How To Teach About Abuse
- Written by Bryan Harris
- April 26, 2015 at 12:52 pm
Though awareness around sexual violence continues to rise, incidents of abuse continue to pour in. Sexual abuse accounts for about 20% of all childhood maltreatment reports while about one in four women will experience some sort of sexual violence in their lifetime. Teaching about abuse is important not only to bring awareness of the issue but also to empower survivors of any age. The learning objectives were adapted from the National Sexuality Education Standards:
When teaching about abuse, it is important to clarify that this is not an “us versus them” problem but rather that it can happen to anyone regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, etc. Like when teaching HIV/AIDS , cultural competence is vital for this sensitive topic. Media is again a helpful tool to examine instances of abuse and start a discussion.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard about teaching about exual violence is to assume all people are survivors. This mindset shift allows you to be more inclusive and compassionate in your teaching.
Lastly, it is important to note that abuse is a difficult topic to cover well. It is potentially triggering to student and therefore creating a safe classroom environment is vital. It can be helpful to familiarize yourself with the signs of child abuse, local support organizations, laws related to reporting. This varies by state and changes periodically. For more information, visit Not Alone.
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
ChildHelp Resources for Teachers
This fantastic guide to teaching younger children.
This CDC infographic on sexual violence.
 ChildHelp. (2014). Child abuse statistics & facts. https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/
 National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. (2007). Domestic violence facts. http://www.ncadv.org/files/DomesticViolenceFactSheet%28National%29.pdf