Brochure 2 English
Who is doing this to our children?
There are various definitions for the type of person who would sexually abuse our children. Most commonly, they are referred to as paedophiles or child molesters. Important to know that once an adult or older youth has committed the crime of
child sexual abuse, they cannot be rehabilitated.
Although there are programs where they try to rehabilitate these predators, most of them concentrate on removing the prey [your child] from the perpetrator [the paedophile]. Like an alcoholic with alcohol, if these predators are in the presence of our
children, the temptation is always there for them to molest and rape again and again. Most often, paedophiles and molesters
are known to their victims or to their families.
Why do they do it?
Paedophiles and molesters are attracted to our children sexually and they receive gratification by their actions. They often seduce our children with attention and gifts – this is called grooming. There are those predators who hurt our children because
their motivation is more an issue of power than sexual desire. Then there are those who hurt our children through pornography and child prostitution because they seek financial gain.
These predators do it because in most cases they have the power of control over our children and they have the privacy and
opportunity to do it. It should become the life mission of anyone who has a child or who knows a child, to remove the opportunity, power, control and privacy from these predators.
Paedophiles and molesters look for opportunities where they can abuse our children – they also create opportunities – in the privacy of the location that they have chosen, at their own time and on their own terms. We need to ensure that we know what situations and behaviours to look for in people who could potentially sexually abuse our children.
It is important to know that these predators are con-men. They will tell you anything to make you believe them and to go with them. They will look you in the eye and convince you that their intentions are good.
How do they do it?
Paedophiles have various ways of ensuring that they have control over your child in order for them to sexually abuse them. Examples of grooming tactics and lures used by paedophiles to sexually abuse our children
Affection – pretending they care for the victim and their family
Assistance – asking for help from the victim
Bribery – age related items like sweets, toys, food, alcohol, money.
Authority – using their position as coach, scout leader for example, to lower the victim’s guard and defences.
False Emergency – they state there is an emergency at home
Fun and Games – that allows touching
Ego/Fame/Jobs – modelling jobs, beauty contests, private auditions; where they are told to keep it secret.
Name recognition – uses names of victims displayed on personal property like books, school bags, jackets, etc to make the victim feel comfortable.
Threats/Fear – threatens the victim into not telling
Heroes – dresses up like Father Christmas or a clown to win kids over.
Magic and rituals – preys on victim’s innocence.
Pornography – uses pornographic material to lower inhibitions and then to make them feel ashamed and unworthy of the love of
those who really care for them.
Who do they target as their victims?
This is a broad description and not necessarily characteristics of victims.
Children from birth age to those on the brink of puberty can be victims of child sexual abusers. Children who lack affection and physical and emotional attention at home. Children who lack confidence. Children who are left alone or left to look after themselves. Children who are situations where there are no responsible adults to look after them. Children who live in homes where there are substance abuse. Any child - Our children…
What can we do right now to stop this from happening to our children?
Remove your children from situations where paedophiles have opportunity, privacy and control over your child, where they can do what they want, where they want and on their own terms.
We need to teach our children daily from the youngest age, the following in an age-appropriate and non-fearful way…
* That he or she has to check with you before they go anywhere with someone other than yourself.
* To run away from danger.
* To shout and make as much noise as possible when someone tries to forcibly take them away or tries to lure them away
from the public eye.
* To have a safety plan – if you are not home when they come from school, give them a safe alternative place to where
they can go.
* It is okay to say NO! to an adult.
* Which strangers are okay to ask for help, for example, another mom with children, or the teller at the shop; if they are ever
separated from you.
* An adult or older child asking for directions or help is usually a sign of danger – adults should ask other adults for help or directions.
* If an adult or older child takes something from them that belongs to them; and your child needs to get closer in order to get the thing back, they must rather turn around and run away and tell you.
* You can handle anything they may wish to tell you. There should be no secrets kept from you – even if someone has told them that they would hurt them if they told.
* Their body belongs to them.
* Any part of their bodies which is covered by a bathing suit is private – this means, that nobody must touch it. And nobody must ask them to show this private body to them for any reason.
* To tell you or another adult if someone does something that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared or confused. They must tell until someone listens.
* To listen to their inside voice [instinct]. Usually, if something feels wrong, it is. They must pay attention to this and get away from the situation.
* To know their telephone number, address and full name.
* Children are taught to obey adults, but if they’re feeling unsafe, uncomfortable or confused, they should get away from that adult and tell you about it a.s.a.p.
* About basic sex education, using age-appropriate language and information.
What parents need to know and do right now and every day:
Never leave your child unattended [playing in the front garden, or with the neighbour’s kids in the park, or in any situation where you cannot see them.] Not even for a minute – it takes seconds for someone to lure your child away, or to grab them by force. Remove the opportunity for predators to take your child away from you.
Ask yourself what motivation another adult or an older child would have to spend time alone with your child [always offering to baby sit, transport the child or be alone with your child].
Never let your child go places alone. Even 2 small children can be abducted together.
Know where your children are and with whom at all times.
Assume that what your child has to say is just as important as what you have to say – you are giving your child a voice.
Talk to your child, and listen to your child – really listen. Even 5 minutes of sincere listening to your child will ensure that your child knows that he or she matters and is important to you.
Try to identify situations and behaviours where your child may be at risk of being abducted, raped and murdered. Act on this. Don’t expose your child to that possibility.
Believe your child when they tell you that they have been hurt by someone, or shown something that has upset them or made them feel uncomfortable.
Listen to your children when they tell you they don’t want to go stay with someone with whom you want to leave them.
Love your child, and tell them that you love them as often as you can.
© Norah Papanicolaou