4 Ways to Start Protecting Kids from Potential Sex Abusers
© 2018 Savannah J. Sanders
We live in a world where an abuser can spot a vulnerable
child from a mile away, or from across a crowded room,
yet every other adult in the child’s life is likely to miss it.”
Author, Sex Trafficking Prevention
Allegations of sex abuse and grooming by trusted professionals like physicians and coaches have finally come into the light. Larry Nassar was convicted and sentenced to many lifetimes in prison for abusing young gymnasts. Now, Olympic swimmer Ariana Kukors has accused her long-time swim coach of grooming and sexually abusing her from a young age. He denies the allegations.
At this stage these are allegations to be evaluated by the courts. In the meantime, parents need to take a cue from these events and develop a plan for protecting their children from sex abuse, including being groomed by those in authority. The days of trust are over. Here are three ways to protect your kids:
- Teach body safety to your kids from an early age.
- Teach children that abusers can be anyone, including the people we love, the people who teach us and coach us.
- Know the signs of abuse and always be vigilant to watch for them -- don't rely on your kids to tell you.
- Don't delude yourself by thinking that it could never happen to your family or that it doesn't happen to families in your neighborhood.
Protection is enhanced when you as the parent take active measures to watch and protect children. While we don't want to be too overprotective, use common sense and don't leave it up to your kids to tell you. They may be afraid to tell you because they've been threatened with harm to themselves or to the family or outside world. They may have not fought against their abuser or they sometimes feel they've led the abuser on, making them afraid to tell you. Or it could be a simple misunderstanding of the rules. Whatever the reason, remember to be proactively protecting your children.
Savannah J. Sanders
Savannah J. Sanders is the author of Sex Trafficking Prevention: A Trauma-Informed Approach for Parents and Professionals and a leading advocate in the effort to stop sex trafficking worldwide. She teaches professionals to identify vulnerable youth and the steps to prevent them from being abused and/or trafficked. Savannah was the Human Trafficking Services Manager at the Sojourner Center in Arizona where she managed the SAFE (Safeguarding Adolescents From Exploitation) Action Project to help combat child sex trafficking, an initiative of The Sandra Day O’Connor Institute. Sanders shares her compelling story of abuse and recovery from trafficking as a source of inspiration and motivation for audiences everywhere. She resides in Arizona with her husband and children.