No. 669



As a syndicated columnist, there are a number of topics that I don’t feel comfortable writing about, but in many cases the consequences are so severe that I just go ahead and write about them anyway. One such topic is the presence of sexual predators in our society. As I often tell people in casual conversation and talks I make around the country, “it just drives me up the wall to even think there are people out there who will, and do, sexually molest children.” We are a nation of laws and. to me, there is no punishment save the death penalty too severe for the person who harms a child in this day and takes away their virtue. There is a law, passed in the state of Florida back in 2005, called Jessica’s Law that I believe takes the right approach.
This law was named for 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, who was abducted and sexually assaulted before being brutally murdered. This law mandates a 25-year to life sentence for first-time offenders, except in cases where the victim was murdered. That’s pretty steep, and you may disagree with me, but millions of others don’t think so, as more than 50 percent of our states already have this or a similar law on the books. This may sound like a broken record, but we did not have as much of this problem until we began to tolerate raw sewage coming through our television screens every day of the year. These people are making millions of dollars changing our culture. Our children are being fed to the wolves.
A while back I got a press release from the University of Missouri titled, “MU Researchers Reveal Communication Tactics Used by Sexual Predators to Entrap Children.” It begins, “A child’s innocence and vulnerability presents a target for a sexual predator’s abusive behavior. Researchers here at the university are beginning to understand the communication process by which predators lure victims into a web of entrapment. The intent is to better equip parents and community members to prevent and interrupt the escalation of child sexual abuse.
In order for the process of entrapment to take place, the perpetrator must first gain access to the potential victim through various exploitive means.” They have termed the core phenomenon of this process as deceptive trust development. This describes the predator’s ability to build a trusting relationship with the victim in order to improve the likelihood of sexual encounter. One of the ways they use is “grooming,” as this process sets the stage for abuse by desensitizing the victim for sexual contact.
Grooming may include activities such as sitting on a child’s bed and watching them get into their bedclothes; “accidentally” touching the child inappropriately; showing the child pornographic images; and making contact or sex play with implicit sexual suggestions. As perpetrators are grooming their victims and building deceptive trust, they also work to isolate them both physically and emotionally from their support network. Isolation strategies may include offers to baby sit, giving the child a ride home, and taking advantage of fragile family and friend relationships. Isolation causes the victim to become more and more dependent on the perpetrator.
It’s not easy to talk about this topic, but it’s real and we must take every step possible to keep our children safe from sexual predators. Parents must make sure the people their children are left alone with mean them no harm. We must also discover or find sexual predators in our society and lock them up so they don’t harm, or even kill, other children.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)