In light of the devastating events that allegedly took place at Penn State and Syracuse Universities, we now see fresh evidence of horrific child sexual abuse that continues to be all too prevalent in our society. How many children have been violated and are living with horrible emotions, too frightened to come forward? Although it is impossible to put a cocoon around your children, there are many measures that you can put to use, which will mitigate the danger. Prevention Of Child Sexual Abuse-Family Dynamics Of Molestation
The greatest risk to our children doesn't come from strangers but from friends and family. Between 30% to 40% of children are abused by family members. As many as 60% are abused by people the family trusts, including relatives, coaches, teachers, clergy and others who are in positions of authority, power and influence. Imagine how difficult it is for children to say no to such people, especially if the abuser describes his behavior as "loving" or "caring".
Those who sexually abuse children are drawn to settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, religious youth centers, clubs, and schools. They go to extraordinary efforts to gain the trust of parents and other relatives. Imagine, for example, the vulnerability of a single parent's children when a coach or teacher volunteers to watch over them after school or during times the parent must be at work.
Beware of adults who give excessive attention to your children, such as trying to get into one-on-one situations with them repeatedly. Where this gets tricky is with teachers and coaches, who show sincere care and want to offer one-on-one counsel. It is hard to differentiate genuine care from those who prey on children. 5 Health Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore
Look for changes in your child's behavior, moods, attitudes and school performance. Abusers frighten their victims by telling them that they (the victim) let it happen and their parents will be angry so "don't tell." Even worse, some abusers threaten family members if the child tells.
First, a coach should never be in a locker room alone with an athlete. Other players or coaches must be present. This not only goes for coaches of the same sex as the athlete, but obviously also in situations where the coach and athlete are opposite sexes.
Secondly, for younger players in particular, a parent should be present at all practices. This is important not only to mitigate against sexual abuse possibilities, but also to hopefully mitigate the verbal abuse that often takes place between coaches and athletes. Coaches often bristle at parents being present because they don't want parental interference in their coaching style. Assert yourself with the coach. If he insists that you not be present, remove your child from that coach/team.
If you have no proof of abuse, but you are worried about your child's changing behavior or mood, it is better to err in the conservative direction by removing your child from the coach, team, club or situation. Is Your Relationship Making You & Your Children Sick?