Sex-abuse prevention educators say teaching kids accurate terms for their private parts is an important part of protecting them from abuse.
Most kids probably know words like knee, stomach, and eye, or even more specialized terms like muscle, intestines, or brain. So why it is often surprising to hear a young child use a term such as vulva rather than a cutesy euphemism? Many experts — including sex abuse prevention educators — argue that there are plenty of good reasons to teach young children accurate terminology for their genitals rather than colloquialisms.
As Laura Palumbo, a prevention specialist with the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, points out, “teaching children anatomically correct terms, age-appropriately, promotes positive body image, self confidence, and parent-child communication; discourages perpetrators; and, in the event of abuse, helps children and adults navigate the disclosure and forensic interview process." However, people who use these terms often get pushback: everything from parents filing complaints against teachers to politicians getting banned from their state house floor. In The Atlantic, writer Catherine Buni talked to front-line educators as well as psychology researchers to hear why anatomical terminology is important for kids to learn from a young age. Continue reading Continue reading