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Sex Abuse Prevention
By Patty Onderko
The news about former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky’s alleged sexual abuse of young boys is sickening and scary. And sadly, it’s not uncommon. But instead of pulling the covers over our heads, we can use news like this as an opportunity to learn about the signs of abuse so we can prevent it from happening again. There are things we can do to keep our children safe. Keep reading for tips that can strengthen our kids, our families, and our communities against the threat of pedophiles.
Having “The Talk”
You don’t have to scare your children in order to keep them safe. Teaching them the difference between appropriate and inappropriate touching will go a long way in protecting them from predators. As early as age 3, children should understand that parts of their body are private and that it’s not okay for just anyone to touch them. Here are some things to keep in mind as you start the conversation.
Start simple. There’s no need to go into the mechanics of how babies are made; keep the birds and the bees conversation separate from the one about “okay” and “not okay” touching. After all, pedophilia is not about sex as much as it’s about abuse. Ease into it by explaining how certain parts of their body, those covered by a swimsuit, are private. No one should touch them there except for Mommy and Daddy (or primary caregiver) when they’re being cleaned—and the doctor, too, but only if Mom or Dad is there in the room. Don’t go into a whole “some people are bad and do things that hurt kids” explanation; just focus on appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Use real names for body parts. Avoid calling your child’s private parts by cutesy, made-up names. “It makes kids think that there is something weird or shameful about their bodies, and they’ll be less likely to tell you if someone touches them,” says Sharon W. Doty, author of Keeping Them Safe: Protecting Children from Sexual Predators and Evil in Our Midst: Protecting Children from Sexual Predators. Use “penis,” “testicles,” “vulva,” “vagina,” and “breasts” instead.
Think beyond “stranger danger.” Instructing your child to never talk to strangers is good advice. But the truth is, 80 to 90 percent of abuse is committed not by strangers but by someone the child knows well—and possibly loves. “Abduction is a lesser concern,” says Char Rivette, executive director of the Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. “You have to worry more about who your child spends time with on daily basis.”
Don’t keep secrets. Sex abusers almost always manipulate the children they molest through secrets. They’ll tell kids, “This is our secret. You can’t tell your mom because she’ll be very mad at you.” Remind your child frequently that no adult should ever ask her to keep secrets. And that includes you. “If you keep a secret with your child, it confuses the message that it’s not okay for other grown-ups to do,” says Rivette.
Believe your child. Establish a relationship of faith and trust with your kids. If you’re constantly questioning what they say, they may be more reluctant to tell you if something has happened to them. When you’re talking about inappropriate touching, let them know—explicitly—that you will believe them and that you will never be mad.
Know what to look for. No one wants to be suspicious of their own friends and family members. But you don’t have to be if you’re familiar with the most common red flags of a pedophile: – Prefers spending most of his or her time with children over peers – Allows children to do things that their parents don’t allow – Makes fun of children’s body parts or describes children with sexual words such as “stud” or “sexy” – Seems obsessed with the sexual activities of teens and kids – Asks adult partners to dress or act like a child or teen during sexual activity – Looks frequently at child pornography – Masturbates so often that it gets in the way of important day-to-day activities – Has put themselves in a position of dealing with children (coach, teacher, counselor, etc.), in addition to other troubling signs.
Be suspicious if your child is singled out as “special.” It’s always flattering when a teacher, coach, or counselor recognizes all the wonderful qualities your child possesses and seems to favor him or her over other kids. But this can be a major warning sign. “Perpetrators groom kids by singling them out and making them feel special,” says Rivette. True professionals are not so transparent about preferences.
Be extremely wary of one-on-one time. Once a pedophile has singled out a particular child, the next step is getting that child alone. The perpetrator may suggest private tutoring time, one-on-one tennis lessons, or even sleepovers or camping trips. As flattering as it may seem or as excited as your child may be, don’t allow this private time.
Don’t ignore family history. “Abuse tends to be intergenerational,” says Rivette. “If you have a history of sexual abuse in your family, your child may be more likely to be a victim.”
Choose your child’s own male role models. Many child sex abusers prey on the kids of single mothers, who may be more anxious for a male figure in their lives (and 95 percent of all perpetrators are male). These men also take advantage of the fact that a single mother likely has less time and less help, and may welcome someone who offers to babysit or help out.
Don’t take sleepovers lightly. As parents, we’re used to making sleepover plans with our kids’ friends’ families on the fly. But Rivette warns that we shouldn’t be so casual when it comes to where our children spend the night. “Don’t allow a sleepover unless you know the family well and have been to their home many times. Ask exactly who will be there and what they will be doing. If anything strikes you as odd, trust your instinct.”
Ask about background checks. Most schools and youth organizations conduct criminal background checks, but they may not screen for child abuse and neglect. Encourage them to do so. (And even if the school/program says they screened everyone, ask if they checked fingerprints.) Also, you should ask: do employees receive training in child-abuse prevention?
Meet everyone who will be working with your child. Often, we’ll meet the head counselor of a camp, but not the possibly dozens of other counselors and instructors who will be with your child on a daily basis. Make it a point to ask the program director to introduce you to all of the employees. Besides getting to know them, you send predators the message that you are a parent who pays attention. “Sex abusers don’t choose kids whose parents are very involved,” says Rivette.
If You Suspect Abuse
We hope you never have to have this conversation, but if you have a bad feeling that your child might have been abused, there are steps you should take.
Ask questions. To encourage your child to talk, simple, open-ended queries such as “What’s the best thing about going to Sam’s house?” or “What’s the worst thing about going to his house?” help open up discussion, says Doty. You can also preface a conversation with something that gives the child some freedom. For example, you might say, “I remember once I did something that I thought my Dad and Mom would be upset about, so I didn’t want to tell them. But I finally did tell them and it was okay. Has anything like that happened to you?”
