Posts Tagged ‘protecting children’

But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14

Randy Stonehill and Phil Keaggy recorded a song called “Who Will Save The Children” for Compassion International, a Christian charity dedicated to helping children in poverty. But it could very well be a song for abused children. 

Today the world is facing many problems. High unemployment, poverty, homelessness, illegal immigration, racial unrest, gun violence and threats of terrorism—just to name a few.

And yet one of our most tragic problems that has spread world-wide barely gets a bi-line in the news—sexual child abuse.

There have been plenty of reports about the sex trafficking trade and the efforts that some law enforcement agencies have taken to combat this crime. We will even hear reports on how famous pedophiles like Subway spokesman Jared Fogle, are being arrested and prosecuted for their heinous crimes against children.

But it seems that nothing is being done to stop pedophiles who sexually abuse children in their own homes!  Most victims know and trust their abusers. It isn’t strangers our children have to fear most—It’s those who live in their own home!

Children who live with a single parent that has a live-in partner are 20-30 times more likely to be victims of child sexual abuse than children living with both biological parents. Studies show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. That means that there will be 500,000 babies born in the US this year that will be sexually abused (Many in their own homes) before they turn 18, if we do not prevent it!

In it’s most recent study, the CDC estimated the lifetime cost to society for dealing with all issues related to child abuse of just one year’s worth of traumatized kids is $585 billion! An astonishing figure that obviously repeats each year!

One of the reasons 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. And some never disclose their abuse.

Another reason is that many people rely on the court system and law enforcement alone to take steps to protect children from child predators who would do harm to our children.

But the Nebraska Legislature finds that sex offenders present a high risk to commit repeat offenses. They further find that efforts of law enforcement agencies to protect their communities, conduct investigations, and quickly apprehend sex offenders are impaired by the lack of available information about individuals who have pleaded guilty to or have been found guilty of sex offenses and who live, work, or attend school in their jurisdiction. (nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes/ 29-4001.01 – 4003) http://nebraskalegislature.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=29-4001.01

In spite of this, many judges continue to issue light sentences and probation to child sex offenders. And many people believe that once a sex offender is convicted, he or she is restricted on where they can live and travel.

It may surprise many to know that in many states the only restriction imposed on a convicted pedophile is that he or she register as a sex offender at the sheriff’s office within the required time. (Usually within 72 hours)

That means that someone convicted of sexual child abuse may freely visit schools, public parks, children museums, public swimming pools and beaches—basically anywhere that children frequent.

From the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry website:

ARE THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS REGARDING SEX OFFENDERS?

The Nebraska Sex Offender Registration law does not have any restrictions on registered sex offenders.  This is a common misperception.  The SOR law also does not have the legal jurisdiction to prevent an offender from attending events, limiting employment, restrict an offender from entering any facilities, or refrain from living with or socializing with children or vulnerable persons.  The SOR law can only mandate the offender to register his or her required information under statutes 29-4004 and 29-4006 at the sheriff’s office within the required time.

IS THERE ANY RESTRICTIONS AS TO WHERE A SEX OFFENDER CAN LIVE?

Nebraska legislation simply enacted guidelines in July 2006 for those cities who wish to adopt a living restriction ordinance. It is not a state-wide law. Therefore, it only applies to those cities or designated entities that pass such an ordinance which only applies to schools and day cares; furthermore, it will be up to the local agencies to enforce the restrictions if adopted. The city ordinance only applies to sexual predators that moved to the reported address after July 2006. Sexual predator means an individual who is required to register under the Sex Offender Registration act, who has committed an aggravated offense and who has victimized a person eighteen years of age or younger. The Nebraska State Patrol does not track which cities choose to enact or enforce the ordinance. Please contact the local city office, police department or sheriff’s office of the city in question. https://sor.nebraska.gov/FAQ

I experienced the pain and anguish of this crime personally when my granddaughter was sexually molested by her step-father several years ago. After two years of attending hearing after hearing in court, the judge only sentenced him to two years probation. Less than ten days later he was arrested again on charges of physically abusing another child still living in the home! The remaining children were placed in foster care and the father is currently serving a year in the county jail. Because Nebraska has no Grandparents Rights Law, we have not been able to visit our grandchildren in foster care.

