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BellaOnline's Missing and Exploited Children Editor

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Protecting Children from Predators


Everyone has heard of Adam Walsh, the little boy who was just 6 years old when he disappeared from a Florida Sears store. Adam is the son of John Walsh, the creator and host of America’s Most Wanted Television series. Amber Alert’s are a direct result to the horrifying murder of Amber Hagerman, who at age 11 was riding her bike in front of her home when she was grabbed and pulled into a pickup truck.

Then recently good news as Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, two Missouri teens are found alive. Shawn had been missing for four years, and Ben for four days. How about the incredulous news that Jaycee Lee Durgard, who like Shawn Hornbeck was eleven years old when she was kidnapped, she was found alive 18 years after her disappearance. She fathered two children with the pedophile who held her captive.

What do you know about the predators who seek out the innocence of childhood to fulfill a dark sick need from within? Pedophilia is by definition is the fantasy of an adult of engaging in sexual activity with one or more children. A pedophile is the adult who seeks out a child for sexual gratification. Pedophiles have fantasies, reoccurring thoughts, and behaviors that involve sexual activities with a child usually younger than 14 years.

Behaviors pedophiles may involve themselves in or around children can include, watching a child undress or bath, encouraging a child to watch the pedophile undress, bath, or masturbate. In addition to touching a child's genital area, or forcing the child to touch the pedophile’s genitalia or performing sexual acts which involve a child.

Pedophiles may abuse their own children, nieces, nephews, cousins, step-children, step-siblings, or grandchildren. When a pedophile involves a child in the family, or a relative this is called incest. Many pedophiles will look for children outside a family to victimize, and never dream of hurting their own child, who may be seen as an extension of one’s own self.

Child sexual predators are extremely careful while grooming or hunting for his or her next victim. Although pedophiles can and will use threats and force when necessary, many simply befriend the family and gain direct access to a child through the parents.

Pedophiles are cunning, and highly manipulative, often pushing limits initially by “accidentally” brushing up against a child’s genital area through his or her clothes to see what kind of reaction is received. The pedophile may “accidentally” walk into the bathroom or bedroom of the child to see how the child responds to this intrusion.

Parents often set a child up to be a victim by demanding he or she respect their elders, do not question adults, and never teach their child how to say no or what kind of behaviors are unacceptable from someone else. Parents fail to teach a child to understand their private areas or areas their underwear covers should never be touched or hurt. Children need to know that if something does not feel right, or makes their tummy upset that he or she should tell mom, dad, or a trusted grown-up.

People often feel uncomfortable around someone who is a pedophile and have no idea why they feel that way. Learn to listen to your instinct. Stop questioning your feelings, if someone makes you feel uncomfortable, stay away from them. No one needs any explanation. Listen to what the warning signs are inside yourself and keep yourself and your children safe.
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Content copyright © 2014 by Erika Lyn Smith. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Erika Lyn Smith. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Erika Lyn Smith for details.

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