Safeguarding Your Children from Sexual Predators

Last year I was asked to speak to a "Moms of School Age Children's" at their monthly meeting on the subject of "how to protect your children from sexual predators." It is a topic of both personal and professional interest and one I have been speaking about for more than thirty years.

If you're not familiar with my own story of being sexually abused as a child, you can go to the following link on my web-site to hear about my story and recovery:

In this series of several posts, I will be sharing practical safeguards that I've gathered over the years from many resources, too numerous to site. However, I will do my best to give credit to quotes or written material that I drew from as much as possible to give credit to those who have prepared comprehensive facts for parents, educators, and anyone who directly works with children.

In these posts I will be covering the following five major points*:

  • Know the Facts
  • Educate Your Children
  • Minimize Opportunities
  • Listen and Observe
  • Make a Plan *(Darkness to Light; Charleston, S.C.)

Know the Facts:

What is sexual abuse?:
  • Any sexual act between an adult and a minor or between two minors when one exerts power over the other.
  • Incest is any sexual contact with parent, parental figure, sibling, or any other family member (perceived or actual)
  •  Molestation is any sexual contact with a person outside the family constellation
  • Exploitation/Covert Abuse involves exposing a child to explicit material either visually (exhibitionism, nudity, pornography) or verbally (inappropriate sexual innuendos, invasive comments regarding sexuality or body development.)
  • Child sexual abuse is illegal in all 50 states, but the precise legal definition varies from state to state.
  • Call your local Child Protective Services Agency to familiarize yourself with the laws of your state concerning abuse, its legal definition, and reporting laws.

Who molests children?

Both males and females can be sexual predators

90% of children are abused by someone they know and trust

Approximately 40% of sex offenders report they were sexually abused as children

Approximately 70% of sex offenders of children have between 1-9 victims; 20-25% have 10-40 victims. Serial molesters may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes.

Current statistics/facts:

  • 1/4 girls and 1/6 boys are sexually abused prior to age 18
  • The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old
  • 1/5 children are solicited while on the internet
  • Approximately 20% of sexual abuse victims are under 8 years old
  • Nearly 40% are abused by older or larger children
  • Most child victims never report the abuse
  • Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who tell and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood.
  • About 80% of children who are victims of sexual abuse have mothers who were sexually abused as children.

I know this is a lot of information to take in. My main objective is for you to be educated and aware of the pervasiveness of abuse in our culture. No community is immune. Therefore, it is vital for you and others you know to be aware of what sexual abuse is, how it is legally defined in your state, and what help is available in your community.

In my next post, we will talk about how to Educate Your Children without instilling fear and what safeguards can be utilized in the protection of your children and others within your community.