Child Sexual Abuse – Breaking the Silence – Part Four
introduction by maggie christian
( a collection of Tips to be aware of which will aid in identifying the potentials for Child Sexual Abuse and that will enable all of us to read the signs if Child Sexual Abuse is occurring. This collection of Tips will be broken up into several parts for less difficult accessibility. If there are more Tips more parts to this collection will be added. this collection comes from the Facebook Page Notes of TAALK: Breaking the Silence that Surrounds Child Sexual Abuse. I am just trying to spread the message so that as many people as possible can become aware of the plague of Child Sexual Abuse and how invasive it is in all possible ways with all possible people. The victims and survivors of Child Sexual Abuse need to know that we are not alone. I hope more people will spread this information so that awareness will be everywhere and Child Sexual Abuse will be recognized for what it is and preventative steps can be taken to protect the children who are now being abused and to let the victims and survivors know that we are acknowledged and Child Sexual Abuse will not be hidden away in some secret closet in which no one shares that secret. We want Child Sexual Abuse to be out in the open so that the world can see it does exist in an awful abundance and must be stopped and prevented and brought to an end where ever it exists. Let the healing begin before it starts. Please read these many pages. If you know of anyone that fits any of these descriptions and know of anyone who needs help and rescuing – reach out your hand and be there for all those children who are being abused or have been abused and help the survivors that were abused and live with the memories. We all that have been and are being abused will always have those memories. PLEASE BECOME AWARE OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE and HOW TO RECOGNIZE IT WHEN YOU SEE IT.)
TAALK – Breaking the Silence that Surrounds Child Sexual Abuse
TAALK Tip #199
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 5 – And most importantly, we put offenders on notice that we’re watching and our kids are off limits!
TAALK Tip #198
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 4 – We help survivors understand that they are not alone and support their healing journey.
TAALK Tip #197
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 3 – We teach adults, teens and children “the language of abuse” and open the lines of communication.
TAALK Tip #196
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 2 – We inspire community members to make a personal decision to learn to protect kids by participating in prevention training.
TAALK Tip #195
TAALK’s 5 Reasons to Break the Silence: # 1 – We encourage community members to accept the fact that child sexual abuse happens in every community.
TAALK Tip #194
Don’t become paranoid about pedophiles – we are not recommending you live in fear. Know the signs, look for patterns and most definitely stay focused on the behavior, not the person so you stay objective and are not blinded by their deception.
TAALK Tip #193
Pedophiles will look for adults who are impressed by or intimidated by power, status or authority figures. It’s important for you to show strength and confidence in dealing with other adults. If you have self-esteem problems, get help through therapy or empowerment training.
TAALK Tip #192
Pedophiles will tell you how special your kids are, how smart, beautiful and talented they are. Some will even invest the time to go to see your kids at special events such as concerts or sporting events. It’s a way of becoming an insider. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #191
Pedophiles will often look for families who are in need of money just to get by. Then they’ll offer to help out to create a sense of indebtedness so parents will dismiss any suspected concerns. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #190
Pedophiles will often buy expensive gifts for one or both parents or the family as a whole. Purchases that just seem over the top but create a more connected relationship. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #189
Pedophiles will look for families who don’t have a strong support system and people to watch the kids. Then they’ll offer to watch the kids so the parents can have some alone time. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #188
Pedophiles will look for vulnerabilities such as children who are struggling in school. Then they’ll take advantage of that by offering to tutor your child at their house and even do it at no charge. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #187
Pedophiles are masters of deception. They will be the adored parent, perfect neighbor, most popular teacher and beloved clergyman. Don’t be fooled by their position and their façade. Risky behavior is risky no matter who it is. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #186
Pedophiles look for adults who are stressed and overworked and need help in caring for their kids. They will offer to drive your kids to sports practices, music lessons, etc. So, if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #185
As adults, we grant pedophiles access to our kids. So it’s important for us to understand how pedophiles groom individual adults and the community as a whole.
TAALK Tip #184
Pedophiles will ask your kids to keep “little” secrets from their parents such as the treats or dangerous behaviors. Only after a child has proven they can keep the “little” secrets, will the offender start to introduce “big” secrets such as sexual talk, pornography, sexual touching, etc. So make sure your kids know that we don’t keep secrets from our parents.
