Nowadays parents take great steps to make sure their child is not apprehended by a child molester. Having the child walk to school with others, making sure to talk to the child about the issue, and doing background checks before enrolling kids in day care are some ways that you can help to protect your child. But is that really enough? In order to fully protect your child from any chance of being molested you would have to lock the child up at home and never let him out into the world. Even then, kids have even been snatched right from underneath their parents’ noses – out of their own beds.
What more can be done to protect our children from the atrocities of a molester? Experts say that many child molesters place themselves in positions where they will have access to lots of kids. That brings to mind things like daycare, scouts, church, schools, and sports teams.
Actually, only 10% of molesters are strangers to the children they molest, 30% are family members, and 60% are others who are in a role as some type of child assistant, like a coach, a teacher, or a counselor.
Not every person who helps and works with kids has the potential to be a child molester. In fact, it’s assuring to know, that there are way more good people in the world working with kids, than there are molesters. However, it’s difficult to be reassured when you know that there’s even one molester on the loose, let alone the tens of thousands that exist in reality. In one large city it’s not unusual to find 5,000 child molesters or more. And these are just the ones that have been previously arrested. Still more have been committing crimes against children for years and have never been caught. In fact, over 4 million child molesters are thought to live in the U.S. alone. And, of these molesters, over half are under the age of 18.
One reason some molesters are not caught is because they are family members and friends. A child often doesn’t want to tell on someone that is close to the family. And, after being threatened and frightened, a child may not tell at all – whether the molester is related or not.
There are certain things that you, as a parent, can do to help protect your child. It’s important to talk to your child about molesters and how to act or what to say if ever in a bad situation. It’s also a good idea to encourage your child to talk about anyone who has been seen lurking or was seen acting suspiciously that the child noticed. Let them know to at least mention these things, whether they turn out to be what they seem or not.
In addition to watching out for your child and teaching him or her to watch out for himself, it’s also important to watch others, particularly ones that are in your child’s life. Child molesters normally look just like any other person but many times their actions reveal otherwise. Some molesters are very sly and some are quite friendly-seeming, but some simply can’t resist eyeing young children.
Never assume that just because someone is a relative, a person in power, or even a teacher or instructor, that they couldn’t be a child molester. Although you never want to assume someone is sick, just because they love children a lot, you still don’t want to turn a blind eye to tiny hints to the contrary. And, don’t think for one moment that child molesters are only men. Although there are many more men than women molesters, women are also capable of molesting youngsters.
One thing that molesters like to do is look at kids. They can do this by cruising around the block as kids enter and exit schools, churches and other children’s activities. Another thing molesters like is to have hands-on experiences with kids, even non-sexually. For this reason, many molesters offer their services or try to get hired at a place where there will be kids. Some examples are scouting, swimming instructor, day care helper, Sunday School teacher, or counselor. Again, that doesn’t mean that everyone in these fields is sinister – most are good, upstanding citizens who care about kids.
Other molesters are already family members or friends and are in close proximity to your child often. Sometimes there are pointers – like having lots of toys at their homes – even though they don’t have kids. Molesters like to use different tactics to lure kids and one thing that lures kids is toys. Many people, particularly ones who have always wanted children but could never have any, might keep lots of toys at their house in anticipation of neighbors’ kids visiting.
It’s almost impossible to tell a child molester from anyone else but if you’re watching, you might see glimpses of some signs that something is wrong. A swimming instructor that pats the kids on the rear as they exit the pool, a friend who seems more interested in one of your children than the others, and people who tickle, wrestle and hug kids – more than normal. Molesters often touch kids, right in front of people, because they think no one notices anything out of the norm.
Don’t live in denial. If you suspect, even for a split second, that someone seems to be a little too friendly with your kid or another, watch that person around your child, or avoid him altogether. Many parents turn a blind eye to signs simply because the person is a family member or friend. It’s difficult to allow suspicion in when the possible molester is someone you love dearly. And often, that’s what the molester counts on.
If a child has been molested some warning signs are sudden anxiety or nervous problems, secrecy, making comments that imply they think they’re different than other kids, taking excessive showers or baths, and suddenly getting worse grades in school. And sometimes the molester will try to sway the child by giving the child gifts. If your child is suddenly coming home with small presents from someone you know, this could be a warning sign.