Voyeur caught at Deseret Industries and some more thoughts on kids.

As you know Damsel in Defense blog is pretty hung up on kid safety.

http://www.ksl.com/?sid=21904373&nid=148

Just wanted to give the link to the news article I mentioned in the protecting kids post.  So glad there were people watching this man who saw what he was doing.  We really all can make a difference by looking out for the kids around us.  Being a parent is tough, and it’s easier to point fingers at unruly kids than to help them.  But we just need to remember these kids are the future for all of us, they will grow up with our kids.

I used to be a lot more judgemental, I used to look at kids running by themselves in unsafe places and just think ‘how could you have more kids than you could protect, or afford?’.  But that wasn’t solving anything

Then I started keeping an eye out when I saw a small child alone in a crowded area.  I’ve had multiple experiences where I caught someone following them, and when they turned back and saw me, they left.  The child found the parent and the parent was none the wiser about what could have happened.

And parents can be defensive, I know this well from being a lifeguard.  I would walk through the infant area, picking up kids who were facedown in the pool, drowning, because they’d been left in their lifejacket.  What parents weren’t realizing was that the lifejacket, once wet, makes it hard for an infant to regain their footing, and can actually hold them face down.  I would wade through, picking one up after the other and setting them on their feet, and I would often be yelled at by parents.  ‘Get your hands off my baby!’.  Sometimes they apologized when they realized I’d saved their baby’s life, sometimes not.  But it got me used to the idea of no gratitude.

I get the same sometimes when helping a kid find their parent.  I never touch the child, merely offer help and keep an eye out.  Even so, sometimes when they find the parent and they see me, I get nasty glares.  I’m guessing they just feel guilty.  Or embarrassed.  But I figured out years ago that it’s not for them, it’s for the kids.  If I have to make a few people mad to save a child’s life, I’ll do it.

Something to think about if you decide to put a child monitor on.  If it’s one of those that alerts you when a child is out of a certain radius, just remember that your own EYES should never let them out of that radius.  Remember how much can happen in the SECONDS you don’t watch.  It’s really too bad that society is like this now.  People used to watch out for children.  People used to be able to have confidence in taking their children out.  It just isn’t like that anymore.

I think like pepper spray, there are pros and cons to one of those monitors.

Cons:  If it encourages an attitude that it’s okay to let a kid run until he is out of range, then it is just a bad idea.  If it makes anyone feel more secure about their kids to the extent that they relax their watch, it’s a bad idea.  Also, It’d be easy to grab off a kid and throw away.

Pros: It’s insurance against the worst, to some degree.  I would prefer something with tracking so if someone picked up the kid and ran off, I could find them.  I also like the alarmed backpacks I saw at this website.  I’ve never owned one but I like that they are hard to pull off and are super loud and easy for the kid to equip.  THE MAIN PRO I think is that perhaps a child predator would be deterred by the monitor.  To me, they look obvious, maybe it would make a kid slightly less likely to be preyed on.

I really do believe that defense tools can be an asset, as long as the mindset of the person using them is right.

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Protecting kids. Protecting ALL kids.

In my opinion A Damsel in Defense isn’t only responsible for defending herself.  I’m tired of seeing kids molested in the news when a simple parent’s eye could have prevented all of it.

For instance, recently a man was arrested for taking pictures up a four year old girl’s skirt in Deseret Industries.  This man was holding the four year old by the arm while sticking a phone up her skirt.  Where was the parent?   Pedophiles and attackers are everywhere.  Use family watch dog to check your neighborhood. Teach your kids how to scream. And first and FOREMOST don’t take them out and expose them to strangers if you aren’t going to keep your eyes on them!  The effects of child sexual abuse go on for a long time.  Why do people have more children than they can protect?

Also…you may not have trouble protecting your kids, but you may see kids who aren’t protected, and here is what I do about it.

If you see a kid wandering in a store, you can do what I do and keep an eye on them till they find their parents or help them find their parents.  Sometimes it weirds parents out, but at least it shows that if I could have been following them, someone else could have been.  Someone evil.  Just like rapists are looking for the woman walking alone, walking at night, and without confidence, pedophiles are looking for kids who aren’t protected, who are alone, who look uncared for economically or otherwise.

Not all victims offend, but most offenders were also abused.  If we can prevent more children being abused, we should be able to prevent more abuse happening in our world.  Protection and love for children is the answer.

I can’t stand what happened at DI.  I can’t stand that no one was watching, until he’d gotten this far.  I know we are all imperfect, but it’s time to step up our paranoia over our children’s sexual safety, and even the safety of other people’s children if that’s what it takes.  You can stop a soul from being damaged and hurt, and you’ll never know how far that will reach, who that will end up protecting.  Thank goodness someone did catch that man, and he’s in jail.

Teach your kids that adults aren’t always right

The last couple posts focused on awareness and protecting children, and since I’m on a child abuse prevention kick right now I’m going to continue on from there.  The truth is, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make sure your child never encounters someone who wants to do something inappropriate.  From a babysitter, to a teacher, or a coach, you can’t always be there to make sure no one does something they shouldn’t.

One of the reasons children are victimized is because they are usually in an environment where the adult is always right, no matter what the child thinks at home.  They are used to doing things they don’t want to do because they are told to, and they are dependent and thus have to follow rules that may not even make sense to them.  Unfortunately, this blind sense of always being wrong compared to an adult leads to tragedy when a sexual conflict comes up.

***Trigger warning*** for anyone reading this who has experienced child sexual abuse, you should make sure you’re in a good place to read this, or come back later.

A child will may not be comfortable with the touching or the abuse that goes on, but if it is done by a trusted a adult, they will have a hard time saying no, or knowing that it’s wrong.  We have to teach our children that there are some things that no one can do, some things that adults can not be right doing, that no one can be right doing.

This doesn’t need to be graphic and traumatic.  For instance, using a doll or pictures in a children’s book to explain that no one should ever touch them in certain places, and if it happens, to scream no, leave, and tell another trusted adult immediately.  Too many acts of child abuse are more mentally coercive than physically coercive, the attack is dependent on the child being too afraid or confused to stop the assault or draw attention to it.  Even if it seems like something children shouldn’t have to face, it’s becoming more and more likely that they will face it, and to be armed, they need to have a rigid idea of what is and isn’t allowed.  They need to be taught that if they feel uncomfortable they always have a right to yell and find another adult.  And they need to know that they have a right to say no to people in authority.

Without going into more detail, I think you get what I mean about telling them.  And you can’t be TOO vague, like that safety kid’s song “stay outside of my line or I’ll tell on you” because kids are awfully literal and won’t understand.  They need to know locations and that touching and even being shown certain things is something to scream about and tell on.  That adults are wrong when they do these things.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions and not professional or legal advice.

Dangerous Barbie?

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=13506614

In case you want to skip reading the article, it’s a warning from the Federal Bureau of Investigation about a Barbie doll that doubles as a digital camera that could be used and exploited by pedophiles to get inappropriate video of children.

I know.  COME ON.  The sad thing about this article is not that the FBI finds it necessary to warn people about a toy like this, the sad thing about this article is that it’s spot on.  I thought considering today’s earlier post on child abusers this was relevant.  The FBI profiles these people all the time, if they see a threat with what should be an innocent children’s toy, it should tell you something about child predators.  They plot, they scheme, they think hard about ways to attack, ways to exploit.  This post isn’t so much to warn you about this barbie, but to warn you there are people out there that will take ANY opportunity and look at it’s potential for catching a child victim.  They understand children, who are so innocent and ready to love and so open to presents.  The phrase “candy from strangers” is pathetically accurate.  What couldn’t you bribe the little children in your life to do with the right amount of candy or presents?  While an older man holding out a Barbie is a huge creepy warning sign to an adult, it is a temptation to a child.  Watch out for anyone with a camera out around your children.  Watch out at the public pool for men diving under the water with goggles in the kid’s pool.  Never assume a place is safe or normal, never assume a toy or a stranger is harmless.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions and not professional or legal advice.

