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Workshop Gives Help and Hope Keeping Kids Safe from Sexual Abuse

Thursday, March 15, 2018 Leave a Comment

Guest post by Mindee Forman

Did you know that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by age 18? [ source, p. 10 ] Neither did I until I attended the Parenting Safe Children Workshop last weekend. Scary, right?

Thankfully, the workshop didn't just give me scary statistics, but left me feeling empowered and with a set of tools I can use to keep my kids safe. Presented by child sexual abuse prevention expert Feather Berkower, the workshop is presented in three parts:

  1. Educating parents about the reality and facts of child sex abuse,
  2. Providing tools to educate our children about body safety and help them feel empowered to say no, and
  3. Teaching how to build a "Prevention Team" for the child in your life, consisting of any caregivers (schools, churches, camps, etc.) and other family and friends in your kids' lives so that everyone is on the same page about body safety. We even had a chance to practice a conversation.
After attending the workshop, within 48 hours I had taken several actions and plan to take more. I already:
  • Filled my husband in on the workshop's content (although I would love for him to take it, too) so that we're on the same page.
  • Talked to my kids about a few of the body-safety rules we discussed. My son (age 5) thought the conversation was weird but listened and got it, and my daughter (age 10) was really receptive and appreciative and seemed grateful I had broached the topic.
  • Talked to several friends about it and encouraged them to attend (which also gave me a chance to discuss our kids' body-safety rules).
  • Talked to leaders at my church and school and not only encouraged them to attend the workshop (some at our school did), but to be proactive about telling parents about what they do to keep kids safe.
I plan to encourage all my kids' camps and after-school activities to also be proactive with parents about sexual abuse prevention and to let them know parents might ask about their organization's current child sexual abuse prevention policies if they haven't already. My family lives in other states for the most part, so I will need to talk to them as we're together to let them know our kids' body-safety rules and ask them to join our team. I bought Feather's handy Conversation Starter Cards to help me with this since it's not a natural or easy conversation for me.

The whole goal of the workshop and Feather's research is to normalize the conversation around sexual abuse so that it becomes as common as buckling kids into a car seat or having them wear a bike helmet. If we can all take such action as a community, our kids will be far less likely to experience life-changing, traumatic sexual abuse.

If you haven't yet taken the workshop, there are several upcoming opportunities in Denver, some that even offer childcare. There's one on April 14 in Stapleton, but if other dates/times/areas work better for you or your family, here are a few upcoming options (check Feather's website for full schedule):
  1. March 17 at 1:00 p.m. in Bonnie Brae (with free childcare)
  2. April 7 at 1:00 p.m. in Englewood
  3. April 14 at 10:00 a.m. in Stapleton (childcare available)
  4. April 22 at 1:00 p.m. in Boulder
  5. April 28 at 1:00 p.m. in Carbondale (childcare available)
  6. May 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Denver (Wellshire S of Yale @ University - childcare available)
  7. May 12 at 10:00 a.m. in Lakewood
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, so it's a great time to learn about this important topic and how we can keep kids safe!

If you live outside the Denver area, Feather also offers an online version of her workshop - visit her website for details or to register.

If you would rather not be part of a big group or have a specific situation that concerns you, Feather does offer one-on-one phone consultations as well.

If you have taken her workshop and want additional resources, check out Feather's book, recommended resources, or blog (I just subscribed to updates - it's great stuff). Encourage your friends to take the workshop. Talk to your caregivers. Check and share out this news story about Feather, her workshop, and keeping kids safe:

Yes, it's an uncomfortable topic. But if I'm not willing to be uncomfortable to keep my kids safe, I'm not doing my job as a parent. Will you join me? If we normalize this conversation, together we will all feel less uncomfortable, and our kids will be far safer.

Guest post by Mindee Forman

Mindee is a freelance writer, editor, web designer, and social media consultant. She lives in Denver with her husband, two kids, and two crazy cats.


  • Feather Berkower said:  

    Please come join a workshop! You will learn invaluable skills to keep your children safe. parentingsafechildren.com