Only Vigilance And Education Will Stop Predators
I’ve started gathering together my information and working on new posts for April, Child Abuse Awareness Month. The following story comes just in time for April, proving that vigilance by parents and guardians, and teaching children that monsters DO exist are the best tools to stop predators in their tracks:
by Brian Farrell, 13News
Posted on March 26, 2010 at 11:36 PM
Updated Friday, Mar 26 at 11:40 PM
VIRGINIA BEACH — At this time of year, 6:30 p.m. means plenty of light for a few friends to squeeze in some basketball outside one of their homes. That’s what three children were doing last Thursday in King’s Grant, but they weren’t alone.
“He literally stopped and was watching ’em for a time period, and tried to engage them in conversation,” one of their mothers tells 13News. She asked not to be identified because of the nature of the situation.
Recounting what her son and friends tell Virginia Beach police officers, Mom explains the driver of a blue pick-up truck told them he was checking out their “plays.” At one point, the driver asked two of the boys to come to the truck so he could show something. They declined. He took off from the area, and the boys let their parents know what happened.
Police didn’t write up an official report because no crime had been committed. They did, however, ask officers that night and since then to watch for a blue-pick that seems out of place.
“As a parent, you kind of put your guard down some time, and you say, okay, your son is 12 or 13 years old. They can walk along the street at night and everything else, so it’s more or less a wake-up call to a lot of people, myself, included,” Mom says.
In order to make people in her neighborhood aware of what happened, she sent an email.
“Tried to alert them to be on the lookout for somebody, because he was, literally, watching three children,” says Mom.
The effort to reach 10 or 15 community members who could disseminate the information exploded. Civic leagues, community groups, and schools picked up on the email. Within days, it spread throughout Virginia Beach. Some people shared similar stories they say happened during the past few weeks. In each case, the driver of a pick-up truck watched or followed children, with nothing coming of it.
While police aren’t sure how legitimate all the stories are (especially because many haven’t been reported), they say it is a good time for parents to review some of the safety basics with children, particularly because they’ll be spending more time outdoors now that sunlight stays longer in the day.
If you, or your children, see anyone suspicious, officers encourage you to call them.
The simple fact the man did not abduct any of the children he has approached does not necessarily mean he was stopped from doing so. Many pedophiles like this already have a “lf” or “little friend” they have regular access to, so by driving around, they merely want to watch children and either masturbate while doing so or film the children to keep for self-gratification at home and to share on pedophile photo sharing sites.
Also, where this man may not be after abducting a child, one of his child lover friends he shares photos with may be after a certain target and this man has supplied him with a photo album to choose from – like window shopping for each other.
Some pedophiles try to keep it safe by just watching from a distance instead of touching. This keeps them out of jail and can also help them establish a cover story later if asked by parents what they are doing. They seem more believable if they haven’t had any actual contact.
This man asked these boys to come to his truck. It is possible he would have taken one, but since he hasn’t yet, it’s more likely he was going to gather information from them – i.e. names, phone numbers, addresses, hobbies, etc… – either for his own use at a future date or to pass on to his pedophile friends. Child abusers rarely sexually abuse a child in front of their friends. It’s better to get the information and then stalk the child they find more suitable when he is all alone.
I not only applaud this mother for passing along the word but for those who did not mock her or call her over-protective, and those who passed the word along and used it as a lesson for their own children. These are the guardians whose children will be inconvenient to predators looking for easy targets.
We can NEVER let down our guard. We must ALWAYS be vigilant and not be afraid to confront someone watching our kids. Those children are ours and if we say to leave, dammit, LEAVE. End of story. No argument. Bottom line, YOU are the parent and it is your right to tell someone to get lost.
For parents, guardians, kids’ club leaders, teachers, etc.. who prefer avoiding the topics of stranger danger and bad touching, keep in mind that the children in your care would have gone to that man’s truck and this would have been an entirely different news story with a much worse ending.
It’s a cold hard fact that the primary targets of child sexual abusers are children whose parents shelter them from the facts of life and schools that forbid such lessons as “sex education” and parental interference. Any parent against a school having classroom talks about child abuse has something to hide, even if that’s shame from their own past. If that’s the case, get over it. It isn’t about you. It’s about your kids and people like this man in his blue truck. Yes, Virginia, there are monsters after your children.
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