Warning Signs of a Child Abuser

Magen, a new organization in Bet Shemesh/RBS, dedicated to helping children and families who have been affected by abuse, will be providing a series of information announcement to help educate our community about child sexual abuse.

By Miriam Friedman, MSW, 
"Magen", Ramat Beit Shemesh

Recently, people in our community have started becoming more aware of the issue of sexual abuse in schools. While this is very important, it is also important to know that most sexual abuse comes from a family member (such as a cousin or uncle), or a family friend or acquaintance, (such as a neighbor or a classmate’s father).

Because sexual abuse is a crime of manipulation and intimacy, the “Stranger Dangers” we teach our children don’t apply. Pedophiles know their victims. Slowly and methodically, over time, they develop the child’s trust, and the parents’ trust too. This process is called “grooming” the victim, and creates a relationship where the child is more likely to comply with the abuse. And when the opportunity arises, such as when the pedophile is alone with the child, he doesn’t hesitate.

It is deeply disturbing to think about anyone we know in this light, and easier not to think about the issue of sexual abuse at all.

Unfortunately, it is a reality, and we must be aware in order to keep our children safe. It is impossible to prevent all abuse, but the following is a list of common warning signs:

-Someone insists on hugging, kissing, tickling, or wrestling with your child, especially if your child isn’t enjoying it

-Someone wants to spend time alone with your child

-Someone finds excuses to be alone with your child, such as offering to babysit or to give your child a ride

-Someone regularly buys your child gifts, or gives them money for no reason

-Someone wants to take your child special places, particularly overnight

-Someone favors one of your children over the others and singles them out for special gifts or time together

-Someone is scheduled to spend time with or care for your child, and your child protests or is anxious about it

-Someone seems more interested in spending time with children than adults

-Someone allows your child to get away with inappropriate or “adult” activities

This information announcement is not meant to be alarmist. A person doing something from this list once does not mean that person is a child abuser. If someone does things from this list repeatedly, or their manner with your child makes you uncomfortable in any way, you should speak to your child about it and not allow them to spend time alone with the person.

Magen - Protecting Children


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