Six Tips To Protect Yourself From Predators
A quick scan of the news tells us that any child can fall prey to sexual predators. Any child can be a victim and it’s important to notice how and why.
Far from being a stranger, most pedophiles are known to their victims. They certainly are not “strangers.” Most predators do not snatch children off street corners, but get to know their victims very well and build their trust. Predators often are counted as family friends and are trusted members of the community. This is not an accident. Predators carefully craft their image so that adults admire and trust them. Pay attention if an adult friend seems too friendly and takes too much interest in you.
Predators don’t act like evil people at all. In fact, many act like children, wanting to play with kids instead of hanging out with other grownups. An adult who wants to take you out to the movies, have him over for the night, and take you to ball games – as if the two of you were best friends of the same age – is acting oddly.
Predators prey on your innocence and inexperience. He or she (yes, predators can be women too!) look for polite, compliant kids who obey adults and don’t like drama. Many children in the preteen years try hard to fit in and go along with the system. They are success-oriented. These are the children predators look for, since they can be counted on to obey adults and ignore all the warning signals.
Predators look for vulnerable parents too. They look for families that are under stress and parents who might welcome a little help in raising a child. Predators may offer a child of financially-strapped parents goodies that mom and dad can’t afford. They offer to give a single parent an afternoon off, while they watch the children, and the grateful parent thinks she’s found a terrific friend. Watch out!
How can you protect yourself from nefarious people who would do you harm? Here are some ways:
- Distrust anyone who acts strangely. Grandpa Gene, the kid next door, the soccer coach, or your teacher. Anyone who makes an odd request or touches you when touching is unnecessary should be refused and reported.
- You should hang out with kids your own age, not with an adult or older teen.
- Think twice before you agree to something that seems on the surface like a friendly gesture but might really be a set-up for a dangerous situation. No adult, really, should be eager to hang out with a kid for an evening. The more someone insists that this is a great idea, the more skeptical you should be.
- Make sure you know how to speak up and make a scene if you need to. You want to be polite with adults but there is a time when politeness doesn’t work.
- Beware of online connections. Anyone can disguise his true identity online. Many predators prey on teens by faking their identity. Only chat online with people you truly know.
- Finally, if you think something bad has happened between you and an adult, tell the police. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to every other child this person knows.
Learn to be assertive. And when the situation requires you to speak up, do it. Predators assume neither you nor your parents will tell.
© 2014, Patricia Nan Anderson. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Look for free downloads on Dr. Anderson’s website at www.patricianananderson.com.