FSG came to life because of children and it is their precious lives that we are committed to protecting every day.
It is, therefore, vital that we are doing everything we can to ensure the safety of our children and keeping all of our staff informed is an imperative part of this. This also goes beyond FSG, with most of our staff being connected to children in their personal lives as parents, family members or friends of those with children.
Whilst the content below contains some sensitive information, it is some of the harsh realities in society and important that we are aware of the facts.
Sexual crimes of all forms, committed against victims of all types, are evil and heinous offences. However, when children are in this equation, the criminal act becomes more abhorrent and outrageous. These acts are met with absolute fury by society and make one’s blood boil.
Sadly, pedophiles are not always strangers who we have generally considered as dirty old men walking in trench coats, watching unsuspecting children and exposing themselves to them at the park. On the contrary, according to many cases and reports, the perpetrators of such crimes are usually friends, family and neighbours. In other words, people known to us. However, this does not mean that “stranger danger” is not out there.
While pedophiles can work anywhere, they do find ways to be around children as often as possible. Pedophiles are men and women we often trust. People who are charming and who children often ‘like’. They can be working alongside us and we would never know.
The responsibility to protect our children lies on the shoulders of all of us. We cannot say ‘that is not my problem’, that ‘other people will manage that’.
Pedophilia is a global problem that needs to be addressed at all levels in society. Families have a tremendous role to play in educating their children on what are appropriate forms of physical contact with people. We need our children to understand that absolutely no individual – even if they may be family members – have a right to trespass their body. Children need to be empowered about their bodies. As parents, the most important step to prevent sexual violence is to have a strong relationship and create an environment where parents and children are confident and comfortable to communicate all matters.
Those charged with the care of children, in schools, community organisations, out-of-home care, sports and recreation, must be alert to who they employ and be vigilant at all times. Reporting suspicious behaviours around children is mandatory and all employees must create a culture of vigilance and safety at all times. We need to encourage children to talk to us of any incident that makes them feel uncomfortable. The inability to create an atmosphere of open communication is one of the reasons why children do not report sexual abuse.
Listen to them and encourage them to share unsafe secrets. Know what your children are doing at all times. We need to ensure that our children are not “easy” and “vulnerable” victims to the monsters in our midst.
A sexual predator will always keep away from confident children who can “yell and tell.” The power to stop abuse is in our hands.
The fact is, we’re often just not prepared to accept that evil can get so close to us. As frustrating as it can be for those whose warnings fall on deaf ears, it’s normal to interpret the behavior of those we know in the most benign and ordinary frame.
Even the most experienced profilers and psychologists admit they have been duped. We just cannot ‘pick’ a predator from a line up – anyone can be duped!
Our best defense is to accept that they’re among us, shed our cultural naiveté, take care whom we trust, and understand the mechanisms of their deception and our denial.
This means listening when others try to tell us that something is amiss with a certain person’s behavior. It means at least considering the possibility, if there is the slightest suspicion that something could be ‘wrong’ and then taking the necessary steps to ensure that all is well.
Our children depend on us!