I wrote to 18 Nebraska senators about this and out of the 18, only Senator John McCollister responded to me. We recently met for coffee to discuss my concerns about this. He is planning on setting up a meeting with me, himself and another senator to see if we can come up with a solution that will allow grandparents visitation rights to grandchildren in foster care and protect children without violating the perpetrators’ civil rights.

Protecting our future

We have all heard politicians and others quote that “children are our future”. If that is true, (And I believe it is) then why are we so bent on destroying our own future? Adult survivors continue to deal with physical symptoms of sexual child abuse even when the abuse occurred long ago.

A 2001 study supported by the CDC showed that early childhood abuse could affect areas of the brain that impact language, cognitive and emotional development and mental health. This could result in hyperactivity and sleep problems. Another CDC study revealed that the risk of adult chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, liver disease and high cholesterol is increased.

When a child is abused, emotional and psychological trauma can result. A long-term study by the CDC found that, “As many as 80 percent of young adults who had been abused met the diagnostic criteria for at least one psychiatric disorder at age 21.” These disorders include anxiety, depression, eating disorders and suicide attempts. Child abuse victims may also suffer from learning, attention and memory problems. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another common problem for child abuse survivors, resulting in constant frightening memories and thoughts, feeling emotionally detached or numb and sleep problems.

Adults who suffered abuse often turn to drug or alcohol abuse. A report from the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that, “as many as 2/3 of people in drug treatment programs report being abused as children.” Additionally, some adult survivors turn to lying, stealing or other illegal criminal behavior and end up arrested and incarcerated.

Things you can do to protect your children:

  • Talk to your child about the dangers of sexual abuse. And talking about personal safety should be an on-going dialogue, not just a single event.
  • Teach your children appropriate names for their body parts.
  • Use everyday situations to keep the conversations about personal safety ongoing.
  • Set the rules about internet safety and your values early on.
  • Learn about the websites your children use regularly and limit how much time they spend online.
  • Visit websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and other sites your child visits.
  • Teach your children that they should not seek relationships with online friends and that they should never meet online friends in the real world. If you think that your child is smarter than that, think again. Many teens and pre-teens get involved in online relationships only to find out later that the “other teenager” is actually a middle aged pedophile. So make sure that your child has a support system in the real world.

Above all, build trust between you and your child so they know that they can talk to you about anything.

Think about this: I once attended a dedication ceremony of a friend who just had a baby. As the father was holding the baby in his arms, the pastor asked him, “Who are you to this child?” The father replied proudly, “I’m his father.” “No.” the paster answered. “You are God.” As the father gave the pastor a confused look, he continued, “You are the only God this child will know. So as far as he knows, you ARE God. And it is up to you to teach him all he will know about God.”

If we may be the only God that a child will know and that child experiences abuse from us or another adult, what will that child think  about God? What will his impression be of God?

Collin Raye – 11th Commandment 

‘The Week’ website recently published an article by Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry entitled, “How Christianity Invented Children”. http://www.theweek.com/articles/551027/how-christianity-invented-children

Gobry claims that one of the notorious practices in the ancient world was the sexual exploitation of children and points to paganism as the original perpetrator of the sexual exploitation of children. He goes on to say that “Christianity’s invention of the cultural idea of children as treasured human beings was really an outgrowth of its most stupendous and revolutionary idea: the radical equality, and the infinite value, of every single human being as a beloved child of God.”

But if that is true, then it seems that we have reverted back to the culture of ancient Rome.

1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are now sexually abused before age of 18. Child sexual abuse is a prevalent issue in the United States even within the confines of our schools and churches—The very places where our children should be the safest!

