I cannot stress the importance of having open communication with our children on the subject of sexual abuse. During my legal career, I have seen some of the most atrocious cases of sex abuse of children imaginable.
In honour of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, I thought I'd share a few facts and also a bit of my personal opinion.
*FACT: Sex offenders come from every walk of life. They work in every arena you can possibly imagine. They live in every neighbourhood. They attend every church. They are everywhere!!! and pedophiles prefer places where children congregate.
Reality Check: Due to the enormous amount of unreported sexual assaults, sex offenders and pedophiles continue living amongst us undetected and therein seize any opportunity to continue offending...that is, until they are caught. Therefore, I never assume my child's safety.
*FACT: Once a child does not report a sexual assault, the sex offender is empowered to progress and sometimes can become increasingly graphic and/or violent.
Reality Check: It is probably safe to assume that most sex offenders you see on the television news who have murdered their victims have offended at some point before. One "normally" does not kill the first time around.
*FACT: Pedophiles like to groom their victims. They do so, for example, by buying toys, candy, CD's, and other gifts for children. This list is certainly not exhaustive. They strive to gain the trust of the child until the opportunity for sexual assault is ripe. Pedophiles often convince children to keep their sexual assaultive behaviour a secret either through manipulative expressions of love and/or threats.
Reality Check: Speak to your children about "good touches" and "bad touches" from an early age. I even go a step further and explain to my daughter that there are "good people" and "bad people". There are "good secrets" and "bad secrets". She needs to tell me immediately if anyone ever asks her to keep a secret. I will NEVER get mad at her for telling me any secret. If it's a good one, I'll keep it safe for her. If it's a bad one, I will protect her. Parent must have open communication with their children. Their life may depend on it.
*Thought of the Day: Our children are always watching...absorbing how people react and/or handle life situations. It is imperative that we teach them from an early age that sexual impropriety is never acceptable. If a child ever reports any type of sexual assault, please do not dismiss it. One must always investigate any and all allegations of sexual assault reported by a child.
*For more reference, please click any of the following links:
*Did you know?
*Safety First: Protecting Our Children