It’s open season for child molesters.
After the horrific mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas recently, some guy was posting about it on LinkedIn (LinkedIn, for god’s sake!) the next day. He shared a picture of a middle-aged guy standing at the doorway of a grade school somewhere, guarding against any shooters entering the school, and praising the gentleman for his kindness and generosity for being there.
And all I could think was, it’s now open season for child molesters. That guy is probably waiting for his next victim. They’ll have unfettered access if they just say they are there to “protect the children.”
Because if the shooters don’t get our kids, the molesters sure will. And parents need to stop being dumbasses.
There’s a reason child molesters are called predators.
A predator is defined (thank you, Merriam-Webster) as an organism that primarily obtains food by the killing and consuming of other organisms.
Let’s take a look at some “apex predators” as examples. (Yes, ironically, I did just send you to a site with a section covering guns. I swear I’m not a gun-toting fiend. In fact, I support a ban on all assault rifles and pretty much anything that enables mass murder, so just let’s not even go there. But hey, the coffee looks good.)
The point is, look at those apex predators. They are extremely intelligent, crafty, stealthy, creative, and fast. And they are really good at catching and killing their targets. And they don’t care one damn bit about their prey.
Unfortunately child molesters think exactly the same way. If you are a parent and you don’t know this… it’s time to wake the fuck up.
Your child’s survival might depend on it.
Just like apex predators, child molesters are extremely deliberate and sneaky, and each action they take is intentional.
Molesters will usually target children with certain characteristics or circumstances–perhaps the children who are the youngest, neglected, or seeking attention or are somehow more vulnerable than others at the time. The perpetrators can be anybody–any race, profession, socio-economic group, occupation, age–it doesn’t matter.
In my book, I cover the steps predators take to groom children for molestation. Here are the simplified versions:
- Identifying and targeting the victim.
- Gaining trust and access to your child.
- Playing a role in your child’s life.
- Isolating your child.
- Creating secrecy around the relationship.
- Initiating sexual contact.
- Controlling the relationship.
Coalition Children is a great resource for more in-depth detail of each step.
You think I’m exaggerating? I don’t blame you. But look. Adult retrospective studies show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men were sexually abused before the age of 18 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2006)? [Source: Children’s Assessment Center] So, in 2006 when the study was run, 25% of women reported having been sexually abused prior to turning 18. That’s high!
It may seem that childhood sex abuse isn’t that prevalent. But it is.
Just because people don’t talk openly about it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Now let’s go back to the dumbass on LinkedIn. How do child molesters gain access to their victims?
While some sexual abuse is purely opportunistic, most children are groomed and lured into situations where they are vulnerable to abuse, according to Child Lures Prevention/Teen Lures Prevention (CLP/TLP), an organization whose mission is to help prevent crimes against children and youth through education and awareness.
How can you spot grooming? Here are some common strategies:
- Befriending parents, particularly single parents, to gain access to their children.
- Offering babysitting services to busy parents or guardians.
- Taking jobs and participating in community events that involve children.
- Becoming a guardian or foster parent.
- Attending sporting events for children.
- Offering to coach children’s sports.
- Volunteering in youth organizations.
- Offering to chaperone overnight trips.
- Loitering in places children frequent – playgrounds, parks, malls, game arcades, sports fields, etc.
- Befriending youngsters on social media (TikTok, Ask.fm, YouTube, Kik, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.) and online gaming platforms.
That guy standing in the door at the school? He was loitering in a place that children frequent.
I don’t call that “protecting our children,” do you?
What do you think? Join the discussion through the comments here.