We’re heading to Townsville to stay with friends for a few days. We won’t be back until New Years Eve.
Please, stay safe, be sensible and I’ll see you all when we get back.
Related article about our recent trip to Townsville:
We’re heading to Townsville to stay with friends for a few days. We won’t be back until New Years Eve.
Correct names for body parts is important in the fight against child sexual abuse. Many parents appear to have fear around calling a vagina a vagina and an anus an anus. Instead they make up “cute" names: box, willy, peach, whistle, etc.
Predators know this and they also use “cute" names to trick the child into accommodating bad touch by making the touch appear cute and normal.
An adult woman, sexually abused as a child, always viewed Boxing Day as the worse day of the year. Although subjected to non-penetrative sexual abuse for some time, Boxing Day changed it for her.
The incestuous perpetrator suggested that he put something in her “box”, that Boxing Day was particularly for that. Already groomed to accept that her Vagina was a “box” and sanctioned by a day that was named after the specialness of little girls, the child was raped on Boxing Day. It took her a long time to learn that Boxing Day was about something different and that other little girls didn't get the same treatement on that day, or any other day.
Had this child known correct terminology she may have known that the predator was tricking her. In the subsequent court case, her case may have been won if words and actions had not been confused, manipulated and supported by fact that it was indeed Boxing Day on the day of alleged rape and that the child had somehow imagined that Boxing Day was about her box.
We don’t call an arm something different. Call a vagina a vagina and a penis a penis because that is what they are. Ignorance is not innocence. By giving our children the correct information we are protecting them, not spoiling their innocence. It is the perpetrators who will often use a child's ignorance and rob them of their innocence.
For some protective play ideas on how to introduce using correct terminology for private body parts, check out Private Parts: What to Call Them?
For a lovely story written by another parenting blogger have a look at Private Parts by Booby Juice.
Just as our Police are calling for a reduction in the road toll, I hope you will all join with me in my call for a reduction in the Christmas sexual abuse toll.
May this Christmas season bring you some respite from your personal pain. May the rest of your community recognise your silent suffering and your pleas of keeping other children safe. May you get the gift of knowing that you have done something to end child sexual abuse.
My 2006 reflections leave me satisfied that I have indeed worked hard to contribute to the shattering of silence around child abuse – this blog is only a small part of what I have done. My wish for 2007 is that you will join with me, that this blog becomes a strong voice of those concerned with ending the societal scourge of child sexual abuse and that together we create an advocacy forum that says NO MORE SEXUAL ABUSE.
Many voices, many changes. Speak up and keep all kids safe this Christmas, no matter where they are or which country they belong to.
Child abuse will not be tolerated.
Merry Christmas to all (except to those filthy predators that deck our halls with poison ivy. May you find yourselves banished, hunted and scared).
This morning the kitchen greeted me with the most amazingly strong smells of Christmas: Mangoes. Instantly, I was in heaven and looking down upon my innocent child hood memories of growing up in Papua New Guinea.
I remembered having Mango strings stuck between my teeth, juice dripping from my elbows and pretending I was a mango monster: holding my Mango sticky hands out front while I chased any kid that came near me.
I remember the big white smiles of the National kids of Papua New Guinea who mostly retrieved and shared their Mangoes, Five Corners and Guavas. The ease of pubic relations, international treaties of exchange, foreign affairs and diplomatic relations occurred without the need of legislation or protocol.
My memories are fantastic and I thank my parents for having facilitated such happiness.
Christmas is a time of family togetherness. With this often comes all of the family history that many people would frankly, rather forget.
Too many children experience physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect at Christmas time. Increased alcohol use, financial stress and family violence appear to heighten as a natural consequence of family dysfunction meeting extended family dysfunction. These atrocities perpetrated against our children are our children’s future memories.
As you enter your kitchen, lounge, bed or bathroom, take note of the smells and sounds. These sensory stimuli are what your children are going to remember in their adult hood. For many survivors of child abuse, smells trigger their dissociation, depression or own acting out of bad behaviours. Smells and memories go hand in hand.
Sniff up your past mistakes and make this Christmas a time of happy memories for your children. This does not mean you have to buy copious gifts but rather that you invest in the creation of child safety and happy memories: The absence of negative triggers replaced with family focused triggers of fond memories.
For me, the smell of Christmas memories is a big bowl of Mangoes or the smell of Frangipani blooms.
What will your child remember? As of today, YOU have the power to create new memories and contribute toward a future world of love, peace and child safety.
