With the holidays upon us, families and friends are getting together to celebrate the season.
Sadly, this is also a time of year when sexual predators capitalize on opportunities to prey on kids.
While many may think we only need to worry about strangers harming our kids, we should all keep in mind that the true danger lies in our own circles of trust. Here are some sobering facts all parents should know about sexual predators…
- Nine (9) out of 10 children who are sexually abused know, love or trust the people abusing them.
- This means it’s highly likely that the PARENTS also know the predator harming their child.
- Approximately 30% of children who are sexually abused are molested by a member of their family (e.g., parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, cousin, aunt, uncle, etc.).
- Around 40% of sexually abused children are abused by older or more powerful kids. (Source:Darkness to Light)
Then 10-year old Chaucie Quillen was first molested by her father during Thanksgiving in the presence of family.
Chaucie Quillen, a young girl who’s father sexually abused her for several years and the namesake for Chaucie’s Place Child Advocacy Center, was first groomed by her father while in the presence of relatives during Thanksgiving 1985. From a story run by Indianapolis Monthly in 1999…
Her father first molested her at age 10, as they sat on a couch sharing a blanket and watching TV. Chaucie later said she thought the groping by her father was “okay” because her sister, brother, mother and grandmother were all nearby.
Researcher and therapist Cory Jewell Jensen shared in a seminar I attended about sexual offenders that many predators will groom children in the presence of others as it enhances their “thrill” of getting away with it… just as Chaucie’s father Phillip Quillen did. Jewell Jensen also cites in her research shared with Oprah.com other facts about incest predators:
- They sexually abuse their own children, but can also abuse other relatives and neighbors.
- They can be sexually attracted to children or offend because they are seeking ‘intimate’ contact with another person regardless of relationship, age or vulnerability.
- Some don’t understand and others don’t care that they are hurting the child.
- Most have multiple victims both inside and outside of their immediate family.
- Some abuse both boys and girls in various age groups.
- Most appear normal and demonstrate no noticeable pathology.
- Few have criminal records.
- Most report that they were repeatedly able to talk family and friends out of reporting them and continued to offend.
- Many are likely to re-offend without ‘treatment.’
3 Holiday Safety Tips for Kids
As the holidays can be prime hunting season for predators, it’s important to review these three (3) holiday safety tips with your kids:
1) You DON’T have to hug cousin Sidney or sit on Uncle Bill’s lap! Before you head to grandma’s for Thanksgiving turkey or have friends over for the holidays, reinforce with your kids that they don’t have to give hugs or kisses to anyone they don’t want to… and that you will ‘have their back’ on that decision! If someone gets upset, be your kid’s hero, intervene and say, “We are teaching our kids personal boundaries right now, but I would LOVE a hug”… then YOU go hug that relative or friend. It’s also totally fine for your child to decline an invitation to sit on someone’s lap. Forcing children to hug, kiss or come into physical contact with others flies in the face of body safety rules all parents should be reinforcing with their kids. Instead, offer your child the option of giving high-fives or handshakes when they greet people.
By the way, this applies to sitting on Santa’s lap, too… if your child doesn’t want to do it, don’t force him/her to.
(To read more, go to the following link…)