Protecting Your Children: Advice from Child Molesters
Established in 1982 by Steven H. Jensen, CBI provides comprehensive treatment for sex offenders mandated to receive treatment within a community setting. Placing community safety as their first priority, CBI has become one of the largest and most respected community based sex offender treatment programs in the United States.
WHAT IS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?
Child molestation usually begins with a sex offender gaining a child’s trust and friendship. The offender then begins “testing” the child’s ability to protect themselves by telling sexual jokes, engaging in horseplay, back rubs, kissing or sexual games. If the child appears comfortable with or curious about this type of behavior, (and most healthy, normal children are) the offender will slowly increase the amount and type of touching to include more direct sexual touching. Child sexual abuse can include exposing, fondling, masturbation, oral sex, intercourse and pornography. Many children do not understand that what is happening is sexual or wrong. Most offenders know that if they physically harm a child while molesting them, the child is more likely to tell. They are also clever enough to make the child feel as if they are equally responsible for the contact. Children become trapped and are unable to tell anyone what is happening. Research has demonstrated that most of our school based child abuse prevention programs do not prevent children from being abused and have little impact on reporting. The reason for the lack of impact on abuse is that children are not in a good position to protect themselves from adults, especially if the adult offender is a parent or caretaker. Given the way child molesters operate, it is imperative that adults, not children become educated about child abuse, supervise their children more closely and take action if they suspect someone of abusing a child. Parents, schools, churches and community groups must also work together to develop prevention programs that incorporate parent training into prevention programs and encourage reporting. The information in this pamphlet was compiled and written by several sex offenders in treatment with CBI. We hope that this pamphlet will help protect children by better education community members about child sexual abuse.
INDICATIONS THAT A CHILD IS BEING MOLESTED
Because each child is unique, symptoms of sexual abuse vary and can be hard to identify in some cases. Here are some things to watch for:
Remember, if your child demonstrates any abrupt change in behavior, he or she may have something they need to talk about. Repeated inquiries and supportive information may be necessary. If a child molester has begun isolating and manipulating your child, he or she may feel very confused about telling. The child may believe that if they tell, they will be the one in trouble or that they will lose their “friend” or parent.
WHO ARE CHILD MOLESTERS?
WHO ARE CHILD MOLESTERS?
Research indicates that 25% of children are sexually abused prior to their 18th birthday. Most children are molested by someone they are related to, or know very well, like relatives, neighbors, or family friends. One study indicated that one out of every 10 men has molested a child. Despite the high rate of child sexual abuse, only 16% of child victims are able to tell someone that they are being abused and only 3% of sex offenders are caught and prosecuted. Most offenders are able to “get away with” molesting children for years before they are reported to law enforcement.
What these facts tell us is that all parents, caretakers and community members must educate themselves about sexual abuse and child molesters in order to I prove their ability to protect children. It is important for people to understand how “normal” child molesters look and how easily they can gain access to children, isolate them and manipulate them into thinking that the abuse is “ok”. Offenders also make children feel guilty and responsible for the abuse. These dynamics make it very hard for children to tell anyone what is happening to them. We hope this brochure will help you protect children from people who molest and abuse children.
Who is the typical child molester?
Parents can defeat me if they work together. Educate yourself, your family and your community.
HOW CHILD MOLESTERS GAIN ACCESS TO YOUR CHILD
It is very easy to gain access to your child.
WHY DON’T CHILD MOLESTERS ALWAYS GET CAUGHT?
Remember, once I start, I will do everything possible to continue molesting your child. I am sexually turned on by kids and I enjoy being sexual with them. If I have had a lot of practice, I can become very skilled at offending. I will not stop on my own. I am very selfish and do not care if my behavior is hurting your child.
After I’ve begun molesting your child, I maintain their cooperation and silence through guilt, shame, fear and sometimes “love”:
Don’t feel that your child is safe from me! At least one out of every four children will be molested by the age of eighteen. Here are some ways to protect children from me.
WHERE YOU CAN GET HELP
Sexual abuse is a crime. If you believe I have molested your child, don’t try to handle it yourself! I will always promise you that it was the first time and that I will never do it again. I will be lying and I’m good at it. Call the police. The best thing you can do for your child and my past and potential victims are to report me to the authorities. If I molested your child, I’ll do it to someone else’s child unless you stop me!
· Law Enforcement
· Services to Children and Families
· Your county mental health department
· Your local child abuse hotline:
Clackamas County 503-657-2112Clark County 360-993-7901Marion County 503-378-6704Multnomah County 503-731-3100Washington County 503-648-8951Yamhill County 503-472-4634
This information was developed and written by child molesters in treatment at the Center for Behavioral Intervention. Used with permission.