October 25, 2006
Always protect the children
Children are being sexually abused in alarming numbers.
As caring and responsible adults, how can we learn to identify
predators before they do harm?
Those afflicted with whatever sickness that enables
them to violate young people, including infants, must
be identified, isolated, treated and, if necessary, incarcerated.
The eyes and ears of a caring public must be trained
to identify the "child abuse" signs, early,
and initiate protective responses.
The Rev. Gerald Coleman, a Roman
Catholic priest, has identified 23 Signs and Cautions
of Sexual Abuse of Minors. Coleman's announced goal is
to upgrade the process of identifying anyone who might
further disgrace society and the Roman Catholic Church.
He lists 11 "warning signs" apply to potential abusers who might be
targeting young people. Not designed as blanket indictments for anyone who displays
affection for and with children, nonetheless, they clearly alert responsible
adults to pay attention to the integrity of the environments provided to children.
Among the warning signs are the following behaviors in
an adult or older youth:
- Prefers time with minors to time with peers. Goes
overboard with physical contact with minors. Treats
minors like equals. Keeps secrets with minors.
- Ignores policies about interacting with minors. Uses
inappropriate language with minors.
Be on the alert to additional risks to children related
to inappropriate displays of intimacy. Among 12 cited
by Coleman are:
- Any form of unwanted affection. Massages. Patting
children on the thigh, knee or leg.
- Games involving inappropriate touching. Kisses on
the mouth. Showing affection in isolated places. Compliments
that relate to physique or body development.
Children may or may not know what feels right to them,
but a caring and observant adult can protect them by
considering these actions:
- Remove accused perpetrator, immediately. Clarify
concerns to alleged perpetrator, privately. Reassure
child. Investigate and seek advice from authorities,
including the police.
- Stay alert and maintain an integrity-centered environment
for all children, making sure the individual or agency
providing care for your child conducts background checks.
Conduct random unscheduled check-ins on providers Keep
Internet access in public areas. Install discreet surveillance
Responsible and caring adults protect those unable to protect
themselves because it is the right thing to do.