Resource center encourages parents to educate their children
To the Editor:
We are saddened and angered by the abuse perpetrated on the sexual abuse victims of Jerry Sandusky and gladdened by the guilty verdict on 52 counts of child molestation. There is nothing positive about this situation, but it does provide a teachable moment.
What is there to learn? Jerry Sandusky is a typical abuser; he knew his victims. He even adopted one of them. Most sexual assaults occur at the hands of someone known and trusted by the victim: coaches, neighbors, teachers, family members, etc. Sexual predators typically prey on individuals, especially children they perceive as vulnerable.
Jerry Sandusky created Second Mile, a charity to help at-risk youth whom he groomed. Second Mile’s goals included helping children learn how to develop positive peer and family relationships, and how to cope with difficult situations. We’re sure that nobody else involved with this organization thought they had an abuser in their midst who would, in the worst possible way, violate the participants and the charity’s mission.
Parents teach their children to be afraid of strangers. We are afraid of the strangers we assume are predators and the adjudicated sexual predators that move into our neighborhoods. However, it is those whom we are closest to that probably pose the greatest threat. People we know have access to our children. Access affords an offender the opportunity to groom a child before molesting him/her.
We aren’t advocating over-protecting your children or teaching them to be afraid of everyone. Instead, we suggest teaching children that their bodies are sacred and that no one can touch them inappropriately. Have open conversations with your children about molestation. Tell them that when an abuser threatens them or their family it is just to keep them quiet so they will be a more willing victim. Tell them you will always believe them when they tell you bad things about people they know, including family members.
If you or your child has been a victim of sexual violence, call Bluff Country Family Resources 24-hour, toll-free crisis line 1-866-367-4297. We will provide you with non-judgmental, confidential crisis intervention, advocacy and support.
The advocates at Bluff Country Family Resources
Robin Yaffe Tschumper