The Atlantic featured her work in a recent article, detailing how she taught more than 500 students in public school classrooms in the last year. And she’s explained her reasons for teaching kids the accurate words to hundreds of their teachers and parents, too.
In March, Rohdenburg visited a first grade classroom, talking to 22 squirmy boys and girls about sexual abuse prevention. She discussed consent, empathy, body rights and privacy. She brought diaper-clad baby dolls, a boy and a girl, and asked the kids what body parts they have in common, according to The Atlantic story. The kids came up with heart, belly and mouth before one shouted that “they both have penises!”
As Rohdenburg began to change their diapers, she held up one doll. “Penis,” the kids shouted in response. “Vagina,” they said with a laugh when she held the girl doll up.
“Sometimes we giggle because we don’t talk about vaginas and penises a lot,” Rohdenburg was quoted as saying. “But it’s a body part, a private body part.”
Sex abuse prevention educators want kids to know that their private parts are off limits to others and to be able to talk about them in ways everyone can understand, rather than using euphemisms like cha-cha or wee-wee.
But not everyone is comfortable with saying these words out loud in public, especially when children are involved.