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While couch surfing one recent lazy Sunday afternoon , I flipped the channel to MSNBC.
It was the top of the hour a show on sexual predators had just begun and it was not “To Catch a Predator” hosted by Chris Hansen
This show focused on the sexual abuse of very young children.
The show reminded me of what I learned when I attended a workshop put on by Seattle based P.E.A.C.E, a nonprofit whose mission is
“To endchildhood sexual abuse and abduction through prevention education”
I was reminded of how much more prevalent the abuse of a young child is by someone they know and trust, than it is by a complete stranger.
Although education on “stranger awareness” is important, I was quite surprised to learn that statistics for abduction by a complete stranger totaled 115 according to a 1999 Department of Justice study.
I also learned that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18. (A Handbook on Sexual Abuse 1988).
After the workshop, I had time to reflect on the amount of energy parents, to include me, spend on warning their children about complete strangers, all the while 90% of sexual abuse of a child is perpetrated by someone well known to the child and family. Someone in a position of trust who essentially “flies under the radar”
A workshop with PEACE of Mind puts all the data in perspective and then offers parents’ valuable instruction on how to educate/ empower their children to always obey their instincts, understand what inappropriate behavior looks and feels like and most importantly to not fear communicating such with their parents.
The mother of the abused 6 year old on the MSNBC show repeatedly expressed her feelings of guilt for not realizing that all the while she vigilantly protected her children from any threat from outside, it was in the next door room in her house that the abuse was occurring.
She started a petition to get her state to modify Megan’s Law to require minors convicted of sexual assault to also have to appear on the states registry.
It was the young boy’s 17 year old uncle who had been abusing him. Unbeknownst to the family, he had a previously been convicted of a similar crime, but due to his minor status he was not added to the sex offender list.