Each of us has a set of past experiences that impact how we feel about the topic of child sexual abuse. Some people know someone who was abused or they may have been abused themselves. Others may struggle with an attraction to children or the thought of sexualizing a child simply destroys their sense of a safe world. These are experiences and feelings that could create a lot of discomfort.
For parents, that discomfort could even keep you from seeing abuse happening to your own children, right in front of you. In addition, your children may sense your discomfort and therefore not see you as a trusted adult they can confide in if they do need help.On the other hand, parents who have participated in training on the topic of child sexual abuse, have past experience supporting friends who were abused or have had extensive therapy for their own abuse may find it easy to discuss and have probably had a chance to identify and resolve personal barriers that may hinder them from protecting children including the barriers identified by Carla van Dam above.
If you are married or co-parenting with another adult your personal experiences are inherently combined with your partner's past experiences, creating a family dynamic with yet another set of expectations and experiences to consider.
Effectively protecting your children must stem from understanding the barriers and enablers created by your family dynamic as well as those of you and your spouse or partner individually.
Child sexual abuse is a silent crime and therefore taking a vocal stand against it has not been commonplace, especially for parents who fear scaring their kids, teaching them about sex too early or being perceived as paranoid by other adults. So ultimately, evaluation of your starting point must also consider your willingness to change and your courage to lead.