23 November 2014
Strangers Aren’t the Greatest Danger
Parents are inclined to teach their children about strangers from early on. Parents instruct their children to refrain from talking, walking, or taking anything from a stranger. Parents ignore the fact that child abuse is not usually committed by strangers, but someone dwelling close to a child’s comfort zone. The majority of children who have been sexually abused are done so by a relative, or a close friend.
Children are typically victimized by significant others. These significant others often have reason to be alone with kids whether they be coaches, neighbors, relatives, or even other kids. On behalf of shame and awkwardness, children bypass their parents and consult with other relatives or close friends to the family to discuss their problems and curiosities. Occasionally, these siblings and close friends begin to comfort the child, and analyze them carefully. In 2006, New York Times displayed an article entitled “Sex Abuse of Girls Is Stubborn Scourge in Africa.” The article shared stories about how young girls were being sexually abused by older male siblings. “Menja, a five year old girl from Madagascar, was molested by her father’s brother. For two weeks, she cried every time she urinated, but her family was unable to afford the medicine prescribed by the doctor” (Bowman and Brundige 234). “Nine year old Kenia was sodomized by her uncle, he threatened to kill her if she was to tell anyone” (234).
Parents are urged to avoid teaching stranger danger. “Rather than teaching their children to be on the look-out for a particular type of person, parents should teach their children mechanisms on how to build self-esteem and courage, the skills needed to be as safe as possible” (Amber Alert GPS, Smart Family Blog 2014). For years have parents and guardians taught children to stay away from strangers; however, they have failed to mention of the dangers that dwell closer to home. It is natural for a parent to be afraid of what could potentially happen to their child, and parents deny the thought of someone they trust causing harm to their children.
Truth is, not all strangers are dangerous and not all known adults are safe. Instead of commanding their children to avoid all strangers, parents should help their children to recognize and pinpoint dangerous circumstances. “Examples of warning signs and potential hazardous situations should be given so that children can become accustomed to these red flags” (Amber