While talking to your teenager about sexual violence can be uncomfortable or intimidating, it is an essential conversation to have. According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys experience sexual assault. Sexual violence is frightening and common among minors, meaning conversations about prevention should happen early and often. Having open and honest conversations with your teenage child can lower their risk of experiencing or participating in sexual violence.
4 Steps to Follow When Talking to Your Teen About Preventing Sexual Violence
The key to talking to your teen about preventing sexual violence is to be open, honest, and casual. Consider following the steps below when opening a dialogue with your child:
Tell Them They Have Your Unconditional Love and Support
One thing to establish early in the conversation is to tell them they can come to you if they ever experience sexual violence. Tell your child that you will love and believe them no matter what. If your teen feels more comfortable telling you when they have been hurt, it can disrupt a pattern of sexual violence.
Reference the Media to Make a Connection
One way to introduce a topic and establish relevance to their lives is to discuss sexual violence portrayed on TV, the news, or social media. Asking their opinion on the topic can show them you value their thoughts and feelings. Hearing their thoughts can also help you gauge what they understand.
Define and Clarify Consent
Parents often assume their child understands what is and is not rape when they do not. Make sure your child knows that they need consent before engaging in any sexual activity. Consent is your partner saying “yes” without any pressure or violent threat. Make sure they understand that someone drunk or passed out is incapable of granting consent. It is also vital to note that consent is not a promise and that their partner could take back their consent at any time.
Have These Conversations Often
Some parents may believe that the conversation about sexual violence should be one and done. However, the best way to prevent sexual violence in teens is to discuss it openly and often. You can use your own experiences to tell a story about consent to engage your child in further dialogue. Another effective approach is to teach them about looking for signs of sexual violence in their friendships.
Talk to an Experienced Sex Crime Defense Attorney
Despite your best efforts to educate your child, it is impossible to prepare for them being accused of sexual violence. If your child is under investigation for a sex crime in Pennsylvania, it is never too early to start preparing their defense. The expert attorneys at Rubin, Glickman, Steinberg, and Gifford, P.C. have over 65 years of experience and are dedicated to protecting the rights of the accused in Pennsylvania. Our legal team will handle your child’s case with professionalism and attention to detail to craft the best possible defense. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, call us at (215) 822-7575 or complete our contact form today.