Stacey Honowitz: Privates are private
Stacey Honowitz’s books are disquieting.
They’re about sexual abuse and geared towards kids.
In “My Privates are Private” and “Genius with a Penis,” Ms. Honowitz puts comfort in the uncomfortable by writing in a rhyming Dr.Seuss-style voice. Parents can read the stories to their young children and then later the children can read the books by themselves.
Neither book is a serious “how-to” manual but rather cartoon characters that kids can relate to.
Both books are brightly illustrated and purposely short to hold a child’s attention span.
The message, however, is clear: “These are your private parts,” says the book’s cartoon character Betsy Boodle. “No one can touch them.There are places where you do not get touched. If someone does, tell you mom, your teacher, a police officer. Never keep it a secret.”
Although this is not a fun subject, it is a necessary one.
“Parents need to teach kids about their private body parts around age 3. That’s the age when children can talk about their penis or vagina. If you do it much later, kids get embarrassed or think it is funny,” Honowitz said.
“I’ve had parents thank me for helping them explain this danger to kids. They tell me that they wish they had a book like this when they were growing up because some of them were molested too.
Not all sex crimes are national stories. Abuse crosses all ethnic and socioeconomic borders. The molester hurting your kids could be the next-door neighbor, softball coach, babysitter, uncle.”
Stacey Honowitz has been a sex crimes prosecutor in the Broward State Attorney’s Office for 24 years. She knows.
“I promote the book myself. My dream is to have it in every pediatrician’s office, every school, child psychologists offices, everywhere there are kids. Right now my best advocates are mothers of young kids. If I can get a celebrity to work with me, that might be what it takes to catapult the importance of the issue,” she said.
“I am on television all the time talking about high profile sex crime cases but not one show wants me to talk about my book. The topic is still too uncomfortable.”