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Child Safety Situation #17

Girl, 15 years old; attacked while home alone after she let in a stranger, who posed as a health inspector.

Frank* spent the early afternoon driving past the houses in a nice neighborhood. When he saw a high school student get off the school bus, he watched her unlock the door of a house. He may have thought, "I bet she is by herself".

When the teenage girl answered his knock, he flashed a smile and a phony badge and said something like this: "I'm from the health department. We're inspecting kitchens to let you know if there are any health hazards. May I look at yours?" "Sure," was probably her answer. As soon as she closed the door, Frank knocked her down, tore off her clothes, and raped her.

After she heard the front door close, she tried to decide what to do. Thoughts tumbled through her head: "Please God, make the hurting stop. Oh, what if he's coming back? How can I bear to tell anyone? What if he's given me some disease?" "I need help!" she cried as she crawled to the phone to dial 911.

How can you protect yourself from predators like Frank?

Keep Locked:
Never let anyone into your home when your mom or dad is not there. Frank is not the only child molester who selects his victims by looking over a neighborhood to find out where there are children home alone. More than once Frank tricked kids into letting him in, because they believed he was someone in authority after his flashing a phoney badge or slipping fake credentials under the door. It is not a good idea to let anyone into your house, unless your parents gave you permission to let that person into your house that day, as even people you know may attack you. There is some truth in the old belief that a vampire cannot cross over your threshold unless first invited in by you, if sexual predators are considered today's vampires, as they suck away your innocence and vitality.

Call 911:
It is important to call 911 as soon as the sexual predator leaves in order to protect yourself from him should he come back and to get you medical treatment. It is even smarter to call 911 before you unlock the door. Through the locked door, say something like this: "My parents want to check to see if your credentials are real before we let you in." Dial 911 and say "someone at my door says he is from the health department and wants me to let him into my house. I'm afraid he's going to hurt me. Please send someone to help me." Don't worry about offending the person. No one has a right to ask you to do something which is not safe. Err on the side of safety. If it is a real person of authority, he will wait outside until he is able to prove to the police that he is not a wolf in sheep's clothing.

It is not a good idea ever to leave a child home alone. Sometimes though, working parents have a hard time getting older kids to stay with nearby relatives or neighbors, much less in child care centers. You older kids can protect yourself by finding somewhere safe to stay, provided you always let your parents know where you are. If friends plan to comeover, make sure your parents know exactly who is coming. Remember not all people who may hurt you are a lot older than you. You and your friends can alternate which house you go to after school, as long as your folks know where you will be.

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*Names changed to protect privacy; information presented for educational purposes only. Reprinted with permission from The Jimmy Ryce Center.

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