April is child abuse awareness month, but addressing sexual safety with children can be difficult.
That's why a locally licensed professional counselor has created coloring books to provide an easy way for adults to teach children about this difficult topic through fun and familiar activity.
Doctor Beth Robinson said she often speaks to parents who avoid conversations about sexual safety with their young children because they either do not know how to address such a sensitive subject or because they think their children would never find themselves in a dangerous situation.
But after working with hundreds of children, Robinson says anyone can be a victim.
"We like to believe it won't touch our families, but the reality is it crosses socioeconomic lines, gender lines, ethnicity lines - it impacts us all. This is a very safe way for parents to talk to their kids about it at a very young age when it's appropriate," Dr. Robinson said.
Dr. Robinson said the idea to create these coloring books stemmed from a situation at a church.
"They had 12 different families in a small group that were impacted by one child in the group who was sexually acting out with children from all of the families. What they asked for was a resource that would have made it easier for them to talk about appropriate and inappropriate touching," Dr. Robinson said.
It is a simple concept, a coloring book that helps kids understand what is and is not appropriate.
"I think it's very awkward at times for parents to have sexual safety and physical safety conversations with their children. First of all, parents don't believe anything will happen to their kids. Secondly, they don't have the language," Dr. Robinson said.
Something this coloring book gives them.
"Children can begin to understand safe and unsafe by age three and four. The coloring book may be a little advanced, but safe and unsafe they can understand at a young age, and I intentionally chose the language safe and unsafe not good and bad because I don't want the kids to feel like they are being bad if something happens to them that's not safe," Dr. Robinson said.
So, just how prevalent is child abuse in the Lubbock region?
"I think because we have such a high rate of child abuse here...we are about fifteen percent, the state average is around nine percent," Dr. Robinson said.
If you would like to learn more about the coloring books or order one, visit www.drbethrobinson.com.
Last year, there were 1,354 cases of child abuse reported in Lubbock County, that number has increased since 2012.
Those cases are represented by pinwheels placed around Lubbock County by Sondra's Song, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap for foster youth as they transition out of care.
There will be a ribbon cutting for the organization at 2 p.m. Friday morning at City Park where they will recognize those cases.
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