Cyber-safety is another big one. I've read more than enough articles about that, but hardly any about the real threat to children. Child molestation is common. Most molesters are a trusted adult in your child's life.
How many people do you know who were abducted and molested by a stranger? How many people do you know who were molested by a trusted adult in their life?
If you're not someone people feel comfortable confiding in, you may not know the stories of the people in your life. I seem to be, and this is what I've heard.....
A nineteen year old boy I worked with told me that when he was younger and went to a private Catholic school, he was molested by one of the staff during a retreat.
My cousin was molested when she was 6 by her teenage step-brother.
My friend was molested by her father.
I could go on, but you get the picture. We want to pretend this doesn't happen. We like to worry about the rare (in comparison) 'stranger danger'.
Some of the warning signs of a child being continually molested by someone they know are:
fear of night-time and going to sleep
unusually sensitive, cries easily, startles easily
accused of not 'living up to potential' by teachers
typically has a serious, sad facial expression
wears layers of pajamas, regardless of room temperature
chooses books, TV, etc. over time with people
picks at skin, lips, cuticles, harshly to the point of bleeding
I'm not going to lose any sleep waiting for our local newspapers to do a story about this. It's a reality children have to deal with, but adults pretend isn't happening. Far more children are the victim of molestation committed by a trusted adult. But let's have another article or workshop on Stranger Danger, it will make us adults feel better, the kids can fend for themselves.
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