With so much of the media’s focus on lifting the veil of secrecy and how our pedophile profiling continuously leads us astray, I insist we pour our energies into advocating for the children, the defenseless victims who are destined to re-live these nightmares for the rest of their lives. We must press legislature to pass the most stringent laws that our government allows. These sick and pathetic individuals, masters at deception, who seek to harm our innocent kids, should be publicly humiliated and locked up. And shown no mercy.
The prevention of such monstrosities is critical. As parents, we must remain hyper-vigilant and aware of the people with whom our children spend time, and study their interactions with others. We must stay entrenched in their lives---especially as they slip into the dark passages of adolescence. Are our kids being bullied by someone? Are they in awe of a coach, a tutor or a friend’s successful father, to the point that that person can do no wrong? Do we get bad vibes from a friend’s older, unruly brother?
Our kids are lured and subsequently silenced by powerful predators that oftentimes pose as well-intentioned mentors, yet relish authoritative positions upon which our kids’ future advancement depends. Sadly. In an ever-increasingly competitive world, our kids are uncertain about their future and struggle to fit in as they aim for success. They’re vulnerable and need our help---especially those kids who cannot count on their own parents’ guidance.
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It’s certainly a paradox. When our children are little and malleable, we strive to inculcate politeness and a respect for authority. Yet at the same time, we must teach them to be wary and question those very same authority figures.
Because what happens when a coach, tutor, uncle, or other trusted grown-up first violates that confidence built over a span of years? Many times the lines of right and wrong are blurred and the kids are unable to make sense of it all. Evidently the case with the Penn State sex-scandal, these bewildered boys and young men couldn’t take measure of all the gifts and privileges with the abuse.
As this calamity unraveled, my husband recalled how a karate instructor proceeded to massage his sore muscles after hours of a grueling practice. Even at seven years-old, my husband instinctively knew something wasn’t right. But he feared his coach and said nothing. Escaping unscathed yet full of shame, he went home and told his mother. She immediately withdrew him from the course.
A dear friend of mine still suffers the aftershocks of her traumatic childhood experiences; years of childhood molestation have shaken her self-worth and that of her husband, also sexually-abused as a child. Even three decades later, they both grapple with their abusive past. And have only now come to accept that the manipulation and assault was not their fault. Together, they spend an inordinate amount of money and time struggling in therapy, while flooding painful memories constantly foil their marital intimacy.
My heart breaks for them.
Perhaps after extensive, aggressive therapy, many do heal, learn to lead sound lives and maintain healthy relationships. But at what cost? After a string of failed marriages, substance abuse, suicide attempts, mental illness or worse yet, a continuation of the abuse cycle?
Bottom line: Trust no one. Get to know everyone your kids hang out with. Talk with your kids ad nauseam about what are appropriate and inappropriate physical interactions and verbal exchanges. And pray a lot that they won’t be lead into relationships that will scar them for life.
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