Ivy Posts On Protecting Children From Sexual Predators

27 05 2008

I used to work with battered women and sexually abused women and their children. No, I don’t won’t to talk about it here.

Ivy wrote a post on Love Shak, Baby that is more than good in protecting children not only online but in your home. It’s well-written and it is smart.

There’s nothing like finding something like that out to change how you feel about someone. Ack. It makes me remember- sexual predators look like everyone else. They can be your friend, your uncle, your pastor. They can be anyone.

How can we protect our children from sexual predators? I personally have one steadfast rule: I never let my children be alone with any male who is not directly related to me. And even then, I use caution. Number of men my children have been alone with: 2. Their dad and my dad.

But that’s not all you can do to protect your kids, and I admit that is a bit overprotective. However, you can’t be too careful. Here’s a list of 8 things you can do to protect your kids from sexual prdators:

Just read the post if you have kids.

The same thing happened to me. I had a friend that I adored. Guess what. He got busted for predatory behavior. Not rape, but still, the trust was gone and it was all online and was completely and terribly inappropriate. I saw that he had done this on the front page of a newspaper. It hurt me more than you will know but not near as much as the emails he sent to a teenager.

No, I don’t want to talk about that either here out of respect for the young girl involved.

It was quite painful for everyone involved. I was a professional working with people who had been abused and I had NO IDEA!

I had no idea, people. No indication.

We aren’t friends anymore.

Sometimes, you just don’t know what’s going on when the lights go down and the door is shut.

I implore you to read her post.




7 responses

27 05 2008
Paul Nicholson

I totally agree with the post and it is amazing to me how much of this isn’t obvious to so many parents.

Of course, one thing that is also obvious to but seems to always be missed by these articles is that this sort of thing isn’t just one-way when it comes to the sex of the offender.

To quote and correct: “They can be your friend, your uncle, [your aunt], your pastor, [a teacher]. They can be anyone.”

That last sentence is the most key, but even people like this who think they are taking precautions tend to miss.

I totally understand the fear that this causes many parents, but it makes me really sad (and sometimes angry) to see men discriminated against because they are feared, while women (who i acknowledge are a smaller statistical set of offenders) often get free passes and are allowed to put children in situations that no one should be allowed to do.

27 05 2008

It’s not all men.
I think that’s the hardest thing because there are good, kind men out there. It’s not all women who do other things like complain when it’s their monthly. (I’m making a comparison of stereotypes so bear with me.)
It’s the behavior. When I worked with battered women and sexually abused women/children, I had some male clients but it was vastly outnumbered by the female abused #’s I had.
I think most men are kind. Let’s remember that statistics say 1 out of four women are abused (I mainly worked with adults so that’s what I am basing this on.) That means that 3 out of four relationships were not stricken with abuse. Because of the vast numbers that go through police stations and district attorneys offices nation/worldwide, abuse tends to be gender specific by data. I have many male friends though who want to scream when they hear this because they would never do this online or in real life or both.
On the other hand, there are so many psychological issues attached with abuse, such as verbal/mental abuse that accompanies some, not all, some women’s behavior.
It’s a hard issue because I think that villains are created and there are, but not everyone. The problem comes down to facts vs. emotions.
But, I think in the blogging world, many people, including me, write from their own experiences as well, which as much as I adore the blogosphere, exists.
Paul, thanks for being so validating and open and willing to discuss it. I tried to respond to your last question as best I could.I worked at the YWCA Domestic Violence Shelter in Nashville and started a BW’s program here as well. We did, and they still do, what everyone can, one person, one situation, at a time.
There just aren’t any easy answers but I’m glad you spoke out on this because you give a great perspective.
I hope it created a dialog.

27 05 2008

Paul, I’m sorry I didn’t expand that out far enough. The statistics on women molesting children vs. men molesting children are overwhelmingly male oriented. I wrote that as a guide for parents of younger children. Women who molest *generally* pick younger teens- 12-14, statistically speaking.

Because of this I am more cautious of men than I am women. Additionally, I have closer bonds to women than I do men partially because I’m a “women” kind of woman, and partially because I am married and my husband wouldn’t be keen on me having the close friendships I do with men as I do with women.

Even so, you are correct, I should have at least mentioned women. Apologies.

27 05 2008

I worked a couple of summers for my mom who ran an after school day care center at the local elementary.

All the males knew, fairly or not, that there were extra eyeballs on us. So if during movie time one the first graders innocently wanted to sit on the lap. Nope. Physically pick the child up and set on the ground. It was hard to explain to a six year old why there was a “no lap” rule, especially for the male workers, (mostly high schoolers and college students home from school) without getting into territory better left for parents.

27 05 2008
Paul Nicholson

Apology accepted Ivy. It’s a very common oversight and one i know wasn’t intentional. I recently learned of a few polices at places like churches that only allow for women to do things like change diapers in the nursery for fear of “the men”. Just very misguided i think.

As far as the number of women vs men reporting cases of abuse, a note there: I’ve worked some with the small community of men that are on the victim side of this equation. I know i hear it frequently talked about that

I don’t for a moment think that more women than men abuse. I totally agree that among offenders, men will make up the majority.

However, though i often hear about the “report” statistics for women being woefully under-reported due to many women’s fears of coming forward – which is a very valid and concerning truth – but i think the percentage of men who are abused and are afraid or feel it would be ‘un-masculine’ (are have already had that sense stripped away from them in many cases) to come forward and say they were abused is much much higher than it is for women. May be wrong, but in my experience, it seems true. on the flip side from the fear of being ‘immasculated’, i have known of a few boys in their teens (or even 9-12) think it is ‘cool’ at the time, and years later realize the horrible abuse the situation actually caused.

It doesn’t exactly fit the societal norms for a man to come in and say he was sexually abused by a woman. By another man, that has become accepted, but the fact is society just isn’t setup to accept that a woman would abuse a young child.

Our society has a lot of learning to do when it comes to finding, treating, reporting, and preventing sexual abuse – on all side and in all situations.

I too thank you for opening the dialog.

27 05 2008

I think sexual abuse is so underreported it isn’t funny. I don’t think I have a female friend who hasn’t been sexually abused in some way, shape, or form. I know from my friendships with men, that many of them have been sexually abused in some way. It’s scary to think how much it does go on.

So I do my damndest to keep my kids from it.

And if I can’t protect them from it, I want to be able to have raised them so they are the sort of person who reports it.

It’s a good conversation, a needed conversation to be had from all sides.

28 05 2008

I agree. I thank you guys for talking about this. It’s a great conversation. As the aunt of a tween now wanting to experience the Internet and also with the background with victims, I worry about her.
Paul, we used to work with Men Against Violence. And some of my younger clients were male. I should have stated that in the comment I wrote as well.
It would be a wonderful step forward for everyone if folks, both male and female, would step forward but the emotional stigma exists and is such an all-encompassing thing.
I guess for so many it comes down to Fear, which is blinding at times.
I think we all understand fear. I know I do.
You guys are great. I’m glad we are talking about this.

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