Are you OK with anti-molestation talks at school, church?

Apparently January is the month of anti-molestation talks at schools and churches. My kids have two scheduled this month.

I went yesterday with a friend to review the material that the kids will be shown at our elementary school.

(I’ve never actually reviewed the material before. I guess I trusted that the school wouldn’t present them with anything too crazy. I trust our principal very much. But my friend was making the effort to go in and invited me. So I went.)

The third graders will watch three video tapes literally from the 1970s. You have to get over the terrible ’70s clothes and production values (I keep waiting for Tootie and Blair to pop out!) but after that the tapes are OK. (They were also made in Canada so there are lots of aboots for about.)

The first tape was not offensive in any way but pretty vague. I said to my friend after watching it, I’m not sure the kids will understand what they are getting at.

The second tape jumps right in and throws out the word “sexual assault” immediately and explains what it is in general terms. Again nothing too graphic but definitely more specific.

They did a lot of acting out scenarios in the tapes, which I actually think is pretty effective in helping kids understand how a molester would try to trick them. They showed a guy looking for his “puppy” in a park. He had a neat dog whistle and a little girl volunteered to help him. They head off toward the woods looking for the dog and then he grabs her. My friend and I jumped when he did it.

That scene may be a little bit scary for the kids but I think it will help hit home what can happen.

They also talked a lot of about family members (uncles) and mommy’s new boyfriend coming into your room at night. I’m glad the tapes addressed this because often, if not most of the time, it’s not strangers molesting.

It also went through scenarios of a child telling a trusted adult and the adult ignoring them and telling them not to worry about it or it would go away or that is was even their fault. The point to the child was it’s never your fault and to keep telling people until someone helps you!

I thought that was a pretty realistic message as well.

We didn’t have time to watch the kindergarten or first grade one. I believe they will watch the same thing  that they saw last year and then act out some scenes.

I think last year’s talks were appropriate and effective. Both kids came home talking about private parts and good touches and bad touches. They both became much more modest after the talks at school —well they would talk about modesty yelling thinks like “Walsh is running around naked.” Or “Rose isn’t dressed!”

But at least they were thinking about it.

The Cub Scout manual also had a nice lesson about molestation and kidnapping. It had scenarios to read over with your child and then they answer what they would do. Walsh recently had a stranger offer him something to drink and he told them no. (I was standing right there and I couldn’t imagine what the guy was thinking. We knew another person he was with but why would you offer a kid you don’t know anything.) He said after we left them, the Cub Scout book told me never to take anything from strangers. I was so proud of him that he actually remembered.

What do you think of these types of anti-molestation programs? Do you think they help? Do you think the content is appropriate? (I’ve heard the middle school materials are too graphic. Anyone have any info on the middle school materials??) Have you even gone in to review the programs?

Do you ever pull them from the talks? Do you talk about it at home too?

Have your kids talked about what they have learned in these talks?

96 comments Add your comment

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:52 pm

I knew you were ok tiger on that bite me thing :)

FCM

January 14th, 2010
12:53 pm

Just now front e-page AJC: a 20yo was arrested for raping a 13 yo (they met on yearbook.com. Did the girl tell her parents? No did she tell a neighbor? No.

“The victim reported to school officials on Tuesday that she had been assaulted.” (Occured Monday while the kids in Cherokee were out due to weather).

Julia

January 14th, 2010
12:57 pm

shaggy

January 14th, 2010
1:02 pm

Julia – I don’t know if you are a very courageous woman or a very lucky one, (probably a 50/50 mix huh?)to have gone through that kind of horror and seem so balanced in your view of it all. I’m gonna choose courageous and wish you a great life.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
1:06 pm

Thank you Shaggy and I did not say that just to be poor julia… it happened and it made me who I am. I am not bitter about it and have actually forgiven each and every one of them… This was by the grace of god… I could not have done this alone. Maybe this will show girls are not alone, they are not at fault and yes you can make it thru the very painful steps of healing…

shaggy

January 14th, 2010
1:10 pm

I do have on question: Did the creeps that abused you ever take responsibility, or they still stinking up the planet?

mom2alex&max

January 14th, 2010
1:14 pm

@JANE: then they don’t. it is very unfortunate, but the way it is. The BSA has to protect the children and themselves.

