Advocating for Education



I feel that I have to respond to these statements and questions without directly responding to the actual post. Primarily, because this is not the first, second, or thousandth time I have seen a post with similar messages.


“Sometimes, sexual abuse advocates try to pretend (wish) that educating your children and teens about abuse will keep them from being abused or exploited.


*It won’t.*”

First of all, actually, it might. Do you know, without a shadow of a doub,t that no one has ever avoided sexual abuse based on what they were taught to be aware of? What is the point of shooting down something that is doing whatever it can to raise awareness?


Also, I am curious as to what a “sexual abuse advocate” is? Words matter.


There are many really good people who have dedicated their lives to eliminating sexual assault in their communities, and I would assume that they are probably as mortified as I am that you see them as “sexual abuse advocates.”


“But educating them will make them more likely to disclose to you.”


Are you saying that you are okay with abuse happening? Or that it is inevitable? That our only option is to give our children, our grandchildren tools for disclosing?


“That disclosure might make the difference in how far the abuse goes, and for how long.”


Yes, it might. And, yet, I am wondering why you wouldn’t be looking for a solution to sexual assault that includes skills for navigating relationships that might go in the wrong direction.


For recognizing behavior that you are uncomfortable with and knowing that there are things that you could do at that moment AND that you can go to your parents for advice and support. Research talks a lot about the grooming processes. A good primary prevention educational program will include skills for interrupting grooming including how to talk about those icky feelings before the abuse starts.

A good primary prevention educational program will include skills for interrupting grooming including how to talk about those icky feelings before the abuse starts.

“And most importantly, when you educate your children and teens about abuse, you get to decide what kind of message they will internalize about sexual assault and abuse.”

If abuse happens, is it their fault?”


Make it clear to them that it is not their fault and that it should have never happened.

Make it clear to them that it is not their fault and that it should have never happened.

“Does it define them?”


Absolutely not.


“Do they have safe people in their life that they can tell?”


Be a safe person by showing them that they are loved and not judged. Be willing to sit with their confusion. Be willing to sit with their pain. Be willing to give them the space and time to share in a way that they feel safe. Saying you are a safe person is not the same as being one.


“Will they be believed?”


Unequivocally! And they need to be sure of that. That starts way before there will ever be a need for it, we hope.


“Will it be shameful and terrifying?”


For them, it just might be.


And that is ok, because your love and support for them is unwavering.


“Is their worth, to the world, to God, to you - their parents, lessened by assault?”


Absolutely not!


“Above all else, do they hold the power to decide how to deal with and heal from it?”


Above all else, help them make whatever decisions they need to deal and heal.


What we want and what is good for them is not always the same thing. Abuse, assault, violence takes power away from a person. Be the one that helps give it back to them.

Abuse, assault, violence takes power away from a person. Be the one that helps give it back to them.

And please! Please! Please! Please! Find a program that incorporates learning and teaching skills for dealing with abuse and violence as it is happening, and not just the theories of what could happen.


In Israel, you can find these programs through El HaLev, and globally you can find them through ESD Global Inc.