Child Molestation: Keeping Kids From Harm
Since an estimated 20% of female children and 10% of male children are sexually abused by their fourteenth birthday, protecting children from predators is something all parents should actively be doing. This abomination isn’t happening in dark alleyways or even in places children shouldn’t be. Children are molested in the home, school, friend’s houses, and even church. They are having this done to them by people they trust a majority of the time, it is not strangers.
So, how do you protect your kids? It’s not that simple since most of the time you or and your child trust the person that is harming you child. First off, you must talk to your kids about what is not okay for others to do to and with them. Keeping open and honest communication is essential. You probably won’t be in the room or walk in on the abuse happening, but it can happen right in the next room or miles from where you are. Children should know from you that they need to try to get away as long as there is no weapon. It is essential that they know they have done nothing wrong in trying to escape what is happening, and they won‘t be punished by you for it. Next, know who you and your children are around; both other kids and adults. Find out their background by asking direct questions such as “have you been convicted of a crime?” If the answer is yes, ask if it was a crime of violence, drugs, or one that would put them on the sex offender registry. Even though violent crime and crimes involving drugs do not indicate someone will necessarily hurt your child, you have to ask yourself if that is someone you want your child to be around. Look through your local sex offender registry. Form a group of parents you trust and look out for each other’s children. More than one pair of eyes can see much more, especially if you aren’t there to keep look out. Keep your kids off the internet. As wonderful and a big of a resource as the internet is, it is not a place for children. If they have to use it, use it together. Many parents initially get their child a cell phone so they can call for help. Cell phones are a false sense of security when put in the hands of children. It is true that they can call you or the police using it. However, cell phones, especially for children can put them in danger by taking their focus off their surroundings. Thereby, having a cell phone it is making them easier targets.
If something does happen to your child, it can be very difficult for them to tell you details about the event. Do not assume they are lying because they can’t give much information. Amnesia or dissociation to traumatic events is actually very normal in both children and adults when they suffer a traumatic event, but it is most prevalent in children. The lack of detail is a coping mechanism, and is usually stronger the younger the child is. Because many kids know that what is going on isn’t right, but are too afraid to escape this coping mechanism turns on and they “zone out“. This mechanism makes it even harder for them to escape. The mechanism can cause memory lapse which leave many holes and gaps in what they went through. If you ask questions and the child answers your questions with “I don’t know”, don’t push them for further answer on the question. Chances are, they really don’t know. However, as they cope, some recollection will return and those questions may be able to be answered. That may take many years, if they are ever able to remember.