Nonetheless, there’s one form that is especially revolting and shocking—The act of sexually molesting a child by a family member. And it often occurs to children in a blended family. Statistics show that a child is 33% more likely to be sexually abused in homes where their biological parent is living with, or married to someone other than the child’s biological parent.

When a child is molested by a family member, denial is a natural response since no one likes to think about a family member abusing their own children this way, but worse yet, is when the child victim is accused of making it up and is pressured into recanting the abuse.

It’s important to remember that although the abuse was done by a close family member, it does not erase criminal liability. In fact, this type of molestation should carry the greatest punishment among all forms of child abuse. If this happens to your child, do not hesitate to call the police, because when a molester is tolerated, it’s guaranteed that he or she will do it again. And you could be charged with child neglect and/or child endangerment.

It is also important to remember the damage this causes to a child’s life and soul. Many victims become depressed, have feelings of guilt, shame and distrust, and may cause them to fall into all kinds of risky behavior. Especially as long as lenient judges continue to pass down soft sentences on perpetrators of these types child sex offenders.

Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 18:6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

Although it is important to address the issue of forgiveness when the abuser is caught and confesses and then asks for forgiveness, this can be difficult for not only the victim but also for other family members.

Certainly we should forgive; However, it is important to remember that molesting and sexually abusing children is a type of sin that, even after repentance and forgiveness, there has to be accountability and justice to ensure the safety of all children that the abuser could come into contact with.

If someone shoots one of your children you must forgive them—but it doesn’t mean that you invite them back into your home so they can shoot the other ones.

How can you protect your children?

Watch your kids – Keep a watchful eye on your children. Kids get distracted and often don’t think about something that’s happened to them while at play. Know what to look for.

  • Changes in behavior, extreme mood swings, withdrawal, or fearfulness
  • Bed-wetting, nightmares, fear of going to bed, or other sleep disturbances
  • Acting out inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Changes in toilet-training habits
  • A fear of certain places, people, or activities
  • Bruises, rashes, or poorly explained injuries
  • Pain, itching, bleeding, fluid, or rawness in the private areas

Talk to your kids- Parents are one of the single most effective tools in the fight against child sexual abuse. Set time aside to sit down and have a discussion. This may be an uncomfortable subject, but remember, you aren’t talking about sex, you’re talking about personal safety. You can use other safety issues as a ‘lead in’ to this topic.

Listen to your kids- Even very young children need to be able to tell you their feelings, thoughts and fears. Make sure that you take the time to listen to your children and assure them that you’re there to protect them.

Teach your kids- Teach them about “good touch, bad touch” and make sure your children know to tell you if something does happen, or even if someone just makes them feel uncomfortable. Teach them to trust their own feelings and instincts. Tell them it’s okay to say “no” and to be rude to anyone in order to protect themselves. Teach them that keeping secrets is not only wrong, but dangerous. If you don’t teach these things to your children, then you are leaving them open for the predator to continue molesting your child unrestrained.

Let your child know they can trust you- It is difficult for a child to come forward with accusations of sexual abuse. So the worst thing you can do to a child who has been sexually abused is to question them or doubt that what they experienced really happened. They need to know that you believe them and that you will protect them from further abuse. They came to you because they trusted you. If that trust is broken because you refused to believe them, chances are slim that they will report future abuses that may go on for years.

While physical abuse might be the most visible, child sexual abuse leaves deep, lasting invisible scars that can carry over into adulthood. There are signs you can look out for that a child is being sexually abused:

  • Excessively withdrawn, fearful, or anxious.
  • Shies away from touch, flinches at sudden movements, or seems afraid to go home.
  • Trouble walking or sitting.
  • Displays knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age.

Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives, but by learning some of these common warning signs of sexual child abuse, you can catch the problem as early as possible and get both the child and the abuser the help that they need.

Of course, just because you see a warning sign doesn’t automatically mean a child is being abused. It’s important to dig deeper, looking for a pattern of abusive behavior. But if you do notice a pattern, report it.

For more information visit: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect.htm