Talking about sexuality, consent, seems essential to prevent aggression and non-consensual touching between children.
However, it must be done in a way that is appropriate to the age of the children. The same thing is not explained to a 4-year-old child as to an 11-year-old child, for example.
Sexuality education in kindergarten is to explain "how babies are made"?
Sonia Lebreuilly, a socio-sexologist and a sexual health educator explains to me that approaching the subject with kindergarten children is not done in any way.
"Parents often think that talking about sexuality with children is about" how babies are made, "when in fact it's often talking about their sexuality to them, the children, to explain to them that can not do babies when you're a child, precisely. "
And indeed, one of the testimonies received mentions the importance of differentiating the sexuality of the children from that of the adults, of adapting the subject to the age of the children.
Nora * tells me that I had a "quiet" childhood. She has a younger brother 4 years younger than she, whom she describes as having always "seemed very mature for her age," Benjamin.
"So much so that my parents never really made any difference to our ages, they always taught him things as they told me. "
Sexual touching: repressed trauma
Only, Nora remembers being always distant, physically at least, with her brother.
"It was as if he had made his Oedipus complex on me: he adored me, he was very affectionate and tactile. He constantly wanted to hug me and touch me. But me, I really did not like it, without knowing the reason, I felt very badly. "
With age, Nora says that feeling has diminished. Until around age 16, she suddenly remembers an event – as happens very regularly in the case of trauma:
"It came back like that, as if I had always known: my little brother had touched me when I was about 8 years old. Everything was clearer for me, I finally understood myself.
I felt so bad to remember it! It was a nightmare that did not want to come out of my head.
My parents explained the reproduction to us as we explain it to "big kids" and my brother wanted us to "make a baby like adults. "
He had thrown himself on me and was already too heavy for me, I could not do anything. I wanted it so much to my parents, although they always thought they were doing the right thing. "
How to talk about sex with young children?
Nora explains that she never spoke to her family again, and to be at peace today with herself and with this story.
"I never wanted it to my little brother, he was not aware of his actions, he was just a child.
I had trouble with my parents but I ended up forgiving them for taking my brother for something other than a child. Being awake and more mature than others does not mean that he was ready to hear everything and understand. "
I mentioned this testimony with Sonia Lebreuilly, to get an idea of the right way to approach this subject with children of this age.
"The question is always when do we talk about sexuality with children? It's according to their questions to them!
Parents often say, "I'm going to wait for such an age," when in fact the child may not want it at that time.
We have to wait for questions to emerge, and we sometimes have to take the time to see how to talk to them. The child, if he asks the question, is that he has already begun to develop answers.
We do not dwell on it any more than "how to make babies", except when there are technical questions: then we answer with short and simple sentences. "
What is "sexual" education in kindergarten?
Sonia Lebreuilly herself was asked to create a tool for kindergarten classes by a school, precisely because of a touching touch at recess. That's how she specialized on the subject.
"There are different times: there is no question of talking to them about adult sexuality but about theirs, about children's, because they ask 1000 questions.
It is in kindergarten that we realize the difference between the sexes: it's normal to want to go see!
But if we explain through infants, etc., and it calms them, it soothes them and they do not need to go. "
Concretely, a "sexual" education class in kindergarten is far from the images that one can have in mind at first sight. Sonia Lebreuilly explains to me how it works:
"I try to make it as playful as possible: we make drawings, there are visuals, there are sexed babies. We usually do two sessions.
During the first, we draw two people in the shower: it breaks the idea that it's taboo, it's dirty, we have no right to talk about it.
Then we try to name it and give the correct vocabulary as penis, vulva. "
Sonia Lebreuilly reverses the roles, it is she who asks the questions because often, there are children who already know. If necessary, she rephrases: where we pee, what is in the testicles …
"The second session focuses on intimacy and the pleasure of the body: it works on the right to say no, the fact that when it concerns our body, even when it's dad or mom, we have the right not to to agree.
The idea is to assimilate that if we love his body, we try to do him good, so we will protect him, including others. "
Consent education is not everything
Here, however, we must clarify something: the goal is not to say that learning to say no is enough to avoid all aggression.
