Gazette: “Conversations key to children’s safety”

Today’s Gazette has two articles relating to the Edgar Selavka child pornography case, “Teacher’s arrest compels frank talk on pedophilia” and “Conversations key to children’s safety”. Here are excerpts from the latter:

The best way to protect a child from a sexual predator is through consistent education and direct conversations, experts say…

[Peter Pollard, public education director for the Northampton-based Stop It Now!] suggests having a direct conversation with someone who is making the parent or child uncomfortable by telling that person the behavior is making it difficult for the child to set boundaries necessary for personal protection. Do not accuse the odd adult of being a sexual abuser…

Suzin Bartley, executive director of Massachusetts’ Children’s Trust Fund, a Boston organization for the protection of children, said by the time children are 3, parents should have had conversations about proper and improper touching…

[Retired social worker and former child sexual abuse therapist Enid Gorman] advised parents against urging children to show affection to adults if they don’t want to, like hugging or kissing a grandparent, for example.

“I think it’s a mistake to urge children to override their natural boundaries about expressing physical affection,” said Gorman. “Then they learn that (reluctance) can be overridden by an adult against their will.”

The website of Stop It Now! provides a list of potential warning signs that a child may have been sexually abused. These include unexplained bruises, sudden mood swings, new words for private body parts, and suddenly having money.

Read more about these issues in our previous post, Gazette: “Links between porn, pedophilia explained”.

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