Look for changes in your child. Signs that something might be going on: – Sexual behavior that is way beyond their years (a 4-year-old imitating sexual humping, for example, or using R-rated words for body parts that they’ve never used before) – Regressive behavior (acting much younger than they are) – Increased dependency on non-abusing adults – Withdrawal and isolation from others – Increased aggressiveness or hostility – Sudden fear of the dark – Frequent nightmares – Changes in sleep (either insomnia or increased sleeping)
Act quickly. If you suspect something, stop all contact between your child and the person, then call your state’s children’s protective services hotline. The hotline professionals may also instruct you to call 911, as well. Don’t confront the suspect, as that only gives them time to mount a defense. If you’re unsure if anything has happened and worried about slandering a possibly innocent person’s name, “always err on the side of protecting kids,” advises Rivette.
Related article: From Incest to Prostitution
What to do during a Sexual Assault
By Christopher R Rice
Hi my name's Chris, I've been writing about how to protect yourself from brutal police and a corrupt government for thirty five years. But my fellow man is not ready to stand up and be a man instead my fellow man has chosen to prey on the weak and the defenseless. Not on my watch.
The best way to protect women from attack is to pass this article around so we can put predators on notice, that women have a weapon that they never had before.
Back in the day, we didn't all walk around with cellphones. In case you didn't notice there is a "digital recorder" on most cellphones. If you can't locate the "digital recorder" on your phone, you can use the video recorder and the sound can be enhanced at a later date.
1.) Whenever you find yourself alone with someone/anyone at work, school, church, it really doesn't matter, have your cellphone handy and ready to record. This is your first piece of evidence that will keep your case from being another "he-said, she-said."
2.) If the conversation reaches a point your not feeling comfortable and this person won't take "no" for an answer or even before that start recording.
3.) Women should carry mace (sells for about $10 at most liquor stores/sporting goods stores) or a hand held stun gun (sells for about $40 at most sporting goods stores or pawn shops). If you have one, use it. When someone will not take no for an answer and things turns physical- use your mace or stun gun and aim at the face.
If you do not have mace or a stun gun your fingers and knuckles can work just as well, aim for soft spots. Soft spots like the eyes, ears, groin, ribs, throat. This might distract your attacker long enough to escape. But, also the bastard can not claim the encounter was consensual if he's black, blue and scarred. Use your nails, if you have any.
Do not worry about overreacting, it is better to be safe than to be dead any day of the week.
4.) Yell and keep yelling. Attackers rely on your fear and shame. You did nothing wrong so therefore you have nothing to be ashamed of. Yell and keep on yelling. This may be the difference between having your attacker flee or stay and rape you or maybe worse. None of this is your fault, it does not matter what you wear or what you said because girls are raped in the winter too, when they are fully clothed. And 4 out of every 10 nuns in the US reports being sexually assaulted by clergy. Remember this, you did nothing wrong.
5.) If all of this has failed or if you could not move to accomplish any of this, as soon as the attack is over and you can, run. Do not stop to shower at your attackers place, a shower will only wash away evidence. Run for your life or your attacker may want to destroy the evidence by killing you. So run like hell and don't look back, keep running until you reach safety.
6.) You may not be old enough to remember former president Bill Clinton but he lied on national television about an affair (with Monica Lewinsky) he had while he was in office. And while it looked like another he-said, she-said case where the lying scum bag would get off again, his accuser produced a dress that the president left his DNA all over. I guess Monica doesn't swallow and didn't wash this dress either. This is your ticket, in addition to a digital recording and scars you can inflict, you need physical evidence.
7.) After you run away and get to safety the next important thing to do is to write down everything that happened to you with the times (am pm?) and as many details as you can remember before the memory gets fuzzy. Gather any evidence that you have, hopefully a sample of his semen (DNA). Secure your digital recording.
8.) What to do with this evidence? Cops notoriously side with rapist, look it up, it is a fact. And DA's often complain that rape test kits cost too much to process and so they are simply thrown away, I'm not making this sick shit up, look it up. You have a SE, right?
What I suggest to police brutality victims is to use everything you can. First post your evidence to your social media accounts to secure your recordings and evidence, to expose your attacker and warn other potential victims to stay away from this guy. Next call an attorney from the yellow pages and let him present your evidence to the DA and the police.
9.) Shame your attacker. Chances are your attacker has a wife, children, a job, a boss, send your evidence to his mother and everyone else that you can think of. The one deterrent we have is that this sex crime will not be kept a secret. Men have got away with this behavior committed against our mothers and our daughters because the attackers could rely on your/our silence. Do not be silent. Buy a page in the local newspaper and run your story with his picture. Fax evidence to his coworkers and bosses. Post flyers in his neighborhood and at his church. This shows future potential attackers that this behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
10.) What else can you do? Move. America is a cesspool and the most dangerous industrialized country on the planet. Americans prefer to compare themselves to third world hell holes like Mexico or Iraq but that is because when you compare America to any industrialized nation on the planet, like France, Germany, Canada or Japan and America looks like the hell hole. In Canada you can go to sleep at night and never lock your front door, you do not need to sleep with a gun under your pillow. In Japan a woman can walk down any street at 3 am and never have to fear being raped. Look up the numbers, American education ranks 29th out of 33 industrialized nations. But in prison population America is numero uno. The Super Rich who run Americas government and businesses have turned America into a zoo and only the Super Rich can afford justice, everyone else is subject to a police state and kangaroo courts.
Protect your children because the American government and US police won't protect you or your family.
National Children's Alliance
National Children's Advocacy Center