Even adults feel bashful when using the words “penis” or “vagina” from time to time, because let’s be honest, they’re a little bit silly sounding. However, these anatomically correct terms are nothing to be ashamed of, and sex-abuse prevention educators are claiming that it is important for children to use these words rather than euphemisms when referring to “private parts.”
Laura Palumbo, a prevention specialist for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), said that the usage of this language, “promotes positive body image, self confidence, and parent-child communication; discourages perpetrators; and, in the event of abuse, helps children and adults navigate the disclosure and forensic interview process.”
Though there have been a few cases of teachers being reported for using a word like “vagina” — in a biology class, no less — or instances of parents feeling like their child shouldn’t be learning these types of words in the younger school years, many educators and parents are becoming accepting of the language. Kate Rohdenburg, a sexual-violence prevention educator, put the argument into perspective when she said to a group of first graders, “Sometimes we giggle because we don’t talk about vaginas and penises a lot, but it’s a body part, a private body part.”
What are your thoughts about anatomical language being used more openly with children?