Of all the articles I have written on this blog about parenting children and teens, getting adult children to be financially responsible for themselves and dealing with abusive and controlling relationships, nothing upsets me more than the subject of child safety and child sexual abuse in our society.
The subject of child safety involves so much more than parents might think, whether it be ensuring children are kept safely secured in car seats or not leaving children in hot cars, keeping potentially poisonous household cleaning products out of children’s reach, to protecting children from child molesters, identifying the signs of child sexual abuse and dealing with the long-term effects of being a victim of child abuse.
April 3, 2008 is Blog Against Sexual Violence Day, and on that day I will begin a series of articles pertaining to child safety issues and bringing greater awareness to the alarming statistics of sexual abuse involving children, and I am inviting you to tell me what child safety topics you would like me to include in the series.
Parents cannot afford to bury their heads in the sand and turn away from the rather dark and depressing subject of learning everything possible about protecting children from becoming a victim of sexual abuse, only to learn the devastating news that their child had been molested or raped perhaps several years prior, and dealing with the agony of not knowing it was occurring.
Identifying Child Sexual Abuse
I recently read an article on a blog that said “sexual abuse is EASY to identify. Everyone, including the victim, knows what’s happening”. It terrifies me to think that anyone could possibly imagine that recognizing and identifying the signs of child sexual abuse is so easy to accomplish, and that “everyone“, including parents would somehow “just know” it was happening to their child.
Even if your relationship with your child is extremely close, with the best communication and open discussion on all topics, you still may not know he or she had at some time been molested or is being abused right now, but the child is too afraid to say anything. Yes, even to you, dear mom and dad.
Many parents are very diligent in searching the online database for pedophiles that have moved into their local area or neighborhood, and are extremely careful to try and prevent their children from becoming the next victim, but the fact remains that searching online for where child molesters are living just isn’t enough, because the person or persons most likely to harm your child are much closer in proximity than you think.
It is not possible to include in just one post everything pertaining to things parents need to know in order to protect children and teens from child molesters, or the astronomical statistics of child sexual abuse, or the well-known fact that the majority of perpetrators are people within the family, close and trusted friends as opposed to complete strangers.
Dispelling Child Safety and Sexual Abuse Myths
There are so many myths and unknowns about child abuse of a sexual nature, that there are scientific and clinical studies currently being done in order to determine whether there is any possible connection between child sexual abuse and the increasing numbers of teen promiscuity and teen pregnancy.
Did you know that the majority of child sexual abuse victims do NOT tell anyone, even when directly asked by a parent or other authority figures? There are many reasons why that is the case, and I will include those reasons in the upcoming series.
Did you know that if your child tends to be rather quiet, shy and reserved, child molesters view them as a prime target because this type child is more easily manipulated into silence when being abused? Children that are more outspoken and assertive in their personalities are less likely to be chosen by pedophiles because of the higher possibility of the abuse being discovered. Just like rapists will seek out someone who appears to be timid and reserved, easier to manipulate and control, as opposed to those who walk with their head held high and are more assertive and outspoken in their personalities.
Who Do You Trust With Your Child?
Can you really trust anyone, including family members and trusted friends, to be alone with your child or take care of them in some way? There was a recent story on the news about a child who was sexually abused, and the perpetrator of this horrific violence was her own grandfather!
Another recent news story discussed how a child was sexually abused by a magician who was invited to entertain at the school he formerly attended, walked out of the school with a young student, molested the girl and returned her back to the school shortly thereafter.
When it comes to profiling a child molester, there is no profile. It can be anyone. Members of your family. Brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, moms and dads, and complete strangers. Daycare workers, Sunday School teachers, babysitters, boyfriends of adult single mothers, and the list goes on.
Just think about the numerous news reports in recent years about church officials and ministers of various denominations accused, found guilty and sentenced to prison for sexually abusing children in their church, and many of these children never told anyone about the abuse until well into adulthood due to outright fear.
Anyone who thinks that the parents of these children and young adults simply weren’t paying close enough attention to the signs of child sexual abuse in their own children is sorely uninformed and needs to learn the facts, so they themselves don’t look back one day with regret and wish they knew the reality of this growing problem in society before it happens to their own child.
The fact is that child sexual abuse can happen to anyone’s child and at any time, and it’s unfortunate that parents must learn to recognize the signs that suggest their child may have already been sexually abused, and then must begin dealing with the often devastating emotional aftermath, getting the needed help and counseling for their child, and possibly even appearing in a court trial to face their perpetrator.
I am very interested in knowing what topics related to child safety that you would like to see included in the upcoming series, and I ask that you leave a comment letting me know your suggestions. I have no date in mind where the series will end, so these articles will likely go on for some time, mixed in with other informative articles you are sure to enjoy and learn from. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.
Signs and Symptoms of Child Sexual Abuse
The Profile of A Pedophile: Identifying Characteristics and Behaviors of Child Molesters
Why Don’t Kids Tell? Talk to Your Children about Sexual Abuse
Child Sexual Abuse-Facts vs. Myths
Sexual Abuse Books-Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse-Healing Sexual Abuse