1. Tell Others The Facts
What are the first three facts you can tell others? Fact one: Today, 95 percent of child molestation can be prevented. We have the knowledge to stop it. Fact two: Today, living in the United States, there are 39 million adults who have survived child sexual abuse. Fact three: Today, more than three million American children are victims. Most of them are children, struggling alone, believing there is no adult who can help them. To help prevent child molestation from happening to the children closest to you, begin by telling others the basic facts.
But why you? Shouldn’t stopping sexual abuse be left to professionals – physicians and therapists? Better yet, shouldn’t the police and the courts take care of it?
Professionals – physicians and therapists – can never put an end to sexual abuse; neither can the police or the courts. Why? Because they come on the scene too late. By the time they get there, the children have already been molested. Only you can get there in time.
There’s a bigger reason why the professionals and the courts can’t put an end to sexual abuse. They have no permission to talk to a child about sex – unless, of course, they talk to the child after the fact, after the child has already been sexually abused or has abused another child. Only you can talk to your children before anything happens, before any damage is done – to anyone.
Not In My Family
What if you are certain there has never been a child molester or a molested child in your family? You are probably wrong.
Unfortunately, most of today’s children will never tell. They feel ashamed that this has happened to them. They are protecting their abuser because he or she is part of their family. They are protecting other members of their family – saving them from the pain of knowing.
In spite of the millions of victims in our families, many people stick to their mistaken belief that child molestation has nothing to do with them.
An estimated one in 20 teenage boys and adult men sexually abuse children, and an estimated one teenage girl or adult woman in every 3,300 females molests children. Although that’s well over five million people, most families mistakenly believe that as far as molesters go, there has never been one in their family, and what’s more, there never will be. Add together the child victims, the adult survivors, and the abusers, and that’s 15 out of every 100 Americans who have been either a molested child or a molester.
To help prevent child molestation from happening to the children closest to you, begin by telling others the basic facts.
We Start By Speaking The Same Language
If we’re going to work together to stop child sexual abuse, we have to speak the same language. We have to mean the same thing when we say “child molester,” “child molestation,” and even “child.”
Moreover, all of us have to understand the basic facts: What exactly is child molestation? How many of our children are sexually abused? How seriously are they damaged? What are the characteristics of a child molester? What causes someone to sexually abuse a child? Which of our children are most at risk?
A child molester is any older child or adult who touches a child for his or her own sexual gratification.
Child molestation is the act of sexually touching a child.
A child is a girl or boy who is 13 years of age or younger.
What’s the age difference between a molester and a child? It is five years, so a 14-year-old “older child” sexually touching a nine-year-old is an example. This is the accepted medical definition.
Sometimes, a professional will consider that a molestation act has occurred when the older child is only three years older – a sixth-grader with a third-grader, for instance. The crucial element here is the lack of equality between the two children; the sixth grader is clearly bigger, more powerful, and more “adult-like” than the third-grader.
We avoid definitions that are ambiguous by sticking to the medical definition. We define “child molester” as an adult or child, who is at least five years older than the child he or she has molested.
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