Friday, March 31, 2006

A Little About Preventing Childhood Sexual Abuse

Here is a link to a National Sex Offender Registry data which is online and free to view on the Family Watchdog website. You input any address in the United States and the mile radius you would like to view, then what pops up is a map of that area and colored icons showing the residence and work address of convicted sex offenders. If you click on the icon you will see the personal data for the convict including what they were convicted of and sometimes, a color photo of their face. You can also see the exact street address for these convicts.

I hope that when you input your home address you do not see many square colored icons on your map.

I have checked my home address as well as the addresses of close relatives and relatives who we visit that live out of state.

I love the fact that who these convicts are is now public information and that they can be exposed. I see this as a way of public humiliation and punishment, which is a good thing. I don’t quite know how much this will help prevent our children from being sexually molested, other than us keeping our children away from these specific people.

Despite knowing this information I still bothered by the whole issue of childhood sexual abuse. Over 90% of abusers are people in the family or close friends or neighbors of the family, people that the parents trust. That is a sad and scary thing to think about.

If you are looking for information about warning signs and red flags to look for to identify the adult sexual predators, I recommend reading the book “Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)” by Gavin deBecker. This book also tells the warning signs that your children may exhibit if they have already been victimized or are currently being victimized. The book teaches how we can train ourselves and our children to listen to our gut instincts about who to trust and who to not trust, as often that is the best indicator of who to stay away from. To quickly summarize, our bodies are programmed with instincts to feel fear or have that uneasy ‘gut feeling’ when a sign of danger is present. Many people have overridden these gut feelings using logic and talk themselves out of allowing themselves to listen to their gut feelings. De Becker urges us to NOT do that. One of the chapters that bothered me was to hear the extent to which some parents intentionally live in denial of accepting the suspicion that their own child is already being victimized, because they don’t want to deal with the issue. De Becker urges us as parents to not put our heads in the sand. In order to protect our children we must admit that something is wrong when certain warning signs are being exhibited. And for goodness sake if our children tell us that something happened we should believe it and not accuse them of lying!

De Becker also wrote another book called “The Gift of Fear”, which I have not yet read but would like to.

“Protecting the Gift” is a great book and it is worth every penny! This book should also be in every public library, in my opinion! I think this book should be required reading for every parent. Perhaps if every parent put the effort into learning about this, as they put into other areas of their lives, then fewer children would be sexually abused!

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1 comment:

christinemm said...

I received this today by email and kept the writer's name confidential as I didn't know if she wanted to be identified by her full name.

"Dear Christine,
Thanks for the information on books about child sexual abuse. These are not books I am familiar with yet and I look forward to reading them. I have enjoyed your blog. Keep up the good work.