Parents,

   Welcome to the Green Bear website.  This site was created to assist you in protecting your child/children.

   In this portion of the website, we will discuss and provide materials regarding how to better protect your children from abuse.  If you have any questions, please email us at wwilson@beaconhealthcenter.com   We hope you check in often as articles will be added frequently.  Click on the topic you wish to learn more about:

 

Statistics Regarding Child Abuse

  • One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before their eighteenth birthday (Darkness to Light)
  • Children are abused regardless of race, color, socioeconomic status or the way they look - sexual abuse is about power and control, not romance or love
  • Children with disabilities are 4-10 times more vulnerable to sexual abuse than their non-disabled peers (National Resource Center on CSA, 1992)
  • Seventy-nine percent of individuals with disabilities are victimized more than once (National Resource Center CSA)
  • Fifty-four percent of sexually abused children are victimized before the age of seven (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)
  • Only 6-12% of children report sexual abuse to someone that can help them.
  • Most children talk to no one or talk only to a friend and swear them to secrecy.
  • Ninety-five percent of children who are sexually abused know their abuser (CCPCA, 1992).
  • Most perpetrators do not molest only one child (Darkness to Light):
    • 70% of child sex offenders have between 1-9 victims
    • At least 20% have 10-40 victims
    • An average serial child molester may abuse as many as 400 victims in his lifetime.

To learn more about keeping your children safe, click on the following links:

Perpetrator Facts

  • Over 94% of children who are sexually abused, know their abuser (CCPCA, 1992).  The abuser is someone the child LIKES, LOVES and LIVES with.
  • Perpetrators are not easily recognizable.  Not all perpetrators are alike.  Many have good social skills and are known and trusted in their community. 
  • Children can sexually abuse other children.  It is estimated that 40% of children who are sexually abused, are abused by other children (Darkness to Light)  Most serial child molesters start sexually abusing children during their adolescence.

   To learn more about perpetrators and how to protect your children, read the following articles:

Internet Statistics

  • One in five youth, ages ten to seventeen, received a sexual solicitation approach in the last year (Telegroup.co.uk1/2002)
  • Half of teens, ages 13 - 18, often communicate through the internet with someone they have not met in person 
  • Law enforcement officials estimate tht as many as 50,000 sexual predators are online at any given moment (inobtr.org)
  • Any child can be victimized on line - it doesn't matter if a child is a straight a student, is considered well-adjusted and has many friends.  Every child has an emotional vulnerablility that can be exploited if it is accessed by somoene with the skills and motivations to manipulate.

   Kids like the internet because:

  • Easy access to any type of information
  • Easy way to communicate with friends
  • Talk to more than one friend at a time
  • Can make new "friends"
  • Easy to download music/games/photos

   Perpetrators like the internet because:

  • They have instant access to other predators worldwide
    • Allows open discussion of their sexual desires
      • Provides validation for their behavior
      • Train and encourage each other to act out sexually with children
    • Perpetrators can lure children together
    • Can share ideas about ways to lure victims
    • Mutual support of their adult-child fantasies
    • Gather and exchange child porn
    • Tips on avoiding law enforcement
  • Perpetrators have instant access to child victims worldwide
    • Disguised identitities for approaching children (can even pose as another child)
    • Ready access to "teen chat rooms" to find out who and when to target
    • Abilitiy to build a long-term "internet" relationship with a potential victim, prior to engaging the child in physical contact.
  • Online Grooming - Internet predators tend to be very friendly and even charming; claiming to understand victims and sympathize with any issues the victim may be facing.  Grooming a child lulls them into a false sense of security.  It is important to constantly communicate with your children about their internet use and understand who they might be chatting with.

   For more information on keeping your child safe online, you can click on the following links:

What is Sexual Abuse?

   Sexual abuse is any sexual activity about power and control.  Sexual abuse can occur with an older, more knowledgable child or an adult.  Sexual abuse may be physical, verbal or emotional.

   Sexual abuse involves forcing, tricking, bribing, threatening or pressuring a child into sexual awareness or activity.  Sexual abuse occurs when an older or more knowledgeable child or an adult uses a child in a sexual manner.  The abuse often begins gradually and increases over time (grooming).

