by Maria Lloyd
Usually more times than not, the s*xual predator is a person who is closely connected to the child’s family.
We recently reported the story about the 27-year-old mother who nearly killed her two sons’ football coach after one of her sons told her the coach had touched him inappropriately. It’s wonderful that the media has been exposing s*xual predators more than ever before, but it’s still heartbreaking to learn that children are being s*xually abused daily, especially considering that most of these cases could’ve been prevented.
As with the mother’s of the young men involved in the Eddie Long scandal, the mother in the aforementioned incident is a single parent. It appears that s*xual predators deliberately target children of a single parent, especially a single mother, because the household is more vulnerable without the support of both parents.
It is extremely important that you, the single parent, do everything in your power to protect your children from s*xual predators. Below are four- of many- ways to protect your children from s*xual predators.
1. Have candid conversation about s*xual abuse with your child.
It is extremely important that you educate your children about inappropriate touching. S*xual predators are good at convincing children that nothing is wrong with the heinous act; therefore, making the child think it’s okay. It is your responsibility to speak candidly with your child about this inappropriate behavior.
2. Screen people who interact with your child- including relatives, pastors, neighbors, and spouses.
While you can’t completely lose trust in everyone, it is important that you do a thorough screening of people who interact with your children. Usually more times than not, the s*xual predator is a person who is closely connected to the child’s family. Sometimes these predators are people you trust the most (e.g. your significant other, your minister, your colleague). Contrary to popular belief, s*xual predators are usually not violent people. Before you allow your children to interact with someone, acquire a criminal background screening on them. Watch their behavior. Are they usually always spending time with children and rarely any time with adults? If so, you may not want to allow your children to be in their presence unsupervised.
3. Teach your child how to defend themselves.
Even if a child is raised in a two-parent home, the reality is, your child will spend a lot of time in the world on their own. You have to ensure that they know how to protect themselves in the event of an “attack” of any sort. Whether you enroll your child in karate classes or you teach them yourself, you must teach them how to protect themselves without fail.
4. Have an “open door” policy in your household.
It’s important that your child feels comfortable discussing anything with you- even topics that make you feel uncomfortable. The 27-year-old mother who discovered her two boys had been allegedly molested by their coach, was stunned that her son almost didn’t tell her about the occurrence. Having an open door policy in your household assures your child that no matter how embarrassing the conversation is, they can always find comfort in having that conversation with you.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.