Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Protecting our Children

There are beasts out there who rape, sodomize and throw little children from balconies. Sexual crimes against children is rising. However sometimes the perpetrators are not a stranger but someone close, someone trusted.

Today, I want to share an article on the 7 steps to protecting our children: Preventing, Recognizing, and Reacting Responsibly to Child Sexual Abuse - A Guide for Responsible Adults. The introduction to the article stands out to me. It says....

"My child's school has a program to teach children about sexual abuse prevention- but what about adults? Shouldn't we be responsible for the protection of children?"

A child's safety is an adult's job. Children are often taught how to keep themselves safe from sexual abuse - and that's important for them to learn - but it's no substitute for adult responsibility. We make sure children wear seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We store toxic household cleaners out of reach. Why, then, would we leave the job of preventing child sexual abuse solely to children?Imagine how difficult it is for a child to say "no" to a parent, a teacher, a coach, or clergy.

Even the adults we trust to protect children can't always be trusted. Coaches, teachers, clergy, and parents are authority figures children feel they can trust. Yet, a large percentage of those who sexually abuse children are from this group. These are adults who have the opportunity to "groom" children with affection and attention, making it difficult for children to identify certain behaviors as abuse. And they know that children have been taught to "mind" them. This is why programs that focus on adult responsibility are essential.

Another part of the article which stands out to me is Step 2: Minimize Opportunity. Here is an excerpt:

More than 80% of sexual abuse cases occur in one-adult/one-child situations.Reduce the risk. Protect children.

  • Understand that abusers often become friendly with potential victims and their families, enjoying family activities, earning trust, and gaining time alone with children.
  • Think carefully about the safety of any one-adult/one-child situations. Choose group situations when possible.
  • Think carefully about the safety of situations in which older youth have access to younger children. Make sure that multiple adults are present who can supervise.
  • Set an example by personally avoiding one-adult/one-child situations with children other than your own.
  • Monitor children's Internet use. Offenders use the Internet to lure children into physical contact.

This is very true indeed. I've read of a case where boys were abused by their male tuition teacher. The parents were home during the lessons but tuition was conducted in a room behind closed doors. You can never be too careful when it comes to your children, girls AND boys alike. So minimize opportunity is very sound advice.

Please read the rest of the article in the link I provided above. It is a good guide for us parents to always be aware and be prepared to protect our children.

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