Pedophiles And Their Violence On The Village Raising Our Children

If this #throwback post isn't relevant right now?!
Originally written for and published by Pride News Mag Sept. 18, 2014

As a mommy to a beautiful, bright, feisty, “NO!” declaring little girl, I worry. Not about scraped knees, or well plaited braids cut off and tossed in the trash by an impatient, ill trained teacher, not even about the little boy she has taken to cheek kissing in daycare. I worry about the man or woman that will see my mouthy little girl as a sexual being; something to exert power over, and steal her sexual innocence.
It has been considered an incurable psychiatric disorder since the 19th century, yet despite its name, pedophilia is anything but “child friendship”. The sexual interest in a child 13 years old and younger is violence. It is violence against their physical person and against their innocence, violence against the beauty of learning one’s sexuality, violence against the safety of personal space, and violence against the safety one should find in their community.
Although sexologist Ray Blanchard distinguishes between those that suffer from pedophilia and child abusers, the former being the sexual desire, and the latter being the action, to a parent they both look, waddle, and quack like ducks. I’m not writing to throw these sick people in the fire, though I would toss one in if given the chance, I’m writing because I see the damage they do to the village we want to raise our children.
Mommy and toddler girl smiling into the camera wearing sun hatsDuring a recent family trip to Jamaica, my daughter was the center of attention (as she usually is), and both fathers and mothers were smiling at her, approaching her, and striking up conversation. I found my back raised and my mommy defenses up—my distrust going as far as encouraging her to not respond to their, “Hi pretty girl.” Since becoming a mother, I’ve learned the wonderful art of the glare. Had I, the love everyone everywhere believer, fallen prey to the mistrust of all men because of the actions of a “few”? I had. So I am writing to apologize to the men I should be able trust.
Though we are told statistically that children are abused by people that are not strangers, 89 percent in fact, the scary truth is pedophiles look like, and can be anyone. So must they now look like everyone?
We cannot afford that action. In a community starved for the balance of male and female energy, visibly lacking in strong paternal leadership, with the rise in single-parent households, and the effect these imbalances have on our children, we need our men. We need fathers, uncles, brothers, and godfathers to be present around our children. I’m not discounting the strength single mothers have, I know and I’ve seen them do it all, I’m discounting the fear that has taken hold of our ability to welcome smiles from strangers.
We as parents are responsible for building our core community within the larger one; to be mindful of whom we allow to have roles of influence in the lives of our children, that responsibility is ours. Yet, we should not lose value in the wider community. The question now is: What can we do to keep our children safe? How can we protect our children from pedophiles and potential child abusers without glaring at every man that says hi to our children? Firstly, there needs to be an increase in the awareness of child abuse. We as a community need to talk about this, loudly. At the rate our children are being affected, this can no longer remain a taboo topic. There can be no shame attached to the victims, and there should be no sanctity to the people that attempt to destroy the lives of our legacies.
As a victim of sexual abuse myself, I understand the lifelong trauma it creates, and the fear for my daughter is that much greater. I also understand that pedophiles and sexual abusers have no gender, as I was violated by a female, my eyes are not closed to that danger.
As a mother of a two year old, S.K. shared with me how she keeps her son safe: “I watch people and their behaviors, as well as I avoid leaving my child with too many different people. I’m alert to the fact that more often than not, ‘stranger danger’ is somewhat of a myth. You have to be alert to anyone your child comes in contact with. I also watch out for behavior changes in my little one after he has been apart from me.”
As for myself, I do not make it a habit to call my daughter by her given name when we are in public, she has to be in my eyesight at all times, and I do not leave her alone with anyone I do not know. My daughter, like all children, is very aware and spiritually in tune, and so I listen to her, if she doesn’t want to be around someone, I remove her from that person. I do not encourage her to hug, kiss, or talk to someone she shows resistance to, and I do not apologize to them if she refuses to interact with them. When it comes to my daughter’s well being, I do not care that her not wanting to be coddled has hurt your feelings. Oh, and please don’t put your hands in her face, hair, or frankly, anywhere on her body, she is not a pet.
Nkese, a mother to a 7 year old daughter shares: “I try to teach her about the importance of personal space. It can be a bit challenging as some people misunderstand it for being ‘standoffish’. But I believe that by having an understanding of personal space she will be more alert/aware when someone is invading hers and immediately start thinking: Why is this person getting so close to me? Knowledge is power and if you know what is happening you can take steps to make it stop or at least try.
“I remind her to change her clothes in a private area whenever possible. I always tell her not to allow anyone to touch her inappropriately (breasts, vagina, bum), and that applies to boys/girls; and if anyone ever does she needs to come home and tell me the same day it happens even if they threaten her.”
Our children are in danger, and those that seem to harm them are no longer in shadowy doorways, they are very present everywhere. Thankfully my daughter, like many other children, has great boundaries, and is fiercely protective over her personal space. My challenge becomes instilling a sense of community and tribe, while teaching her to be vigilant about her safety, and not frightening her by creating the lifelong monsters that will lurk in her closets.
Be open and transparent with those that are in your circle, and surrounding area, let them know they are seen, and that you are alert to them. Listen to your intuition—people may lie, vibes cannot. Be open, and be always aware. It takes a village to raise a child, so know who is in your village, trust the age old truth, and be an active part of the process.

1 Comments

  1. So well articulated Lamoi re: pedophiles article. Thank you again for your wisdom and courage.

    ReplyDelete

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