@TARA: good tip! I didn’t think of that, thank you.

@Tiger: sorry, I really didn’t mean to come out all preachy about it. Yes there are bad apples in EVERY basket.

@oneofeach4me: in Cub Scouts (which boys belong to from 1st to 5th grade), every boy must have an Akelah, which is a fancy word for a parent. They don’t go anywhere or do anything Scout related without their Akelah, so yes your husband would have to join as well. Grade school boys do not go on any overnight trips or any field trips or den meetings without their adult partner. I HIGHLY recommend cub scouts, it is a wonderful, educational, character-building, and eye opening experience for boys. If you have any questions about it, I’d love to tell you more. Theresa can find me.

shaggy

January 14th, 2010
1:16 pm

Also, that forgiveness thingy is way overated. Justice and vengence is much more fulfilling, plus provides better closure. Forgive em after that.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
1:26 pm

@M2A&M….not apology necessary. I’ll admit I took a shot at the BSA ….and you defended an organization you appreciate. Nothing to apologize for as far as I can see.

DB

January 14th, 2010
1:28 pm

In the case of Boy Scouts (and my son was an Eagle Scout, so BTDT) — I truly do not think that BSA is any more prone to molestation than any other organization for children. They ARE more high profile — but the vast majority of the leaders and adults in BSA volunteer their time in order to create a great framework for young men to grow up learning leadership, citizenship, and be exposed to a wide variety of life skills such as camping, sports, and career opportunities. Without exception, the men that worked with my son’s troop were highly dedicated men who were professionals in their real life and we were fortunate that my son had an opportunity to learn from them. Even in college, he has maintained his contacts with them, which has resulted in summer internship opportunities and other opportunities to network at the adult level.

For someone to say that they wouldn’t allow their child to be in BSA because they’re afraid of predators, they should also be afraid to allow their child to be an altar boy, or allow their daughters to go to school with mixed-gender faculty. Don’t forget Boys and Girls Clubs — they’ve had their share of molestation scandals, too. Heck, we’d even get that nonsense in Girl Scouts, where every once in a while there’d be some fundamentalist internet scare that all Girl Scout leaders turned their girls into lesbians (*sigh*). Oh, puh-leeze.

Organizations are being much more assertive in doing background checks on adults who have contact with kids, but parents need to keep their eyes open and make sure that their kids know that they can come to you with ANYTHING that makes them feel uncomfortable or uneasy and you will not judge them.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
1:43 pm

@DB..nicely said.

catlady

January 14th, 2010
2:08 pm

When I was 9 I was allowed to walk home from school occasionally. Mostly in residential areas, but part was a deserted stretch alongside the river. My mom told me not to ever get in the car with anybody, no matter what, or I could never walk home by myself again. Well, one day the neighbor came by and offered me a ride and I said, “No thank you. My mama says I cannot ride with you.” She went off like a rocket and when I got home she was fussing and carrying on but my mama said, “No, she can’t ride with anyone, not even you, when she is supposed to walk. It would make it too hard if she had to choose who was okay and who was not.” It didn’t help that the neighbor was also the preacher’s wife….

While not a victim of aggravated assault, I did get “felt up” by a middle aged male neighbor several times as I would drop by to say hi on my way home from school. I just started refusing to go over there with my parents to visit, etc. They were aware something happened, but never knew what. I warned the other girls my age in the community not to go over ’cause Uncle Bob was “too friendly” and they understood.

I think it is NOTHING BUT GOOD that we have these conversations with our kids at school. I needed to know this stuff. I think different kinds of inappropriate contact go on much more often than you would ever want to believe!

CDD

January 14th, 2010
2:55 pm

We never had the “good touch bad touch” discussions at school when I went, but I did know to go to my parents whenever anything bad happened. And I didn’t need a class to know that my friend’s drunk father crawling into bed with me when I was spending the night was not right. Incidentally my parents never doubted me and the (blank) was found guilty.

