Wednesday, October 10, 2012

When Teaching Our Kids Isn't Enough

In the wake of the Sandusky conviction, I think we all have to shake our heads in disbelief that children could be used and violated in such a way by someone in whom we placed such trust. That Sandusky founded his charity Second Mile, with a mission to help at-risk kids, but instead preyed upon these vulnerable children is appalling. Unfortunately, all too often sex offenders who prey upon children aren’t the villainous masked stranger we’d expect. They are often well known to the parents, respected, and trusted. They use this trust and easy access to the kids to groom them (i.e. prey on the child’s vulnerabilities and ‘pave the way’ before sexually violating them).  In a  study  :
· 46% of sexual predators were family members
· 48% were well known to the family (friend of parent 26%, trusted person in authority such as clergy, teacher, coach 22%), but a mere
· 5% were strangers. (Huot 1999)
Sexual predators are often rational and calculating in how to gain parental trust and access to the child. Historically we’ve focused our prevention efforts on educating children (e.g. good touch/bad touch programs.) Studies indicate that these strategies are insufficient: 
·“Most children do not know, remember or feel empowered to try prevention strategies.”
·Child focused sex abuse prevention should be our “last focus of prevention.”
·We need to “make prevention a national priority where the burden of safety is shifted from children to adults.“  (Kaufman et al 1999)

Sexual abuse of children; it’s something we don’t even want to imagine… but it happens. For more information onwhat parents can do to keep their children safe

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