7 Secrets from the Pros on Keeping Your Children Safe from Abduction & Seduction
1. Child molesters do their homework.
It is common knowledge among law enforcement that child molesters often carefully target their victims. Something as innocent as children's bicycles in the yard is information that will help a child molester find out how many children you have, their sexes, and their ages, according to oe 911 operator.
Other "homework" that molesters do include: targeting children in the morning on their way to school and then stalking them in the afternoon after school. "They will notice," says Major Calvin Jackson, "if a child is alone, if the parents walk them to the bus stop, and they'll look for ways to get in and out of the area quickly and for secluded places into which they can attract the child."
In the words of one child molester, who has since been put to death for abducting and killing many small boys: "On Saturday morning I headed into Portland to find a boy I could spend the day and night molesting, and to experiment on, on Sunday."
One item, which many parents have used, ironically, to keep their children safe has been used as a tool by child molesters and abductors -- the "tot finder" window stickers parents stick on their children's bedroom windows so that firemen could quickly locate the children in case of a fire. " Paret who now know better are not using these "tot finder" stickers any longer," notes Major Jackson.
What's more, molesters know that all kinds of toys, including bikes and video games are excellent ways to "lure" children into their homes. In fact, says Major Jackson, "Their yards often look like playgrounds. They have all of the latest toys, games, and videos like Barney, the Lion King, and Donkey Kong. That's what children want and they want children."
Former child sexual abuse investigator and current Executive Director of the Child Abuse Forensic Institute and a counselor of law, Seth Goldstein, Esq., agrees. He says that many molesters have been apprehended with the tools of their trade on them, in their cars and in their homes. These "tools" include decks of cards, coins, dolls, and candy -- anything they can use to get a child's attention and get them to do what they want.
When one child molester in Austin, Texas, was arrested the police found bikes and other toys in the yard and house. The parents in the neighborhood said they noticed that the single man had these items, but they never thought anything about it.
2. Molesters and abductors plan their lives around attracting children, from where they live to the type of car they drive.
One convicted child molester, now serving a 20-year sentence, admits that when he decided to move from one town to another he picked a house that was near an elementary school and a go-cart amusement park. He was often spotten talking to young boys at the go-cart park and taking them for rides on his motorcycle.
During one investigation of a string of child murders in a Michigan community, law enforcement officers uncovered 782 unreported incidents of attempted or actual molestation from other children. During that investigation, police learned that the type of car most commmonly used by child abductors and molesters in their own cases was a two-door sedan and the most common color was blue. Forthy percent of the molesters/abductors used a two door sedan, because it is the most difficult to escape from. Twenty-sex percent of them felt that blue cars most closely resemble police cars and thereby were the most effective in helping to convince young children that they were law officers and that the child must come with them. What's more, according to Goldstein, is that abductors frequently modified their cars to prevent escape by removing door handles and locks.
Further, it is common knowledge among law enforcement that most child molesters have used "authority lures" at one time or another, by which they falsely represent themselves as figures of authority such as policemen or security guards. Using this lure they convince the child that they must come with them. Along with a blue car, they often own uniforms or at the very minimum a blue shirt and pants, and almost all abductors/molesters carry a fake badge.
3. Child molesters justify their action in their minds and, often, in the children's minds.
This point is brought to stark light from a passage in an investigators' text book written by Goldstein, called The Sexual Exploitation of Children. The book quotes a spokesman for a national pedophile (child molester) association: "The majority of the people who are arrested for molesting children have only given in to the child's constant pleadings for sex. The molester can no longer resist the child's advances. He complains that the problem is the law, that the child is prevented from being sexually satisfied, and that the law should be changed."
Further in a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one molester reported that a child, who he fondled while holding in his lap did not say anything, so the man took this to mean the five-year-old was consenting to his actions.
In a television special investigation recently, a habitual molester, in jail for the past six years, explains that he told the boys what he was goig to do before they entered his home and they still came inside, so he feels that they made the choice to participate.
However, child psychologists point out strongly that young children's minds have not developed to the point that they can participate in this type of logic. Just as they are not old enough to drive or to vote, children are not old enough to make decisions on whether to begin a sexual relationship or not. "More likely, they child molesters have 'groomed' the children prior to making a sexual advance," explains Major Jackson. "In other words they have given that child affection in the form of attention and things, all the while ever so slowly making that child feel secure with them. By the time they make a sexual advance the child is in so deep emotionally that they feel they cannot back out and say 'no' to this person."
"It's very much an emotional issue for the child involved," notes Jackson. "Children don't want to lose a friendship. Kids that age simply cannot make those kinds of adult decisions.
What's more, to feel justified in their actions child molesters often use psychology to convince the children that they, in fact, brought on the activity. They do this by making the children feel like "sexual partners" rather than sexual victims. The following are some actual statements made by molesters to children in order to accomplish this goal:
"Do you have any idea what your mother would do if she knew the kinds of touching we've been doing?"
When a child feels like a partner rather than a victim, the abuser can encase the child in guilt and secrecy, and continue the sexual involvement.
"If your breasts hadn't grown, I would never have allowed you to touch me like this."
"Because I love you so much, I won't tell your mother what you've been doing with me."
Read our review of Raising Safe Kids in an Unsafe World.
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