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How can you protect yourself from accusations of sexual abuse?

If you follow American media, you have probably heard of a steady stream of cases in which educators are accused of inappropriate actions, which are often sexual in nature, with their students. While some of the cases that seem to get the most screen time involve strikingly attractive female teachers, accusations affect both male and female teachers in America, and not all these accusations come from a place of truth.

Because most people cannot begin to understand why anyone would falsify sexual abuse accusations, Americans have a general tendency to take a victim at his or her word, even before indisputable proof is furnished. Additionally, once such accusations are made, it can be hard, if not impossible, to undo the damage done to the accused's reputation, even if the accusations are completely false. As an educator, the best way to protect yourself from becoming the subject of false accusations is to take some necessary precautions. Consider doing the following:

Avoid being alone with students

If a student lodges an accusation against you and no one was present and able to stand up for you, you could face a world of trouble. Avoid ever being alone with a student, and if a student wants to speak privately after class, make sure to keep your door open or step out into the hallway where you can keep your voices low, but still remain visible to others.

Avoid giving out your number or making connections with students on social media

As an educator, there is really no good reason for a student to have your phone number, or for you to have a student's. Likewise, there is no legitimate reason you should have students following you on social media, so it is wise to make your profiles private and avoid accepting or issuing any friends requests or similar social media solicitations.

Avoid changing young children and babies without another adult present

If you teach young children or work at a daycare with babies, it is wise to avoid changing diapers or underwear without having another adult present. In the event that an accusation is made against you, having an eyewitness available to argue on your behalf is critical. Furthermore, many children are taught that private areas should not be seen or touched by anyone other than a parent or doctor, which can lead to false accusations of inappropriateness.

Regrettably, false accusations are a very real part of American society. If you have been the subject of a false accusation, you may find it beneficial to speak with a lawyer.

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