Child Molesters - They Don't Look Like Monsters
The following stories are based on actual events. The names and places have been changed as required to protect the innocent.
Ron and Mary really liked their son's new scout leader, as did the entire community. He was loved by children and respected by their parents as both a boy scout leader and a teacher. He was even named Boy Scout Leader of the Year.
Ron and Mary had invited Jack to dinner a number of times; they allowed him to pick up and drop off their son on many occasions; they even sent their son on camping trips with him. Their 12-year-old son and Jack became fast friends. He could really talk to kids in their language. "He was so nice, he became a real family friend," says Mary.
So you can imagine their shock when they discovered that this charming "pillar of the community" had completely fooled them. His seeming kindness had disarmed them and allowed them to do the very thing he most wanted - to be left alone with their son so that he could sexually molest the boy. In fact, he had a 25-year history of sexually molesting children in and out of the scouts.
"Child molesters are so very deceptive," Mary explains. "They want you to feel secure with them: thats how they draw you in. Parents really must realize that child molesters do not look like monsters. They look and act like "nice" guys. I hope no other parent is ever fooled like we were."
Child molesters are the adults in our world whose sexual preference is children. Unlike the popular image of these people - skulking around in dark alleys, loitering at video game arcades, and cruising around school playgrounds - most pedophiles operate in broad daylight, work in respectable professions and volunteer to work with children. They don't need to abduct children, because they have ready access to their prey.
Like Ron and Mary, most parents cannot spot a child molester: their personalities - friendly, helpful, gentle, charming - are too disarming. They'll be anything they need to be to achieve their goals.
But the only reason parents can't spot them is because they don't know what to look for. Parents don't know the "secret language of child predators."
To truly protect our children, parents have to be prepared to pick child molesters out of the crowd of the mostly truly good people in our everyday lives. If Ron and Mary had known these "signs" they would have questioned why Jack was paying so much attention to their son. If they knew how to probe a little further, they might have prevented their son from becoming Jack's next victim.
Ron and Mary's story is not an isolated case. There are literally thousands of stories of family members, neighbors, friends, and entire communities stunned to learn that a teacher, coach, scout leader or other respected community member has been sexually abusing local children. Their first response to this revelation is shock and disbelief:
"He was such a nice guy."
"They knew him for years and entrusted their son to his care."
"He was a joy to spend time with."
"She really seemed to love teaching children."
"He was so helpful, a good Samaritan."
Variations of this denial are repeated over and over across North America by parents everyday. And denial is the single greatests reason that so many children are being sexually abused.
As a parent, it's not easy to face this side of life. It's much easier to deny or ignore it. As child psychiatrist Leon Rosenberg said, You have to realize, any normal decent adult who's a parent of children themselves will throw up thinking about the idea of a grown adult having sexual intercourse with a five-year-old child, and so people just don't want to imagine that this happens."
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