Child Protection: Serious Business, and all you have to do is change a couple of things that you are currently doing out of habit.
Related blog that has really touched me: Child Abuse Survivor.
Signs warning parents of sexual predators have swum around my head all night. Yesterday’s successful Crocodile warnings have made a positive impact on me. Thinking further through the issue, I decided that creating fear in parents trying to protect their children from sexual predators is disempowering. Positive, non-fear based campaigns are empowering and can be owned by a greater part of any community.
To have a roadside billboard, positively displaying the elements of a Protective Behaviour program may act as a constant visual reminder of what to do to keep kids safe. The billboard could positively remind parents to put a hat and sun screen on their child, swim between the flags, wear seatbelts, look before crossing the road, keep poisons out of reach and clearly state the tenets of the BITSS model of personal safety: Body Ownership, Intuition, Touch, Say No and Support Network.
Billboards reach millions of motorists on a daily basis. Effective but expensive advertising that is way outside of my meager budget. How to achieve such a large scale, community focused and positive protective behaviour campaign???
Purse for a Curse © Megan Bayliss 2006 is an idea I had some months ago. We were discussing the value of Shave for a Cure and the phrase and idea just popped into my head. Partner (a business consultant) loved “Purse for a Curse” immediately. It is catchy, focused and could fundraise for several social curse areas: child sexual abuse, homelessness, domestic violence, poverty, environmental causes, etc.
The idea born to me overnight is to hold an auction of celebrity donated and unique purses, bags or wallets. Monies raised from the auction would then fund a Protective Behaviour roadside billboard, spreading a protective message to as many people as possible.
What do readers think of the idea? Would this work in your community? How would you react to a Protective Behaviour billboard? Does anyone have a personal relationship with Oprah Winfrey? I would love her to donate a handbag or purse to kick off “Purse for a Curse”.
Warning: Crocodiles will hurt our kids.
We went to Forrest Beach for a picnic and swim but the beach was closed due to Crocodile sightings. No body was walking the beach, swimming or even standing at the top of the sand watching for those sneaky and very dangerous crocks.
Two prominent signs clearly warned of the danger. A group of lifeguards rested in the shade under the coconut trees, casually keeping an eye on our movements. There was no way I was going near water’s edge so there was no need for the lifeguards to rouse from their resting positions to caution me.
It struck me how effective the warning signs were and how seriously and responsibly residents and holidaymakers were taking the crocodile sightings and warnings.
Given that sexual predators lurk in the waters of our neighbourhoods, just waiting to snap up our children, I wondered if we should perhaps erect similar warning signs. In Australia, sexual predators, in jail, are referred to as Rock Spiders. Some people also call them Short Eyes or Kiddie Fiddlers. I think I’ll rename them as crocodiles. I would like to see warning signs and posters throughout our community, warning parents of the ever present and real danger of these predators waiting to snap our children.
When exiting jail there is no requirement for communities to know who the child sexual abusers are, there is no process of notification of towns they are living in, nor is there any external sign that states that these people are a hidden threat to our children.
Lurking in the still waters of complacency, these sexual predators do not close our beaches, our roads, our neighbourhoods or our communities. They do not create a ripple of concern because everyday Mums and Dads like you and I cannot see them and are not aware of them.
Many more children are harmed by child sexual abusers than are people taken by Crocodiles. Who cares? I DO!
Be warned. Crocodiles lurk here. Their favorite food are children and the complacency that offers our children up like an entrée.
Educate your children in protective behaviours. Let your children know that if someone tries to touch their private parts that it is okay to yell at them and come and tell you. Just like you are preparing for Christmas, prepare your children for crocodile danger. Give them the hunting skills required to recognise crocodile tracks and the water safety to know when to swim away from dangerous rips.
Crocodiles are protected. You cannot harm or kill them but you can warn people of the danger. Sex offenders also have rights. What do you think of a warning sign strategy on the front of homes where released child sexual abusers reside?
The time of house protection for my adult children is upon us. Today we are off to Ingham to housesit for my son and daughter-in-law while they have a well-deserved break at Airlie Beach. We will not be back until Christmas Eve.
Child protection is a job that never ends. My son is 22 and I know I am going to do the whole mother thing as he and his wife drive away: drive safely, risk manage around situations, don’t walk alone, ring me if anything goes wrong.
While parental concern drives kids to distraction, parental concern also provides reminders that we all need to stay vigilant in every situation. Just as fences, windows, doors, walls and roof protect our house, it is a parents job to act protectively toward their children.
