My Body Belongs to Me Helps Parents (Not) Talk About (Cringe) Sexual Abuse

2/24/09 - By Anna Fader

200902241014.jpgThere are some topics that you just don't ever want to have to discuss with your child. But Jill Starishevsky knows from experience the danger of hiding your head in the sand. As a New York City child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor, Jill has seen too many sad stories of children who were being sexually abused and just didn't know what to do about it.

But it was one girl's story that made her realize she could do something about it. This little 9 year old girl said that she was being abused by her stepfather for years when she saw a segment on Oprah about child abuse that told her to tell an adult. The next day she went in to school and told her teacher. Jill put that bad guy in jail, but realized that sometimes with kids it really is as simple as that.


JIll wrote My Body Belongs to Me to teach children the simple lesson that certain parts of their bodies are private and no one should touch them there. If someone does they should tell a parent or a teacher.

Even as I write this I can sense some people's cringes. This is not something we want to bring up with our children, especially at such a young age. But a big part of that fear on our part is that we bring a lot of grown up baggage to this issue. For a child, this is a very innocent and simple lesson and My Body Belongs To Me handles it beautifully, simply and innocently enough that it is appropriate for a child as young as three years old. No ugly, uncomfortable conversations are necessary.

I encourage every parent, nursery and elementary school to read this book to their children. It may not be Dr Seuss, but My Body Belongs To Me is a different kind of classic that should be required reading for every child.  

Buy it online.