The article below is interesting to read, and I encourage to take a look at 11 things that we know increase the likelihood of being abused, and identify how we can lower the risks.
Perhaps what is most interesting is that some of these factors are completely out of our control, which may make this list seem a little odd. After all, we can’t just tell kids to not be LBGTQ+ in order to lower the risk, or not have a disability, or not live in a blended family, even though each of those things is a risk factor, right?
But, I think if we look a little deeper, we’ll see an interesting pattern. It’s the things we can do something about as parents, and adults, that become force multipliers when we talk about the things we can’t control.
For example, if we know that kids who don’t understand boundaries, are lonely, live in stressful family situations, and do not have open communication with other people in their lives, are more likely to be sexually abused, what does that mean when a teen comes out and is not accepted by their family? Or when a blended family becomes dysfunctional, or a kid with disabilities is not taught boundaries but kept hidden away from others?
You have kids who are lonely, who don’t feel safe and loved, who don’t understand boundaries, etc.
If a kid who’s lonely and lacking in self esteem is at risk. And a kid who identifies as LGBTQ+ is at risk, can we stop for a minute and consider that it’s not being LGBTQ+ that is a risk factor, it’s how much more likely that kid is to be lonely and lacking in self-esteem?
And thus, the cycle continues. When it shouldn’t. We know what it is about disabled kids, kids from blended families, or LGBTQ+ kids that make them more prone to abuse, mental health issues, and suicide. It’s not their reality, it’s the responses to their reality that create the risk factors. The things that make them more likely to be loners, disconnected from family support, lacking safe adults to communicate with, etc.
So maybe we should focus on being more supportive of all kids?
And, since we’re on the topic and it is June. Happy Pride!