Hopefully, you are surrounded by a loving network of adults within your family and community; however, it is important to know that one of them may not have your best interest at heart…regardless of what *he says. In order to protect yourself from a pedophile (an adult who sexually victimizes minors), arm yourself with knowledge.
Be extremely cautious if an adult without children shows a special interest in you. This alone is not a bad thing; however, perpetrators begin grooming a child by asking personal questions and finding out what makes you vulnerable.
He will also attempt to draw you close by fulfilling a need. For instance, if you do not have a father in your home, the perpetrator may try to be a male role model. A child from a poor home may start receiving gifts. If you are lonely, he will work to become your best friend. Again, this could be genuine, but stay alert and aware. Your knowledge about sexual abuse should be causing you to question their motives.
Once you form a relationship, he will begin to desensitize you to touch and introduce you to sexual thoughts and/or images. Sexual comments to a girl about wanting her to wear more revealing clothing because she is so beautiful, commenting on her development, or kissing is not appropriate. Discussing “sexy” girls, complimenting a young man on how he looks so nice in tight jeans, or making fun of your need for modesty in the locker room are all inappropriate sexual overtures. A hug may one day become lingering and uncomfortable. He may “accidentally” touch you on or near your genitals. One day, you may visit and find a pornographic magazine on the table or an X-rated movie playing on the television.
Should any situation such as these arise, you should say “no” and leave, then immediately tell someone and avoid any isolated contact with this person. You are embarrassed to tell your parents? Tell a teacher, friend’s parents, someone. Even making comments to your friends that they should stay away from this person because he gives you the creeps gets it out there and offers you, and your friends, some limited protection.
Remember that regardless of whether it is inappropriate comments or sexual assault~ YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. Perhaps you feel guilty and ashamed because you found yourself curious and/or aroused. Again, as a minor, the adult holds full responsibility for their actions and it is not your fault. You couldn’t find the courage to say “no” or leave? It’s still not your fault. Staying involved with this person (for any reason), is condemning yourself to reoccurring and worsening experiences which can be ultimately debilitating and leave gaping wounds which may take years to heal. I reiterate: you need to tell someone even if you have harbored this “secret” a long time. It can’t make your situation worse that it is going to get if you remain silent.
Feel free to discuss your thoughts about this article with family and friends. This isn’t a subject that should be kept quiet. Now that you know a little more about what to watch for and what to do, trust your intuition and live a happy life.
*Although female perpetrators exist, “he” will be used in this article to represent any person committing sexual crimes against children.
@Copyright by Brinda Carey 2012. The author gives permission for reprint of this article for teaching purposes only. Excerpts may be used for reviews or to direct persons to www.brindacarey.com for more information.