By Ilex Bien-Aime
Over the past few weeks we have heard a great deal about the Penn St. sex scandal. Now there are reports about sexual abuse at Syracuse University. A few years ago there were reports of priests molesting little boys coming out on what seemed to be a weekly basis but it seems as if over time people stopped talking about it. I am afraid that after a few weeks we are going to forget about these cases and it bothers me. This subject needs to be addressed and it needs to be addressed in a major way!
Everyday little boys and little girls are being molested by people that they know, love, and trust. Usually when television shows kids being molested, they show foster kids and kids that are wards of the state. People really aren’t talking about the abuse that happens in regular homes. It’s sad but kids are being raped by their own family members. What makes the situation worse is that because people don’t talk about this, then we think these cases are isolated but they aren’t. More of us know people who have been sexually abused than we think we know. Unfortunately, it’s that shameful secret that many people keep to themselves and so they suffer in silence.
One of my classmates at Florida State University was molested by his stepfather when he was a kid. It took him until he was about 27 years old to talk about the situation because let’s face it, men don’t want to talk about being sexually molested by another man. The problem with this is that it allows anger to boil inside of us. It diminishes our ability to trust and can ruin many of our future relationships. I personally know at least three men who have been sexually molested as boys by people living in their own homes.
Before Oprah’s show went off air, she had two girls on there who had been sexually molested by their brothers. When they told their mother, she did nothing. When they told the father, he started to molest them himself and again the mother did nothing. These little girls suffered for years and had they not told a neighbor about the situation, they would have suffered even longer. How sad and how sick is this story?! Your home is supposed to be your safe place and your family members are supposed to be your protectors, but for them and countless others, this was not the case.
I can’t tell you how much it angers me to know that people are so willing to do nothing in these cases. I know of kids who have been molested and the parent or other relatives were never punished. It is one thing for a parent not to know what has happened to their child but it is another thing all together when a parent knows and chooses to keep quiet. To me that parent needs to be punished in the same manner as the person who has committed the assault. When you can’t speak up to your protectors for help, who can you turn to? Then people want to know why their children resent them and have no respect for them.
Quite frankly, everyone involved in this Penn St. crap should be fired and criminal charges should be filed against them. To let something like that go because you don’t want to bring scandal to the program is shameful. Our children deserve better than this and because they can’t protect themselves, we need to protect them. If this happened to my child, nothing short of God would come between me and the beast who had caused this pain.
I just think that more needs to be said and more needs to be done to protect our babies. If not people will continue to get away with these heinous crimes! In time all children lose their innocence, but this definitely is the wrong way to lose it!
BLAM Fam: We must make it a point to encourage open communication in our homes and be aware of our children’s daily activities and the people in their lives. If we don’t protect our children–who will? Check out the following Child Safety Tips for protecting our young ones from sex offenders and then share with someone or post on your FB page or tweet this out. You never know who needs to see this.
Child Safety Tips– Protect Your Child from Sex Offenders
Inform children that it is wrong for adults to touch them inappropriately and to engage children in sexual activity with them.
Encourage your children to feel comfortable telling you anything, especially if it involves another adult. If your child does not feel comfortable being completely honest with you, then encourage them find another trusted adult they can talk to in confidence.
Learn about the people with whom your child is spending time.
Protect children from sexual assault–Knowledge is power. Teach your children about their bodies. Teach them the correct language to use when describing their private parts. Emphasize that those parts are private.
Know where each of your children are all times. Know your children’s friends and be clear with your children about the places and homes they may visit. Make it a rule for your children to check in with you when they arrive at or depart from a particular location and when there is a change in plans. You should also let them know when YOU are running late or if your plans have changed so that they can see the rule is for their safety and not being used just to “check up” on them.
Never leave children unattended in an automobile, whether it is running or not. Children should never be left unsupervised or allowed to spend time alone, or with others, in automobiles. Remind children NEVER to hitchhike, approach a car or engage in a conversation with anyone in a car who they do not know or trust, or go anywhere with anyone without getting your permission first.
Be an active participant with your children’s activities, you will have a better opportunity to observe how the adults in charge interact with your children. If you are concerned about anyone’s behavior, take it up with the sponsoring organization.
Listen to your children. Pay attention if they tell you that they do not want to be with someone or go somewhere. This may be an indication of more than a personality conflict or lack of interest in the activity or event.
Notice when someone shows one or all of your children a great deal of attention or begins giving them gifts. Take time to talk to your children, find out why the person is acting in this way.
Teach your kids that they have the right to say NO to any unwelcome, uncomfortable, or confusing touch or actions by others. Teach them to tell you immediately if this happens. Reassure them that you are there to help and it is okay to tell you anything.
Be sensitive to any changes in your children’s behavior or attitude. Encourage open communication and learn how to be an active listener. Look and listen to small cues and clues that something may be troubling your children, because children are not always comfortable disclosing disturbing events or feelings. This may be because they are concerned about your reaction to their problems. If your children do confide problems to you, strive to remain calm, non-critical, and non judgmental. Listen compassionately to their concern and work with them to get the help they need to resolve the problem.
Screen baby sitters and care givers. Many states now have public registries that allow parents to screen individuals for prior criminal records and sex offenses. Check references with other families who have used the care giver or baby sitter. Once you have chosen the care giver, drop in unexpectedly to see how your children are doing. Ask your children how the experience with the care giver was, and listen carefully to their responses.
Practice basic safety skills with your children. Make an outing to a mall or a park a “teachable” experience in which your children can practice checking with you, using pay phones, going to the restroom with a friend, and locating the adults who can help if they need assistance. Remember that allowing your children to wear clothing or carry items in public on which their name is displayed can bring about unwelcome attention from inappropriate people who may be looking for a way to start a conversation with your children.
Remember that there is no substitute for your attention and supervision. Being available and taking time to really know and listen to your children helps build feelings of safety and security.
Also remember that in the vast majority of cases (up to 90%), children are molested by someone they know. Your efforts at keeping your child safe must be informed by this fact and not focused exclusively on the danger that strangers may present.
My name is Ilex Bien-Aime and I live in Washington, DC with my lovely wife. I write as a man who has seen women mistreat themselves and who have allowed themselves to be mistreated. I write as a man who wants to give my future daughters a guideline on how to deal with men. Lastly I write what I write because my female friends are always asking my opinion about these situations. Connect with Ilex at Iamsayingit.blogspot.com or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.