Following the Penn State scandal, the flood gates have opened for victims to come forth about sexual abuse they experienced at the hands of coaches. Yesterday, Bernie Fine was fired after a record 36-year career at Syracuse University when audio tapes and accusations emerged against him.
Jerry Sandusky, Bernie Fine, the catholic priests, (who knows who else) these are all trusted adults allowed to have one-on-one time with children. Parents, we need to rethink leaving our children alone with individuals. Hesitate. Question it.
I'm not saying children shouldn't be allowed to gain independence. I'm saying they should stay in groups and there should always be at least two adults present in activities outside the home. There's no "i" in team, so why are these kids alone with their perps, creating the opportunity for sexual abuse?
I was a cheerleader for four years and played softball for five and I can't tell you of even one time I was alone with my coach. Sure, they talked to me one-on-one but the group was always within view. That's collectively nine years worth of sports and never once was I in any opportunistic danger.
We need to instruct our kids to not go anywhere secluded. As everyone who reads this blog knows, recently I was crucified by an obscure "men's rights" group because I blogged about my hesitation for my two-year-old to be taken to the potty alone in a secluded bathroom by the male preschool volunteers. I forgot to cite my statistic on that fateful day (Abel & Harlow, 2001 - I should get that tattooed), but my concern is valid. Children should NOT learn that people taking them to secluded areas and having access to their private areas is okay. It may be innocent potty helping today, but the situation sets a dangerous precedent for opportunity later.
There should always be at least two adults present at all times when caring for someone else's child. This is the golden rule in most preschools, (hence my scandal, since our school was in the vast minority) and it should apply to older children as well. Something as simple as keeping doors open minimizes the risk for foul play.
Sexual abuse is a crime of opportunity so let's teach our kids to not to be in bad situations.
Also, teach them to remember to cite their statistics. That can be a real chapper.
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