The holidays should be fun, peaceful and enjoyable. Don’t live in fear, but rather insight. Move forward with peace and without regret. Reduce chaos during your holiday by adhering to the following holiday pleas.
1. Understand that you are not looking for the boogie man.
Predators, pedophiles and rapists don’t look like the boogie man in the alley. They look like people we trust and admire, people that we could never imagine would harm a child or a person. Statistics prove that 95% of perpretrators are either a friend of the family or a family member. This is also why it is hard for victims to come forward. Who would believe them when they came against an upstanding person in the community or family? It was hard for ME to come forward. I was called a “lying b****” for exposing a pastor, a beloved man in the community who prayed for and blessed the people of God. I don’t put these heinous acts past ANY living human. Celebrities, teachers, clergy, professionals, family members and more are capable of this crime. Believe that.
2. Don’t tell any family members to “get over it”.
There is no expiration date on when a victim should tell. Healing is a process and personal journey. Many victims NEVER tell. If someone in your family decides to come forward with their story, hear them. Listen, then tell them that they are not alone and that they have your support. Hug them. Refer them to a local resource that can. Never, ever say to them that they should let it go or express your disdain for why they are bringing up something from years ago. If you really cannot bare to hear what they have to say, gracefully excuse yourself without comment.
3. Don’t force hugs and kisses.
Please don’t force any child to hug or kiss any family members or friends during the holiday. Let them choose. Be watchful. Don’t leave any children alone with anyone in a room at anyone’s house, not even at grandma’s. No lap sitting and be very conscientious of impromtu sleepovers!
Your post hits very close to home for me. I am so happy you are sharing this with others. It is a very important issue. The tip that sticks out to me the most is “don’t tell someone to get over it”. No matter if the person reports the abuse first thing or many years later, the abuse is something they have to heal from. You can’t just “get over it” in a certain time period. Victims need all the support they can get, and family/friends need to be understanding of this. I agree with you, that if a person cannot handle hearing the news of the abuse, politely excusing yourself from the conversation is best. It’s better to be respectful about it then being hurtful and/or ignoring the victim.
Maaaaan…ALL OF THIS hits home for me. As a child growing up in a family with four uncles who molested my cousins, my mother was very vigilant! We were not required to hug, kiss, nor touch any family members that we did not want to. I learned at an early age to alert my mother if anyone ever touched me inappropriately. One time my dads male friend helped me down from the kitchen counter because I was standing on it to get a snack. I kicked him in the nuts. Hey… It’s what my mother taught me! Thanks for sharing these tips. I definitely teach my daughters the same.
As the mother of a nonverbal daughter with autism, I am always on heightened alert!
I hate when parents force kids to hug and kiss other people. It is like they don’t realize kids are humans too, and have rights to their bodies.
Don’t force hugs and kisses. Indeed! Personal space is something I really instil into my children.
These are great tips. We have to be careful and proactive about protecting ourselves and our loved ones.
Great points and tips for parents. Never make your children hug random people.
This is good advice. We don’t require hugs… not even high fives when family is involved. People call me standoffish, but at these events, I’m watching folks interactions and making sure everything is on the up and up. We also don’t do “all kids in the basement” type stuff. That is our cue to roll out.
PLEASE do NOT force kids to kiss or hug anyone! This is what I hated the most about growing up. Stop making me get all close to people I don’t know or care don’t about.
I totally agree that we should not force children to kiss and hug relatives especially if they are apprehensive about it.
Great advice! This is something I take very seriously. Now that my grand-daughter is here, I’m extra cautious about this. Sometimes maybe too much but you just never know. My daughter knew growing up that this was something I did not play about. And, to tell me if something happen. She didn’t spend the night at others, I would have them over to my home. She would be mad at me but I use to tell her wait until you become a mother. Thanks for sharing.
These are such great tips, especially about the forced kisses and hugs.
One of the things that I swear by is not making my kids hug or kiss anyone. I allow them to decide if they want to hug someone or if they just want to shake their hands.
Great advice, LaQuisha. Coming forward in necessary for healing, and it’s such a brave thing to do. It’s heartbreaking to hear how you were treated. I love that you’re now advocating for those who may not have a voice yet.
I agree completely. I dont think abuse is something that you just “get over”, you can get through it and get help but hearing the words “just get over it” would be heartbreaking. Empathy is key.