How to talk with our kids about rape?

25 May
dharam singh

let's talk about rape

Parents nowadays try to talk to kids about sex. They discuss this topic in positive and informative way, but for them it is difficult to talk about rape, although it is more important to make them aware about this topic in a positive way. How should parent start that conversation?


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Responses 12

  • Shena Shaikh
    Shena Shaikh   Jun 28, 2017 11:35 PM

    Hello! Hope you are well. This is a very important topic of discussion and I’m glad you brought it up.

    In India, discussion and education to a great extent about rape, sexuality and safe sex has been prevented due to it being considered a taboo. In my humble opinion, we still need to go a long way before a majority of our parents are openly discussing sex, let alone rape.

    Indian society is a patriarchy. It amplifies rape culture and provides a conducive environment for it to thrive. Rape culture promotes victim blaming and victim shaming. It is on the side of the perpetrators. It is what condones the victim and pardons the perpetrator; and it became the nucleus of generations. It was what they thrived on, be it through movies, TV or the news.

    In order to understand why parents don’t talk about rape, it’s important to understand their socialization. Ignorance is often the root of avoidance and this is a generation brought up on male superiority and entitlement. Marital rape is still legal in the country, women in many parts of the country accept rape as an adequate punishment for a wrongdoing and most jarringly, a majority believes that rape happens because the victim (most often a female) was asking for it.

    There is so much that needs to change and it is important we start the conversation at the grassroots level. According to Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory, the family forms a crucial part of a child’s microsystem –the zone which directly impacts a child’s development. Any drastic change and social reform must begin at this stage where the child is most significantly influenced.


    In order to further a positive discussion on rape, it becomes crucial that:

    1. A parent demarcate their own personal opinion on rape. This step is crucial; and is often very difficult as it involves challenging years of conditioned belief about rape. Only when they challenge rape culture and their understanding of victim shaming, can they truly help their child positively.
    2. The parent must show the child that they are an ally and open to discussion. Most often, rape victims have no one to go to because they do not have a safe space at home.
    3. Parents must hold the right kind of action accountable.Parents need to hold individuals accountable for committing the act; but not a child who has become a victim. It is NEVER the victim's fault.

    By opening up this conversation, parents can:

    1. Teach their child the importance of consent; that no one can touch them without their permission. Even a family member.
    2. Their body=their rules. They have a right to say no and that must be respected.
    3. Teach their child that their voice matters. That it is important to speak up when something was done to them.
    4. Teach them that they are valid.
    5. Help this progressive outlook become a way of life.


    Opening up this discourse between parent and child can help decrease occurrence rates. It is important to note that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder almost always follows an incidence of rape. Victims are shammed into silence. They suffer alone when help is a door away. Parents need to initiate this conversation so their children know that they aren’t alone. So they can help them understand that their experiences do not define them; support their recovery, get them therapy and help them thrive.



  • Kushi Gothi
    Kushi Gothi   Jun 06, 2017 09:35 PM

    Hello ! I'm very pleased to see this question. 

    Rape has become one of the most occuring  crime in India. It's pathetic that after so much of awareness and security, men still do have the audacity to attempt rape to innocent girls, women, kids. 

    It's very important for every parent to impart knowledge about rape and sex to their own kids. There are filthy men who still exist and attempt rape on small girls who are innocent. They are not to be blamed as they are taught to respect elders and do as they say. 

    You should start off by telling them to take action when someone touches their genitals. Who so ever it may be. Whether it's any family member or any stranger.  

    Very subtly making them understand what rape is. When a man's penis is penetrated into a womans vagina without her own will.  Or anything related sexually.

    Sexual assaults are a day-to-day crime and only women, by taking actions, can fix it.

    So please,  educate your kids about all this. It's very necessary and they're bound to happen when kids are unaware about sexual assault. They're innocent.  


  • Upasana Sridhar
    Upasana Sridhar   Jun 03, 2017 09:58 AM


    Your question is an important question and I hope all parents realize the importance of talking about rape. I remember I was 11 years when I heard the word ‘rape’ for the first time. I immediately wanted to know the meaning of the word and asked my mother. Some mothers would have said, “Where did you hear this word? This is an adult word. Don’t ever ask me again.” I strongly believe that this is the wrong way to go about things. ‘Rape’ is no more an adult word. It should be explained to every child to make them aware. Yes, in an ideal world, children need not be exposed to harsh realities of life at such a young age. Unfortunately, we do not live in an ideal world. We live in a world where girls get raped every day.

    What did my mother say? She explained to me about good touch and bad touch. She told me to tell her or my father if anyone ever makes me uncomfortable with their words or touch. According to me, this is the best way to start explaining rape to a young child. You can either continue explaining about sex and consent or have that conversation when the child becomes older.

    I hope this answers your question. All the best!

