- Let your house have an open-door policy when applicable. If it’s daytime and people are around the house – doors should be open if there is more than one person in the room. This should apply every day even if it’s just your immediate family or people are over to visit. One-on-one time doesn’t need to be in a closed bedroom or down in the basement out of view.
- Be especially cognizant during holidays/family gatherings. Getting together should be a time to celebrate and spend with family & friends. For some, it means coming face to face with a family member or family friend who has or will sexually abuse them. You may find yourself especially distracted with company or at ease knowing your child is in a house full of family – but often a crowd is the perfect situation for people to fail to notice or be concerned about someone’s absence.
- Be aware of who is where and if you notice that certain people are not in a common area – pop in from time to time and see what they’re up to. It doesn’t have to be sneaky or defensive. And when you do so – observe their demeanor. Are they surprised? Are they comfortable that you’ve now entered the room or are they uneasy? Analyzing the reaction to your presence may help identify situations/people that may call for closer observation.
- If your gut is telling you something, listen to it. Don’t feel guilty because the thought popped into your head that someone you love and/or trust could potentially be a sexual abuser – be proud of yourself that you’ve allowed your sense of vigilance to overpower the natural desire to deny that “good” (or people we consider to be good) people can do harmful or abusive things.
- Treat sibling/family babysitters the same as non-family babysitters. Ask your children how they spent their time while you were out, especially for younger siblings – make sure that they feel safe when you’re leaving and were treated well while you were gone.
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect.