Sexual Predators

The news of last week exposed a sexual predator using his own daughter as an agent to infiltrate a religious community in Johannesburg to prey on young girls. This episode shows that there are psychopathic people like this all around us.  Conservative religious communities try to insulate themselves from such threats in the vain attempt to edit out such people and the threat that they pose to their seemingly pristine worlds. The problem is that these people exist amongst them often camouflaged in religious garb. They cynically exploit the often naive kindness of the community who make them welcome in the name of compassion and mercy to the stranger.  The second problem is that their children can get way beyond the protective community walls, to any place in the globe, through their cell phones, on mixit,  and internet chat. The wolves are ready and waiting for the little red riding hoods who through naive sexual curiosity, rebellion, pride or vanity will walk into their lairs thinking that they are communicating with a peer or a friend.  The predators, through a masterfully conniving set of well practiced techniques recruit these children into their web of control, like a fisherman pulling on the rod, encountering resistance and letting go and them pulling again slowly reeling in the fish. This grooming would happen by them making a lewd suggestion, them apologising for offending the child who replies politely that it was OK. Through the mixing of messages, pushing boundaries and then feigning care and remorse the , gets the child to drop her guard because she becomes too confused to discern positive from threatening interactions.  The child stops trusting her own reactions and instincts, because what feels bad or wrong is cleverly reframed by the predator as good. By the time the bad is unambiguous, the child becomes too afraid or ashamed to tell her parents. This is also because by this stage the predator, now fully in control is openly and brazenly threatening. The only way to , from this threat is to know where they are, even when they are in their own bedrooms. This does not mean monitor or try to control their lives. It means keep good open communication with them, understand their worlds, their interest’s pre-occupations and challenges. Build up the kind of trust where they will invite you to be their friend on facebook and tell you is something happens in their lives that causes them discomfort or concern. Love, trust, respect and the type of communication that flows out of these qualities are the only way to inoculate your child against the predators in our world.

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