Saying that… I do not feel that a school should be talking about sex ed. or improper touching. However! I know too many parents who shy away from talking about these subjects because it’s uncomfortable to talk about with children. So I guess I see it as a necessary evil now because parents aren’t doing their job.

One other point here – I think kids should also be taught how serious an accusation of molestation (or more) is. If it’s not true and a kid is looking for attention by saying something happened to them when it didn’t (I know of a case where this happened) then the accused can have their life nearly ruined – even when cleared.

KCR

January 14th, 2010
3:13 pm

I have problems with the one-sided scenarios that the writer described. Each of the incidents that she noted were done with a male as the perpetrator of the molestation. Given these videos it is teaching children that only men can do this. It should be noted that females can just as easily be the ones commiting the molestation as the males.

oneofeach4me

January 14th, 2010
3:31 pm

@CDD ~ In my case, it’s not that I shy away from the discussion. I just really don’t have the materials or information on how to approach a child with this and how to explain it in terms that they will understand. I mean, with my 4 yr old it’s kinda one track as far as it’s your peepee and NO ONE should touch it. Same with my 8 yr old when she was around that age. However, I would like to start getting more in depth with my daughter since she is at that age where she may comprehend more about strangers and/or people she may know that touch her inappropriately. Schools have access to so much more that I don’t. Heck, if they tell me the day and time.. I will take off work and be there to go through it with her.

Marble

January 14th, 2010
3:39 pm

I’ve taken similar steps in a different direction by explaining to our teenage sons what constitutes pornography (girlfriends who send naken pics), sexting (don’t won’t them listed as life time sex offender), riding with friends who are in possesion of drugs or alcohol and the consequences, explaining why the 14 year old girl friend can’t come over every single day, even though her mother allows it, whey they have an 11 o’clock curfew and the girls have midnight and later curfews. Why I won’t leave them in the house alone with an underage girl, in case she is vengeful and makes false accusations that we have to clear them from, because the girls are not punished for their false claims but the boys are drug through the mud and jailed. Those are the things I explain to my teenage sons. I hope some daughters mothers will start explaining consequences to their daughters, to be their mothers and not their older cougar friend.

M.K.

January 14th, 2010
3:41 pm

Oh I am SO torn on this one. Essentially, I feel it’s a good idea but it didn’t work out in the case of my daughter. You see, she was born with horrific facial deformities & even after a number of surgeries, the problem is still very severe. Well, when they gave the students the “good touch, bad touch” lectures & showed videos, many of the other students pointed at her, snickered & made hurtful remarks such as ” ____ sure doesn’t have to worry about that; even the horniest child molester wouldn’t touch HER”. She came home in tears (not the first time she’s experienced such cruelty, I assure you). I jut don’t have an answer for this & neither my husband nor I knew quite how to handle this

Together for 15

January 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

Wow, great topic, and I do think it’s important for kids to see this in school since it could be happening to them at home. To be honest, I’d like to see something that covers child abuse (not just sexual abuse) too at schools. Kids are being abused by parents/step-parents, etc. and they don’t know that this isn’t they way they should be treated. They need to understand that if they’re being abused/beaten/etc. they are not trapped and can get help.

What’s very sad is that many children who are being abused are under school age and end up killed by their abuser before somebody could help or get enough evidence to save the child. It’s so tragic and heartbreaking to read about.

I feel badly that teachers have to teach these things in addition to all the other material. Parents/family who abuse children won’t teach them this. Kids need to be able to escape it and know there ARE people who care about them.

Thank you to all those in our schools who are helping protect our children and make sure they know how to help and protect themselves.

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
3:44 pm

M.K….here’s my advice….next time one of those little monsters makes fun of your kid….go shoot their dog. Word will get out.

Titi Mogi :*)

January 14th, 2010
4:12 pm

I’ve had these kinds of talks with my girls the minute the could walk and comprehend.. “that’s your private stuff, no one touches by you, mommy or the doctor” Some parents really do have there head in the sand.. so I really don’t mind if they hear it from the school too.. This stuff happens way too much . more among family members even.. they need to know!

