For the past twenty years, Meghan Hurley Backofen, LCSW has specialized in providing mental health treatment to child sexual abuse survivors and their families. Meghan is the Core Sexual Abuse Treatment Provider for Garfield County Department of Human Services and works out of the River Bridge Regional Center. This children's advocacy center serves Garfield, Eagle, Pitkin and Rio Blanco Counties in Western Colorado. Meghan is passionate about using evidence based modalities and is a Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy provider. Her experience has allowed her to develop expertise in working with victimized children and their non-offending caregivers. In addition to providing therapy, Meghan is a passionate educator on how to respond to and prevent child trauma. She has a variety of programs that she presents to mental health clinicians, community agencies, and parents. Her most requested class “10 Tips: What Caregivers should know to Protect Children from Sexual Abuse” inspired her children's book "Who's the Boss of This Body?". Meghan also teaches trauma courses as an adjunct professor for the University of Denver MSW program in Western Colorado. Meghan is especially grateful to all of her former clients for being her greatest teachers, and to her cousin, Adam Arriola and FINAO Agency, for the engaging illustrations in her book.
Tip #1: Why Kids Need to Know About Sexual Abuse
In this Episode, Meghan explains that the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse really demands that prevention needs to happen in every home. Children need to know that sexual abuse exists and that it happens to many children. Meghan helps parents to be able to address this topic with their children without scaring them, and without giving them developmentally inappropriate information about sex.
Tip # 2: Know Who Sexually Offends
In this episode Meghan explains how relying on sex offender registries and “stranger danger” parents misinform children. Both children and caregivers need to know that sexual abuse by a stranger is incredibly rare and in most cases of abuse there is a relationship with the perpetrator.
Tip #3: Understanding the Grooming Process
“But he is such a nice guy, I can't believe he could do something like that!”
“But she always wants to be with her uncle, she LOVES him!”
In this episode listeners will better understand what is meant by grooming and how sexual offenders work to ensure that if a child does disclose abuse it will be difficult to believe.
Tip #4: Secrets Are Not Safe
In order to truly understand sexual abuse trauma, one needs to understand why children feel that they cannot tell. Child sexual abuse victims rarely tell about the abuse right away, and this makes for a much more substantial negative impact. In this episode listerners will learn how to help children to be more likely to talk about abuse if they are victimized.
Tip #5: Who's the Boss Of This Body
One of the best ways that caregivers can educate their child to prevent sexual abuse is to help them understand how they are “the boss of their body”. Meghan's children's book “Who's the Boss of this Body”, that is available on Amazon, is a useful tool in helping parents with this conversation.
Tip #6: Make CSA Prevention Part of Your Everyday Parenting
Many caregivers confuse a conversation about sexual abuse with ‘the sex talk”. All too often when Meghan asks a parent what they have done for sexual abuse prevention education thus far a parent will answer “Well I think they teach the kids about that in middle school”. Talking about sex and talking about sexual abuse are completely different things and Meghan helps listeners understand the difference. Sexual abuse prevention is not a one-time awkward conversation, but more a style of parenting that empowers children to know their boundaries and not keep secrets.
Important information for Everyone!
Please listen and spread the word. everyone can do more to prevent sexual abuse and to help folks heal. this is so well done and informative, it’s really worth a listen!
I’ve been searching high and low for answers and advice!! This podcast had ALL the info I wanted! You are amazing at what you do! Clear concise intelligent informative!! Thank you so much for the work you do and posting these POF casts into the world!! :):):) I feel so much better and I know what I have to do! What I get to do! To prevent! And protect! Thank you so much!
Meghan provides specific, effective, and compassionate strategies to help prevent childhood sexual abuse. Useful information on how to address this difficult topic, from a very experienced and skillful therapist in the field. Podcast and book are wonderful!