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What You Need to Know About Child Molesters

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
n the past few weeks we've learned that Josh Dugger was a child molester, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert was a child molester and the Methodist Church in the UK has apologized for 2,000 cases of abuse dating back to 1950.

Child molesters can be found in the highest reaches of politics. Molesters can be television celebrities. And molesters can ply their abuse under the cover of the church. With abusers that pervasive it makes sense to learn more about the perpetrators.

Thanks to an excellent article in The Jewish Woman we can. The really bad news in the report titled "Things You Need to Know About Child Molesters" is that child abuse is an infinite chain. "The vast majority of child molesters are male, and most sexual abusers were sexually abused as children."

And although in retrospect we consider them monsters, child molesters are successful because they "usually try to be very charming and friendly." They are also patient. After gaining the trust and approval of parents and organizations dealing with youth they are often given positions of authority that the molester abuses along with the children.

One of the danger signals for parents is someone that shows an excessive interest in children, showering them with "attention, affection and gifts."

Probably the most insidious byproduct of child molestation is the victim feels guilty and that somehow the abuse was their fault.

The article has solid, sensible advice for parents:

- Teach your children about personal safety and boundaries from age three on, making sure you do so in a way that's appropriate for the child's age.

- Pay attention if your child is uncomfortable around a popular adult or teen. Calmly attempt to discover the cause through a patient discussion.

- Be wary of adults or teens that lavish gifts or special favors on your child.

- Be very suspicious if any adult or teacher wants to meet with your child behind closed doors for any reason. Ask your child about the incident, again in a calm reassuring fashion, and inform the adult it won't be happening again.

- If your child says he's been abused NEVER blame the child for what they did and how long it took to tell - you. Victims need support, not criticism.

- If any child reports abuse call 911, don't rely on anyone else to take action.

- Don't take the word of an abuser at face value, they are expert liars. Let the experts do the investigation.

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