ALL MOLESTERS – WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Wouldn’t it be nice if every molester, pedophile, child pornographer, and sex abuser came with a little tattoo on their forehead to warn us who they were? I’d settle for glowing eyes or a salivating wolf’s mouth licking its chops. But the truth is, they are all disguised as normal people. Neighbors, teachers, uncles, coaches, relatives, parents, older siblings. And if we can’t pick them out of the crowd…our children can’t spot them either.
THE PREDATOR’S SIGNATURE MARK
An important fact about Predators is they only reveal themselves to other predators and to children. But if we would educate, train, prepare our children WHAT TO LOOK for, it could make a world of difference.
- The average serial child molester has between 360-380 victims in his lifetime.
Source: South Carolina Forcible Sex Crimes. (1999). Summary, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, SC.
- Like rape, child molestation is one of the most under-reported crimes: only 1-10% are ever disclosed.
Source: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin
How many children might be spared if the first molested child were to report… AND then something meaningful justice was enacted? (Because there are many children who report to parents who dismiss it, courts who acquit, and prisons that release early! Let’s not put this all on the child.)
In order to help our children we need to drag this issue out of the closet, wash off all the sexual icky-ness that’s preventing us from arming them with practical knowledge, and start putting an end to this abomination.
One way to approach that discussion is through the Predator S.T.E.P. Identification Program. If we can accept the following statistic as being accurate, then we know there exists a SECRET between abuser and victim that is keeping this whole situation hush-hush.
More than 90% of all sexual abuse victims know their perpetrator. Almost 50% of the offenders are household members and 38% are already acquaintances of the victims.
Source: US Department of Justice. (1997) and Finkelhor and Ormond. (2001).
The Shared Secret has been sealed in fear. (see this post for a list of fear appeals used.) Children do not withhold reporting because they aren’t hurting. They don’t withhold reporting because they like being sexually abused! They withhold because they believe something worse than the abuse will happen to their life if they do report.
The BAD SECRET Is The Beast’s Signature Mark!
This BAD SECRET is the lynchpin that allows the predator to continue to commit these terrible crimes. The Bad Secret is perhaps the only thing keeping them from prison, and so it is an absolute necessity which must be imparted on the victim. However, if we can prepare our children for these BAD SECRETS and let them know that these are tactics that could be used against them — and are most likely just lies used by a cowardly monster who doesn’t want to get caught — the chances increase that the fear appeal of the secret will diminish significantly. Chances increase that your child will be more willing to disclose to you because you have shown a concern for this issue; an openness to talk about the matter. With more reporting, more offenders will be caught and fewer victims will suffer at their hands.
Knowledge of the secret can also be used to PREVENT abuse because grooming predators (acquaintances who do not abduct) use the secret to prepare the child for attack.
The Grooming Predator Method
Groomers often build up ammunition against a child to counter the potential reporting. Simply put, it’s an “If you tell on me, I’m going to tell on you” threat. Groomers encourage and allow children to indulge in pleasures parents would forbid, such as unhealthy foods, certain music, alcohol, drugs, and pornography. With the Predator aggressively supplying the opportunity, the child will partake of these off-limit items and later fear punishment if they rat out the attacker.
Children who are aware of Predator tactics will hear the phrase “It’s just our secret. We don’t need to tell __________” differently than regular kids hear it. They become more sensitive to adults creating secret bonds with them. Suspicion is aroused when an older person lets them to do things other adults do not. They can be alerted they are being “groomed” way ahead of the game and, by telling a trusted adult, help thwart an attack.
Discuss with your children that any secret ANYONE asks them to keep from YOU is a BAD SECRET and must be disclosed right away. The anyone includes Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, Siblings, Older Juveniles, Pastors and Priests, etc. There are exceptions of course –birthday presents and surprise parties…but not many. I’m hard pressed to think of some other reason a spouse or relative should have for insisting your child keep a secret from you. It wouldn’t take much for you to mention those two exceptions and keep the rule in its general form an otherwise absolute commandment.
Remember: Grooming predators walk, talk, dress, look and (in public) act the same as decent human beings. Besides outright sexual transgressions, the only consistent card they play that exposes their game plan is ensnaring your child with the Bad Secret.
Teach your child the Predator S.T.E.P. Identification System and continually remind them to watch out for elders who attempt to engage them in secret contracts. Teach them to especially watch out for elders who allow them to transgress your rules while vowing to keep your child’s behaviors a secret. Explain that these are simply the first secrets. These are the secrets the Predator will keep to protect them– in exchange for them keeping the truly awful secret of sexual abuse.
For our children’s sake, the Mark of the Beast can no longer remain a secret. It must be taught. It must be revealed. Ironically, it is the SECRET!