Friday, May 20, 2011

Red Flags of Child Molesters

In my father, I have observed the day-to-day antics of a child molester at close range.  As a child, I observed this behaviour without knowing of his predilections, and I didn't learn of the sinister aspect of his personality until I was almost a teen. Here are some red flags to look out for when there's a family acquaintance/friend/relative in proximity to your kids:

1.  Overly interested in your children (duh!).
2.  Appears more comfortable with children than with adults.
3.  Appears to prefer the company of the kids than the adults.
4.  Prefers to do "kid-oriented" activities with the kids (eg. swimming, playing video games, summer sports) rather than do adult things with other adults.
5.  Offers to take your kids on fun "outings".
6.  Interested in music/movies/t.v. that would normally only interest children, and engages children in conversations about their own interests.
7. Offers to babysit your kids.

Most of these are probably painfully obvious, but I can tell you that my father slipped by the radar of numerous family members  using these techniques.   Granted, in 99% of the above situations, there was no molestation taking place and there were other adults present.   The majority of children that my father spent time with had no idea what he would eventually be convicted of, and as adults, would be shocked to learn of what he did.  But a molester could use the above techniques to "groom" his victims, assessing their vulnerabilities, and gaining the trust of their families.   Eventually, in the right circumstances, the trusted family friend could become the perverted uncle who molests your children.

On the blog "Finally Stopped Running",  on the same topic earlier today, blogger Pronoia Agape posted a comment  with following observation:

"I read the results of a study based on the responses from sexual predators themselves to the question on how they choose their victims. They all answered the same and they all had astoundingly developed predatory instincts. Children who are unlikely to tell their parents, or unlikely to be believed, were selected prey. Children who didn't even know the names for sexual organs and thus seemed unlikely to ever dare discuss something like this with their parents.

Unless a child is randomly ambushed in the school yard - which is the least likely scenario, as most predators KNOW the child before they attack - the "non-offending" parent bears at least a portion of responsibility, even only by being unconcerned and distant enough for this to be made possible. For the child to feel like she can't immediately tell, be believed, and the predator arrested - and the predator sniffs out kids who feel like this."


  1. From the victim end of the story, I have also observed some of the other things predators do. Looking out for any special position of being vulnerable? Social isolation, cultural differences, physical handicaps, language barriers, a broken family of origin... These are some that come to mind. As a predator explores the situation through things like those you mentioned above, it becomes clear whether the potential victim is a good choice or not.

    I came across one who was interested in my daughter, a couple years back, too. He was a neighbor who who lived alone and would constantly go on about how hard it was to be a parent, then offer to babysit DD. Once I told him, if you ever mention this again, I will call the police, he stopped abruptly.

  2. Yep, as I am a single mother, my family is more vulnerable. I tried online dating just before Christmas last year, and "chatted" with one prospect by email for several days. Very successful, prominent in the community, ran a 100+ people volunteer "family day" event at the local sports arena. After chatting with me by email for less than a week, and having never met me, he offered to take care of my kids for a day to give me a "break" so I could "go to the spa". I almost vomited. Needless to say I never contacted him again.

    What I don't get is how bold these people are. Does this type of offer to babysit from a complete stranger ever actually work? I shudder to think of it.

  3. No, insides open, as single mothers our families are NOT more vulnerable. More vulnerable to predators examining our families perhaps, but not more vulnerable to abuse happening, because we are too aware of how predators operate for it to happen to us. Any predator who comes near my family should be very. afraid.

    One thing that will make my kids less vulnerable is that I am simply not engaging in a relationship, so there will not be any "step dad" predators here.

    Yes, some are very bold. Probably most. Hence my ramblings about parental responsibility. I believe that, in most cases, it is possible to identify the grooming process before harm is done.

  4. I have recently given a lot of thought to how when I was 6 yrs old with a single mom who let my bro and I walk to the beach and spend hours at the beach unattended, I was sexually molested by an old, friendly man all the adults knew, at the beach. He fit items 1-6 above.
    What is interesting is that I was friends with a family down the road that had a mom and a dad and three girls. The oldest was my age and very quiet and polite like me. The middle ione was a yr or so younger and a loud-mouthed spit-fire girl. Turns out my quiet friend was molested too. My single mom did nothing, said nothing after I told her that night, and I don't believe that the other girl's family said anything either. I am unclear as to how much earlier that summer it happened to my friend, and perhaps only her mom knew, as my mom shared the news with this other mom who relayed what she knew to my mom. Sorry for the long comment--I think I'll write about it if I get some time this weekend.

  5. Well, these perverts better watch out for this "Mom" I will make then wish they never knew me!! Watch Out Perverts!!because you won't be able to walk when I am done with them.

  6. My daughter was molested by a friend of hers father. HE was always the one that called to ask if she could spend the night. HE always brought them places. Yes--the child had a mother--this should have been a red flag. Found out he used his daughter to lure many of her friends!! Found out you can't trust people(anyone)!!