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Learn how child sex abuse protection is balanced and rational.  By avoiding extremes, we can protect families and prevent sexual abuse.

Child Sex Abuse Protection-Extremes

I've recently had two situations come to my attention that, together, can help us understand how to protect our children from sexual abuse.  Two friends, we'll call them Inactive and Hyperactive, having been sexually abused as children, had very clear ideas of what constitutes abuse and a firm commitment that this would never happen to their children.  Each ended up failing, but the reasons for those failures can instruct us on the dangers of extremes in child abuse protection.  I admire and applaud both of these friends for caring so much about their children to resolve the problems once they were made aware.  Just like us, they may have made mistakes, but we can all learn from their willingness to own their mistakes, adjust, and protect their children.     

Extremely Little Protection:  Inactive was happily married for several years to a man who was very good with her children from a previous marriage.  There were accusations about him, but the sources were highly questionable and their motivations were suspect.  There was even an arrest and investigation, but the police dropped all charges. An occasional rumor cropped up from time to time, but that happens once someone has been accused of molestation.  Not believing there was anything to the rumors, Inactive, out of an abundance of caution, asked her older daughter more forcefully than in the past, if he had molested her.  Out the details came.

It mat be tempting to look back and judge she could have seen it sooner, but I can't believe, if she had had any doubts, she would have put her daughter in that situation.  This isn't for anyone to judge Inactive.  It's so we can learn from her mistakes and not subject our kids to the same thing.  If you've got small children and are back on the dating scene, please keep in mind that some will try to take advantage.  If you hear of any sex abuse accusations, investigate thoroughly, including speaking with the accuser.  Put your love and your defensive reaction on hold and think what it would mean for your child if it were true.  If you hear of accusations from 2 unrelated victims, it's a good idea to separate the step-parent from the children until all the facts are in.  This can be done lovingly with the plans to rejoin after the dust settles.  This would be far better than finding out later that your child had been molested for years.

Extreme Protection As Abuse:  Hyperactive's husband, so far as anyone knows, is innocent of all charges.  Looking back at this, it appears the toddler girl learned a way to get a lot of Mommy's attention.  All she had to do was exercise the "tell me" clause of the good-touch-bad-touch lecture.  For over 2 years from the time the girl was 18 months old, she accused Daddy of touching her.  Every time she did, the house went into an uproar over the accusation.  Daddy, to try to get it settled and put the family back together, opened a formal investigation on himself, including police, lie detector, psychological and physical examinations.  This little toddler has been interrogated, investigated, examined, poked and prodded, not by a molester, but by numerous sexual abuse professionals whole all agree there is no psychological or physical indication of any sexual least not before all the tests and attention given one part of her body.

What we can learn from this is, just because a toddler says something, doesn't mean it's true.  Sometimes they imagine things, tell stories...even lie, to manipulate their parents.  We need to learn from Hyperactive not to destroy our families based on unsupported accusations.  If something is happening, there will be evidence.  When your spouse is first accused of something like this, probably the best initial course is to agree they not be alone together.  If that agreement is violated, there is reason to be suspicious of the spouse.  If the agreement is followed but the accusations continue, there is reason to be suspicious of the accusations.

Check Your Motivations- Sex Abuse Issues Are Delicate:  The lesson both Inactive and Hyperactive teach us is to check our motivations.  I've met dozens of parents so enamored by their new spouse and so desiring that this marriage work out, that they miss clues about how the spouse is treating the children.  Blended families are, at best, loaded with relational drama that most parents cannot handle.  Even traditional families can be so hectic that one or both parents are unaware of abuse.  Each adult must work at keeping a clear picture of their own motivations in every situation...a tall order.

Often, abuse victims can interpret almost everything they see as abuse.  One man I know was accused of abuse after changing a diaper as a volunteer in a church nursery.  Though there were mothers within a few feet who saw nothing, when the female toddler later said, "he put his finger in me," it was enough to ruin this young father's reputation.  Anyone who has changed a diaper, knows things need to be washed and that could be misunderstood by the child.  In this case, the motivation to see abuse can be abusive in and of itself.  So, it's good for us to keep an eye on our own motivations when there are accusations of abuse.  No one is guilty until proven so.

In these two examples, we see how easy it is to destroy a family with sexual abuse, by not seeing the signs soon enough or by seeing signs when there are none.  We learn from Inactive and Hyperactive, we need to take every accusation seriously, step back, take a breath, investigate, and act rationally on the facts.  Quick judgments that sex abuse, is or is not, happening, can open our children to the very abuse we're trying to prevent.

I want you to know there is someone who can help, who loves you and your children and wants only the best for you.  That someone is God.  If you want help from God, just click on Help Me God.

How have you handled accusations?

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