Children growing up in incestuous situations often do not have a parent looking out for their holistic welfare. The lies and manipulation required to keep child sexual abuse, or incest, a secret damage our children’s minds and create a confused dynamic of trust.
Hypervigilant through fear of being hurt, the child who has been sexually assaulted often scans the environment for danger but misses the danger when it pops up right under their nose. These are the children who could well benefit from constant, daily reminders that often bad things happen when we least expect them and that they often happen in what we may consider to be safe spaces.
When was the last time that you provided your child with safety reminders? Most parents engage in protective behaviours without even realising that they are doing it. Given that child sexual abuse is so prevalent it is time to make a conscious decision to do our utmost to keep ALL kids safe.
Do a protective behaviour audit. What words, games or messages do you give to your children to let them know that they can tell you about anything, that they can listen to their early warning signs and that it is okay to be rude to people and say no when other people are breaking the rules of protection, decency and appropriateness.
See you again on Christmas Eve. Stay safe and remember that nothing is so awful that you can’t talk to someone about it.
Yesterday I yelled, and swore, at my child because he would not come Christmas shopping with me. As soon as I did it, I wanted to take the words and volume back. I wanted to reverse the damage I knew I had caused. I cannot. The damage is child abuse and child abuse is lasting.
Keen to ensure that I knew I had hurt him, my child screamed back at me. He cried and he said, “I thought you were supposed to be on the side of kids.” I felt dreadful.
Parents get stressed; parents do often lash out verbally at their kids. However, there is no excuse for abuse. Provocation from our children does not equal child abuse as an acceptable means of discipline.
My child has Aspergers. He tests us to the limit because we are not adult or strong enough to remember that his behaviour is normal to him. In desperation, frustration and disempowerment, I emotionally abused my child because he was being a child with Aspergers.
Much emotional abuse to children occurs because we parents throw tantrums. Parents fail to work with their children in the child’s time frame. Busy lives, stressed finances and the pressures of Christmas turned commercial will turn many children’s Christmases into hell on earth this year.
The lesson for me yesterday was that the unequal balance of power between children and adults is enhanced by the use of adult words. My vocabulary range and intonation is far greater than my son’s and therefore a more potent weapon. I can choose to use my words to heal and help, but instead I used my toxic tongue to hurt and constipate.
No amount of apology will recover the hurt he experienced at my hands yesterday. I am the adult and I have the power to change my behaviour. I will bite my tongue when I want to lash out verbally, I will remember the hurt look on his face and I will remember that I am on the side of kids. I will use my words to help. I will think the thoughts of frustration but not allow them to slip from my lips. Nobody can read my thoughts, but my child can hear, and remember, my words.
Even though I am an advocate for protecting children, I am also a human being; a parent who needs reminding that child abuse takes many forms. It is not just sexual or physical abuse. Verbal abuse creates scars on the inside that nobody can see. Even though I am considered professional in the area of child abuse, I still need constant reminders that everything I do has the potential to hurt a child. If this is how it is for me, how much more supportive reminders do other parents require?
I share this personal confession with you because I want to help other parents cease their bad behaviours toward their children. I urge you to consider the potency of words that fall from your mouth in moments of anger. I urge you to remember that yelling, screaming, swearing and sarcasm directed toward your children are forms of emotional child abuse.
How do you stop yourself from emotionally abusing your children? By sharing your story, you may just give other parents ideas, hope and support. Together we can end child abuse: sexual, physical, emotional and neglect.
Suffolk killer, you stay off the streets. In scenes reminiscent of the Yorkshire Ripper, Police are again calling for women in Suffolk to stay indoors. This curfew of innocent women was instrumental in the development of the Reclaim the Night Movement that rose out of the Yorkshire Ripper murders.
Women have the right to go when and where they want. With rights comes responsibility. Rather than deny rights of women (stay indoors) surely it would be more beneficial to caution people to use their intuition, their sense of responsibility in not wandering alone and more importantly, call on the Suffolk killer to curfew himself.
The Suffolk Killer knows he is doing wrong. He knows he is creating heartache, fear and paranoia. This is why he does it. He has a need to prove himself, to create a further imbalance of power and control. He wants women to stay inside. He wants working women, prostitutes, to be his pretty little kittens, things to be played with and then killed. He wants the attention of a media frenzy because it is the only way he can be important.
