Hi this is Terri Borman author of children’s book Shapes Go to School and childcare provider. I recently attended a training seminar titled “Non-Stranger Danger Shining Light in a Dark Space” presented by Patricia E. Adams, who has dedicated her life to “bring light into the darkness of the spiritually wounded who have experienced traumas, terrors and near death in life. Her belief is that God is not at fault, but is the remedy that will lead you on a true journey of transformation and restoration.” Patricia explained to us that the greatest risk to children doesn’t come from “Stranger Danger” but actually from non-strangers, such as friends and family and that she hopes this training will be like “windshield wipers” to our eyes so that we can discern this evil that is happening to children all around us.
I was touched by Patricia’s testimony as she passionately told us that she herself was a victim of non-stranger danger sexual abuse, which started when she was two years of age and went on until she was over 18 years of age, and how at 17 years of age, she was pre-arranged to be married to a man more than double her age. She prayed to God for a way out and eventually an opportunity made itself available for her to get away. She then became gainfully employed and thought she was safe, but they eventually found her. Unfortunately, she ran out of time, and we did not get to hear the end of that very dark chapter of her life.
Here are the facts:
- Experts estimate that one in ten children are sexually abused before their 18th birthday.
- One in Five children are sexually solicited while on the Internet.
- Youth are 2.5 times more likely to be raped than adults.
- About 35% of victims are 11 years old or younger.
- 30 to 40% of children are abused by family members.
- As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts.
- Approximately 40% of sex offenders report being sexually abused themselves as children.
- Both males and females who have been sexually abused are more likely to engage in prostitution.
- Approximately 70% of sexual offenders of children have between 1 and 9 victims; 20-25% have 10 to 40 victims.
- Serial perpetrators may have as many as 400 victims in their lifetimes.
Talk Openly with Children:
- Teach children that it is wrong for anyone to act in a sexual way with them.
- Teach them what parts of their bodies are private and off limits.
- Teach them that the abuser might be an adult friend, family member, or older youth.
- Teach children not to give out personal information, such as email addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers.
- Be proactive and use everyday opportunities to talk about sexual abuse. If a child seems reluctant to be with a particular adult, ask questions.
Children often keep the abuse hidden because the abuser is often manipulative, and may try to confuse the child about what is right and wrong. The abuser might tell them it’s a game. The abuser may have threatened harm to them or to their families. Often times the children are embarrassed and ashamed to tell, or maybe they are too young to understand, or they love the abuser and don’t want any trouble to come to them.
Learn the Signs:
- Physical signs of sexual abuse is uncommon. However, redness, rashes/swelling in the genital area, urinary tract infections, or other such symptoms should be investigated. Physical symptoms associated with anxiety, such as chronic stomachaches or headaches, is possible.
- Emotional or behavior signs are more common. These can run from a child being too well behaved, to a child who is withdrawn and depressed, to a child with unexplained anger and rebellion. Sexual promiscuity and language that is not age appropriate should be a warning.
- Some children will exhibit no signs at all.
Know What to Do:
All 50 states require that professionals who work with children report reasonable suspicions of child abuse. Some states require that anyone with suspicions report it.
Two agencies handle most reports of child abuse: Child Protective Services (in some states this agency has a different name) and law enforcement.
Many states have toll-free lines that accept reports of abuse from the entire state. To find out where to make a report in your state, identify the Child Abuse Reporting Numbers at The Child Welfare Information Gateway website, www.childwelfare.gov.
If the legal system does not provide adequate protection for a child, visit the National Center for Victims of Crime at www.ncvc.org or call 1-800-FYI-CALL for referral information.
For More Information:
While having fun reading my book, children will learn to recognize shapes and everything in between, such as colors, counting, and even diversity. To order your copy click on the picture of the book. To order a personally signed copy of the book click on this link: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shapes-Go-to-School-738347