Surprisingly, I’m almost finished with a book I started reading last night, Protecting Your Children from Sexual Predators by Dr. Leigh Baker. I picked it up on a whim because it was on the new releases shelf at the library. Honestly, I don’t usually get far in such books, because they start getting into material that triggers flashbacks for me.
So far, this one hasn’t. There haven’t been any terribly explicit descriptions of molestation, so I’m okay so far. And yes, I did know most of what’s in here, but I found some of the statistics interesting. The step-by-step way the book follows one predator after another, pointing out the warning signs that should have tipped parents off to the dangers their children were in, is interesting. I think it could be very helpful to many parents.
I’ve always been very protective of Katie, and very proactive in talking with her and trying to educate her in ways that might help her avoid predators. Giving her the real names for parts of her body, the whole “good touch/bad touch” thing, making sure that she understands that her body is HERS and nobody, no matter who that person is, has any right to touch her without her consent. If she doesn’t want to hug Aunt Lucy, she doesn’t have to do it—and Aunt Lucy isn’t allowed to push. And, as she’s gotten older, I’ve talked to her (in age-appropriate ways) about what happened to me.
I wasn’t aware that children who have been abused in any way (sexually, physically, emotionally, verbally) are much more likely to be abused again, even by completely different people in a totally different setting. They’re more vulnerable. The same goes for children who have experienced the loss of a parent due to death or divorce, or have otherwise been traumatized—predators seek out the most vulnerable kids as their preferred victims.
And, unfortunately, being the child of an abuse survivor greatly increases the probability that a child will be the victim of abuse. In some, but not all, cases, the abuser is the parent. But in more cases, the abuser is someone who sees the damaged boundaries of the abuse survivor and takes advantage of them to gain access to the child. That’s definitely of direct interest to me as an abuse survivor.
I recommend this book to any parent, but especially those who are abuse survivors or whose children may be especially vulnerable due to other circumstances. Teachers, Scout leaders, and others who work with children may also benefit from reading this book.
http://www.leighbaker.com/ is the author’s site.