Over 90% of children who are molested are victimized by someone they know--a family member, friend of the family, or acquaintance.1 About 80% of adults who are sexually assaulted know the offender.2 Teaching children to feel comfortable and to have open communication with parents about sexual issues is the key to prevention. There are books and materials readily available for young children about good touch/bad touch and talking to mom or dad about things that make children feel uncomfortable.
Since many sexual assaults of children are by relatives, an individual should not assume a child is lying when he or she reports sexual touching or assault by a parent, sibling, uncle or cousin. In fact, false reports of sexual abuse are rare by young children and the rate of false rape reports in general is low.3
Communication between parents and children about these matters should not end at a young age. During college, one in five college students are sexually assaulted.4 The first two months of college are an especially susceptible time known as the “red zone.” Parents should talk to students about awareness, alcohol abuse, and strategies for prevention before their students leave for college. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault, but awareness of the role of alcohol in facilitating sexual assault is part of prevention education.
California colleges are required to provide education for first-time students about sexual assault prevention, including the affirmative consent standard now in effect on college campuses in California. (Ed. Code, § 67386.)
To learn ways to reduce your risk of sexual assault, click here.