  • Manaswini Venkateswaran
    Manaswini Venkateswaran   May 31, 2017 12:48 PM


    Your question is quite a relevant one, especially in our time where crimes against women are on a steady rise. This can be quite a tricky subject to approach, especially with children as whatever they are exposed to at their age can either make them or break them. This is why you need to take utmost care when it comes to what kind of information they receive, as it can be vital in shaping who they are as adults. 

    Before approaching the subject of rape, it is important for children to have full knowledge of the meaning of sex and its possible consequences. This involves the biology of it all, information about its aftermath (such as pregnancy and STDs) and information about contraceptive and other protective devices that can be used to prevent any adverse effects. 

    Secondly, it is important to clearly define the difference between sex and rape. Putting them in the same category is not advisable as it leaves scope for people to find loopholes in the definitions and might excuse it on certain grounds. For example, marital rape is still legal in India due to the fact that sex is seen as something that one is entitled to in a marriage. 

    It is important to remember that the main differentiating factor between sex and rape is consent. In other words, whether both parties are engaging in the act willingly. It is also not a fixed deal; meaning, it can be revoked at any time by either party. The moment one of the parties decides that he/she does not want to go through with it, it cannot take place. If it takes place without the consent of both parties, it is rape, and the person performing it has committed a crime. 

    Nonconsent can be expressed directly through a verbal 'no' or indirectly through nonverbal signals such as hesitation and body language that signifies that the person does not want to engage in the sexual act. In case the person is under the influence of alcohol or another drug, engaging in acts with such a person can also be considered rape as they are not in a state to make a sound decision. 

    Briefing your child about the above topics might make it easier for them to understand all they need to about sex, rape and consent. It may be a difficult subject to approach due to the fact that these are tabooed subjects, but it is an important one, so avoiding it can do more harm than good. Make sure that your child trusts you enough to ask you any questions that he/she might have and be certain to entertain all kinds of questions with an open mind.

    All the best!

  • Felicia crystal Rajan
    Felicia crystal Rajan   May 28, 2017 12:45 PM

    The problem lies in the way parents treat their children. Parents should try to develop a friendly relationship rather than a strict one. If they do this it becomes easy to communicate and talk about things which are necessary to talk about but are ignored by most of the people. Just as parents today have started to talk about the positives of sex they should also talk about rape. There are always two sides to a coin, both positive and negative. They should tell their sons that rape isn't what they should do and tell their daughters that she should not stay quiet and tolerate them. Since all this information is given by their parents it becomes easier for them to believe in it and follow it. 

  • Hiranya Malik
    Hiranya Malik   May 26, 2017 11:28 PM

    Being a child who has been taught about sex mostly by her mother, it's very important for a parent to create an open environment where your child can communicate his/her problems and would not be reprimanded for something parents may not approve of. Acceptance and warmth is the beginning of creating a safe space for conversation. Once your child is comfortable around you, it would be much easier to bring up sensitive issues. Sex education is a big part of growing up and teenagers face a lot of information from everywhere due to social media. Coming from their parents, it's a reliable source and helps them understand the concept and consequences of sex and consent. The very basis of the topic of rape is consent. We must emphasize on consent which must be well established before any kind of sexual intimacy can be initiated. Once your child knows about sex and the very key concepts of consent, then you can talk to them about sex without consent; rape. When your child is comfortable with you, it wouldn't be difficult to tell them about the realities and how to protect themselves and importantly, we have to let children have the space to discover their sexualities in a safe environment with proper precautions. 

  • Arushi Adhikari
    Arushi Adhikari   May 26, 2017 10:29 PM

    people should talk about rape to their children as well because this the word which that everyone should be aware of. The way through which parents  are talking about sex to their children same way they should make their children understand about rape and rape victims. First thing which they can do is they should be comfortable and as much friendly as they can with their child, they should make their children know that there is a major difference between sex and rape. Sex is a physical intimacy which takes place between two people when they are in love. And rape is doing sex forcefully without the permission of the other person. 'Rape' is the most disgusting, shameful and wrong act. Parents should aware their children about this term specially girls who are in their teenage. Parents should make them understand between a good and abbad touch so that If someone is sexually harassing them then they can tell frankly about it to their parents and complaint against the one who are doing such shameful acts. It is necessary for boys as well to be aware of the term rape, parents should guide and do regular counselling of them so that when they grow up they doesn't commit this type of crimes. There is a major difference between doing something with permission and doing something forcefully. When a girl says NO it simply Means NO, everyone should accept it, and respect it too. 

  • Nandini Ajay Kumar
    Nandini Ajay Kumar   May 26, 2017 03:16 PM

    To talk about rape, it is very important that parents talk about sex to their children. Sex Education is the basis and it is very important for the parents to talk about it openly and without any bias. Parents should be open to answering any and all type of questions. The next very important thing is to teach their children the difference between good touch and bad touch and to be vigilant about who has good intentions and who has bad ones.

    The only way we can segregate sex and rape is through the concept of CONSENT (Consensus). We should make our children understand that everybody has the "CHOICE" to d something or to no do something.  

