I have walked the journey with many, many men and women who have been sexually abused and it is a tough road. How do I know? Because I have walked it myself.

When I was growing up, our ‘trusted neighbour’, who was my parent’s best friend for many years, and known as “the greatest guy ever”, and one of the few people my parents trusted with their children, committed every parent’s worst nightmare. We hear the term groomed a lot in terms of childhood sexual abuse, and let me shed some light for you on the process of ‘grooming’ done by paedophiles.

One of the most frequently asked questions when people hear that you have been sexually abused is “why didn’t you tell someone?” Part of that reason is because paedophiles most often don’t work in black and white. They don’t go from one day not doing anything to you and the next day molesting you (although sometimes that does happen). Instead, they more often push the boundaries of your comfort zone for a long time – they work in the grey. They slowly over time just push what children are comfortable with and then the next time a bit further and a bit further until the child isn’t even aware of how it all began but realises it’s so over the line. For example, they tickle for just that bit too long, they massage your back for longer than you are comfortable, they dry you with a towel for too long. You know you feel uncomfortable but you’re not sure why. After all, they’re just drying you. And slowly the hand that rests on your back for too long rests on your thigh for too long and you just get used to being uncomfortable. You get used to being uncomfortable and touched for too long and slowly over time it becomes in places that your are the most uncomfortable with.

Hard to read?

YEP! 1 in 3 girls, and 1 in 6 boys know what I’m talking about and that fact alone means we need to hear about it and think about it, so we can start to do something about it.

Often adults notice their children’s uncomfortableness but don’t want to say anything in case they are wrong or they don’t want to make a scene………….. IT’S TIME TO MAKE A SCENE!

1 IN 3 GIRLS AND 1 IN 6 BOYS ARE SEXUALLY ABUSED!!!

The greatest weapon that you can have is being brave enough to SPEAK – to say something when you notice that someone is making a child uncomfortable. I’m not talking about denouncing everyone as a paedophile, I’m just saying that if your child is uncomfortable, being BRAVE enough to say… “Can you stop tickling him please? He doesn’t like it”, or “She doesn’t want to give you a hug today and that’s ok”, or “Can you please stop taking pictures of my child?”

Educate and empower your children with the right and the courage to speak up too. Let them know that it’s ok to tell you anything, and if someone tells them not to tell you something, then that means they MUST.

It’s good for children to speak up, and adults have to have the awareness and the courage to really hear what these kids are saying. Often children do try and tell someone, or say something in their own way, children don’t have increased sexual knowledge for no reason; they learn it. If your child doesn’t want to spend time with someone, or doesn’t want to go for a sleep over, LISTEN.

Another thing to teach your children is that their bodies are their own, and a great way to practice this is by NEVER making them kiss or hug people they don’t want to. If they don’t want to hug nanna, or aunty today let that be ok. What that teaches them is that they are in charge of their bodies, not adults. They choose when they want to hug or kiss people (and what they do with their bodies). Yeah it’s really nice when they hug people that you love ‘hello and goodbye’ but sometimes they don’t feel like it and that’s ok. Teach them that they are in charge of their bodies.

LET’S START TO BE BRAVE AND SPEAK UP, because if you say something and you are wrong – you can apologise for that.

If you DON’T speak up and you were right………. you will never be more sorry.

On average 1 paedophile abuses 150 children! 456 paedophiles interviewed in prison had abused 65,000 children.

IT’S TIME FOR US TO BE BRAVE AND SPEAK UP!