Is Education the Key to Preventing Child Sexual Abuse?

Governments and social agencies are conscientious about educating parents about safe car seats, faulty cribs, water safety, unsafe toys and numerous other items that could pose a danger to children.

Why, then, don’t these protective bodies educate parents about child sexual abuse? After all, conservative statistics say 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 5 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. The likelihood of being sexually abused as a child is definitely greater than the danger of being injured in a car crash, drowning, suffocating on a plastic bag, or all the other potential disasters that might befall a vulnerable little person.

When I speak with groups about my own history with child sexual abuse, many in the audience are aghast at my statistics. They had no idea. Will they retain that information once they leave the lecture? Who knows? Denial is a powerful force.

Parents need information. They need to know that most perpetrators are not some stranger hiding in the bushes. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse are usually family members or adults whom the family trusts and considers close to the family.

Parents need guidelines to help them evaluate any nursery, daycare or school where they entrust their little ones to others.

The statistics are clearly on the low side because so many don’t have access to their memories of having been sexually abused.  Many others keep their secret so close to their chests that they don’t count themselves in on surveys about CSA.

Parents who have dissociated their traumatic memories – or who simply choose to discount what happened to them – are ill-equipped to protect their own children. That’s why credible sources need to educate them about the predators in their midst. Whether or not they deal with their own trauma, they need to prevent their offspring from suffering.

Child Sexual Abuse can be prevented. We need to come in on all sides – government, social agencies, family physicians, to educate parents so they can protect their little ones from this secret crime against children.


  1. ParsleyDaLion says:

    I firmly believe that education is the answer to not only child abuse but also to many other social problems. However I feel that we do-not teach what is really needed to make a difference, in that we have several thousand years worth of philosophy which in the main is ignored or corrupted by governments and individuals.

    We need to teach not only social skills but also morality, ethics etc. Why ignore something so crucial? I believe that children have the ability to learn these lessons when delivered by passionate people. Perhaps after a few generations things may improve?

    Well that my view :0

    • Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that education is important. I think it is especially important to do as Marilyn Van Derbur (Miss America by Day) suggests – talk with all the children of the family at one time about not touching “private parts”. Then, when someone touches the young child inappropriately, the child knows this is wrong. As for adolescents with their powerful emerging sexuality, Van Derbur says to teach them that exploring with their younger siblings will be very harmful. They don’t know that.

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