The Secret Language of Child Predators
A Mom's True Story:
The mother of a young boy, also named victim in the criminal complaint against "Mr. X," a popular coach, said she was leery about Mr. X from the start because of the way he met her son two years ago. She said they were at a sporting event and Mr. X asked another boy about her son and got his phone number. The mother said that Mr. X had called her son and asked him if he wanted to join some sports activities. Suspicious, she inquired about Mr. X. Among other things, she said, she talked to other parents and to local police. The parents gave Mr. X "sterling reports" and police had no bad information about him. Against her better judgment, she said she let her son go places with Mr. X for many months. She said when she read about his arrest in the newspaper her stomach hit her feet and she was terrified when she approached her son to tell him. She said her son was one of the "lucky ones" because the only thing that happened to him was he was videotaped in the nude without his knowledge while playing at Mr. X's house. She felt the mistake she made was she should have gone with her intuition, which was right all along. She felt Mr. X was a "master of his craft."
Below are the 8 lessons to the "Secret Language of Child Predators," and teach your children how to recognize the signs.
1. Talk the Talk. Walk the Walk.
Watch for adults who seem to be particularly good at getting right in there with their children, acting like a kid, and "talking their language." This could be a sign that an adult is trying to fit into the children's world and make them extremely comfortable with his company. He's telling the child, "I'm just like you."
Listen to the words of one pedophile, who happens to be an attractive professional businessman (30 plus-years-old), "I'm sexually attracted to just-over-puberty boys. So you learn to say what they say, like what they like. You learn to talk the talk and walk the walk."
In a report on child abuse called "What Sexual Offenders Tell Us about Prevention Strategies," one molester explained that when approaching children he "used a very smooth voice, very nice, and non-threatening. I'd get on their level, ask how their day was going, what did they like. And I'd listen to them. With older kids in particular you have to use a lot of verbal seduction."
2. Just a Little Touch
Who can resist tousling the hair or pinching the cheek of a friendly child? But when pedophiles touch a child they are not just giving a little friendly attention, they are "grooming" and they are making a statement to the child - "your body is not your own."
Watch out for adults who seem to go out of their way to touch children, especially in inappropriate ways. Many pedophiles attracted to young boys and girls begin their "seduction" by touching the child in very specific ways. For example, they will offer to help a child tuck in his or her shirt, only their hands will go unnecessarily deep into the child's pants or skirt. Pedophiles attracted to older children will offer to give them back rubs or "accidentally" touch a girl's breast or bottom. Or they might pull a child closer into their crotch area for a hug.
One man admitted that he would approach young boys in church, touching them with one hand on their back and one hand on their crotch as he asked them how they were doing in school. He said that only one boy in 20 years pushed his hands away. Another man used the guise of praying for the boys not to become the victims of sexual abuse. While praying, he laid his hands on the boys' genitals. To the boys, this seemed like real concern.
3. You're Special
Besides sly touching, pedophiles will often single a child out for special flattery or attention. Be aware of adults who make a lot of eye contact with the child or even overtly stare at them, especially at the genital area. Also, take note if an adult buys your child special gifts or gives them money. Pedophiles who "flirt" with children are telling a child "you're special." All kids like to feel special, so this form of seduction can easily win over many children.
4. How About a Game?
Watch for adults whose homes seem like a kid's playground. Pedophiles often fill their homes with toys, video games, bikes and other things that children love. An adult who uses toys and recreation to attract children to his home is saying, "I'm just like you and I want to be your best friend."
Remember Mr. X? His home was actually a "camp." Pedophiles often have swimming pools, batting cages, basketball courts, hot tubs, video games and more. "He was like a father figure, but even more he was a playmate," says one parent.
Another convicted pedophile who had no children, had given many of the kids in the neighborhood bikes, but he made them keep the bikes at his house.
5. I'm the Boss
Take note of adults who are in positions of authority with children. The vast majority of teachers, scout leaders, baby-sitters and coaches are truly good people who would not intentionally hurt a child. But many pedophiles have been attracted to these careers and activities to get close to children. When caught, these pedophiles have admitted to using their authority to overpower children. An adult who imposes his "authority" over a child is saying, "I know what's best for you." He may later use this authority to make the child do whatever he says. For example, many pedophiles have described how they told a child it was their responsibility to teach the child how to masturbate.
6. Nudity and Sex are Natural
Under the guise of sex education or being "natural," preferential child molesters may "introduce" children to nudity through pictures, videos, language or activities such as skinny dipping. They are, in effect, telling the children that "nudity and sex are no big deal."
The complaints against Mr. X paint a portrait of a man who set about to desensitize boys to nudity. In between coaching, Mr. X also invited boys to play sports and shower at a health center, and to play in the nude in his pool and hot tub. Police say the activities were ploys to get boys to undress so he could secretly videotape them or give them body massages.
7. Just Us Two
If an adult likes to spend a lot of time with your child, especially alone, he's saying, "I've found my next victim, now just leave us alone." In particular, one abuse expert advises parents to watch out for people who seem to want to spend even more time with your child than you do. He says that this is a clear indication that something may be wrong.
8. I'm "Mr. Wonderful"
If someone regularly offers to give a child rides, take the child on outings, baby-sit while the parents take a break, or healp the child with homework, he's effectively saying, "Relax, trust me, I'm here to help. I'm just an all-around great guy who loves kids and I want you to see me as the good guy in your life."
This is an especially common ploy used on single mothers, who will see this helpful person as a godsend. But the molester is not motivated to be helpful, he is motivated to appear to be helpful and to be seen as a great guy. LIke all molesters they live a life of pretense, a life of lies. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Become a Detective
A tracker in the forest will see evidence of 20 animals, whereas the average person may see evidence of only a few. The difference is that the tracker is trained to identify the signs that indicate that a particular animal was in the vicinity. For example, certain teeth marks on a specific kind of tree at a particular height tell the tracker that a raccoon was there. Bush branches broken in a particular pattern indicate that a wild pig recently went crashing through the brush (even though a recent rain may have washed the footprints away). This special knowledge helped our forefathers survive in the wilderness.
Like these nature detectives, parents today must become detectives of another sort. They must become knowledgeable about the behaviors of child molesters so that they can properly protect their children. The signs are there, seeing them is the trick.
It's not surprising that the average parent doesn't notice a pedophile's behavior for what it is. Child molesters go to great lengths to conceal their illicit activity. They even fool their wives.
"Mr. Z," who had molested many young girls including his stepdaughter for 20 years, was asked how he was able to hide his deviant behavior from his wife for so many years. His answer was, "I manipulated her as much as I manipulated the children."
One pedophile admitted that he had married his wife because he was attracted to her daughter, who he eventually coerced into having sex.
Another mother had this to say when learning of her daughter's molestation: "I thought my daughter was lying, because I did not believe that my husband (the girl's stepfather) was the type of person that would do something like that." In fact, he had given the eight-year-old a sexually transmitted disease.
Patricia Wicklund, Ph.D., was similarly surprised to learn that her husband of 15 years who was a therapist, had been arrested for molesting many of the teenage boys he had treated. She wrote about her ordeal and about pedophiles in "Sleeping With a Stranger."
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