    Rape is a very critical topic. But as critical as it sounds, it is equally important to talk about it keeping in mind the increasing number of cases worldwide.

    Another important that we must make our children understand is to be aware of one's own feelings and to control them or to present them to somebody else in a decent way. Also, to make them accept and understand the fact that it is okay to take a "NO" for a response.  

    The way we talk about this crucial topic depends on a lot on the age of the children. However, the sooner the children know about it from the correct source, the better it is. As the child grows, he gets curious and is constantly exploring his identity. At this time, he needs a lot of information, to be precise accurate information which must be provided by the parents in the correct manner.

    CHOICE AND CONSENT are two very important things to be kept in mind when talking about the topic of rape to children.


  • Aparna Kanmani
    Aparna Kanmani   May 26, 2017 12:54 AM


    I have a varied perspective on the statement. Although both sexes and rape are sensitive and tabooed topics in our society, I feel parents are able to comfortably start a conversation about the rape in terms of social issues than about sex. There are many instances in India, where married couple come for sex therapy thinking foreplay was enough to conceive. While social issues such as rape are broadcasted and discussed in many platforms, the reliable sources for understanding a sexual relationship are limited or nil. However, depending on the relationship between the caregiver and the child, the level of comfort zone in discussing such issues might differ.

    Children as young as 5yrs can be victims of rape. Obviously the child cannot understand the concept of rape and rights. But the parents can start by teaching them the difference between good touch and bad touch. 

    The sense of personal space has to be instilled in the young mind where the child has to be aware of the surrounding and the possible disturbances. This has to be reinforced in the family where the members respect the child and not intrude into their personal space. Tell the child, "Your body is private and yours alone. Nobody can touch you inappropriately or without your permission". They need to know that they have control over their body have the right to oppose if someone tries to intrude. 

    To older children, Start by telling them that there is only a thin difference between rape and sex. It is called consent. Even if one party is unwilling to move forward in the physical relationship and is forced in spite of conveying it, it is rape and not sex. The girls need to know they have the right to give consent and can say no if they wish to. They should understand the consequences if they don't. The boys have to be told to always take consent from the partner. And emphasize that when the girl says a ‘no’ it is a ‘no’. 

    Go on by telling them how to handle a healthy relationship emotionally and sexually. And how that would lead to the positive wellbeing of both the partners.

  • Rachna Lakhanpal
    Rachna Lakhanpal   May 25, 2017 11:38 PM


    This four letter word is something that you've been reading an awful lot in the newspapers these days. You whisper about it in front of your child, change the channel when such news comes on the TV...

    But, children are extremely curious.

    And they know when you're hiding something. 

    So, what can you do? 

    Educate your child about sex and sexual deviances. 

    You should start by telling your child about the act of sex. And how that's the closest and most intimate connection they'll have with another human being. 

    You should tell you child that sex is something natural and it's a relationship between two human beings that deeply love and care for each other. That it's something good. 

    You need to make sure that you address each and every question your child asks you about sex. Educate them about the LGBTQ community if they ask.

    This conversation will have a lasting effect on your child's mind. 

    So here's what you have to try to be: 

    • Open to questions
    • Frank and honest with your child
    • Loving and kind even if your child says anything about homosexuality

    After you're done explaining the concept of sex to your child, you should probably teach them about the good and the bad touch if you haven't already. 

    After all this, you should explain your kid the concept of consent.

    You have to tell your child that people who rape a man/woman are forcing them into any sexual activity without their consent.

    You should also explain that it is rape when someone sexually abuses you even when they're married to you, even when you're sleeping, etc. 

    Try and tell your child that rape is very wrong and hurtful. It's the intrusion of a person's most private space, and that it is an unforgivable sin. 


    Be open and honest with your child while talking to them about this issue. Create trust and a safe space between the two of you before you talk. 

  • vidhi bassi
    vidhi bassi   May 25, 2017 09:44 PM

    Yes,it is extremely important to talk to kids about rape and making them aware about consent.However,since the nature of the topic is too complex,the age of the child has to be kept in mind and according to his or her age,it should be explained.Thee value of consent should be the first thing to be explained. ( No means no)

    For eg : A child of age 8 will not understand the trauma the victim goes through but he understands the difference between the good and the evil and understands that the police catches the evil.So you can start explaining him that rape is a bad crime and police catches the people who commit that crime.

  • Hemali jaiswal
    Hemali jaiswal   May 25, 2017 04:11 PM

    Hey! Yes. It is difficult to discuss about rape. First of all you need to make a great connection between you and your children so they can easily talk it out, and depending upon the age of your child you can chose to talk about it! You can form a story (create one) with the help of their favourite characters. And explaining them the difference between "their will and doing against their will"! Touching them inappropriately... also educating them and discussing everything with them help to form connection between you both. Also there are many NGOs for child sexual helpline. Where they train and also help your children to explain in much better way.

    most important thing is to show friendly nature without showing anger or being impatience. That makes your child comfortable to share it out with you and also to discuss over the issue. 

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