Safe Environment Program
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Phone: 212-371-1000 x 2810
Stuff for Younger Kids
Your whole body is private and belongs to you.
Some parts of your body are extra special and they are "off limits" to touching unless there's a good reason (like keeping you clean, healthy, and safe). These are the parts of your body that would be covered even when you go swimming.
So it's okay for your Mom or your Dad to clean your baby brother or sister when they change their diaper or give a bath. It's also okay for the Doctor to check you when you visit for a checkup or because you are sick. All of these things are meant to keep you, the child, clean, healthy, or safe.
Here's an easy way to remember. It's called "The Bathing Suit Rule": No one should touch you on any part of your body that is covered by your bathing suit.
If anyone ever tries to touch you in those places say, "STOP! I DON'T LIKE THAT!" in a very loud voice. You should do this even if the person who is trying to touch you like that is a relative, a neighbor, a teacher, or a priest.
You should do the same if the older kid or grownup asks you to touch them on parts of their body that would be covered by a bathing suit.
Always tell your Mom or your Dad or another safe adult whenever that happens. If it happens again, tell them again. ALWAYS KEEP TELLING until someone makes it stop.
ALWAYS TELL, even if the bigger kid or grownup who touched you told you not to tell.
No matter what any bigger kid or grownup tells you, that kind of touching is NEVER your fault, even if you couldn't avoid being touched. If that happens, ALWAYS TELL your Mom or your Dad or another safe adult.
What if you find a touch confusing? What if you're not sure if it's a "bad" touch? You should always tell your Mom or your Dad or another safe adult. They can help you sort out whether or not the touch was bad.
If you get an "Uh, oh!" feeling or just any kind of uncomfortable feeling about the way an older kid or grownup touched you, trust that feeling! Then tell your Mom or your Dad or another safe adult. They'll help you to sort it all out.
How do you tell when a touch is not okay?
When the person says that the touching is a secret.
Secrets are not okay!
When the person tries to scare you into not telling anybody. The person might say, "You'll get into trouble if you tell," or "I'll hurt your Mommy if you tell anybody."
Saying scary things is not okay!
When you feel icky about the way the person touched you. When you get an "Uh, oh!" feeling.
Icky feelings are not okay!
When the person won't stop touching you even though you said, "No! Stop!"
This is definitely not okay!
What kind of tricks might a person try on you?
To be able to touch you in a bad way, an older kid or a grownup might give you expensive gifts or things your parents wouldn't give you, like the things you really want. "I'll give you some money to buy that toy you want." "I'll let you stay up as late as you want."
S/he might try to scare you. "If you don't let me do this, I won't be your friend." "I would get into a lot of trouble if you tell anybody about this." "I'll tell all your friends you did it anyway and then they won't want to play with you."
S/he might try to confuse you. "Doesn't that feel good? Why wouldn't you want to be touched like that? Don't you like to feel good?" "Everybody likes to be touched like this."
Stuff For Older Kids
When you're on the internet
When you use the Internet, don't visit chat rooms with people you don't know.
Keep your identity private. Never give any personal information (for example, your name or address or phone number) to people you don't know.
Never respond to an e-mail, instant message, or chat comment that are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable.
Be wary when someone asks you to leave the public chat room (usually monitored) to join them in a private chat room (unmonitored).
Be wary of chat room participants who say that you are mature for your age or ask for personal information or even a photograph.
Never arrange to meet someone you met on-line without your Mother, Father or guardian's permission and supervision.
Remember that a lot of grownups with bad intentions pretend to be kids when they go on the Internet. This is so they can take advantage of kids and teenagers.
In visiting websites or chat rooms always ask yourself: "What would my Mother or think if they saw me doing this or reading this?"
Other things to be watchful for
Sexual predators often treat you like you're much older and more mature than you are.
They may show you pornography or "talk dirty" to you about sex.
They may be touching you all the time - stroking your hair, rubbing your neck or shoulders, hugging you.
They may allow you to use alcohol or drugs in their presence.
They may let you do other stuff that your parents wouldn't allow.
They may give you expensive gifts or inappropriate (too personal) gifts.
They will tell you to keep all these things from your parents or other adults. Be wary of any "secret clubs" where the predator will engage in these activities.
Why do sexual predators do these things?
To test the limits of what you will permit (in terms of touching) and what you will participate in (in terms of the pornography, alcohol, drugs, or other forbidden things).
To make you feel obligated to them. For example, if I allow you to do forbidden things, if I buy beer for you, if I give you expensive gifts without expecting anything in return - don't you feel a little obligated to me?
You can feel obligated in another way. If you have done things that you know your parent disapproves of or that you would get in trouble for doing, how can you now go and tell your parents about it?
To make you feel as though whatever happened, you wanted to happen, or you allowed it to happen. Or maybe you enjoyed the attention you were getting, or the gifts you received. Maybe the activity was fun for you. So, how can you complain now? You wanted this to happen.
These are tricks that sexual predators use to build up enough of a relationship with a kid to use him or her sexually. That's all they are.
It's never your fault. You've done nothing wrong. No one has the right to make you feel at fault.
An adult who is taking sexual advantage of a minor is always at fault, and is always breaking the law.
If an adult - even one you like very much - ever does any of these things, tell your parents or another safe adult right away.
Keep telling, until someone makes it stop.