How to make sure your kids know what's okay

Sexual assault might be something a parent never wants to think about when it comes to their kids.

"We all want to protect our children," explains Tashmica Torok of the Firecracker Foundation, "and we want to make sure they're in the safest environment possible."

But Torok says it's all too common for kids to experience sexual assault:

"Statistically speaking one in three girls and one in six boys will become a victim of sexual assault before they turn the age 18."

Which is why children's advocates like Torok suggest making sure kids know what's okay and what isn't.

"There are ways you can prepare your children walking into a situation that they have some expectation of what should happen and what shouldn't happen," offers Torok.

That means explaining when a doctor might be touching private parts and it's okay, versus when the child shouldn't expect that. If a child does experience something out of the ordinary, Alex Brace of Small Talk says it's important to listen to your kids.

"I think any time that a child comes to you with a report of some kind of abuse, the most important thing to do right off the bat is to believe them," explains Brace. He continues "making sure that the child know that they have your support and you're a trusted adult that they can come to."

It's also important to use the right terms for private parts, so there isn't confusion if your kids report abuse to someone else.

The key for Brace and Torok is to approach the conversations early.

"Things like that are really important for making kids more comfortable to be able to tell these things," says Brace.

That way, if anything does happen, you might be able to prevent it from happening to other kids in the future.

For advocacy centers for kids who are victims of sexual assault, you can click on these links.

Small Talk offers therapy to children who have encountered sexual or physical abuse. It also works with parents on how to talk to kids who have experienced trauma.

The Firecracker Foundation works with children who are victims of sexual trauma by building a community of healing with therapy and activities.