Sex lures fall into a number of categories. Knowledge of them is so basic to a child’s safety that they should be taught by every parent. Following each lure is the recommended preventive measure.
Most people think a molester is a sleazy character, a stranger sitting in his car near a school yard, luring children with candy. On the contrary, 75 to 85 % of sex crimes against children are committed by someone the child knows, loves or trusts. Some 45 % are relative, fathers, brothers, uncles. Another 30 to 40 % are acquaintances, baby-sitters, teachers, clergymen, doctors. Children from unhappy homes are easy targets. Molesters say these children are so starved for affection, they are easy to seduce. If your child tells you she has been sexually abused, believe her. Experts say children rarely lie about sexual molestation.
The age old lure, bribery, still work. Youngsters may be offered candy, toys and other rewards. Teenagers are lure with headset or bikes.
The traditional caution still applies: tell your children not to accept gifts from a stranger and to tell you if such an offer has been made. Be alert to new toys or money you can’t account for: ask where the items came from.
Children may be promised a modeling job or the chance to compete in a beauty contest. They are offered a private audition and often told to keep a secret from mom & dad.
The emergency lure is designed to disarm, confused and worry the child. Some examples: “Your mommy is sick and taken to the hospital. Come with me.”
“Your house is on fire and your mother is locked out. Do you have a key? Hurry!”
Pre-arrange a plan of action with your child. Stress the following: Never go with a stranger. Either call or hurry home yourself to verify that there is an emergency. If uncertain, seek help from relatives, friends, or neighbors.
Adolescents, in particular, can be attracted by the promise of a high paying or interesting job. Interviews for these jobs are often held in secluded locations and are advertised with only a post office box number.
Explain to your child why it is important for you to go along on a job interview, particularly if it is in an unusual location. Simply telling your job seeking teenager about this lure should put him or her on alert.
Many parents believe their children face little danger or being abused, that they are too young to be told of the possibility and that discussing the subject will frighten them unnecessarily.
What general precaution should your child take?
Stress “Safety in number”: ask your child to travel with friends or classmates to school or around the neighborhood. Emphasize special caution towards drivers of vans; vans have been in number of heinous crimes.
Discuss routes the child takes to school. Molesters favor isolated shortcuts that children often use. These should be avoided.
The sexual abuse of children is a social time bomb, with the potential for destroying many futures. To stop the victimization of our children, we must educate them.