Emmanuelle Piet, president of the Feminist Collective Against Rape, develops:
"To say no, if we have an aggressor in front of us, it does not change anything, especially since there is sometimes a state of amazement [ndEsther : un mécanisme de protection du cerveau] and it is impossible to say no.
You can not just rest on that, that's exactly what a rapist on trial says: "I thought she was consenting."
On the other hand, yes, we must explain to the children that we do not do something to someone that they do not want.
The difference between a "touch-pee game" and an assault is simply that one side you play, and the other you do not play! "
This is indeed another part of Sonia Lebreuilly's sessions, teaching them to ask if the other one agrees.
"We take more neutral situations where we touch our hair, hands, to see if the other agrees and ask him. Sometimes it's another person who says "there she does not look happy". "
In short, it is an apprenticeship of respect for others and their bodies.
Consent is not about sexuality
For Sonia Lebreuilly, this problem affects many areas other than sex, for children.
"On the notion of consent, it is often thought that children do not have the right to say no, even to kiss sometimes. If their "no" is not already listened to at that time, in a "normal" situation, it is even more difficult on a situation of aggression!
So I also teach them that we have the right to say no, including grandpa and granny. But it is a job that must also be done with the parents of the coup.
Sometimes, just by making think of all this, if only on the question of the kiss: what is the worth of your child? Why he says no? "
However, it is still necessary to find a way to link a dialogue with them, which is not always easy.
"It can go through the media, we have also tried a few times to make groups of words. They are told that if they want to see what it is, we can explain to them. But in this context, we often have parents already sensitized who come to see us.
I do not know if it scares people, but it can annoy them too. They feel like it's going to engage them to talk about sex, about theirs to their children, when that's not the goal at all. "
What models for engaging with parents on child education?
Following this discussion, I asked myself about ways to interact with parents about this. Margaux Collet, Head of Studies and Communication at the High Council for Equality between Women and Men, gives me some good examples:
"In Ontario [ndEsther : une province canadienne]they have the most framed system. In the sixth, in the same way that one must know how to control his tables, one must master this or that aspect of sex education.
There are sex education textbooks, which are accompanied by little booklets for the parents who go with them, to tell them "this year your child will learn that, that and that, that's how you can approach the subject together".
It is important, already so that the parents are aware, that they are not surprised that a child comes back from the school and says "today we talked dicks and balls with the teacher": they are impregnated with a vocabulary they did not necessarily know before, which can create a shift that can shock parents. "
It also tells them that they can suggest to their child what he or she has heard at school today. According to Margaux Collet, this type of booklet also exists in Argentina for example:
"There are really lots of very detailed textbooks, with sequences, role plays, explanations for parents. "
When is the same type of model in France?
She explains to me that, to her knowledge, this does not exist in France.
"Precisely, it was advocated that there are some. This is the example of what happened with the ABCDs of equality: at HCEfh we met parent-student associations like CIPF, who explained to us that if they had been aware they could have reassured the parents by explaining what it was.
Because, precisely, what happened was that it was parents who were made to believe anything that opposed this program.
There was a loophole in the communication, and this defect caused the reactionaries to take hold of the subject and tell nonsense. It would have taken a guide. "
However, according to her, it is mainly "political choices to make". Indeed, there will be no doubt always opponents:
"But if equality between men and women is the great cause of the five-year period, we will not reach it without anything. "
Beyond political choice, it even seems that it is a societal emergency to be able to educate children at home and at school, to reduce the number of such attacks, because including repentant aggressors or aggressors explain the problem. having done "to understand".
This testimony is extracted from more than 70 texts that we received, after having launched a call to witnesses, on July 26, 2017.
* The given names have been changed
Some resources for parents:
Boys and girls, collection "Tea time philo"
Respect my body, Catherine Dolto, available at Fnac, Amazon or at Place des Libraires.
The tool Bag of love doses. "For children from 0 to 6", it is intended for "the training and development of professional skills of educational teams".
The Porn Conversation, in English, a guide to talk about pornography with his children, cut into three age groups.
For further :
Sexual abuse in childhood – The series of testimonials