TAALK Tip #183
Pedophiles tend to feel more comfortable spending time with kids than adults such as at family gathering’s when the adults are inside having a cocktail, the pedophile will be outside playing with the kids. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #182
Pedophiles often make a point of being the “fun” adult, playing games, coloring, rough housing, etc. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #181
Pedophiles often make it a habit of suggesting kids engage in dangerous behavior such as shooting a BB Gun, riding bikes without a helmet, riding on the hood of a car, etc. This creates a sense of excitement and secrecy into the relationship. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #180
Pedophiles often make it a habit of letting kids get away with inappropriate behavior such as being rude, bad language, breaking rules. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #179
Pedophiles often try to become the only one who “understands” the child. This is especially common when grooming an adolescent or young teen who is struggling with lack of understanding from their parents . So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #178
Pedophiles often position themselves as a “friend” rather than an adult parental figure. As their “friend,” the pedophile is more likely to learn about the child’s struggles, insecurities, problems with their parents, etc. These are all vulnerabilities that the pedophile can later exploit. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #177
Pedophiles will often make it a habit of taking kids on special outings such as the park, movies, beach, pool, etc. They use this as a way to show that they are more interested in spending time with them than their parents. Of course, it also provides them opportunities to be alone with the child. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #176
Pedophiles will often allow kids to break the rules such as eating sweets when their parents told them not to. This helps to establish the pedophile as “the cool one” and create a special bond. It also serves to test if a child can keep a secret. So teach your kids that although this may seem “cool” on the surface, it is potentially dangerous behavior and the adult could have alterior motives. If you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #175
Pedophiles will often shower kids with gifts in an effort to buy their love and establish how much they really care for the child. So if you see this behavior, look for other signs to see if there’s a pattern.
TAALK Tip #174
Parents are getting more and more comfortable with telling their kids that no one should touch their private parts but by the time that happens, it’s too late. We need to teach our kids about how pedophiles “groom” them to gain their trust.
TAALK Tip #173
It’s easy to get caught up in trends such as putting window decals on your car with your kids’ names. But this is very dangerous. It gives strangers an opportunity to call your kids by their first names which creates a sense of familiarity and it’s hard for your kids to recognize them as strangers.
TAALK Tip #172
If you have young kids who walk home from school, consider getting a group of neighbors together and starting a “Samantha’s Pride.” This is a program by a non-profit called The Joyful Child Foundation and it is based on parents creating a schedule so that a trained parent is always monitoring the path home to your neighborhood. For more information go to http://www.thejoyfulchild.org.
TAALK Tip #171
Talk with the principal of your child’s school. Ask them what their policy is for preventing child sexual abuse. Their policy should include: 1) background checks for all staff and volunteers, 2) close on-going supervision of staff and volunteers, 3) a policy to minimize one adult/one child situations and make them observable and interruptable, 4) documented reporting processes for suspected abuse (to more than one party), 5) child sexual abuse prevention training for all staff and volunteers. Insist on it!
TAALK Tip #170
Consider showing up unexpectedly where your adolescent children are. Let them know ahead of time that you might do this and it’s not to check up on them but to confirm they’re in a safe place and to see the reaction of those whose care they’re in. If the caretaker seems upset or uncomfortable in any way, then call your child a little later to see if they sound okay or if they want to come home. It’s important that your kids know you’re there for them and it’s not too much of an inconvenience to come get them, no matter what time it is.
TAALK Tip #169
Sometimes parents unknowingly set their kids up for abuse by making some activity or achievement so important that their child would never drop out.Unfortunately kids will often do anything, even endure abuse, in an effort not to disappoint their parents. Examples of this might be being an alter boy or a star volleyball player because it’s a family tradition.
TAALK Tip #168
If you suspect a child is being abused but you don’t have enough information to report the abuse, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD to discuss the situation with a counselor.
TAALK Tip #167
If a child has disclosed to you that they are being abused by an immediate family member and they are supposed to go back to their house, you need to make a careful choice about whether to let them go home. It there seems to be fear or threats involved, it is better to make an excuse for them being late and call the police and ask them to come to take a report immediately.
TAALK Tip #166
If a child discloses to you, call the police immediately and then call the local child protection agency that handles child sexual abuse reports. Many people make the mistake of just calling one or the other and although they are suppose to cross report, it often falls through the cracks. So, take it upon yourself to make sure that both entities take a report.
TAALK Tip #165
If a child discloses to you, please be sure to tell them that it is not their fault and that they’re safe. Often times perpetrators threaten the child and although you should not ask a direct question such as “did he threaten you?”, you can tell the child that they’re safe now and if they’ve been threatened they may tell you.
TAALK Tip #164
If a child discloses to you, DO NOT tell the perpetrator you know. Report it to the police right away and let them decide what to do next. If you tell the perpetrator, he/she will have time to destroy evidence and prepare a story. This could be very difficult if the perpetrator is someone you live with but you need to do what ever it takes to keep the secret until the police have a chance to prepare their investigation.
TAALK Tip #163
If a child discloses to you, keep the child talking long enough to understand the basics of what happened such as who it was, what happened and when it happened. But it is very important that you do not lead the victim by asking specific questions. Instead just ask things like “What happened next?” or “Tell me more about that.” If you ask leading questions, it can actually confuse the child and hurt the criminal case so just get the basics and leave the rest up to the professionals.
