I’ve got a secret fantasy: one day, human kind evolves to a place where trauma is as rare as polio, and people like me have to retrain to become florists. It’s not likely to occur in my lifetime, but there are a few things we can all do to reduce the occurance of childhood trauma, and contribute to the happy goal of putting folks like me out of business.
Let’s talk about that boogyman in everyone’s fear closet, Childhood Sexual Abuse. It’s funny how parenthood makes us all take one giant step to the political right. Prior to reproduction, I was against capitol punishment and regarded it as a barbaric practice. Now that I’m a mom, I’m all for euthanizing violent sexual predators…but I’ll settle for just stopping them. This blog is going to be all about foiling and spoiling the plans of pedophiles.
While there are female pedophiles, they are less than one percent of the offender population, so one easy trick is to only hire female babysitters.
This may sound harsh folks, but I’m going to come out with it anyway: Supervise your children. Unsupervised children (ergo: neglected children) make easy pickins for predators because not only is no one protecting them, they are hungry for adult attention. Pedophiles are genuis at picking kids who need to feel special because they are not recieving adoration and attention at home. Then Mr Perpetrator can say things like, “I’m the only one who understands you” and your child will believe and submit to him.
Be very suspicious of any adult who finds your child to be more interesting company than you are. Kids, even really smart, adorable ones are not as interesting as adults. Their range of conversational skills, capacity to make associative leaps, and demonstrate insight is downright yawn-inducing compared to your average neurotic adult. (Notable exception: family members. To ensure the perpetuation of the species, we are wired to be utterly fascinated by our own wee ones. ) If someone says things like, “I just love the company of children” –and they are not referring to their own children or grandchildren–think of that musically gifted Creepasouras Micheal Jackson, the pedophile pop-icon who has four unique moles on penis which were drawn with forensic accuracy by at least three of the numerous children who were sexually abused by him. (For the record, adult penis mole patterns are something generally not known by unmolested children, Micheal.) If someone wants to hang out with your child but not with you, cultivate some healthy paranoia.
There are some wonderful books out there to help you talk to your child about sexual abuse before it happens so that it will not happen. The Right Touch, by Sandy Klevin a fellow clinical social worker, is my favorite.
One final TA: (tangent alert!) please refuse to buy your daugthers clothes that sexualize childrensuch as low slung jeans, belly exposing tops, and bikinis. Talk about your decision with other parents. An easy thing to say is, “I don’t buy my child clothes that make them look sexy or feel body-consious. I want my girl to be free to enjoy her childhood, to be comfortable running and playing.”
Let’s collectively come out of this sick western notion that the ideal female body is prepubescent, with boobs. From my perspective, fashion magazines are as much to blame as porn for the sexualization of the child body type. Magazines such as Vogue, In Style and Glamour all perpetuate the destructive myth that a ninety-seven pound fourteen-year-old modeling a ten thousand dollar custom dress is the height of glamour and sophistication.
With conscious effort and careful listening to our intuitive wisdom, we can work together to keep our children safer.