Becky

January 14th, 2010
4:14 pm

@Julia, I don’t want to offend, but I’m sorry that you went thru that..On the same note, I’m glad that you seem to have suffered no long term ill effects from it..You say it made you who you are and I think that is awesome..

@Shaggy..I LOVED your 1:16 comment..I agree with you 100%..

@Tiger, I bet you keep your wife and family laughing all of the time..

Julia

January 14th, 2010
4:29 pm

Shaggy, its not over rated :) I did it for me not them they have their judgement day.. My uncle died of bone cancer so he suffered for quite a while. Many of them I have not contact with and never confronted them when I got older.

Becky – I still have battle scars and things still set me in a weird what ever. I am pretty shy and dont like crowds, I dont let any one get close to me and no trust in men. But this part is funny – I am in a 300 strong choir at church :) but I blend very well :)

M.K.

January 14th, 2010
4:35 pm

(You’re great, Tiger Needs….thanks for the support, we get SO little of it)Well, I love animals, so that wouldn’t work. Those nasty kids need to be slapped upside the head!

Julia

January 14th, 2010
4:42 pm

Kris, my son seems to befriend the kids that do have disabilites :).. He today I was picking him up at school and there was this cute red head sitting there talking to him so when he got in the car I asked who he was and he said the boys name – then he told me the kid has only one leg, he was born that way…. I just smiled and thanked god for such a good kid :)

Kris

January 14th, 2010
4:47 pm

M.K. – I’m sorry your child has to endure that cruelty! Can anyone tell me just why kids are so mean??? That’s another thing that parents need to talk with their children about from an early age – not to tease and bully those who are somehow different or less fortunate. Come on, people, would that be so hard to do?

M.K.

January 14th, 2010
4:54 pm

Kris, the way it was explained to me is that some people are so pathetic & have so little going that the only way they can feel good about themselves is to torment others. Doesn’t make the hurt go away, but your support helps. And what these kids don’t realize is that there are predators who specifically target vulnerable children like my daughter

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
4:55 pm

I was initially going to tell you to shoot the parents, but thought that might sound a little harsh. But now that you mention it, it does seem a little harsh to hold an innocent dog responsible for the child’s actions, so I’m going back to my initial opinion…shoot the parents for raising such vile and insolent kids.

It’s not like you’ll have to do it very often. As soon as one of those little beasts is an orphan, the others will wise up and you’ll be able to put the trigger lock back on the gun.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
4:58 pm

FCM how old are your kids? I know how you feel but say for instance they wanted to crawl in the bed with you? I know that is mean, :) I know that even with the abuse I went thru I have given the boy a safe enviroment to where he can and not feel wierd. This is not that he does it even now but every once in a while he does come in there.. I just move over and let him be… Sometimes he just needs me near :)

FCM

January 14th, 2010
5:01 pm

@ Kris and MK — 1st I too feel that was just horrible and am sorry your child had to endure it. The Grey’s rerun last night delt with a young man who had endured much the same and it really broke my heart.

2nd I do know that bullying is addressed in my children’s school. One of my daughters has had a special session with the counselors on how to handle bullies (she is small for her age they pick on that too).

OK I have one I am not sure how to deal — when the kids went to see Dad over the holidays they shared a bed with him. I do not feel that he would hurt his kids this way (though I know some Dad’s do that) and the girls have assured he did not and that yes they would tell me if he did. So here is the thing…eldest is going double digits. I think she is told old to be doing this (with anyone). How do I approach the subject with the ex? She said she told him that Mommy had said that she was getting to old and he told her that Mommy is crazy (yes I know some of you agree with him about my sanity).

FCM

January 14th, 2010
5:03 pm

Julia too weird your post came in before mine…I am opposed to them in my bed too. I will let them in my room but then I usually go sleep in the one that is left empty by the child being in mine. I am opposed to co-sleeping (unless of course it is me and some consenting ADULT male and the kids aren’t home).

