Registered Sex Offenders. It’s a term that can strike fear into the hearts of people young and old. The topic of sexual offenders is complicated and controversial, and it was recently tackled on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
People are terrified by the thought of sexual offenders. Primarily due to the ghastly deeds these criminals might commit, and partially because there is no easy way to identify a potential offender. It may seem like the type of predator who would willingly abuse another human being, especially a child, should have an obvious “look”, but the truth is even scarier. You can’t tell what another person is capable of doing just by looking.
Oprah interviewed four men who sexually abused children. She held a frank discussion with them in which she tried to understand why and how they perpetrated such destructive crimes. Her interview was direct, brutally honest and horrifying. In the end, Oprah created a list of four things everyone should know about child molesters:
Child molesters usually know their victims
It is a nightmare scenario for parents: a stranger grabs their child and drives to an unknown destination. We’ve all seen stories like this on the nightly news, and wonder what can be done to keep children safe. While this is a serious concern that must be addressed, an even greater possibility exists that a potential abuser already knows your kids.
Adults who watch over or educate children. A friend you’ve known for years. Even a relative. An untold number of families have been devastated by a sexual offender who was thought of as a trusted friend or loved one. The men Oprah interviewed were close to their victims long before the abuse began.
Child molesters watch for vulnerable children
Sexual predators seek out easy targets to victimize. They watch for children who are angry at their parents, unhappy with their home lives and in need of a strong adult presence. Once they find a susceptible child, the predators move in and attempt to establish a bond of trust and mutual respect. This bond allows them to take advantage of a child who doesn’t know how to react to the sexual abuse.
Child molesters manipulate their victims
The sexual offenders who spoke to Oprah confessed that they used techniques to convince their victims that the molestation was a pleasant experience, or that the children were to blame for any inappropriate behavior. They claimed to spend a long time “grooming” their victims by slowly establishing a rapport while eliminating all personal and physical boundaries. All their time and efforts were designed to give them complete control over a helpless individual.
There is hope
Oprah’s interview takes viewers through a whirlwind of emotions – from disgust and anger to disbelief and shock. Her final goal, however, was to let people know there are ways to protect your children.
First and foremost, watch your children closely. Give them the time, love and attention they need so they do not look for these qualities elsewhere. Next, keep a close eye on anyone who spends time with your children.
According to a Psychotherapist who participated in the interviews, parents should watch for tell-tale signs of potential child molesters. Some of the common indicators are seen in an adult who: spends more time with kids than other adults; regularly shares personal information with children; frequently buys gifts for young kids; or habitually tickles or wrestles with young people. In general, be wary of any adult who pays an unusual amount of attention to your children.
Another important lesson for parents is to take warnings from your children seriously. One sexual offender said that his victim told her parents about the abuse she was enduring, but he was able to convince them he was innocent. He stated that parents should believe stories of abuse, and that children “don’t lie about that stuff.”
A final method parents can use to protect their children is to stay informed about sexual offenders who live near their home, school or work. Adults can order a Sex Offender Report, which lists offenders living in any city or zip code in the United States. The report displays essential information such as an offender’s name, address, physical description and details about their crime.
Parents who are concerned about someone who spends time with their children can also order a Criminal Records Report to see if the person has any offenses on file. A potential child molester may have a criminal history that you need to know about, because when it comes to your children there is no such thing as being too cautious.
Oprah’s two-hour conversation with the child molesters is available online. Watch it to learn more about the thought process and practices of convicted sexual offenders; take every precaution possible to keep your family safe and thank you for reading the PeopleFinders People Search blog.
Tags: Abuse, Child Molesters, Children, Criminal Records, Criminals, Families, Oprah, Parents, predator, Registered Sex Offenders, Sex Offender Report, Sexual Offenders, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Victims