OHIO, USA — April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. It's a time to learn more about what sexual assault is, where resources are and how to support survivors. It also could be a time where you could talk to your kids about sexual violence.
It's an intimidating conversation and parents could be hesitant to have that conversation with their kids but officials say it's vital for them to know.
"We think that kids are too innocent and they're not ready to hear that, 'why do we want to expose them to that when they're not old enough?'" Taylr Ucker-Lauderman with the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence said. "And the unfortunate truth is that they're exposed to it anyway."
Ucker-Lauderman says it's important to start talking with your kids about sexual assault, and if you don't know where to start..."There are a lot of very good books, there are a lot of good things made for kids specifically of all ages, this could be 5 years old or 15 years old, that talk about consent and boundaries and body parts."
You might think 5 is maybe too young, but she says it doesn't have to be graphic, keep things age-appropriate.
"One of my friends posted about her child that I think is 4 was playing with her dolls and she asked 'can I give you a kiss?' and then she said the doll said 'no,' so I'm not going to give her a kiss,' and it was as simple as that," Ucker-Lauderman said.
She says it's important to be transparent with your kids and also use real language when it comes to talking about body parts.
"Kids using certain names for body parts that when they talk about maybe some violence that they're going through, they're using these other words and it's keeping adults from understanding what they mean," she said. "So to the child, they're just saying what they know that body part to be, but to the adult, it might sound innocent."
Even when you're talking about sexual violence, Ucker-Lauderman says on average, one in four people have been sexually assaulted, so be supportive.
You never know who is a survivor.
"Remember that people around you have been harmed and you probably care about those people, so let's care about survivors of sexual violence and this being a huge issue that we all want to solve," she said.
When it comes to kids learning more about sexual assault in school, there is a law that would allow for experts to create a curriculum that would teach about sexual violence in schools. That is called Erin's Law and there has been some pushback on the law. Other states have adopted it and it's currently in the state legislature.