The recent revelation of an American football coach sexually assaulting 10 boys who were placed under his charge (see here) must have placed many parents under some distress. How did the culprit get away with it undetected for so many years? Why did not the victims raise the alarm?
Like many sexual predators, Jerry Sandusky developed strong relationships of love and trust with his victims before molesting them. Quite often, such pedophiles position themselves into positions of respect and trust, such as being football coaches, physiotherapists and boy scout leaders. This is not to say, of course, that everyone in this position are sexual predators.
Child safety expert Irene van der Zande says that pedophiles know how to find and manipulate vulnerable kids – and how to put on a great show for everyone else, even members of their family. Quite often, these kids do not speak up because the person abusing them is someone they love and trust.
Van der Zande, child safety expert and the author of The Kidpower Book For Caring Adults, offers the following tips to protect children from child abusers:
1. Accept the reality that many child molesters may seem like wonderful people. Don’t be fooled by outside appearances. Pay attention to what someone is actually doing with your kids. If someone who is responsible for the care of many kids starts to single your child out for special attention, be careful. Don’t assume that someone is safe just because this person is generous, beloved, charming, and kind.
- Know the Signs of Child Sexual Abuse (aarp.org)