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Guide Overview

Sexual Abuse Risk Reduction Age Tweens

This lesson focuses on sexual abuse prevention for tweens (10-13 years old), highlighting the importance of open, non-shame-based conversations about bodies and sexuality, the book "Sex is a Funny Word" as a resource, and empowering tweens to understand and recognize abusive situations and feel confident in their ability to say "yes," "no," and "I need help."
March 14, 2023
Summary Notes

- Childhood sexual abuse prevention should be a topic of discussion for tweens (10-13 years old) as they experience changes in their bodies and begin to have feelings of romance.

- It is important to have open and non-shame based conversations with them about their bodies and sexuality, to build trust and encourage them to come to you if something goes wrong.

- A great resource to use with your tween is the book "Sex is a Funny Word" by Corey Silverberg and Fiona Smith, which covers topics such as consent, attraction, and what constitutes positive and abusive sexual engagement.

- As tweens become sexually curious, it is important to guide them in understanding the difference between mutual, positive sexual engagement and abuse.

- Girls are especially susceptible to peer pressure and cultural pressure to engage in sexual activities. Parents should talk to their children about pressure and empower them to feel confident in their knowledge and bodies, and to be able to say "yes," "no," and "I need help."

Okay, let's talk about childhood sexual abuse prevention. Sexual trauma prevention for our tweenies. So 10 to 12, 10 to 13. I know technically they've give at team at 13, but the tweenies stage is where their bodies have started to change. They have slowly experienced more and more hormones that create fuzzy possible sexual feelings for them and.

they still don't get, They're young enough that they maybe have a boyfriend, maybe have a girlfriend, maybe have a friend that's nonbinary and they're starting to experience the feelings of romance, but they are still very vulnerable, especially to older kids. So older teens and adults that have influence over them.

I am sorry to say I have worked with one too many people who are sexually abused by a youth group leader, a mentor. Um, someone who appeared to have their best interest in mind, made them feel special, and then was grooming them towards sexual abuse. So when we are thinking about our tweens, there's a couple of things we wanna think about, having open conversations with them, non shame based dialogue about their bodies, about sexuality, what they're thinking, what they're feeling.

If we take a stance that is hard. No sex, no nothing. This is bad. It's only okay when you're away growing up, it will create shame for them or it will make them not trust you with the topic and then they may not come to you if something bad happens. So at this stage, what we're really trying to do is be open and be practical and check in with them on where they are and what they need and what they're curious about using resources.

A great thing. I wanna share this resource with. This is a great book. It's called Sex Is a Funny Word, by Corey Silverberg and Fiona Smith. And it's illustrated really fun and there's lots of questions and it goes through all sorts of topics. It goes through consent, talks about how it's strange that we call our chromosome sex, but then we call this other thing sex.

What is sex, What sex isn't? Um, be a great book to go through with your tween together, like, okay. We're gonna do this book, We're gonna read like a few pages every week and every week we're gonna start having discussions and dialogues so that you can come up with questions that we can talk about. The more connected you are to your child around this topic, the more likely that they are to be in tune when someone feels off or something feels creepy and come to you.

So we cannot control what the other people in the world might do with them, but we can control whether or not our children trust us to come to us about the things that other people in the world might. . Okay. Um, topics that you want to be engaging at a twin age are, um, who are you attracted to? What is it that, how do you notice in your body when you feel attraction?

How do you notice when you feel uncomfortable? Um, helping them understand that consent should be something enthusiastic on their part and the part of anybody else. So even when you wanna hold hands with someone, do they go. Can you say, Can I hold your hand? And they lean in and go, Yes. Or do they say, Can I hold your hand?

And they go, Um, sure. Right? Like helping your kids think through cues around how is it that you are feeling about this? How is it that someone else is feeling about these things? Because a lot of sexual trauma, these stages, it's about peer pressure and feeling like they have to do things that they don't actually want to do.

Um, if your child.  at this stage is starting to become very sexually curious. It will probably make you uncomfortable. It will feel too young, but I wanna normalize that this is the stage where human beings start to be very interested in romantic sexual connection. The guide they need from you is to really understand the difference between mutual.

Positive engagement with somebody else, where both people are informed and choosing that engagement and being thoughtful and being safe about it. And abuse, which is where someone with a position of power or someone who is being coercive is trying to convince them that they should do things they don't want to do.

This is especially relevant in our culture for girls because there is a whole culture around it being sort of a rite of passage for a boy to have certain experiences and there's a lot of pressure then on the girls that they're engaging with and that can actually be true boy to boy as well, and girl to girl as well, but is most common in the boy to girl scenario.

So talking with them about pressure and what can they do and helping them figure out things they can say. You're trying to empower them to feel confident around their knowledge, around their bodies and their interaction between their bodies and other bodies so that they can say, Yes, no, I need help.

Those are three very important things they need to know. As twins, what do you wanna say yes to? What is a yes? What is a no, and what is a I need help?