When children ask "what's sexual assault?" -- how do you answer?
Due to recent events in our community, the parents on my street have been discussing what to tell our children if they come home from school asking about the words "rape" and "sexual assault." Our group of kids is of mixed gender, and range in age from 4 to 10. I know the older ones have had varying degrees of sex ed., and the talks with them will revolve around the emotional impact of these acts. We are having more trouble with what to tell the younger and less emotionally mature ones. One of the suggestions was "It's a way to hurt someone very badly", but no-one is happy with this; the kids will probably assume it the same as beating someone up.
Any advice on how to go about this would be greatly appreciated.
Phew. Sometimes we have to talk with our kids about difficult topics whether we're ready to or not.
Our conversations with my kids about bodies/boundaries has always started with the concept of "private parts." We're very matter-of-fact about which "parts" on a boy and girl are considered private. We talk about "touching," and that the only people who can touch them there (with permission) are parents, grandparents, and doctors. We talk about rights; their bodies belong to them, and only them. The conversations are a lot more nuanced and open-ended (depending on questions they ask), but that's the basic gist.
I would think a conversation about sexual assault would be a step or two beyond this basic discussion, but not much more than that.
How would you discuss the concept of sexual assault with your kids?
Related: Talking to your kids about puberty
This conversation inspired me to discuss the topic on Momversation: How do you talk to your kids about sexual abuse?