No more. This is 2006 and women remain punished by structures meant to police crime. Is our crime that we are born women? No, our crime is that murderers know they can bash, rape or murder us because society does not intervene in their escalation of sexually deviant behaviours until it is too late.
Somebody, somewhere knows something about the Suffolk Killer. I urge you to pass your information to the police. As much as I despise the acts of murder perpetrated by the Suffolk Killer, he requires attention other than that he is currently creating. Give him no more media, give him the help he needs.
I have never been a supporter of the death penalty. Truth in sentencing yes, but the death sentence has always concerned me. It is cases like the Suffolk Killer scenario that may well sway my mind and encourage me to advocate for the death penalty.
To the women, children and men of Suffolk, my thoughts of safety are with you all. Please stay responsible, vigilant and safe. To the families of the five women murdered by the Suffolk Killer, my deepest condolences and grief are with you.
To the Suffolk Killer: you stay off the streets.
What do readers think about 1) the death penalty for murderers, and
2) giving the Suffolk Killer no more media?
Related news articles on the Suffolk Killer:
Suffolk killer claims two more victims
Serial killing dilemma
Killer 'is probably white, in his late 20s or 30s, with local links'
Sky's Expert Analyses Suffolk Killer
Hunt Widens For U.K.'s 'Suffolk Strangler'
Third prostitute 'was strangled'
Protecting children by protecting the environment is a task that Aaron and Lyn Davey of Wait-a-While Nature Refuge have achieved to perfection. My family and I have just had the ultimate, soul cleansing pleasure of spending a night in the magnificent pole home and tropical rain forest surrounds, lovingly nurtured and shared by Aaron and Lyn. Committed to ecology, conservation and now eco tourism by default through their sharing personalities, this wonderful young couple has created a natural and protective refuge for both animal and human being alike.
Wait-a-While Nature Refuge protects one of the last vegetated linkages between the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area and the lower reaches of the Russell River. Situated on Woopen Creek Road, Mirriwinni, Far North Queensland, Australia, Aaron and Lyn have dedicated their land to protecting and sustaining the life of our native fauna and flora. Wait-a-While Nature Refuge is heaven in the sticks.
Like our other most precious resource, our children, our rainforest ecology requires protection and consciousness raising in those predators that rape, prostitute and exploit our environment. Lyn and Aaron’s protective commitment to consciousness raising and their spectacular tropical rainforest surrounds melted my heart as if it was an ice cube beside a volcano.
Amongst the splendor of their rainforest haven, I found like-minded people of protection who live what they preach. They speak the language of protective behaviours, in a global and environmental tongue, that crosses the boundaries of age, race, creed and organic matter. Animal, plant, mineral or human, you are guaranteed preservation and the ultimate of respectful care in the hands of Aaron and Lyn.
About to open their home and nature refuge as a bed and breakfast, we had the honour of being trial houseguests. What an experience. I am still rainforest kissed on every part of my relaxed body. I so wanted to wait-a-while longer, to stay and talk further with them. I wanted to soak in their socially responsible ethics, their commitment and their passion for protecting our world, their ambience, their service, their humble gratitude to life and their emotionally and intellectually stimulating environ.
Their three-story timber pole home is immaculate in presentation and in blending with the environment. Huge covered decks offer views of every angle of their 45-hectare nature refuge. From the Russel River to the tapestry of rainforest greens tightly bodiced onto a hem of rich, healthy red rainforest soil, the ambience and learning the home offers is divine.
A well-traveled and delightful couple, they have furnished their home to reflect the many paths of a protective life trod by themselves and their international visitors to date. Soft and hard furnishings whisper of the struggle of our globes first world people, of an environment under repair, and of a young couple who have devoted their life to protection and regeneration.
The world needs more Aaron and Lyn’s. Soak in their non-toxic contagion by visiting their heaven and enjoy your visiting status of Rainforest Fairy Queen or King as you revel in the beauty of their unique bed and breakfast accommodation right in the middle of a nature refuge.
Not quite open to the public, I will be sure to link this blog to their web site once they are ready to invite you to step into their world vision of a sustainable future. Affordable, unique and amazingly special, an overnight visit to Wait-a-While Nature Refuge Bed and Breakfast at Mirriwini will be symbolic of a fragile and precious, rare fern grown strong in your visit to our diverse world heritage area of Far North Queensland Australia.
Aaron and Lyn of Wait-a-While Nature Refuge, thank you for helping to protect our children by first protecting our environment.