The headlines have been filled with the scandals in the churches, sports, schools, and the entertainment industry. Those stories were not easy to report at first, but the media now routinely reports with accuracy and sensitivity (usually) on these arenas. That leaves out the place where the most abuse (by category) occurs. That’s the family, which I often call the “last frontier,” because it is the most difficult for society to see or accept as true.
No one wants to think that defenseless children are at risk simply from going home, or that fathers, mothers, siblings, or grandparents would do horrendous things to their children. But they do. And our child protective service organizations in the states struggle to keep up with the magnitude of it.
If you watch nothing else to understand how our society has let down our children who are being abused in families, watch the 6-part documentary The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez on Netflix.
Families are also a front line to protecting children, of course, and this section is for you, and the caregivers who are spending so much time with children. Parents need to understand the signs of sex abuse and the effective tips to prevent harm, which is why CHILD USA has put together these tips. There are numerous resources in this universe, and we have selected the ones we believe will be the most helpful.
We have far to go to educate the culture, the courts, and the public about the prevalence of sex abuse at home, where a child should be safe and sound. That is one of the goals of this section, and, of course, of CHILD USA itself!
Here’s to nurturing and loving our children.
— Prof. Marci Hamilton, Founder/CEO of CHILD USA
Our selected books are typically available in public and/or university libraries.
Cheering for the Children: Creating Pathways to HOPE for Children Exposed to Trauma
The book helps to describe the toxicity of childhood sexual trauma and why it should be a leading public health issue. Additionally, the book provides tips for caregivers and loved ones of children who have experienced sexual abuse.
The Color Purple
The book centers around a young girl who experiences child sexual abuse at the hands of her father. She is eventually married off to an older man who continues to abuse her.
Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy – Second Edition
The book focuses on the various aspects of incestuous childhood sexual abuse including the resulting neurological, attachment, and stress disorders.
How Long Does It Hurt? A Guide to Recovering from Incest and Sexual Abuse for Teenagers, their Friends and their Families
The book was written by an incest survivor to help other incest survivors with their feelings of isolation, self-doubt, and confusion.
Sally Field’s autobiography includes revelations about being abused by her stepfather, which made her feel “helpless.”
Not Child’s Play: An Anthology on Brother-Sister Incest
The anthology uses prose, poetry, and art to share the stories of 35 women who suffered sexual abuse at the hands of their brothers.
Off Limits: A Parent’s Guide to Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse
The book provides parents and teachers with tips and advice to protect the children in their care from childhood sexual abuse, such as warning signs of abuse.
Prosecuted but Not Silenced
The book focuses on the journey of a mother who fights against the justice system to prevent her daughter from living with the child’s abusive father.
The book focuses on a young girl living in a poor family in the mountains of Nepal. The young girl is tricked into joining a brothel when a local man offers her employment as a “maid.”
Books for Children
Consent (for Kids): Boundaries, Respect, and Being In Charge of You
The book provides an age-appropriate guide on the ways that children should approach consent and their rights to their bodies.
Mi Cuerpo es un Regalo (My Body is a Gift, en español)
The book is a guide for young children about body autonomy and the beauty of the human body. The target age range is between zero and seven years old. (El libro es un guía sobre el cuerpo humano y al autocuidado. Los niños tienen cero a siete años pueden usar este libro).
Monty's Day in Court
This books helps children better understand the process of testifying in court and to reduce retraumatization.
My Body Is Private
The story is told from the point of view of a child who explains how to uncomfortable touches. The target age is between four and eight years old.
Please Tell! A Child’s Story about Sexual Abuse
The book encourages children to speak up about their sexual abuse and seek help. The target age range is three and up.
Sam Speaks Out
The fictional story centers around Sam who speaks out about a neighbor’s behavior. The target age range is four to six.
Something Happened and I’m Scared to Tell
The book helps abused children share their story while also reminding them that they are not to blame for the situation. The target age is between three and eight.
Telling Isn’t Tattling
The book uses examples to help children differentiate between telling when something inappropriate has happened and tattling against someone. The target age range is four to ten.
A Terrible Thing Happened
The book centers around a small child who has witnessed a negative event and all of the uncomfortable feelings that develop as a result of the sighting. The target age range is four to seven.
That Uh-oh Feeling: A Story about Touch
The story is a work of fiction that teaches children how to handle adults that make them feel uncomfortable. The target age is six to eight.
Those are MY Private Parts
The goals of the book is provide parents with a starting point to discuss sexual abuse with their children.
The Trouble with Secrets
The book hopes to provide children with a guide about the types of secrets to hide and when to share a secret. The age range is between four and ten years old.
Uncle Willy’s Tickles: A Child’s Right to Say No
The short book engages in a child-friendly discussion of bodily autonomy and consent. The target age range is three to eight years old.
- The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has a public, comprehensive guide to helping parents navigate child sexual abuse.
Child Maltreatment and Trauma: Treating the Whole Family by Dr. Steven Berkowitz
- This overview explores childhood trauma and its impact on mental health with an emphasis on the understanding that, regardless of the trauma type, every trauma is family trauma.
Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) Factsheet by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
- This link contains information about child sexual abuse and strategies to treat children who are experiencing it.
- This link contains information about the definition of child sexual abuse, the effects of child sexual abuse, and how to help someone experiencing child sexual abuse.
How Home Visitors Can Promote Sexual Health and Safety and Help Prevent Child Sexual Abuse by Janet Rosenzweig and Michelle Marty
- This link contains helpful questions and considerations that one should focus on when they make a visit to the house of a child who may be experiencing sexual abuse.
When a Child Discloses Abuse by Lori S. Kornblum and Daniel Pollack
How Hands Convicted a Paedophile – BBC Documentary
- This 13-minute video depicts how forensic hand science has become the new forensic science to help identify and convict pedophiles.
TEDx Talks: Finding Courage to Talk About Child Sexual Abuse by Jill Tolles
- In this 13-minute video, Jill Tolles explains the importance of speaking up about child sexual abuse. She emphasizes the courage that everyone must have to ensure that conversations about child sexual abuse occur.
Sitara by Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy
- This 15-minute film is an animated short focused on a 14-year-old girl with career aspirations in a patriarchal society. The film promotes the idea of supporting the educational dreams of young girls.
- Discusses dealing with child sex abuse and healing on The View.
- This 2.5-hour live stream discusses a variety of housing issues that may affect a child’s physical health.
- This link contains information about how to avoid child sexual abuse.
- CHILD USA’s Gold Standard Policy is an evidence-based and expert-vetted set of policies that can be used by any Youth Serving Organization to protect the children they serve from abuse. It includes tools for prevention, training recommendations, reporting procedures, and much more to assist and advise organizations working with children.
What You Need to Know about Child Sexual Abuse by Darkness to Light
Safety Support for Parents by RAINN