By Tomisin Afonja
Child molestation in this degenerating world is in on the rise than ever before. Day in, day out, kids are subjected to sexual abuse especially by pedophiles and this destroys them emotionally and socially. Children get to dread a childhood that is meant to be enjoyable and fun filled; a chance to play and laugh with all innocence and naivety is lost, damaged by mentally disturbed individuals who are absolutely without natural affection and self control. Yet, they exist and have been as old as time.
Many parents, when asked about molesters, believe that they are mostly strangers. The reverse is the case. Less than one-third of child molestations are committed by strangers. Victims usually know their assailants. They know and respect them in most cases. They could be friends, relatives, reputable members of the community, school teachers, baby sitters, or neighbors. It is not uncommon to hear of kids molested by one of their parents or siblings. Child molesters are often close to you; an individual who is close to your child, always showing special interest, singling out your baby from the pack, wanting to take him or her out alone often.
Parents, moms and dads, it is your God-given responsibility to take care of your kids until they grow up enough to care for themselves. Even then, they never stop being our cute, sweet, little babies. We don’t want the dawn of their lives ruined by sexual predators.
How they reach our kids
They are often persuasive. It always starts out as playful or light touches here and there. Since kids are so gullible, they can’t see through the deception of these adults. By the way, children who have been taught to be obedient are often easy victims. Adults are sort of omnipotent to kids. They tend to do what they are told even if it’s against their will.
They often give kids presents and treats. What kid doesn’t love those? They use such as payments for “a job well done” or for creating an opening to their degraded acts.
They misuse a child’s love for secrets. Kids love to keep a few things to themselves. To them, it’s plainly exciting. It is just fun to know something that mummy or daddy doesn’t know.
They also make use of threats. They tell your kids that if anyone should find out, you won’t love them or that you’ll get in trouble and it will all be their fault.
Well, as parents, we are our children’s line of defense against such sick people. How?
How you can protect your kids from pedophiles
Don’t put them in vulnerable situations
Don’t leave your child to baby sitters or adults who preferably will be with children than those their age. Another situation is having your child share a bed or room with adults or teenagers. Your kids are less likely to be victims of child molestation if they are under your supervision. Even if your kids find this restrictive, it is for their protection. Don’t yield to them.
But many of us work and can’t just always be with our kids. The most effective way to help them is to talk to and prepare them for danger. Give them tools that will protect them from people they know, love, and respect, when such ones try to mess with them sexually.
Reinforce their instinct
Children naturally have an idea of what is right and wrong. After all, they possess consciences. Tell them to obey their instinct to say “NO!’ when someone is touching them improperly. A firm and simple “Don’t do that!” Or “I don’t want you to do that!” is often enough to stop a molester in his strides.
Keep the lines of communication open
Talk freely with your kids. Be approachable. Some of them do not know how to bring up such matters especially if they are victims. But, once you ask them, they are willing to pour it out as long as you have a good communication relationship prior to that time.
How to tell them
- Use every opportunity that comes your way. If you see a case like that on the news, use it as an opportunity to start up such conversation and draw them out. Ask if anyone has done something like that to them. For Christian parents, use bible examples. Talk about Dinah in Genesis 34 or Tamar and Amnon in 2 Samuel 13 to show what close relatives shouldn’t do.
- Tell your children that if anyone touches them in a wrong place, they should come to you first. Molesters can initiate improper sexual activities during normal bathing or hygiene inspection. They tell them, things like, “It’s our little secret”, “Don’t tell your mom or she won’t love you anymore”. Such emotional blackmail! How can our babies beat that?!
- Let them know that they can come to you, you are ready to listen, and that you won’t be angry. This is something you can practice in other situations like when he or she commits an offense so that he or she knows how you react and how you’ll react should such occur.
- When bathing them, show them where they shouldn’t be touched and what such places are called. Do not be scared of using the appropriate words like vagina and penis. Be it mom, dad, sister, brother, aunty, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew, policeman, school teacher, baby sitter, mom or dad’s friend, or doctor (except when mom or dad is there), no one should touch them there or fondle such parts of their body.
- Play what if games. Games that involve creating case scenarios and ask them how they’ll respond in such cases. For example, if someone does this or that, what will you do? This way you are doing your best to train them to protect themselves even as you are doing your part.
As parents, we can only try our best, we can’t completely protect them. Yet in our alertness, we want to be balanced. Most adults won’t molest your child. So, don’t be paranoid. Be balanced even while alert.
Also, be alert to changes in behaviors and patterns in your children, be quick to notice soreness in their genitals, withdrawal or anxiety around a particular person. This is especially important when you have hearing or speech impaired kids or naturally reserved children.
Do your part and leave the rest to God.