This very serious topic came to the fore on two recent occasions. First, a pastor friend of mine included in his blog these statistics:
- The average child molester will molest fifty girls before being caught and convicted.
- A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.
- The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.
- Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13.
- There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.
- 80,000 to 100,000 of the above offenders are missing.
- Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers. The Acquaintance Molester accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.
Sadly, that last statistic points to a real problem: family or acquaintance abuse. One day, a young lady came up to one of our educators after class, and asked what to do if her father was making her have sex with him. This is not the first time that our visit to a classroom has led a teen to reveal that a trusted family friend or relative was sexually abusing a child. As sometimes happens, this teen had told another family member, but the response was insufficient, and she did not feel protected from the perpetrator.
Sometimes, the news is so shocking that a young lady (or young man) might even be met with suspicion and disbelief. This should never be. Let you sons and daughters know that they may hear about, or know someone who is facing molestation, and the information should NOT stay hidden, but that a trusted adult should be told. More than that, if a teen is not believed, he or she should find another adult who WILL believe them. We owe it to our children to be that trusted person who will fiercely protect their right to a safe environment. And our teens need to hear from us that we are willing to be that person in their life, and even in the lives of their friends.