JuLeah - posted on 05/14/2011 ( no moms have responded yet )
I worked custody case years back. The mother claimed the father was placing the children (one boy and one girl) in danger because he wanted them to visit with his father who was a known pedophile. She herself had left the children in grandfather’s care each summer since they were born, but now that they were starting to develop physically, she felt they would be sexually attractive to grandfather, and no longer safe in his care. The father felt they were safe, because grandfather had become a Christian, and promised he’d never again abuse a child.
I advocated that the maid be awarded custody.
But, it got me to thinking. Many people believe they know what a pedophile is and how to protect their children. We teach them, “Don’t talk to strangers” for example. Reality tells us 80% of children are sexually abused by a family member with the father being the most prevalent followed by an uncle, grandfather, or boyfriend, so teaching them to not talk with strangers doesn’t help much.
I was sexually abused at the age of three (well, that was when it started) by my grandfather while my grandmother, mother, and father were down the hall drinking coffee. My parent’s did teach me not to talk with strangers, and to be suspicious of anyone who looked different from ‘us’, but they didn’t protect me from abuse.
So, I thought I’d toss out a list of common features here, a pedophile profile if you will:
He is usually married. He is usually a family man, with no criminal record. (I say he, because 97% of the abusers are male) ... and side note – most are White and 88% identify as Christian.
They work in a wide range of occupations, from unskilled laborer, corporate executive, doctor, lawyer, judge or clergy.
He appears to be trustworthy and respectable. Has good standing in the community.
Is usually non-violent and has few problems with the law (pedophiles are more often than not respected community members)
Popular with both children and adults.
"Grooms" children with quality time, video games, parties, candy, toys, gifts, money.
Singles out children who seem troubled and in need of attention or affection.
Often dates or marries women with children that are the age of his preferred victims.
Rarely forces or coerces a child into sexual contact. Usually through trust and friendship. Physical contact is gradual, from touching, to picking up, to holding on lap, to kissing, etc.
Most of these guys abuse 80 to 100 kids before they are caught for the first time. The signs are there, the kids are talking. We don't see and we don't listen. We protect these guys, shelter them, make excuses for them, and sometimes, do so without even really understanding what we are doing. We have the power to end this crime, if we all understood the truth behind it.
Knowledge is power, as they say, so I recommend the book, “The Gift of Fear” and the follow up “Protecting the Gift” by: Gavin de Becker. I think it is a must read for all parents.