Are your Children Safe from Sexual Abuse Perpetrators?

Sussex County Online User Forums: Sussex County Delaware Discussion Forum: Are your Children Safe from Sexual Abuse Perpetrators?
By Bonita Chambers on Friday, March 01, 2002 - 09:14 pm:

Author available for interview

CONTACT: Bonita Chambers

By Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, LCSW, CRT, CCH, Ph.D.

We scream, we rant, we condemn, we demand and enact legislation to punish perpetrators for sexual abuse of children to little avail. The news media in such programs as 20/20, Dateline, Montel Williams Show, Sports Illustrated and many other television shows and magazines havejoined in the campaign to illuminate the problem after the damage is done. Montel Williamson his show on November 11, 1999 exclaimed in exasperation ãWhy canât we do something about this?ä as heuncovered the details of a pregnant ten-year-old girl, who had been raped several times by her motherâs live-in boyfriendâs eighteen-year-old son. Although, this story may seem unusual and/or fodder for a dramatic Montel Williams show, it is sadly all too common. Claire Reeves in her forward to ãIf I'd Only Known: Sexual Abuse In and Out of the Family, A Complete Guide,ä stated, "Prevention has eluded all of society, even passionate and committed prevention advocates, such as myself, because we concentrated our efforts entirely on repairing the damage. As the president and founder of MOTHERS AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE, MASA, I see the carnageof lives on a daily basis. However, Ihave been too busy dealing with the ill effects of abuse to effectively consider prevention. Dorothy M.Neddermeyer has taken a bold stance by writing, ãIf I'd Only Known: SexualAbuse In and Out of the Family, A Complete Guide.ä Without vilifying the perpetrator, she has revealed the most frequent abuser within the family and the cruel realities of childhood sexual and physical abuse. She offers practical, clear, concise solutions for prevention. Something can be done. The book, ãIf Iâd OnlyKnown·Sexual Abuse In and Out of the Family, The Complete Guideä provides the solution Montel Williams is seeking. In a consistently humanistic and compassionate manner this book teaches parents what abuse is, what to do about it, and how children can protect themselves. This practical hands-on guide, based on the authorâs clinical and parenting experience, providesreaders with:
-Five keytechniques to abuse-proof your child
-Step-by-step instructions on what to do if you suspect or your child states or alludes to sexual abuse (11 steps),
-Compellingreasons to avoid spanking your child,
-How to chose achild care worker to come into your home,
-How to chose aday care facility,
-How to Îabuseproofâ your child from perpetrators, who are coaches, teachers, clergy, childcare workers or anyone who has contact with a child, including a parent orother family members,
-Survival skills for independence.

While not every ten-year-old girl who is raped gets pregnant, studies reveal as high as 62% of girls and 31% of boys are sexually abused by age eighteen. Furthermore, studies reveal family members abuse eighty percent of children. The father is the most frequent abuser, followed by, in descending order, an uncle, grandfather, mother, sibling,cousin, or aunt. The frequency of abuse from coaches and others who have contact with children comprise approximately19%. Abuse by strangers, while reprehensible, because it usually involves abduction, is the lowest of all. Government studies reveal only 4%of all abductions are by strangers. Of that 4%, only 1% are sexually abused. Sadly, the majority of us want to believe strangers and others who have contact with our children are the problem. This is acritical issue as further evidenced by a Sports Illustrated article, September3, 1999, issue, ãWho is Coaching Your Kids?ä regarding coaches sexually abusing boys on the team they coach. Thursday, October 21, 1999, Dateline rebroadcast a segment on coaches sexually abusing children. Friday, November 5, 1999,20/20 broadcast a sexual abuse case from a small town involving a scout leader,who sexually abused several boys for more than a year. May 5, 2000, Montel Williams show provided apsychologist to counsel guests who weresexual abuse survivors. A recently published and acclaimed book, ãProtectingThe Giftä by Gavin De Becker, is an excellent work on teaching children toprotect themselves from acquaintance and stranger abuse. However, the author falls short of teaching children the critical skills to protect themselves from the most frequent sexual abuse perpetrators÷family members. ãIf Iâd Only Known·Sexual Abuse In and Out of the Family, The Complete Guide,ä addresses this critical issue. Although the Sports Illustrated article, Dateline, the 20/20 TV programs and the book Protecting The Gift are valuable works, they leave the impression that the majority of children are being abused byperpetrators outside the family. This is not only incorrect; it is tragic, because while we are all focusing on those outside the family, the majority perpetrators, who are abusing children within the family silently continue to abuse them. We, as individuals and as a society, must deal with the cost of lost ordamaged lives.

As a psychotherapist specializing in sexual and physical abuse recovery for the past fifteen years, and with two adult children÷a son and daughter, the author brings a wealth of knowledge and practical experience to this subject.

This book will, unfortunately, never become outdated in its usage or effectiveness. Sexual abuse and incest of children has been a world crises since the beginning of time and there are no indications in anysociety it will become non-existent. However, I believe we can reduce the number of sexual abuse incidentsand minimize the damage by using the techniques I have researched and validatedto be effective. Every parent or anyone who has child care responsibility could benefit from this book.

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