Posts tagged ‘pedophiles’

Preventing Sexual Abuse Through More Than ‘Stranger Danger’

Jaycee Lee Duggrad, kidnapped in 1991 by Phillip Garrido

Jaycee Lee Duggrad, kidnapped in 1991 by Phillip Garrido

As someone who follows sex offender issues, I have seen a myriad of recent articles in the media that throw blame at the California parole system, the Contra Costa County Sherriff’s Office, the California state sex offender registry and other governmental agencies for not better protecting Jaycee Lee Duggard and not catching Phillip Garrido sooner (see this article for a blame list that runs the gammut). But throwing blame at governmental agencies only distracts us from the real threats to our child’s safety.

Family and Friends

High-profile cases like this stoke our fear that our children will be abducted by the creepy guy at the end of the block or that some stranger will snatch our children off the street. But, really, that creepy guy at the end of the street is probably much less of a threat to your child than your friendly neighbor, a family friend, or close relative: 93% of first-time sex offenders are friends, acquaintances, or family members—people who are not yet on any registry.

It’s scary to think that your husband, brother, son, aunt, or niece is the most likely person to sexually assault your child. So we put it out of our minds, and we focus on the registered sex offender down the street who we have never met and never talked to.

What We Can Prevent

In reality, despite the waves of criticism being lobbed at California laws and law enforcement for not finding Duggard sooner, there is little to no evidence that Duggard’s actual kidnapping could have been prevented. It has been widely reported that Duggard was snatched off the street—within sight of her own home—as she walked to a nearby school bus stop. Her own stepfather saw the kidnapping take place and was powerless to stop it. But this is an extremely rare case. Protecting your child from sexual predators within your own circle of friends and family is much more preventable.

Go Beyond ‘Stranger Danger’

The first step is talking with your children, not just about “stranger danger,” but about inappropriate touching or inappropriate conversations with people they already know. Let them know that they have the right to say “no” to an adult or teen who makes them feel uncomfortable—even if that person is a friend or family member.

In addition, create a relationship with your child wherein they feel comfortable sharing anything with you. Many child predators shame their victims by telling them that their parents won’t love them or want them anymore if they found out what they did. Make sure your child knows they can always talk to you about anything without shame or remorse.

More Tips

I highly recommend taking a look at this list of suggestions about how to talk to your child and prevent sexual abuse by someone they know: http://www.stopitnow.org/mn/parents3.html

Also, here is a sobering site that lists sex offender statistics: http://www.geocities.com/voicism/index-charts.html#chta

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September 17, 2009 at 7:55 am 1 comment

House Bill HR 1913: Protecting Pedophiles?

There has been a bit of a stir around the House of Representatives recently passing HR 1913, Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. This bill updates older legislation that makes some hate crime federal offenses, taking them from the hands of local law enforcement. The new bill is meant to expand the definition of groups that could be targeted for hate crimes to include issues of gender and gender identity.

In an official White House press release, President Obama said, “I urge members on both sides of the aisle to act on this important civil rights issue by passing this legislation to protect all of our citizens from violent acts of intolerance – legislation that will enhance civil rights protections, while also protecting our freedom of speech and association.”

However, on the other side of the isle, some republicans are fighting the legislation saying that the wording of the new bill could protect sex offenders, under the logic that sexual orientation and gender identity could include those who are attracted to children, are voyeurs, flashers, etc. Some have suggested that if a man exposes himself to a woman and she slaps him back, the man would be charged with a misdemeanor and the woman could be charged with a federal felony offense.

Will this legislation be used to protect those targeted by hate crimes because of their sexual preference and identity, or could it be taken too far by government prosecutors? Leave a comment.

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May 11, 2009 at 6:12 pm Leave a comment


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