Let’s talk about sexual assault.
Watching the news over the past few days, I thought it would be a good idea to highlight again some of the library’s resources for children and parents related to sexual abuse.
Most of them can be found under the subject “child sexual abuse prevention.” They include books for parents, books for children in English and in Spanish, and a DVD. Most books now teach more than “stranger danger,” which is important since the majority of sexual assaults are not committed by strangers.
There are also books that feature characters who are survivors of assault. Most books like this are in the Young Adult collection, but there are some books for younger readers.
Lauren’s Kingdom by Lauren Book
Lauren’s Kingdom is a picture book about a girl who being touched inappropriately by her babysitter. She meets a boy who is being physically abused. Together they make a plan to tell an adult what is happening, and these adults make sure they are safe so they both have happy endings. The book includes some suggestions for figuring out who could be the adults in a child’s own life that they can go to if they are uncomfortable or upset. The website Lauren’s Kids is also recommended as a resource.
Jumping the Scratch by Sarah Weeks
Jumping the Scratch is a chapter book recommended for approximately grades 4 to 7. The main character is an eleven-year-old fifth grade boy who is dealing with several problems, one of which is the memory of being molested by a man in the trailer park where he lives. As in the previous book, an adult family member helps the child get help.
The Summer of Owen Todd by Tony Abbott
This book is in our Young Adult collection, but some reviewers recommended it for readers as young as age 10 or fifth grade. It takes place in the summer before sixth grade when a boy tells his best friend (the main character) that a babysitter is abusing him. The story focuses on Owen’s struggle over what to do, since Sean has threatened to kill himself if Owen tells anybody.
It’s unfortunate that none of these three books covers the most common scenario, which is a girl being sexually abused by a man (often a family member). One book that does is Not In Room 204, which is available from other libraries in our library system*. This is a picture book that features a teacher sharing information, and would be a good choice to read to a classroom.
Here are some more resources that might be helpful:
In Illinois, these are some of the adults who can help if a child is being abused:
- day care and child care workers
- police officers
These are some phone numbers that might be helpful:
911 for emergencies
Child Abuse Hotline to report suspected abuse in Illinois 800-25-ABUSE (800-252-2873)
(815) 730-8984 is the hotline for the Sexual Assault Service Center in Joliet, which offers counseling and advocacy for assault survivors as well as prevention education such as “Safe and Unsafe Touch” for children and “Healthy Relationships” for adolescents.
Let’s do what we can to prevent abuse, to help and support those who have experienced abuse, and to encourage empathy.
*UPDATE: We will be getting the new edition of Not in Room 204 soon!