Thank you so much to all of you who took the time to share your experiences and knowledge on the post “How Do We Protect Our Kids?” that appeared on the Mamamia website last week.
If you missed it then you can either clink on the link above to view it on this site or click here to view it on Mamamia.com.au with all the associated comments.
This is a topic that obviously causes a lot of concern within the community and I was absolutely bowled over by the response. I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that way.
The courage that it must have taken some of you to write down the abuse you have suffered is more than I can comprehend and that along with the advice of some experts in the field have provided some real food for thought for us parent’s struggling with the “sleepover” question.
There are however, a couple of important points that I would like to address below that I believe have been largely overlooked in this debate.
A lot of you talk about trust. ie trust in the people who are minding your kids.
The serial child molester knows that he must gain YOUR trust first in order to then gain access to your children. It is YOU who are being groomed not the children. These people work themselves into positions of trust within your family and the community in order to gain access to children.
Trust is their number one weapon.
The children don’t really have any say in where you send them and quite often the children’s stories of questionable behaviour are initially ignored primarily because of the trust that that person has built up.
Never forget that as parents we are the gatekeepers and the predator will try to charm the keys from our hand. How else would we grant them access to our precious children?
While random attacks and opportunistic behaviour cannot be prevented, we can however arm ourselves with information regarding the serial offender that may help us to recognize and stop questionable behaviour before abuse has occurred.
There are some excellent writings by psychologist Carla Van Dam PHD on this subject and I will try to go into more details of this in future posts.
Another thing that I find concerning from your stories of abuse is how often the grandparents are the abusers and this brings up a couple of really uncomfortable questions that I just have to ask.
Firstly, if you were abused by your parents/ siblings then why would you even think about giving them unfettered access to your children? They are child abusers! This is a very rare instance where you actually know for sure that your child is in danger and anyone who allows this to happen is in my opinion an accessory to abuse.
Secondly, is it possible for your parents who did not abuse you or your siblings to suddenly start abusing their grand kids? I would have thought that if your parents did not abuse you then your kids would be pretty safe with them too right? Please say it is true?
One thing is for sure and that is that we have only scratched the surface of this uncomfortable topic and that much more discussion is needed if we are ever to strike a balance between protection and paranoia.
Just because it’s ugly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look…