Here’s How To Talk To Kids About Sexual Violence

AS THE SEXUAL ASSAULT AND HARASSMENT ALLEGATIONS against embattled Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein continue to grow,

many have taken to social media to share their own experiences of being violated. After the scandal broke, actress Alyssa Milano issued a Twitter plea to victims to reply “me too” if they’ve been assaulted or harassed and the simple request resulted in a myriad of stories, powerful new allegations, and a call for support for those who have come forward.

Long before the #MeToo tag took over social media, activist and organizer Tarana Burke created the Me Too campaign as a way to deal with her own experience being sexually assaulted. “I started using ‘me too’ around 2006/2007 when I was living in Alabama,” she explains. “We started a campaign about survivors talking to each other. As a person who was a survivor, I had to really think about what I needed when I tried to figure out how I could heal.”

While men and women continue to share their traumatic experiences, the constant news coverage may prompt many young people to wonder how they fit into the conversation. Recently, GOOD spoke with Burke about what’s next for the Me Too campaign and how parents and caregivers should talk to children about sexual violence.

How do we start having the conversation about sexual assault and violence with young people? Should we lead with talking about unwanted touching and consent?

We have to start talking to children really early about consent. It doesn’t have to be just “good touch, bad touch”; it can be telling them, “When you’re on the playground and you push someone or touch someone and they say they’re uncomfortable, then you have to stop immediately.” You can use the same kind of language you use to give boundaries and rules to young people.

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