With all of the recent coverage in the news on child abuse, neglect, molestation, rape, torture, and murder of children, (click on the names above to read the articles) I felt it necessary to plea with all parents everywhere, "Please! Protect your children!" Now, I know that even the most diligent of parents may not be able to protect their children in absolutely every circumstance, but most of these cases of abuse could have been prevented had the parents been more watchful and alert. I also detest the fact that many of these cases of abuse were at the hands of these poor children's own parents. The very people whose job it is to love, cherish, protect, and nurture them. I get so angry that I am completely at a loss for words when I think of these atrocities.
However, I believe that the vast majority of parents truly love their children and want to protect them. So then, why are so many kids being abused every single day under the supposed watchful eyes of their protective parents? For example, why would a parent ever think it would be O.K. for their young boy to have a "sleep over" at a grown man's house? Why would it ever be O.K. to leave your two year old sleeping in a car on the side of the road? Why would it ever be O.K. to let your child "work out and shower" alone with an adult? Why would it ever be O.K. to let your loser boyfriend who is cheating on you babysit your tiny little baby? Why would it ever be O.K. to starve your child and beat them for hours pausing only for prayer? The answer is simple: IT IS NEVER, NEVER, NEVER O.K.!
It must come down to one of these:
1. The parent is truly ignorant about how to adequately protect their child.
2. The parent is selfish or neglectful and doesn't really care about their child's well being.
3. The parent is a victim themselves. (sorry, that is not a valid excuse in my opinion)
4. The parent is actively participating in the abuse, or passively allowing it to continue.
OR...5. Child abuse has occurred as a result of circumstances out of the parent's control.
If you are a parent, it is your job to protect your child. It's not the school's job, or the church's job. It's not the Boy Scout leader, or the coach's job, or your daycare provider's job, or anyone else's job. It is YOUR job! Parents, let's take our jobs seriously.
So whom are we to protect our children against. In the case of sex abuse, let's look at these statistics:
"-- Men perpetrate most sexual abuse and sex crimes.
-- Sex offenders against children tend to be juveniles or young adults under the age of 30.
-- Most sexual abuse and sex crimes are committed by people who know the victims. Acquaintances are most often the perpetrators, followed by family members and then strangers."
(click HERE if you would like to check the sources for these statements.)
Therefore, if you wanted to put a face to this person:
He, is under the age of 30, and you know him well.
But perpetrators are by no means limited to this description! I say be suspicious of everyone! Let's not be afraid of the stranger, or the person who just looks creepy. (OK, be suspicious of them too.) But think about it... if you suspect them, then you will not even give them the chance to harm your child. The people you should be suspicious of are the ones you know and trust! The ones that have access to your children. The ones that are "good" with kids, and "like" kids. The ones that pay special attention to your little angels, or who want to "help" your difficult children because they "care" about them. Be suspicious of the people you have become comfortable with. Forget "Stranger Danger."
"People seem more willing to accept a sinister, unknown individual or “stranger” from a different location or father/stepfather from a different socioeconomic background as a child molester than a clergy member, next-door neighbor, law-enforcementofficer, pediatrician, teacher, coach, or vol- unteer. Acquaintance molesters often gain access to children through youth-serving organizations. The acquaintance molester, by definition, is one of us. He is not simply an anonymous, external threat. He cannot be identified by physical description and, often, not even by “bad” character traits. Without specialized training or experience and an objective perspective, he cannot easily be distinguished from others." from: "Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis" Kenneth V. Lanning Former Supervisory Special Agent Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) www.missingkids.com
Consider how a lion captures it's prey:
"Lions are opportunist hunters... [They] will usually get up close to the prey before charging. In about 10% of kills, the prey is ambushed. The lion's final charge is usually made from as close as 10 metres, seldom exceeding 20 metres." (source)
You see, predators don't usually announce their intentions. They creep in unnoticed, they get close enough to strike, and when there is an opportunity, they charge. The good news is this: "Lions ...have been known to back down when the prey species stands its ground. A carefully placed kick from a zebra to a lion's face can break a jaw or remove an eye." (source) "Not only is a lone animal easier to bring down than one that is in a herd, but a running animal poses less of a threat than one that is poised to fight." (source)
Not only do we need to protect our children from these wolves in sheeps' clothing, but we also need to teach our children how to protect themselves. I recommend Protecting the Gift, by Gavin De Becker. It is a must read for all parents! It's about keeping your children safe, teaching your children to keep themselves safe, and knowing the difference between real fear and paranoia.
Watch this video:
My question now is this: Why are we as parents acting like a bunch of stupid zebras turning our backs and running while our young ones are being hunted down and eaten alive? I, for one, am sick of it! I will do everything in my power to make sure my boys, or any other child in my life, do not become a victim of any perpetrator of abuse. I will teach my boys how to realistically keep themselves from dangerous people. I will not teach them "stranger danger" because there may come a time when the stranger is the very person they need to go to for help. I will value my child's safety far above my fear of offending any "nice" person who wants to spend time with my children alone. Parents, grandparents, foster parents, or anyone with children in your life, will you join me in diligently safeguarding our precious little ones?