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
5:12 pm

FCM…I don’t let my 5 year old son sleep in the same bed with his grandmother…..or even me for that matter. I don’t think you’re weird at all. Even when you don’t have to worry about abuse, I just think it’s better for a kid to sleep in his/her own bed..alone.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
5:21 pm

yall he does sleep in his own bed ;).. and he grows 10 extra legs and kicks so about 10 mins I run him off :)

FCM

January 14th, 2010
5:21 pm

I admit I am not as worried about the girls being in bed with say Grandma (or me but I never sleep well when they are in the room. I just think the girls should learn 1 — you sleep in your own bed. 2 — You do not need to share a bed with ANY male. My father would sleep in the guest room if the girls insist on sleeping with Grandma BUT when I voiced the opinion they should be the guest room and him in his room with his wife–well they do that now. I admit when they were toddlers did not bother me as much…I just think they are getting to old for it period.

Julia I did not think you were weird, just that your post preceeds my question.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
5:23 pm

FCM I am wierd :)

Tiger needs me on his PR team

January 14th, 2010
5:26 pm

All I know is that if my boy sleeps in bed with grandma, you never know what’s going to happen…..he could end up carrying his wife’s purse for her down the line. Not being a proper male role model if I allow that! ;-)

Julia

January 14th, 2010
6:44 pm

Hey FCM – you said your DD played the Viola – have you ever down loaded sheet music for her?? I am looking for the violin part on the song by Zach Brown Band chicken fried :)

FCM

January 14th, 2010
8:44 pm

Not yet. We are still in baby steps. She loves her viola though. They have the largest Orc class ever in her school — 75 in just her grade! I asked her if she was an Orca Dork and she said “how did you know????????” :) I will write you at that email either tonight or before work in the AM.

Julia

January 14th, 2010
10:03 pm

Thank you FCM orka dork :).. that is so cute :)

Tiffany

January 14th, 2010
11:57 pm

I think that these programs in the schools are VERY important. If this can save even one child from being molested, it is well worth it.

Abby

January 15th, 2010
7:32 am

M.K. sounds like she’s been hurtful to her daughter just like the other kids were. Did you read how she started her first post: “…my daughter. You see, she was born with horrific facial deformities…”

Most people would say: “severe facial abnormalities” or something like that. Not “HORRIFIC.” I can see her now. “Honey, your face if horrific and deformed, but I love you.” Yeah, that’ll help the kid’s self esteem. Watch what you say M.K. – your words can be more damning than any kid’s.

Shirley

January 15th, 2010
9:54 am

I think the programs in the schools are important. I’m not at all offended by it. Some kids go home to a relative who abuses and they are told “don’t tell.” It’s important that I inform my own kids good touches and bad touches. For some kids they have a “don’t tell” and they are scared something bad will happen. It’s not about the school trying to be the parent. It’s about the school protecting children from bad parents.

mark

January 17th, 2010
11:01 am

As a stay at home dad for 21 years, I learned that you need to teach the lessons at home as well

rhythmtoread.com

wmsmommy

January 18th, 2010
9:53 am

FCM: Why exactly would you call your child an “Orca Dork?” I mean, even if the child knows the same language, doesn’t it seem somewhat stereotypical and unkind?

shaggy

January 18th, 2010
3:18 pm

wmsmommy:
The “orca” obviously is short for “orchestra”, with a little inside joke on “dork” between FCM and her kid. I have NEVER known a band kid that didn’t playfully consider themselves dorks.
You must suffer from “contraction of the sphincter” syndrome…or your kid and those close to you suffers greatly from your syndrome. just saying.

DB

January 18th, 2010
6:32 pm

@shaggy — I think you’re right. My daughter is majoring in a music-related field, and was a proud self-proclaimed “band geek” throughout high school. :-)

ConcreteAngel

February 7th, 2010
11:59 am

I believe that schools should talk about child molestation and that if they wait until fifth grade or later to do it then they have waited too late. I speak from expierience because i was molested as a child and by fifth grade it had already stooped and left its scars.

I also want to add (not from personal expirience) that a reason for a parent not wanting their child to know about molestation is that they might be abusin their kids.