January 9, 2009

MOPS Moment: Predator Proofing Your Children

MOPS has been a great experience for me. Besides meeting wonderful women, I am continually impressed by the speakers. They range in personality and topic, but all seem to share something interesting. My group meets weekly, so I thought it would be fun and informative to start a weekly "column" called MOPS Moment. There is a GIVEAWAY at the end of the post!

Our first meeting of the year was on the topic, "Predator Proofing Your Children". I know-it's heavy. It's been one of those weeks. This was led by Karen Wood, senior director at Camp Alandale, a Christian camp which ministers to abused and neglected children. Karen was kind and clearly experienced. We were even given a 55 page workbook that is available in PDF form. It is fantastic, and the best part is...

Some quick points that stuck out to me:
  1. 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 boys will be molested at least once before age 18.
  2. 95% of abuse is committed by someone the child knows. [I couldn't help but think, so that means that I most likely will also know my child's abuser-who am I trusting right now that I shouldn't be?]
  3. Average molestation lasts 15 seconds to 5 minutes. [That's awful!]
  4. 50% of abuse is child to child (minor to minor).

One of the biggest problems Karen cited is that we teach our children to obey any form of authority, and then children have no idea which settings they are allowed to scream no and deem unacceptable. I love this story that illustrates how we can begin to teach our children boundaries in this area:

She told of a mom who was giving her two year old son a bath when he asked what the private part of his body is called. The mother said, "That is your p____ and it is only yours. No one is to touch you there and you are not to touch anyone else's private area." This 2-yr old immediately starting chanting, "My-y-y p_____, no one is allowed to touch it!!!"

PART 4, Section 15: QUESTIONS TO FORMULATE A FAMILY PLAN. Instead of making us try to think of the most common scenarios where we need to be on guard, this has it all laid out. For example,

Question #1: Plan to provide safety for your children to use public restrooms?

Question #2: Sleep-over guidelines (and many sub-questions in this)?

Question #6: What part has prayer played in protecting your family?

The plan is pages long. This is truly just an excerpt! The nice thing about it is that if we as women want to bring it up with our husbands (formulating a family plan, that is), then we don't have to bore them with our lengthy explanations! We can just sit down with these questions and build a plan together.

If you live in Southern California (especially if you have a MOPS group), Karen speaks regularly and you may want to find out how to book a seminar. There's nothing in it for me-she was just that good!

Camp Alandale is always looking for camp counselors as well. If you are a healed abuse victim or just care very much about abused children you may want to download an application.

Lastly, Karen held a giveaway, and I won her book on tape, called "Lord Take Care of Me!" It contains multiple stories of children who have found hope and healing after being abused. Before I open it up, I just feel led to make it available to my blogging audience. Maybe you were abused as a child and haven't told a soul? Maybe you just found out that your child has been molested? Maybe you're interested in working with abused children, either at Camp Alandale or in your own community? You won't be required to tell me why it interests you-just send me your address, and I will get it in the mail ASAP. Email me at experiencingeachmoment@gmail.com.


Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I'm stunned. Thank you for sharing this information. I'm definitely going to download the workbook. I don't know about other moms but this is an area I've felt a little bit at a loss in.

The statistics are stunning. 1 in 3!! To put that on a personal level my friend has 2 girls and Ellie makes #3. So statistically speaking 1 girl out of Ellie, M1 & M2 will experience some type of abuse. That is breathtaking. And not in a good way.

50% is minor to minor. That makes me think of our mutual friend, S. and her description of her daughter's experience on the bus and questions about allowing playtime with boys and older kids. This just reinforces my thought of NO! NO! NO!

As mom's we have to be wise as serpents!!! Never ignore your mommy radar and gut feeling. No matter what the setting, including Christian circles.

Thanks again, Alicia. I'm definitely putting a link to this in my Sunday Links to Enjoy.

Alicia said...

Stephanie you are absolutely right-the stats are stunning. And Karen's delivery was not even in a "shock value" kind of way. I guess the delivery doesn't have to be that way when those are your numbers!

A key point for me was thinking about older siblings of the kids my children may play with.

steffenboysmom said...

The states are astounding Alicia! Thanks for the info!

pam said...

Those are some pretty sobering and disturbing statics. Thank you for bringing that to our attention.

Kelli said...

We have had speakers on this at one of my moms groups and it is so disturbing. I saved the workbook to my computer and am going to pass it on too. Thanks!

PS I am so jealous that your MOPS group meets every week! Mine only meets twice a month. I love MOPS!