Children’s stories help to develop creativity, imagination, perception and sensitivity of children, as well as their verbal skills, taste for reading and ability to understand and communicate. But there are others who can also help them in the face of possible sexual abuse at an early age.
“Clara and her shadow”, by the psychologist Elisenda Pascual; “Estela, shout very loud!”, From the translator and language teacher Bel Olid; “Kiko and the hand”, of the European preventive campaign; ‘La Regla de Kiko’ and ‘Ojos verdes’, by psychologists Sara Arteaga and Luisa Fernanda Yágüez, are some examples of stories that help prevent child sexual abuse (ASI).
To this list have just added the titles: “Your body is your treasure” and “What color are your secrets?”, Margarita García Marqués, psychologist at the University of Salamanca (Spain), psychotherapist and expert in child sexual abuse , which “provide information and resources, both to minors and adults, to detect, prevent and stop the ASI”, as indicated.
García Marqués is founder of the Association for the Healing and Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (AspaSi) ( https://aspasi.org ) and author of “Warning Signs of Child Abuse” in the Practical Guide to Good Child Treatment, as well as a contributor to Save the Children’s report, “Spanish justice against child sexual abuse in the family environment”.
The little bear that teaches to protect
“These stories are intended to teach children to know their intimate parts, to protect themselves from abuse, to set limits if someone touches them in a sexualized way, to ask for help if something inappropriate happens, to distinguish abusive behavior from adults and to express naturally if someone tries to propasarse with them, “explains the author to Efe.
The books also include guidance and advice for parents so that they can detect and prevent abuse of their children in everyday situations, and also so that they know how to act if they have indications or a considerable certainty that the ASI has already occurred.
In the story “Your body is your treasure”, edited for ages between 3 and 8 years and illustrated by Nuria Diez Crespo, Aspasi bear teaches Andrea and Andrew that their body is a treasure on which they can decide, being able to say NO to kisses, hugs and tickle, when they do not want to receive, highlights the psychologist.
“The little bear teaches the children their intimate parts and explains that no adult can play with them. He also gives them advice and encourages them to talk with trusted elders if ever someone tries to open their “treasure” without permission, “he says.
“In” Your body is your treasure “children are taught four key rules to protect their body, and all these issues are addressed so that children do not get scared, trying to normalize things so they live sexuality in a healthy way , without shame or guilt, “says Eloína Prado Llera, editor of the book ( https://ardillaediciones.wixsite.com/ardillaediciones ).
“Abuse is a crime punishable by imprisonment, but the story is not focused on that aspect, because if children see it as bad, considering that 87% of ASI occur in the family, and often commit a person whom they want, the majority will not tell it and will keep it a secret, because they do not want the abuser to be imprisoned, “says García Marqués.
“For this reason in the story is presented to the abuser as someone who does not know how to behave properly and must be taught, setting limits and asking for help from parents or other trusted adults,” emphasizes the author.
Secrets of different types, shapes and colors
“In the story” What color are your secrets? “, For children from 3 to 10 years old and illustrated by María Jesús Santos, the protagonist is Alma, a girl who has a stuffed bear called Aspasi, and explains to the little ones how each secret makes them feel, what they can do with them and with whom they have to share them, “says García Marqués.
“In this book, Alma teaches that secrets can be of different types, shapes and colors, and that they can be distinguished from each other by the more or less good or bad sensations caused by keeping them,” says the psychologist.
“We also teach the children to express themselves and communicate what they care about, trying to reduce abuses of all kinds,” he adds.
“Most abusers use secrecy to keep children quiet, and this story is created so that the little ones share the secrets that make them feel bad and offer them a space of trust where they can express them,” García Marqués adds.
“What color are your secrets?” Seeks to promote good treatment of children, prevent abuse and promote emotional expression in children and, therefore, it is important that the child feels accompanied in their reading, “says Efe the psychologist Mercedes Bermejo, who runs the collection Senticuentos, to which this book belongs ( http://editorialsentir.com/ ).
“In addition to reading the story, the child can answer the questions posed along the pages, reflect, share ideas and memories with the company of an adult, draw on the end sheets, place stickers and look for the Aspasi bear the inside pages, “says Bermejo.
Consulted by Efe on the suitability of dealing with the ASI issue from such an early age, García Marqués indicates: “we must inform the children because some are abused with three years or less and, if they know the subject, it is easier for them to to protect”.
The founder of AspaSi assures that a considerable part of the patients who are treated for abuse are less than five years old, “besides, generally, abusers choose young children because they think that no one is going to believe them or, possibly, they do not go to talk about what is happening to him, “he concludes.