7 Secrets from the Pros on Keeping Your Children Safe from Abduction & Seduction
4. Boys do not report sexual molestation as often as girls do.
In fact, boys report molestation four times less often than girls. There are two main reasons: one is that boys are afraid that their parents will restrict their freedom and more closely supervise their lives in their efforts to keep their sons safe. In one real life situation, a boy had been approached by a man a couple of times on his way to school. The boy told his younger brother that a strange man was bothering him, but instructed his brother not to tell his parents. One day soon afterward, the boy was missing and never seen again.
The second reason that boys do not tell that they have been approached and/or molested is the stigma attached to such a degrading assault by a man. Boys do not want to be called "homosexual" or be ridiculed by their peers.
5. Child molesters are rarely convicted.
What's more, when they are convicted they often serve very short sentences. In the words of one habitual child abductor/molester, Wesley Allen Dodd: "In a 16 year period, I was reported to police 12 times, made full confessions the last 11 times, was arrested only 6 times, and prosecuted only 3 times, spending no more than 4 months in jail twice, and only 19 days the other time."
Molesters are rarely convicted largely due to four issues:
a. Children make poor witnesses. It goes without saying that children are too young to participate competently in the very adult world of the courts and of sexual abuse.
b. Family members back down as witnesses. "Due to internal family pressures, often family members will not follow through with child molestation charges," noted Major Jackson, who has successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases over the years. "Often the wives are afraid to break up the family and be left having to financially support her children on her own."
c. The judicial system does not understand the problem. "Most family law attorneys are untrained and unprepared to evaluate or present the evidence of child abuse," says Goldstein. "They simply do not recognize the complex issues involved in child abuse cases." Further, most judges don't understand the dynamics of sexual abuse, because most judges never see cases like this.
d. Societal perceptions. As Special Agent Ken Lanning, FBI Behavioral Science Unit, has said: "The final frustration for the police officer comes in the sentencing of a convicted child molester. If a man lured 20 children into his home, tied them down, and smashed their knees with a hammer so that they were physically cripples for the rest of their lives, society would demand that such an offender be locked up forever or even executed. But if a man lured 20 children into his home seduced them, lowered their inhibitions, and had sex with them so that they were emotional cripples for the rest of their lives, it's a different story. Particularly when character witnesses testify that the defendant is a nice man who goes to church every Sunday, is kind to his neighbors, and works hard. The children have no physical injuries for the jury to see. The result is that such offenders are sentenced to little or no jail time."
6. Parents have unknowingly sent their children into potentially dangerous situations.
We like to think of our world as mostly safe, with only a few potentially dangerous situations from which to steer clear. But today's world is not like the world when we were children. We cannot let our children walk home from school alone or play in the nearby woods without fear. We can't even let them play unsupervised in a video game arcade or allow the teenager down the street to baby-sit without carefully following up on personal references.
From baby-sitters to public bathrooms, parents have unwittingly helped their children to be victimized. One devastated grandmother told us a story of how a trusted male family friend, who often baby-sat her grandson, was found to have been abusing the child at every opportunity.
Public restrooms are among the most dangerous places you can send a child alone. It gives child molesters easy access to their victims, the privacy to commit their act, and the ability to get out and get lost in a crowd. (One side note about public restrooms: In a report from a Dallas policeman, one of the local gang initiation rites involved waiting in a mall bathroom for the next young boy to walk in alone and then cut off his penis; the next boy to walk in was eight years old.)
The bottom line: parents today have to take every precaution to ensure that their children's safety and innocence is not compromised in a world that can be less than kind.
7. Children who are given the wisdom to think on their feet are the safest children of all.
Every morning for years, one mother told her daughter before she walked out the door to school: "If anyone ever tries to grab you, hit, kick, scream, run. Do anything you have to, but get away." Her concern for her daughter's personal safety paid off - possibly saving her daughter's life from the hands of a habitual child abductor and murderer. One morning while walking to school a man approached the 12-year old. After talking to her for a few minutes he reached out to grab her, she moved quickly and he got a hold of her backpack. She quickly wiggled out of her backpack and ran, screaming down the street. A man helped her and got the license plate number of the would-be abductor's van.
Other children have also thought fast on their feet, and stayed safe, in dangerous situations:
In one news report, a ten-year-old boy saved his five-year-old brother from being abducted when an old man pulled up in a car, grabbed the five-year-old, and threw him in the back of the car. The 10-year-old sprung to action and "kicked him where it hurts."
Police say that once a child, who was being abducted, kicked off one of his shoes. Thanks to the boy's quick thinking the police were able to identify where the child was last seen and get more details from people in that area on the type of car the abductor was driving. Then the police were able to locate the child and apprehend the abductor.
Read our review of Raising Safe Kids in an Unsafe World.
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