WATCH |A dragon slayer teaches kids the importance of consent
Your body is yours. Yet a 2016 Optimus Study reveals that a third of adolescents in South Africa have been sexually abused at some point in their lives.
This is an extreme violation, the effects of which can last a lifetime. In an attempt to prevent this exploitation, Fanie Viljoen has written a book that’s educating children and adults in the face of violence.
In 2019, Viljoen published The Day the Dragon Came, a children’s story about sexual abuse in the home committed by a ‘dragon’.
He has written different versions of the book for boys and girls, which include illustrations by Tumi K. Steyn. Viljoen explains in simple to understand, child-friendly ways the difference between safe and unsafe touch, and what to do if you’re being harmed.
“Children can be uncertain of what’s going on and experience a conflict of emotions,” Viljoen says. “Being aware of the signs of sexual abuse empowers kids to stop the abuse and ask for help.”
The books also contain information for parents, guardians, and teachers on how to recognise abuse and take appropriate measures.
“Some things are uncomfortable to speak about but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be addressed,” Viljoen says.
Teaching children about consent can protect them from dragons that come their way, even in adulthood. But it’s listening to kids and taking action that ends the cycle of abuse.
“Knowledge is power,” Viljoen says, “and the power needs to be the voice of our children.”