Let’s talk about kids…

Kids are stupid.  Really.  That’s why I wish people would stop having more kids than they can protect.

Any trip I take I see it everywhere, a young toddler in the front yard alone, a 7 year old wandering in the mall, a kid on the sidewalk in front of a store.  I could have picked them up and run off if I wanted to.

Protecting and supervising our kids isn’t enough though.  People close to us can also be harmful.  So here’s some tips on pedophiles.

1.  They LOOK for lonely, unsupervised, poor, or lonely/unhappy children.  Yes.  They do.  So remember when you want to yell or crush your child’s spirit you are saying to a potential predator that that child is less protected.

2.  They live near schools, and churches.  Even with laws that should prevent it, they do.  And they watch schoolyards.  Don’t assume your children are safe playing at even their most familiar places.

3.  They aren’t the creepers around the corner with the obviously sinister appearance.  If they were, they wouldn’t get parents to trust them with their children, and children to trust them in general.  They are charismatic, the favorite teacher, the soccer coach, and even in my friend’s case, the ice skating assistant coach.  Make sure someone is watching practice.

4.  Search your zipcode on a sex offender registry.  It will sicken you but at least scare you into awareness.  Just google “your state’s name” plus sex offender registry.  Remember it is illegal to use the info there for anything other than awareness and your own safety.  No harassment.  Read the fine print before you accept the terms to enter your state’s registry.

I’m sure you are all wonderful mothers or will be one day.  But this world is getting more evil.  It’s an awareness game.  No one wants to talk about something so awful, but if no one does, it leads people to think it’s okay to leave their children unattended.

Lots of people want to talk about the child molester problem.  Blah blah they are mentally ill, blah blah they will re-offend when they get out of jail.  And truthfully, our system does NOT properly address them.  So I was asked by someone once, what would you suggest?  How do we deal with predators?

My answer is to turn it over to families.  Educate people how to protect their own.  If each family protected it’s children, abusers would have no victims, and if victims decreased, so would offenders.  Because while most victims don’t become abusers, a good portion of abusers suffered monstrous abuse.

And one other thing.  This isn’t about hatred.  It isn’t about rejoicing when predators are harmed in jail.  We shouldn’t glory in anyone’s anguish, and I think we need to remember that we don’t know a person’s history.  I am in no way condoning child abuse.  I know personally that is it one of the cruelest, most unfair and traumatically scarring things that a person can choose to do to another person.  And one day they will be held responsible.

But I am saying that hate solves nothing, but love can help us protect.

Disclaimer:  The opinions expressed on damsel in defense are just my personal opinions.  Damselindefense.com is not liable in any way for actions arising from reading it.  Additionally, damselindefense.com is not affiliated with the recent company damselindefense.net that was founded nearly a year after my blog.

Sickened and saddened

What can I say today?  My heart is heavy fellow damsels in defense.  I came across some very disturbing news that doesn’t need to be shared, but I want to leave with you the following tips for keeping your children safe.

These tips are copied and pasted from the following site, not written by me.

http://www.kait8.com/Global/story.asp?S=13512256

Child molesters typically target vulnerable children. Keep your child safe with these tips:

  • Never leave your child unsupervised in a public place or even in your front yard.
  • Don’t allow your child to roam the neighborhood by themselves or even walk down the street alone.
  • Don’t leave your child at places that are havens for children, such as public parks, video arcades or even the mall.
  • Be sure you talk to your child about their body and their right not to be touched.
  • Continue to educate your child as they grow and start early

These tips are copied and pasted from the site, not written by me.