January 24, 2005

Teaching children is key to fighting sex abuse

Statesman Journal

January 24, 2005

Sex abuse is an ugly thing to think about, let alone to talk about with your children. But as a parent, you must.

You cannot rely on the authorities to find molesters before molesters find your child. The system works far too slowly and imperfectly. That certainly was the case with Salem-Keizer middle-school band teacher Joe Billera, who recently pleaded guilty to abusing four former students.

Abusers typically harm many children before they get caught. These men -- they're nearly always men -- are not the strangers we warn our children against; strangers rarely get near enough to hurt our children. That's what makes the job as parent so difficult.

Instead, the abuser generally is someone the child knows well -- a relative or member of the household, or a coach, a church worker, a teacher, a family friend.

Not only does your child trust this person; you do. The abuser has invested months or years into grooming you both. You can't comprehend that this wonderful person could betray your trust and your child's trust so completely.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2005 07:22 AM