After listening to KRBE’s discussion on sex offenders on my way in to work I did a little research and read some of the below statistics on Family Watchdog:
• 60% of abusers are family friends (babysitters, neighbors, or friends of the family)
• 30% of abusers are their own family.
• And 10% are strangers. -Most people think it is just strangers you have to watch out for, but 90% of abusers are people the victim knows.
• Not all perpetrators are adults. It is an estimated 23% of abusers are under the age of 18.
• Absence of one or both parents is a risk factor (Some research found that children living with only one biological parent at twice the risk of sexual victimization)
I decided to do a check of my new neighborhood and had a small heart attack when I saw an address a few houses down from us. Just a reminder to always keep an eye on your children as you never know who or where the “bad” people could be. How many times have you heard of someone getting arrested for something horrible and their family and neighbors all saying how wonderful they are? Unfortunately, you just never know what goes on behind closed doors. The nice, rich woman down the street could be your biggest threat and the cranky, old guy across the street could be one of your children’s greatest protectors and your second set of eyes.
I want to take this opportunity to urge you to empower your children to say “no” to unwanted touch and teach them that they can come to you with questions and concerns. Doing this is a critical step to preventing your child from being sexual abused. Here are some things I do:
- Teach children the names of their body parts so that they have the language to ask questions and express concerns about those body parts.
- Teach them that some parts of their bodies are private.
- Let them know that other people should not be touching or looking at their private parts unless they need to touch them to provide care.
- Tell them that if someone tries to touch those private areas or wants to look at them OR if someone tries to show them his or her own private parts, they should tell you ASAP.
- Teach them boundaries and that it’s okay to say “no” to touches that make him or her uncomfortable or scared.
- Assure your kids that it is okay to get help, even if someone he or she cares about might be upset or embarrassed.
- Teach your child that these topics do not need to be “secret.” Abusers will sometimes tell a child that the abuse should be kept a secret. Let your child know that if someone is touching him or her or talking to him or her in ways that make him or her uncomfortable or scared, that it should not stay a secret.
- Abusers rely on the child’s likelihood of not telling an adult.
- Assure your child that he or she will not get into trouble if he or she tells you this kind of secret.
As you talk to your child about these items, remember to focus on creating a safe zone. Hopefully, they don’t tell you about sexual abuse at the time of the conversation and you are just laying a foundation for future questions or concerns. Also, take a moment to do a sex offender search and read why they are on the list (this is important as not all offensives are alike). Please remember that these are only the registered offenders that were caught and realize how many are out there that haven’t been. Our children are our greatest asset and it’s our job to look after them and keep them safe.
If you live in Texas, you can check your zip code here.
If you live in Missouri, you can check your address here.
If you live in Florida, you can check your address here.
If you reside in a state that isn’t listed above, go here.