Grooming, Parents Are Not Immune

Do you truly know who is sitting at your table during dinner? According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 90 percent of sexual predators are family members or friends of the family.

As parents educate their children on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior between children and adults, they should reevaluate who is in their child’s life. Parents are often worried about a stranger hurting their child that they miss the red flags coming from an uncle.

Pedophiles range from the nice guy from church to the monsters movies are based on. There is not a single physical description a pedophile fits into and that is what makes it easy for them to remain unreported and free. Perpetrators truly come in all shapes, sizes and color.

Some perpetrators form relationships with their victims by also grooming the victims’ parents. It is up to parents to ask the tough questions to get to know the people who are around their children. Single parent homes are at a higher risk because perpetrators may see more opportunities to gain the parent’s trust and have access to the child. Parents should remember to never blindly surrender responsibility over to children without asking questions.

Perpetrators groom parents the same way they groom their victims. They go for the new family in town, the family with a chronically ill family member and or the single parent home. Perpetrators gain the parents’ trust by becoming their friends and always being there to lend a helping hand. Parents should remain diligent and continue to ask questions towards people who want to become part of their child’s life.

Educating your children about sex and anatomy at an early age will prevent another adult from taking the child’s curiosity as an opportunity. It may be an awkward conversation to have with your child, but who is a better person than yourself to be their teacher. Children should also know that they need to trust their gut when they start to feel uncomfortable and in danger. Parents should also let their children know that they are always there for them no matter what.

Educating ourselves and our children is the first step in prevention.