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Nathan is Hebrew and means "gift from God" - we couldn't have been more blessed than to have been chosen as his parents!

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Vulernable to Sexual Abuse....not an easy read

I read an article a few days ago that was so disturbing that I can't seem to shake it from my mind. It was published in the Irish Times, Lack of sex education leaves disable vulnerable to abuse.

The article touches on the importance of sex education for all persons with intellectual disabilities but the most disturbing statistic in the article is that: "80 per cent of women with intellectual disabilities and 60 per cent of men are sexually molested or raped." I nearly stopped breathing when I read this.

Having worked in the area of criminal justice for almost a decade, I happen to have some knowledge about sexual abuse in general and here's another zinger for you ~ 80% 0r 85% of abusers are NOT strangers! They're people that know your child and unfortunately they can even be your own family.

For those of us that live in the United States we have a wonderful system of tracking sex offenders. The law requires them to register with the local law enforcement agency and we can readily access that information by either going to our local precinct or by logging on to the Division of Criminal Justice Services website (here in NY ~ every State has their own site). But what the government neglects to tell you is that there are literally thousands of sex offenders who are NOT registered and they have no idea where they are. They just don't fulfill their obligation to register every year or if they do ~ they move and don't notify anyone and the State loses track of them. What a surprise!!! A criminal not abiding by the law! Who would have thought.... Last I knew, there were about 2,000 sex offenders unaccounted for in New York.

This registration system was put into place to protect society from unsuspecting sex offenders who were preying on children. It's a great law but the facts are the facts ~ sexual abuse is more often perpetrated by a known person not an unsuspecting sex offender roaming your streets.

How can we protect our children from those around us ~ I can't answer that for you. Danny and I can hopefully keep Nathan safe by keeping him with us. Then, when he gets older we'll educate him about what's right and what's wrong and discuss the tactics used by "groomers" ~ even as it pertains to those around us. Until this conversation ~ he'll be in our care. Scary isn't it?

1 comment:

heidi marie said...

very hard read. but i think it's right. i think it's as simple as a lot of parents or educators don't speak to children/adults with disabilities about sex because they think they won't be having it. or they think that the child is always with someone reliable that it's not needing to talk about such things. as a parent you have to drill it in there head just like anyone other child what is right behavior and what is wrong behavior from a stranger and even someone they know. whether or not you think they will grasp the idea or understand you...i think you have to try to help them understand what is right and how to protect themselves. it's scary. i think about that stuff from time to time. i think about how i'm lucky henry is not a girl. but i know that bad things can happen to boys as well. there are a lot of sick people out there.