While it is easy to be horrified by what one man is being accused of, Sandusky is not the only man who has been singled out, identified as being a child molester.
For so long, the whole focus on preventing child molestation was all about “stranger danger.” I can remember being told at a very young age to be afraid of strangers. Don’t let them get you. And, I’m pretty sure most of people reading this post have been told the same thing.
The problem is child molestation is not about strangers but the people we know: family members, members of our social circle, people in our churches, professionals and acquaintances in our neighborhood.
It is estimated that 1 in 20 teenage boys and adult men are sexual molesters. One teenage girl or adult women in 3,500 females are sexual molesters.
Looking at the bigger picture, 1 out of every 15 Americans is either a molester or has been molested.
Pretty scary statistics, that are well documented in Abel and Harlow’s 1999 study of child molesters and their victims.
You can help prevent child molestation by knowing the facts about who molesters are and how and why they prey on children.
Some molesters, a few, are opportunists. They believe the rules that apply to everyone don’t apply to them. They molest children because they feel like it, because they can, with little or no feelings for the harm they may be causing the children.
Others may have a medical or psychological problems that need treatment. When this is the case, part of the treatment means staying away from children.
However, 90% of the sexual abuse acts against children are perpetrated by men with pedophilia.
Pedophila is a sexual drive disorder where the man is sexually attracted to children. It is a well known problem within the psychological/psychiatric professions. The features of this disorder are thoroughly described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (SDSM).
The primary factors in identifying pedophilia include:
1. sexual arousal, fantasy and sexual behavior with prepubescent children
2. being involved with or aroused by a child for more than six months
3. be at least 16 years old
4. being at least 5 years older than the child or children his is attracted to.
While this is horrifying information for most parents, only by knowing the facts and being prepared can you help the children you know stay safe.
If you are in the midst of struggling with making sense of what happens when you discover your husband, friend or family member has been molesting children, be sure to pick up your copy of Stop Child Molestation Book by Abel and Harlow. It is research based and has lots of information for how to cope, how to help your child, and what makes molesters do what they do.
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