Thursday, October 25, 2007

Preventive Program on Sexual Assault for Small Children

As a result of what happened last week in one of the school's in our small city, in which a masked man entered a girl's toilet, the feeling of insecurity was matched by the strong feeling of 'we must to do something.'

The kindergarten have been planning to offer a preventive program on sexual assault for young children, but they were still deliberating about this. After what happened, they are now ready to start, but how? By looking for the best program available.

I got hold of one program that they call, 'Ich bin doch kein Heini!?' ('I am nevertheless not Heini!?'). The puppet, Heini, would be the main 'speaker' of the program. The children would show "Heini" behaviors that would hopefully expose their self-assurance and self-confident. They would learn basic skills that build self-worth, self-confidence and good judgment. The moderators of the program would then integrate police know-hows with competent, social educational skills.

The children would be shown how to react opposite strangers, in different situations in which they would be alone; meaning, no presence of their parents.

But a part of the program would also involve the parents. Because the program's concept is to provide the resources for reinforcing the skills the children would need in preventing such things to happen. The key to the success of the program is to encourage the change of behavior and to encourage the children to follow the rules. That would mean more awareness on the part of the parents, of course.

The program is also based on the 'Feelings Yes, Feelings No' from Canada. It reinforces the children's understanding of yes and no feelings, provides them with a simple, non-threatening definition of sexual assault, and introduces them to skills that will aid them in assessing situations involving strangers. It also hopes to give children the skills necessary to protect themselves from sexual assault--from strangers, from family members, from other trusted persons. Read here.

The program would focus on behavior or reactions when the children faces a stranger's on the door, in a car or in the playground. Thus, it would be easier for the kids to react right when faced with these everyday situations. Role playing would be done during the 45 minute program. This sounds just right.

The thing is, the program states that they recommend that only kids from 6 years old up should join the program as the younger ones would not be able to appreciate and understand the danger in those situations.

Which made me think, are our younger kids really so open to these bad elements in the community? Therefore, as parents, it is really our responsibility to protect our kids; that is until they reach the age of 6 in which they could undergo this preventive project because then they would understand how perilous some situations could be. Of course, I know we should take care of the kids, it's just that even these professionals admit that the smallest are really vulnerable.

Headache is knocking... I need to think.


GreyMom said...

Your government is doing a good thing. How sad and unfortunate that we live in a world where there is a need for these measures and programs.
I agree, the smallest ones are really vulnerable. That's why when the kids were little (and even now that they're 9 and 11), we make sure they are always with us. How frightening though that this happened in school. A place where they should be safe. :(

julie said...

Raq, what happened was very frightening.

Last summer, I had a topic with my pre-teen students about Good Secrets and Bad secrets which were really about physical abuses and what children should do about it. No matter how much we protect our children, there would always be danger lurking around. Scary.

Take care.

raqgold said...

greymom, it is the parents who are taking the initiative to introduce this program. i agree, we should never have had the need for those programs...sana!

julie, am glad to hear that this program is also being done in our country.

Rüdiger Schilling said...

the innovator of "Ich bin doch kein Heini!?" ist speaking.
I found this blogg today and I´m positive surprised to find my programm in english language - great! Thank´s to raqgold! Where did you have seen my programm? Did I shown it or were it my teached policemen?
For you all: If some need further informations, please visit or contact me with an e-mail
And don´t forget, I train the children in possible reactions if they are alone, if they are accosted (? - excuse my bad english) out of a car one the way to school or if they were contact on a playground. Thereby we think about strangers. But more dangerous are the familiar persons, persons who know the childs and their familiy. Most of sexual offendings are in the so called "sozialer Nahraum" (translation can be: room of social nearness) an means all the personens on bowing terms up to the affiliation. In Germany we assume over 80 % of sexual offenders are not strange.

Recapitulating: Don´t be affraid! The sexual offending declining. Work with your kids, train the questions about feeling and be a pattern. So you can nurture a confident child - the premise is: you have to be confident for yourself.

Greetings and have a lot of fun with your children!

Rüdiger Schilling and Heini