Protecting Children from sexual predators
Child sex predators are clever manipulators of trust and skilled at manipulating situations and emotions to get to a child.
Children need to be taught how easily their trust can be manipulated and, how easily they can be coerced into doing something they can't make sense of (sexual abuse). They also, need to know they can always tell you and they will be believed. It's really simple to teach them how to recognise "grooming," whether in the home, community or online.
It's easy for a sex predator to acess a child, it's just as easy for them to manipulate an adult's trust; however, with little effort you can become aware of their "Modus Operandi" (method of operation) that will back up any "gut feeling" you have about them.
The key is to stop them at the beginning stages of their "grooming" process and you do that by teaching your child how to tell the difference between good/bad touch, gifts, secrets and games. I have created "Bert the Butterfly" colouring pages to be used, in a non-confronting way, as a tool to help engrain these skills to protect them when you are not around.
"Bert the Butterfly" colouring pages are designed to give children tools, and a language, to tell you should they feel unsafe, or unsure, around another person. It gives you connection to their story should they find themselves in the web of deception, of a sexual predator.
Awareness without tools to break free, leaves a child powerless against the skilled manipulation of a clever predator.
Survivors of child sexual abuse
Story of the Wounded Butterfly
A man went for a daily walk through the park and he noticed a chrysalis hanging from a branch.There was a small slit in the chrysalis and he saw that the butterfly was struggling to get out. He decided that he would sit and watch this miraculous moment of nature as the butterfly emerged from the chrysalis.
After a long period of time, he noticed that the butterfly had apparently given up the struggle because there was no movement within the chrysalis. He decided to help it come out. He pulled out his pocket knife and carefully enlarged the slit. The butterfly fell out.
The man noticed that the butterfly had an overly large body, and tiny wings. and was unable to fly away.
What this man failed to realise, was that he had interfered with the natural process of the development of the butterfly. Because of his interference the butterfly was now destined to crawl through life never fulfilling its destiny to become all that it could be.
He didn’t realise that the struggle and rest period, was natural and served a bigger plan for the butterfly.
In the butterfly's struggle to break out of the chrysalis, the fluid in its body needed to be pushed through into the wings before it could become fully developed and this would only happen as the butterfly pushed and struggled to get through the tiny slit. It was resting before its final breakthrough. (Author unknown)
The man’s interference with the natural development had changed the course of the butterfly's destiny and, it was something that could never be undone.
Likewise, when a sexual abuser interferes with the protection and the development of a child, they also change their destiny, limiting their potential as healthy adults. The experience of being violated changes how they see life. It also can never be undone.
The butterfly needed to learn to live by another set of rules to survive life at ground level, never reaching its full potential. The sexually abused child, also has to adjust their lives to survive on a different level, with a new set of rules and beliefs about themselves.
A trusted “someone” may have interfered with your life and left you to crawl through life but the pain in your life is a call to attend to the ache that gnaws at you.
"The adult symptoms of childhood abuse can take many forms. Many adult survivors may:
- Find it difficult to develop or maintain close personal relationships.
- Have a strong desire to live in isolation or to “hide out” from life.
- Endure physical ailments like neck, back, stomach and gynecological problems that persist despite efforts at good self-care.
- Experience feelings of sadness, fear and anger that often seem unmanageable or overwhelming.
- Undergo panics, rages, depressions, sleep disorders, or self-mutilation or have suicidal thoughts.
- Find themselves depending on alcohol, other drugs, or may develop eating disorders to cover feelings of humiliation, shame and low self-esteem.
- Experience problems like low self-esteem, avoidance of sex, promiscuity, or inability to experience orgasms or erections.
- Exhibit signs
of trauma like panic attacks, numbing of body areas, and feeling of being disconnected from their bodies.
Most of these symptoms are due to the disruption of a healthy psychological development. An abusive childhood situation interferes with the child’s natural movement toward growth and expansion of his or her experiences." Taken from http://www.thehealingplace.info/adult-survivors-of-childhood-sexual-abuse/ on 30/12/2014.
It's your story. Your voice. Trust it.
It's time we talked. It's time we told our stories and were heard, because there are others whose courage may be ignited and also begin to talk and heal.
Child sexual abuse is never the child's fault; in fact, the responsibility belongs 100% to the abuser. The unfairness lies in the fact that it's 100% the victim's responsibility to embrace healing and restoration. The good news is that you don't have to do it alone.
Child sexual abuse was something done to us in secrecy and silence, leaving us with shame and low-self-worth and carrying a secret that gnaws at the core of our very being. We are not alone because millions of us are living with this, yet we carry it, within us, hoping no-one will ever find out. It's time we told our stories, using our voices that were silenced many years ago.
Children are most vulnerable between ages eight-12. The average age for first abuse is 9.9 years for boys and 9.6 years for girls (Finkelhor, 1986).
One in three girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused in some way before the age of 18 years. (Australian Institute of Criminology, 1993)
Girls and boys of all ages are sexually abused and victims are sometimes toddlers, young children and even babies. (NSW Child Protection Council, 2000)
The primary reason that the public is not sufficiently aware of child sexual abuse as a problem is that 73% of child victims do not tell anyone about the abuse for at least a year. 45% of victims do not tell anyone for at least 5 years. Some never disclose (Broman-Fulks et al., 2007).
Child sexual abuse is something that happens to innocent children whose trust has been betrayed. If it happened to you, then you will already know how your life has been affected by it. Your decisions in life are coloured by the secrets and the lies; in fact, it expresses itself in anger, self-mutilation, self-disgust, unworthy feelings, drugs, alcohol, overeating, broken relationships, running away, prostitution, depression, and the list goes on.
The good news is that you can change it, by seeking the right help and, you get to choose who walks alonside you in your healing journey. You are not alone; in fact, there are countless thousands of people dealing with the long-term effects of being abused as a child. Many don't seek help because they either don't know how to, or they feel too ashamed to ask for it; likewise, they may fear they won’t be believed.
A well known British philosopher, Sir Edmund Burke says, “All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in this world is for enough, good people to do nothing.”