Young children grow up in the world innocent; free of the social mores expected of adults. Too often however, they can mimic social dynamics without understanding that they may be doing something harmful or harassing to another young child.
All young children need a clear understanding of their child rights and the boundaries regarding their bodies and their social self-worth otherwise they will continue to face barriers to the enjoyment of their rights and inclusion as full members of society despite age, gender, ethnicity, language, disability, poverty or impairment.
By creating appropriate, supportive and protective environments, parents and educators can teach a young child the tools to understanding their rights and the behaviours required to maintaining their dignity.
Is it just an innocent kiss on a girl’s cheek while on the playground
Is it just an innocent kiss on a girl’s cheek while on the playground; or just a game when a boy pulls the pants down of another while in the bathrooms? Helping children create personal boundaries when faced with such power dynamic can help a young child to negotiate social scenarios and steer clear of abusive behaviours which often reveal themselves in child’s play.
Children with disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual bullying and sexual harassment and according to the research of Dr Ayelet Giladi who heads up Voice of the Child Association educational prevention programs; the effects are just as devastating.
“Prevention much come first,” says Dr Giladi. “Our school directed programs include games, and interactive discussions thar bring clear understanding to personal socialisation tools that teach the child that only they own and may touch their bodies.
“Any sexual harassment and abuse is distressing and confusing to a young child, even more so with a child managing a disability as well. As adults, parents and educators we must safeguard them with practises that gives them the ability for a personally coherent and consistent responses of dignity to others within their social groups.
“Too often the family dynamic or school environment is not equipped to cope with sexual harassment, bullying and abuse and the child’s voice is not heard, or is dismissed by an adult who can often be too socialised themselves to pick up the nuances of a child trying to communicate their distress.
“There is no room in prevention of sexual harassment and sexual bullying for misconceptions. We must empower young children themselves to manage themselves and have the social tools for empowerment that allow them to speak up for their own rights. When we teach them the tools to self-manage and respond to their relating within the social dynamic they can do so with dignity, respect and equality for all despite their differences in race, gender or ethnicity.
Voice of the Child Association programs ensure young children are given the correct information about their bodies, their rights and how to report sexual behaviours that are coercive or disrespectful.
Prevention programs implemented in kindergarten and elementary and primary schools by Voice of the Child Association offers parents and educators, through accompanying workshops and presentations a community approach to stamping out gender inequality and returning respect and harmony to early years children – young learners was are empowered to protect themselves and will grow up to be empowered adults without the need for a #Metoo movement in the future.
Learn more about implementing a schools program in your region by visiting global.voiceofchild.co.il or write directly to Dr Ayelet Giladi on email@example.com