TAALK Tip #162
If a child discloses to you, it is important to remain calm. The child’s healing and rebuilding of trust starts at this very moment when you choose whether to believe or not. Please believe and take actions to protect this child.
TAALK Tip #161
If your children are very young, it is a good idea to have their name and phone number on the inside of their clothes in case they get separated from you. Tell your kids that it is there so they can tell the authorities. They may not be able to remember your phone number but they will likely be able to remember that the tag is there if you remind them of it often.
TAALK Tip #160
When you have young kids, there may be times when you’re late and need to have someone pick them up from school. Have a family code word such as “Santa” and have the kids ask for the code word if someone shows up telling them that you asked them to pick them up. This way the kids are SURE that this is a trusted adult that you have made arrangements with.
TAALK Tip #159
Children are sometimes molested when they put themselves in harms way by disobeying you. If they fear getting in trouble for disobeying you, they won’t tell you about the abuse. So, it’s important to have strong boundaries and appropriate consequences if your children disobey you but always let them know you love them even if they’ve made a mistake and that it’s best to tell the truth, even if you did something wrong.
I recently spoke with a survivor who snuck out of her house and went into a neighbor’s house when she wasn’t supposed to. The neighbor molested her but she was afraid to tell her parents because she know they would be so angry with her.
TAALK Tip #158
Be aware of children who develop relationships with adults or older youth where the child looks up to them so much that they would do anything they say.
This was well articulated on the Oprah Winfrey show when she interviewed an offender who said he molested his younger female cousin and that it was easy because she looked up to him so much.
TAALK Tip #157
Be aware of Nanny’s who cross the line by inviting the kids to her house to see something special such as her puppy. She may ask you and of course you should tell her it’s not appropriate but she may also just drop by her house with the kids while they’re out. So, it’s important to teach your kids that this is not appropriate and they should tell the Nanny that it’s against Mom and Dad’s rules and to let you know right away.
Mother – San Diego, CA
TAALK Tip #156
It’s very important to separate risky BEHAVIOR from the person displaying the behavior. Even if you are sure the person doesn’t mean any harm, if you don’t stop the risky behavior and let your kids know it is not okay, then your kids will not recognize the risk when it comes from someone who does intend to cause them harm.
TAALK Tip #155
Distrusting those we love doesn’t come naturally, it’s a learned skill. It’s important to become aware and willing to set healthy boundaries without becoming paranoid.
TAALK Tip #154
Always stay with your child if they are taking any kind of lessons at someone’s home or a studio where they may be alone or if the only other person is a relative of the teacher.
TAALK Tip #153
Often times when Family Court is reviewing child abuse allegations as part of a custody decisions, they seem to be looking for evidence that proofs “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the abuse took place. However, the Family Court policies are typically different. The definition below applies to California – if you find yourself in Family Court trying to prove that there is sufficient evidence of potential harm to keep your child from a parent who currently has custody, look up the provisions in your state.
Preponderance of the Evidence Standard of Proof: Family law court cases are civil cases. The standard of proof in civil cases is a”preponderance of the evidence,” i.e., that which is more likely than not, or 50% or more likelihood of occurrence. This standard of proof is substantially lower than for criminal cases. [CA Evidence Code Section 115]
TAALK Tip #152
Children hardly ever fabricate allegations of sexual abuse. Studies analyzing maliciously fabricated allegations of child sexual abuse have found that children bring only 0% to 2% of such allegations. There is no reputable research to support the notion that children can be brainwashed to believe they have been sexually abused when they have not.
Sources: Jones, D. P. H. & McGraw, J. M., Reliable and Fictitious Accounts of Sexual Abuse to Children, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2, pp. 27-45, 1987. (Out of 576 cases of possible sexual abuse, Denver Department of Social Services determined that only 1% [n=8] of allegations of child sexual abuse brought by children were fictitious (five children made the eight fictitious allegations), and out of 696 cases, The Kempe Center determined that only 2% [n=8] of children’s reports of child sexual abuse were fictitious.)
Oates, R. K., Jones, D. P. H., Denson, D., Sirotnak, A., Gary, N., & Krugman, R. D., Erroneous Concerns About Child Sexual Abuse, Child Abuse & Neglect, 24(1), pp. 149-157, 2000. (Out of 551 cases of possible child sexual abuse, Denver Department of Social Services determined that only 1.5% [n=8] of allegations of child sexual abuse brought by children were fabricated)
Thanks for continuing your education on how to prevent child sexual abuse. Your increased awareness will make a difference in the lives of children around you.
If you have a tip that you’d like to share with others or you would like to provide feedback on this tip, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.