   Most people think sexual abuse is horrible, but rarely occurs.  Sadly, this is far from true.  It is estimated that, nationwide, 1 in 4 children will be sexually abused by the age of 18.  There are over 60 million adult survivors of sexual abuse in the United States.

   How can you keep your children safe?  There are many general things you can do to keep your children safe:

  • Know who your child spend times with.  If your child has a baby sitter, check on them at unexpected times to assess their safety.
  • When your children are young, teach them the correct names for body parts.  This will avoid confusion when a child discusses an unwanted touch.
  • Do not encourage secret keeping in your family and teach children the difference between secrets and surprises.
  • For positive interaction between you and your child regarding primary sexual abuse prevention, click on "KIDS" to play interactive games with your child to help them learn to stay safe.

Age-Specific Ways to Protect Your Child From Abuse

Under 18 Months

  • Teach children the correct names for body parts.  Many younger children are not able to talk about abuse because they do not know the correct words to use.
  • Know who your child spends time with; if your child has a baby sitter, check on them at unexpected times to assess safety.

2 - 3 Years

  

  • Teach about private parts of the body as well as the right to say, "NO!", to unwanted touches.  Tell children, "If someone hugs, kisses, touches or licks them where they do not want to be hugged, kissed, touched or licked, tell them, "NO!", right away, then always tell a grown up.
  • Do not encourage secret-keeping in your family.  Teach children the difference between secrets and surprises.

4 - 7 Years

 

  • Teach children that respect does not mean blind obedience to adults and authority.  (For example do not tell children, "Always do what your teacher says."  Instead tell them, "You should do what your teachers says unless she tells you to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable or doesn't seem right; if that happens tell another grown up right away!")
  • Play the "What if . . . " game with your child.  For example, What if . . . someone gives you a really cool present and gets you to try to keep it a secret from Mom and Dad.  Should you?  Then explain why it is so important that mom and dad know who gives  you presents.

8 - 11 Years 

 

  • When your child starts overnight visits, discuss safety away from home.  When your child returns home, encourage them to discuss any "scary" experiences.  Before they go on their visit, let them know that if anything happens and they do not feel safe, they should contact you right away.
  • By this time, your child should be aware of touches that are appropriate or inappropriate.
  • Show interest in your child's activities.  Let him/her know that you are available to talk and listen!  Allow your child to share thoughts and feelings with you.
  • Children at this age are starting to go online.  Discuss internet dangers and how to stay safe on the internet.

12 - 14 Years 

  • Discuss personal safety and sexual conduct.
  • Discuss sexual abuse in detail and what it entails.
  • Talk with your child about grooming situations and how to avoid them.
  • Encourage middle school programs in your school on preventing sexual harassment.
  • Reiterate the dangers on the internet.

15 - 17 Years  

  • Discuss date rape and how to avoid date rape drugs
  • Inform your child of sexually transmitted diseases and how to avoid them.
  • Discuss the prevention of unwanted pregnancies.
 

If You Suspect A Child is Being Abused:

   If  a child discloses abuse, they are trusting you with a life-altering secret.  Do not devalue their trust.  When a child discloses abuse, just remember "I CARE".

Information:  Secure only basic information.  Ask only basic questions.  Do not question a child about abuse in detail.  Basic questions you can ask include, "What happened?", "Who did this?", Where did this happen?"  To report child abuse, all you have to do is suspect it.

 Calm Demeanor.  Remember, you are not angry at the child, but at what happened.  Children can mistakenly interpret anger or disgust as directed toward them.  Give positive messages.  Inform the child they should not be ashamed with statements such as, "What happened was not your fault!"

 Assure the child that what happened was not their fault!  Sexual abuse is NEVER the victim's fault.  Children cannot prevent abuse, only the abuser can.  Most disclosures are not made immediately after the abuse;  do not blame a child for waiting to disclose.

 Report suspected abuse.  Perpetrators have more than one victim!  Report suspected abuse to Missouri's Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.392.3738.  In cases of suspected sexual abuse, the local police department should also be notified immediately.

 Encourage counseling.  Counseling is a very important step for a child that has been abused as well as for non-offending family members.  Help the survivor build a strong support network.  Free counseling is available at The Southeast Missouri Network Against Sexual Violence.  Please contact us at 573.332.1900.

 

 
The Green Bear Program         73 Sheridan     Cape Girardeau, MO 63703          573-332-1900