Which Simple Words Keep Kids Safer from Sexual Abuse?

by Nov 12, 2015Body Safety

Simple words can empower kids. Think about it. If your young child were being sexually abused, could he or she describe what was happening? Can they name their body parts using the right terms? Can knowing a few simple words keep kids safer from a sexual predator?


I often teach parents to use correct terminology for body parts as a way of reducing the shame often associated with sex and its counterfeit, pornography. Why? Because increased shame can make kids more likely to keep silent about pornography exposure.

But there’s another reason for calling a spade a spade, a penis a penis and a vagina a vagina. Your child’s ability to communicate sexual abuse.

You may be thinking, “Oh, sexual abuse would never happen to my kids!” I hope not, but the statistics are alarming. Child on child sexual abuse has skyrocketed with fully one third of the sexual abuse of America’s children committed by other minors.

And many believe this increase is due to easy access and exposure to pornography. Kids are hardwired to imitate what they see adults (and other kids) do.

Two Real Life CPS Stories

A Child Protective Services specialist shared the following stories with me recently:

“His Stick”

A 3 year old girl gets upset when she’s left with a teenage boy babysitter who’s a close family friend. She cries, “He’s always poking me with his stick!” She doesn’t know the word penis. Her mom thinks she’s being silly and simply tells her to ask him to stop poking her. The abuse continues for months before the girl’s parents learn what his “stick” really means.

This mom had done a great job at teaching her daughter about the female body parts, but didn’t think she needed to know, at that young age, the names of the male body parts. Sadly she did.


A grandfather sexually abuses his young granddaughter when she’s in his care and calls her vagina her “cookies.” When she talks about what she and grandpa do, she tells her mom, “Grandpa likes to eat my cookies.” Mom thinks her daughter is talking about an imaginary tea party. Eventually her parents find out about the abuse when the daughter identifies the genital area on her doll as “cookies.”

Knowledge. Is. Power.

body partsWhen kids are empowered with correct words, they can communicate accurately what is happening to them. And parents can more effectively teach kids to protect themselves. So from a young age, teach children the correct names for private body parts of both genders.

Ginger Kadlec, child advocate and blogger at Be A Kid’s Hero, explains, “Knowing proper body part terminology is Step #1 in sexual abuse prevention training with kids.”

We also advise parents to define the word pornography for their children. Just say the word! We give it power when we are too embarrassed to say it. When kids know what it is, they can more easily tell us when they see it.

As parents arm their kids with knowledge and use the correct names for their body parts, they empower their children to communicate more effectively. The result? Parents are better able to protect their kids from both pornography and sexual abuse, as well as discuss healthy sexuality as children grown and mature.

You CAN build a porn-immune kid!

Protect Young Minds is here to help you arm your kids with all the skills necessary to reject pornography. CLICK on the image below to get your FREE guide, 3 Secrets to Porn-Immune Kids:

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.

7 Tactics a Child Predator Uses to Lure Kids: Red Flag Phrases Every Parent Needs to Know

This is a guest post written by Kimberly King, an award-winning author, teacher, and authority on the subject of sexual abuse prevention. As parents, we all want to keep our kids safe from harm. We teach our kids to wash their hands, cover their mouths, buckle up the...

4 Misunderstood Signs of Child Abuse: A Sexual Assault Nurse Speaks Up

People naturally want to see evidence of damage done from an accident or a crime. Whether it’s the smashed front end of a car from a wreck, or a bruised eye after an argument, we want to see the wound, the stitches, the blood. We want proof.  We are socialized to...

Sexual Behavior in Children: What’s Normal? What’s Harmful?

This post was originally published on April 27, 2017 and updated on April 4, 2019. Playing “doctor” is a common sign of normal curiosity in children. Little girls and little boys want to see each other’s private parts. That’s pretty harmless when you’re dealing with...

5 Body Safety Rules Every 5-Year-Old Should Know

It seems like the number of things you need to talk to your children about in order to keep them safe just keeps growing! One issue that should be at the top of your list is protecting kids from sexual abuse. Why? The CDC reports that 1 in every 5 children will...

Are Your Kids Safe from Abuse in Sports? 3 Questions Every Parent Should Ask

Little league baseball, rep hockey, competitive swimming, after-school tennis lessons, karate classes . . . so many sports for our kids to choose from! Whatever activity your child chooses, the benefits of participating in youth sports are almost endless: they can...

#1 Amazon Best Seller

A read-aloud book that’s comfortable for parents and empowering for kids.

Learn More →

Get the Book

#1 Amazon Best Seller

A read-aloud book that’s comfortable for parents and empowering for kids

Grab your FREE Body Safety Toolkit!

Help your kids make a list of safe adults they can go to for help in a red flag situation. Use our 5 role-play situations to practice what kids can do, think, and say to protect themselves.

Your FREE Body Safety Toolkit Is On The Way!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This