Dealing With Abuse

Often a traumatic experience for both children and teens child sexual abuse is more common than most of us realize.

According to darkness to light dot org one in 10 children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday.

While sexual abuse rates have declined it is still a big concern because only about 38% of child victims reveal being sexually assaulted some never do.

Abusers can be neighbors, friends and family members even other children.

News 13's Marella Porter spoke with a woman abused as a child, she hopes parents and guardians can help educate children on the topic, preventing abuse.

It doesn't matter, as I see, if it was yesterday, last month, last year ten years ago or in my case over 50 years ago . It does matter and it affects you for the rest of your life.

Tami Dixon was just three years old the first time she was sexually abused by an adult family member. I remember bits and pieces of it, but i remember it being scary and not wanting to be around him.

When you're three, four, five, six you don t know who to go to, who to trust. As a child Dixon was told to keep the abuse secret . So she did... For decades.

I have been sexually abused from when i was so young i did not know the real difference of what was right sexually and what was wrong because nobody told me.

Education, we need to educate our children at a very young age, that if anybody touches you here or here or here you need to go to your parents and they need to know that they can go to their parents and it s okay.

The earlier we start conversation with kids... The better but, at times... Parents might feel uncomfortable doing so.

Kayleigh Clark at The Children's Advocacy Project says, "I do think talking about sexual abuse is taboo in some households, i think a lot of times they think of it like suicide, or something like that, if we talk about it it s gonna happen."

Darkness to light suggests talking to children in age appropriate ways about our bodies, sex and boundaries to help them understand what healthy relationships look like.

I think about it like a foreign language, they're not gonna know unless we do talk about it and educate them.

Making them less vulnerable to people who might violate their boundaries. Or even preventing them from violating others boundaries.

Jennifer Dyer with the Casper Self Help Center adds, "Really just having those conversations about what is appropriate, what s not appropriate, if someone says no please, you take no for an answer."

Clark says, the earlier we start these conversations with children, the more knowledge they ll have, making for open conversation on the topic at home.

We always really heir on the side of, parents know their children best, but a two year old would understand where the swimsuit goes and places where that swimsuit covers and that people shouldn't do touching or looking.

When talking to kids about sexual abuse, Darkness to light suggests the following: Use examples to teach children it is "against the rules" for adults to act in a sexual way with them. Teach them what parts of their bodies others shouldn't touch. Also, teach them not to give out personal information online, including e-mail addresses, phone numbers and home addresses. Lastly, mention that an abuser can be anyone. From an adult friend, family member or older kids.

According to "National Children's Alliance" In 2015 children advocacy centers across the country served 311,000 children. Two thirds of those children disclosed sexual abuse.

As parents it is important we be proactive. If a child seems uncomfortable or resistant to being with someone, ask them why.

Child sexual abuse reports should be made to the state child protective services agency, local police or both.