To the Editor:
The majority of child sexual abuse victims are victimized by someone they know and trust. About 75 – 95 percent of offenders are known, and might be related, to the child. For most victims, abuse continues for years. In most cases, abuse continues until there is intervention. Some believe that a child should just tell the adult to stop. However, children generally don’t question trusted adults. These trusted adults might have used threats, bribes, or coercion to get the child to comply and keep secrets. It’s up to the adults in our society to protect the children.
Possible indicators that an adult may have unhealthy sexual behaviors toward children include:
• Encourages silence and secrets in children;
• Often has a “special” child friend, maybe a different one from year to year;
• Spends most spare time on activities involving children or teens, not adults; and
• Talks about sexual fantasies with children and isn’t clear about what’s OK with children.
If you know of someone who exhibits these signs or shows behaviors that concern you or know a child who has been sexually abused, report it to law enforcement, Social Services, or contact Hands of Hope Resource Center. — Amy Rigelman, Hands of Hope Resource Center, Little Falls