One of the biggest barriers to addressing child sexual abuse is the plain difficulty many of us experience in trying to talk about it with other adults and in age-appropriate ways with children.
Unfortunately, this means that all-too-often these essential conversations happen after something harmful has already occurred. That needs to change, and a recent book from the “A Kid’s Book About” collection seeks to help parents tackle the necessary conversations with their children, beginning from age 5 onward.
The book came about after Evelyn Yang, who is an abuse survivor, mother of two, and wife of former presidential candidate Andrew Yang, publicly disclosed sexual abuse by her OB-GYN. Following that, not only did others come forward reporting abuse by the same person, but Evelyn remembered an episode of childhood sexual abuse she had also lived through.
While enriched by her advocacy work and ability to help others, she realized she wasn’t even yet able to explain the issue to her own children, and there lacked resources to help. A Kid’s Book About Sexual Abuse became the book she wished she had had.
Using a narrative form, Evelyn tells the story not of her abuse in childhood, but rather of abuse in adulthood. She wanted to demonstrate that even for adults the experience of sexual abuse is scary and confusing, and therefore children should also feel no shame in their own confusion, or in telling someone what’s going on.
A Kid’s Book About Sexual Abuse is a book about safety and empowerment, giving children the language and understanding to recognize abuse, while directly encouraging them to tell trusted adults if they are experiencing it. In an interview, Yang explained that “the key point of the book is that no matter what happens, the single most important thing you can do is to tell someone. It’s always brave to tell the truth, and your voice is powerful. This is an important lesson for every child—regardless of whether or not they are currently in an abusive situation or not.”
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