Child sexual abuse: It's a topic no one wants to think about, or talk about. But one D.C. advocacy center is working to break through the stigma of shame.
Michele Booth Cole is the executive director of Safe Shores, a group that provides intervention, hope and healing to children and families affected by abuse, violence and trauma in the District of Columbia.
Cole says child abuse is preventable: "Know that the majority of children are harmed by people they know."
If you suspect your child has been the victim of abuse, be direct. She says to ask him directly if he has anything he wants to tell — if anyone has touched him in an inappropriate way that made him feel uncomfortable.
She says it's never too early to start talking to kids about their bodies: "Teach your child the proper names for their body parts when they start taking their baths, and you are going, 'This is your arm, this is your leg, this is your finger.'"
Cole says it's alright for parents to discuss tough topics, and overall, it's essential to create a safe environment, by telling your kids directly: "I will believe you. I can't help you if you don't tell me, and I want to help."