Protecting Your Children from Sexually Abusive Relatives, Friends, Strangers

Whether a relative or friend is sexually abusive is unknown for many mothers, because the abuser doesn't typically give off any obvious signs that he or she has or will be abusive toward one's children.  However, in circles like: the family, the online world of dating and in many family friendly establishments there lies someone, somewhere who is an uncle, cousin, father, step-father or has other ties to a family with little girls and boys.  Their hidden issues are exposed when a child says, "Mommy, he touched me here...Daddy they do bad things over at that house...I don't want to go over there anymore."

Too often busy parents, or even lazy ones, will ignore a child's non-verbal or verbal cries for help.  In a recent news report, a mother didn't bother to go along with her 7-year-old to the bathroom at a public restaurant.  Little did she know, there was a sexually abusive patron behind the closed door.  He hurt the poor child, got away and to date, is still at large.

What are some things that parents can do to keep children safe:

1.  Keep your children in view from public restrooms to a house party, watch them and get others to help.  Don't permit children to play with adults such as:  sit on their laps, sleep in their beds, or play games like Hide 'n Seek or House.  Don't permit them to watch movies and shows with sexual scenes and conversation.  All of these things can happen if you are not paying attention to your children.
2.  Don't assume a relative, friend or even stranger is trustworthy because he or she has kids too.  Watch how the children behave with one another.  Are they acting in ways that are inappropriate for children their age?  Do the children wrestle, hand-hold, hug, kiss, and touch one another in ways that make you feel uncomfortable?  Chances are they have seen or experienced something sexual at home.
3.  Notice a partner or relative's interest in pornography.  It doesn't matter the type, ask yourself, "What is going on in this man's mind that he feels the need to look at nude people having sex during his private time?"  Be wary of him.  Also, if he is very flirtatious, likes to touch, stares at the young women's and girl's bodies, and makes so-called playful, sexual comments about everyone (boys too), keep your kids at a distance.
4.  At home, break nightly routines at times.  Stay up later and periodically check on your child through the night.  Do the same when staying at someone else's home or have them sleep in the room with you.  Ask a partner or relative, "Was there something wrong the reason why you went in Johnny's room?"  Notice how long he or she is in there and listen at the door.  Don't worry over offending the person and don't respond when they become defensive.
5.  Converse with your child about his or her body parts and ask questions, "Does anything hurt?  How do you feel when (fill in the person's name) is around?  How does this person make you feel?  Does he or she do things that make you feel afraid or say bad things when I'm not around?  Did he ever tell you not to tell me anything or else he would hurt you?"
6.  Tell other children to pay attention when the parent or relative is around certain children.  Talk with them as well.  Sometimes abusers target the one who is the weakest and the least likely to share secrets.
7.  Set up recording devices when you have that nagging feeling in your gut that doesn't seem to go away about someone your child is around.  There is a good possibility that someone else or something non-related to abuse might be going on that is keeping you anxious.  Don't leave the child with this person who makes you feel uncomfortable anymore (even if you don't have any proof).  This way you will be less likely to have a major falling out with the relative or friend just in case he is innocent of wrong-doing.

There are women who sexually abuse their children as well or are accomplices to such despicable acts.  Some will do such things because a boyfriend has put them up to doing such things.  Other times these women have been abused themsleves and don't think too much about whether what they do with their own children is right or wrong especially when money is involved.  A mother reasons, "Well, their dad has bought us nice things, keeps a roof over our heads...I won't say anything...maybe he will get better."

Keep in mind, men who think they can get away with abusive acts will target single mothers who have children.  These trusting moms will permit these men to come into their lives because they believe they are "good."  But the reality is that there is more to a lonely man besides his looks, a charming smile and gifts, he is by himself for good reason and it is up to a discerning mom to figure out why he is divorced more than once, alone, or doesn't have an amicable relationship with his ex. 

Naive moms believe what they want to hear, smart moms do some investigating!

Nicholl McGuire, author of When Mothers Cry


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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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