It can be anyone
…and it is most often is the person you least think. Child abusers look like everyday people. If you think a child abuser looks weird or strange most of the time they look like the neighbor next store. After all, my own biological father abused me. But the truth is that child abusers share the same normal appearance just as us normal people.
My father fit that category perfectly. How? He was well liked. He was just an average person who played sports such as baseball and bowling. He was a painter by trade. An interesting characteristic of my dad was that he did not hang around with little children such as my brother’s baseball team or other children activities. He did it all in secret because of course his main victim lived in the same home. Hoe convenient! That is why child abusers are most often creative, conniving, and masterminds of evil. They are down right sneaky and liars of the trade. I should know I lived with one all my childhood.
Day in and day out, I was forced to lie and as I got older I was bribed.
It was a part of my life and became my NORMAL. I know that sounds totally abnormal and that’s because it was abnormal. My normal was hearing my dad say, “Tell your mom we went to XXX.” But the truth is we were at the train tracks in his truck while he sexually abused me (one of many common places).
Here’s the best way to describe my dad…he was a down to earth friendly guy. He was easy to get along with and helped people out. He smiled a lot and was easy going. He did not have this sadistic look or attitude. People really truly liked him and called him friend. He was the kind of guy you called over to hang out with at your family’s birthday party. He made great conversations. He just did not appear to be the kind of guy who was a child molester.
All I am saying is that we need to be cautious with who we trust and allow being alone with our children.
Please do not be naïve and I always say to trust your gut or instinct. And it is OK to ask your children if they felt uncomfortable with (XXX) or did (XXX) touch you anywhere on your body? Maybe you can come up with a keyword or phrase that symbolizes what is under their birthday suit. Some people will call it for what it is and name the body parts. This is totally up to you in how you want to talk to your child and there is no right or wrong way. What might be good for one family might be different for another family. We have unique cultural family units. I talk about that in this post.
A child sexual abuser tries to gain trust and jump loops and bounds to do favors for the family.
They will sweet talk you and try to be a part of your life in a subtle way all the while gaining your trust and the trust of your children. They are evil and conniving people that appear to be responsible but believe me they are cunning. Beware of people who suggest buying extra things and who try to befriend you so quickly. There are good people in this world and not all people are child molesters. It is our duty and responsibility to make sound decisions for the protection of our children. It is ok to stand back and put up a wall of space around your family when someone wants to come in. Question their motives and do not be totally trusting and especially don’t leave your children alone!
Child abusers are not strangers most of the time about 90% of children who were sexually abused know their abuser (Finkelhor, 2012). I think the most important lesson to take away here is the fallacy that only strangers are abusers. Stranger danger!! Nope, that is not completely true. In fact statistics show it is quite the opposite. Children KNOW their abusers because most often they are family members, friends and coaches. Please do not leave your children alone with people. Be cautious.
Be alert. Be a Mama Bear! Sniff out those evil people called child abusers. Sometimes, it means you hold off on traveling alone with your spouse or not going out with your friends because your kids will have to be with a babysitter. I am not saying that all babysitters or family or good friends are child abusers. If there is anything to take away is to be cautious talk to your children, and set them up for protection.
Let’s partner together moms to prevent and recognize child sexual abuse. We need to embrace a community of change in the attitudes towards being comfortable in talking about child sexual abuse or any abuse for that matter.
|Finkelhor, D. (2012). Characteristics of crimes against juveniles. Durham, NH: Crimes against Children