As I was getting my children ready for church this morning, a thought occurred to me. I don’t think I’ve ever heard this subject discussed, except once way back when our boys were in preschool and kindergarten. One of the preschool teachers was male, and he expressed the frustration of caring for children who were not yet potty trained, or still needed quite a bit of help. Having to wipe some of the children after they went potty was one thing, but, fiddling with snaps at the crotch was quite another. The question he verbalized to me was “why in the world would you send your child to school wearing clothes with snaps at the crotch, knowing she is unable to fasten or unfasten them herself?”
That was at about 20 years ago, and I never heard whether any kind of note went out to parents of preschoolers about dress code for the protection of both children and teachers. Why would I even mention this? I think many parents probably already share my concern about protecting their kids' bodies as well as decreasing time teachers have to spend during potty time. Snaps just are not a good idea but they are certainly not the only problem. Because of my hypersensitivity - some may call paranoia- I notice many little girls unknowingly and innocently flashing their panties during play, while climbing stairs, or while being carried on a dad or uncle's shoulders. In my mind it doesn't make sense as to why anyone else would NOT notice or would just be okay with that. I have reasons for my hypersensitivity. Please read on.
I absolutely LOVE that my 4-year-old is a “girly-girl” who adores dresses! However, I cannot expect my girly-girl to sit prim and proper in her dress the entire time she is wearing it. When she sits on the floor to put on her shoes, whoever is facing her would get quite a flash. When I strap her in her car seat, the seat belt comes up between her legs, hiking her dress all the way up. And, when she plays, she is extremely active climbing, jumping crawling, and so on. The last thing I want to do is restrict her from playing with her friends after Bible class is over. My solution? Without fail, as soon as we pick out her dress in the morning, we pull out tight-fitting shorts to go underneath. Short leggings are perfect because with the elastic waist she can easily pull them down and up herself quickly when she goes to the bathroom. The spandex in the fabric prevents them from falling down but is not too restrictive or uncomfortable. As long as she is wearing these shorts we know her privates are covered and she will not be exposing them to anyone. Bloomers would be acceptable as well. but shorts with gaping legs still present the problem of exposure during play, climbing stairs, or sitting with knees bent.
In just a few short weeks, millions of innocent little children will start daycare or preschool, many for the very first time. You've probably chosen a reputable place where the teachers have all had background checks, and that is great! However, background checks only prove whether or not a person has already been arrested for something. So in reality, a perpetrator could very easily get into teaching positions with very young children just for the sake of access, and get away with grooming or sexually abusing large numbers of children for years before he or she ever gets caught! Predators LOVE children and seek ways of spending time with them by gaining the trust of the parents and as many other people as possible! They are usually fun, outgoing, and respected. So you send your child to day care or preschool, trusting, but never really having a guarantee, that those who are caring for him or her will not look for opportunities to groom or sexually abuse your child. And, by the way, Churches are also favorite places for predators!
You are right in thinking nobody SHOULD be looking. Those who would never think of taking advantage of a child probably never notice or don't think it's a big deal. But there are more people than you think who are ACTIVELY looking for their own sick pleasure. Knowing this, we should ALL care and be concerned about keeping our children’s privates completely covered. Our girls should also know that they wear shorts under dresses because their privates are PRIVATE. We don’t need to scare our kids, but we do need to empower them because they are so young. Covering them is only one small step. Showing them your concern for their safety is another step. If you still think I’m paranoid, google “school teacher arrested for child pornography”. Or “school teacher arrested for child sexual..” Here is a SHORT list of what came up on my phone just now:
1. “A Normal elementary school teacher was arrested Friday (8/2/2019) with multiple charges of criminal sexual assault and sexual abuse of a child.( https://www.centralillinoisproud.com/news/normal-elementary-teacher-arrested-saturday-on-charges-of-sex-abuse-assault-against-a-child/)
2. “Kindergarten teacher at suburban Baptist school charged with sexual assault, child porn solicitation involving 2 students, police say” (https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/breaking/ct-jordan-baptist-school-teacher-charged-20190702-d3rrcwg3aza5xajzqpfvf4q4oq-d3rrcwg3aza5xajzqpfvf4qoq-story.html)
3. “Day care owner arrested for child sex abuse: police” (https://pix11.com/2019/05/25/day-care-owner-arrested-for-child-sex-abuse-police/)
4. “Ohio day care owner accused of sexually abusing children sentenced to 30 days” (https://wtvr.com/2019/07/15/ohio-day-care-owner-accused-of-sexually abusing-children-sentenced-to-30-days/)
Just do your own search and you’ll find endless articles in addition to these.
Now, I’m not saying that only girls are at risk for being sexually abused. One in 53 boys under the age of 18 is sexually abused by an adult. I'm also not saying that dressing your daughter in shorts under her dress, or refraining from snaps at the crotch is going to PREVENT any kind of sexual abuse from occurring. I am saying that those may be a deterrent to a predator who may actually be looking for a sneak peek or a reason to get his or her disgusting fingers close to an unsuspecting child’s genitals (women can also be abusers as you can see by the above links). Sorry to be graphic, but I happen to know someone who was sexually violated while wearing a dress right in front of her parents because the perpetrator was able to slip his fingers inside her underwear while she was sitting on his lap. Had her parents been paying attention to the expression on her face they would have realized something was causing their daughter distress. Had they spent any time #empowering her and giving her permission to say NO or talk to them, she could have immediately jumped out of his lap and spoken out loud what had just happened. Instead, she was ashamed, and never told anyone until a great many years later.
If your child knows the names of his or her private parts, knows what good and bad touch is, has the confidence to say NO, and trusts you enough to tell you if his or her boundaries have been violated, then you have given your child a much better chance of being unharmed. This kind of confidence is not built in your child in just a few minutes. It takes time, consistency with your trustworthy, gentle, loving behavior and repetition over years from the time your children are a minimum of 2 years old through elementary school. And by the way, it is STILL possible for your child to be forcefully or deceptively sexually abused because you can’t be there to protect him or her 100% of the time. If that happens, make sure your child knows it is NOT his or her fault. Predators are good at grooming unsuspecting children and have a way of instilling fear, confusion, and guilt in their victims to prevent them from reporting the abuse.
For more information and very helpful tools to help parents and caregivers get through this process in a less stressful way check out my new activity book, #RaisingPEARLS : Prepared, Empowered, Armored, Restored, Loved & Secure Children. Preorder your copy by August 14 to receive a Paper Doll set free. https://www.genieswishes4kids.com
Thank you for reading. That means you care enough about children to take the time to do your part. Together we can #preventchildsexualabuse and #humantrafficking. Please share your thoughts here. New subscribers will receive $1 off their first order of my Raising PEARLS activity book or paper doll set in my store.