First of all, I need to make a very strong point before I start. I do not condone anything that a paedophile does in any way, shape or form. Paedophiles commit serious sexual offences against our vulnerable children. But I also on the other hand, feel that we have a responsibility to not play into their hands too. This is a long one.
Paedophiles are not people who stand out from the crowd, they do not bring attention to themselves, they blend in with society very well. They look like US, they come in all shapes and sizes, come from different backgrounds, male and female- yes females have their part in this too. Paedophiles are single, married, in relationships, have children and lead successful lives. In the last few days 76 people were arrested around the country in a police raid when a suspected internet paedophile ring was smashed.
Amongst those arrested were a pathologist, fireman, teacher, scout leader, computer programmer and government employees. Paedophile rings use highly sophisticated systems in order to hide what they are doing. They are not stupid people.
Parents, family members and friends play very important roles in a child's life.
It grieves me when I see children's clothes shops selling clothes that sexualize our children. The skimpy shorts/skirts, the cropped tops showing off the chest, bikinis that barely fit, sparkly make-up and nail varnish for children and high heels. These things may look cute in a shop but am I fair to say that children should be allowed to be 'children', and we should not be dressing them up as sexy adults? Could your child be bringing unwanted sexual attention to some sick people? Those shops are only in business because we buy from them. Do you really think about the gifts you buy for any child? This kind of cute don't cut it for me.
We seem to laugh at parties when a small child wearing provocative clothing emulates suggestive dances they have seen from watching sexually explicit images contained in a number of pop videos. It really isn't that funny. Isn't this effectively grooming the young generation, exposing them to age inappropriate images and behaviours and normalising what is effectively soft porn? Children act out what they see. If what they see is Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Beyonce or a rap video filled with strippers, how do we expect them to behave?
I often see extremley young children playing out on the streets during the evenings with no adult around. Ideal opportunity for stranger-danger. Where is your child tonight?
Some parents allow their children to sleep over at a friend's house. Have you ever really taken time to get to know the parents first? Or do you just see it as a chance to have a well earned break? Whilst your child is surfing the net, do you ever keep an eye on what they are doing? or are you happy just to know the child is keeping quiet whilst you watch part 2 of the reality show? Are you the type of parent that your child can discuss things with, or would they sooner confide in a friend if they felt uncomfortable about the way an adult was beginning to approach them? You should be their first port of call.
Do you make any effort to ensure that your childminder has an up to date Criminal Records Bureau check? Or are you too much in a hurry? in other words, the neighbour down the road will do!
If you just stopped and thought about what paedophiles actually do to children you may be a little more cautious. I know you can't be expected to stop every paedophile or child sex offender, and you can't be expected to be there at every turn. But the care you take could stop one person taking serious liberties against your child or someone else's.
Child sex offenders go to a lot of trouble to hide what they are doing, so why don't we spend the same amount of time and trouble protecting our children?
So let's safeguard our children against paedophiles.
I would be interested to hear your views, experiences and opinions on this.