Reporting Sexual Advances

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Recent allegations against a Dothan High School resource officer involving a student, have some parents concerned.

But there are things parents and students can do, to arm themselves against sexual abuse.

Officials say it may start with a few nice words...

"A lot of times, they'll entertain it at first, the flirting, because it is flattering to a teenager and everybody likes to hear nice things said to them and so adults who are not safe adults know how to manipulate that;" says Pamela Miles, Executive Director at the Exchange Center.

"We're taught to respect our elders and we are taught to listen to them especially with teachers and parents and people in authority, " says Sherryl Walker, Executive Director at the Child Advocacy Center.

But what if it becomes more than that?

"They can go to the counselor, they can even talk to one of their friends and kind of do a buddy system, get their friend to go with them to tell, they can always put it in writing and hand it to the counselor or hand it to their parent. Sometimes it's intimidating to actually look at somebody and communicate, " says Miles.

"It is that uh oh feeling, you know, if somebody does something to you sometimes you can't put your finger on it but you just know it's wrong then they have the right to stand up to that person and to get some help and nobody can help them if they don't tell it so they have to talk about it, " says Walker.

And officials say getting them to talk about it can start with parents talking to their child.

"As parents or adults have to empower our teens and let them know what's safe and what's not safe and what's appropriate and what's not appropriate, " says Miles.

"It's really nice to have prevention education in the schools because we need to teach our children that it's ok to talk about when bad things happen and don't let them go further because if they talk immediately it diffuses some of that from happening in the future, " says Walker.

In the end, officials say communication is key.

"Whether it be their parent or the school counselor, a teacher, or somebody in their church they have got to identify some safe adults in their life who they can talk about their feelings with so they can get some clarity and some guidance, " says Miles.

"You have a right to say no this is my body, you have a right to talk about it. You find the people that you can trust, if it's a grandmother, mother, whatever and you tell them when you get that uh oh feeling, " Walker.

Child Advocacy Center officials say it's important for parents to talk to their children about what's appropriate and what is not, as early as their child can speak.

If you or someone you know needs to report a case of sexual misconduct, contact the human resources department in the county you live.

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