Pedophiles -- Do you know how to spot a pedophile among your friends and family?

Canada
June 28, 2007 12:31pm CST
Do you have a pedophile within your circle of friends and family? Many of us do and don't realize it, not until after our child has been harmed. In fact, some parents will never know their child has been abused by a pedophile because children have a very hard time telling on a trusted family member or friend. I didn't tell until many years later. I am now over 50 years old, but I was the repeated victim of pedophiles, and it occurred to me that all were relatives or family friends. I wondered how many mothers were unaware of how many pedophiles hide under the guise of family member or friend. Looking back, I see there were behaviours common to my abusers. I am hoping that in sharing these behaviors, I will alert a young mother to any potential danger, and keep her child safe from harm. Here are just a few of the most common tell-tale signs that someone, in your child's life, may be a pedophile: 1. Does the person constantly ask about the child when the child is out of sight? 2. Does the person engage the child in "innocent" physical activities that lead to close body contact? 3. Does the person suggest taking the child alone on outings? 4. Does the person give special gifts to your child? 5. Does the person seem more willing to spend social evenings babysitting your child, instead of spending time with adults? If you are a survivor of a pedophile's attack, please post your comments here. Hopefully, together, we can save a child from the pain and shame we experienced, by educating his or her parent on the wiles and ways of the pedophile.
7 people like this
20 responses
@gmakesmoney (2923)
• United States
29 Jun 07
I think your courage to talk about this issue is great and will educate many people. Thank you for this post! I do not have children however I think this is advice anyone can use, parent or not. I have children in my life via relatives, friends, ect, and am always on the lookout when left to care for these children. One day I will have children and these are signs I will watch out for then too. I was molested as a child by a step-cousin and not a single person believed me until recently when he was arressted for molesting his own children nearly 20 yrs later. It is very important that people understand and believe children when they do speak up of such abuse and that these people get stopped and hopefully get the help they need to stop harming children.
• Canada
29 Jun 07
You are not alone. Too many of us are simply not believed when we tell our story. As a child, I knew no one would believe me, so I kept my secrets. Unfortunately, as a 50 year old, I was proven right. I finally told my father about his best friend to which he replied, "I believe that you believe your were abused." And that was in response to 50-year old, not a 5-year old. We must believe our children and act upon their stories immediately. Thank you for sharing your story, gmakesmoney.
• United States
30 Jun 07
Thanks to you both and your welcome! I do believe that a lot of parents don't want to believe their children perhaps because they feel as though to believe that their child has been harmed is to belive that they have failed as a parent in protecting their child. Maybe that's too hard a realization to take in and so they shut it out? Nobody wants to think of their child being in harms way. It's still quite sad that children have to keep such things inside and carry all of the shame and feelings that come with such experiences. I hope that with more education on the matter, parents will learn to set aside their own fears and respond to any situation their child might be facing, however ugly that situation may be.
@Ravenladyj (22940)
• United States
28 Jun 07
1. Does the person constantly ask about the child when the child is out of sight? - nope 2. Does the person engage the child in "innocent" physical activities that lead to close body contact? - yes 3. Does the person suggest taking the child alone on outings? - yes 4. Does the person give special gifts to your child? - nope 5. Does the person seem more willing to spend social evenings babysitting your child, instead of spending time with adults? - nope mind you my abuser was my adoptive father...as much as those are good indicators I think ppl should also be aware that this isnt always how it works...Alot of those signs are too in your face so to speak for a child molester to attempt...they like to be coy, they like to NOT draw attention to themselves particularly a repeat offender/abuser....so a few of those signs wouldnt apply at all..and even if they do it woudl be done in a way that wouldnt seem out of place....for example takingn the child out alone....once a pedophile has established a place in the home taking the child out is no longer out of place....Also if its a family member it wouldnt be out of place at all really.... I think the biggest hurdle for the parent/caregiver of an abused child is the believing...If your child or a child you know comes to you sayign so and so has been "doing things/touching them etc" or all of a sudden they dont like being around the person and act all creeped out...PAY ATTENTION! LISTEN TO THEM, DO NOT BLOW IT OFF!, DO NOT MAKE LIGHT OF IT, DO NOT MAKE EXCUSES FOR THE POTENTIAL ABUSER! That happened to me not only by my adoptive mother but ALSO by my sister (their bio child) who WAS ALSO ABUSED (misplaced loyalties to mummy dearest).. Pinpointing an abuse is a very difficult thign to do HOWEVER pinpointing a child who may have been abused ISNT....(not to say its easy either of course but you'll have a far better shot with that then trying to spot an abuser) very good topic Hadassah! Very important one too..
1 person likes this
• Canada
29 Jun 07
You hit the nail solidly on the head with your advice to "not make light of it." How many children (myself included) were told that the abuse wasn't really abuse, or that it wasn't really happening, or worse, that they were making it up. My father told me that he believes "that I believe" I was abused. And I am not alone; many abused children are met with disbelief. Very important comment, Ravenladyj. Thanks for adding to this thread.
@Ravenladyj (22940)
• United States
29 Jun 07
"many children (myself included) were told that the abuse wasn't really abuse, or that it wasn't really happening, or worse, that they were making it up. " OH without a doubt..I still here that to this day from my mother (my sister and I went to her when I was 13)...and thats just as damaging as the abuse itself! Wella - great point on the threats too..and another thing to mention is that there are still some parents/caregivers out there that have the same attitude that was around back when I was a kid and before then, that children should be seen and not heard AND never believe a child over an adult... *big sigh* did that make sense? I've not even made my coffee yet let alone drank any of it :-/
• Canada
29 Jun 07
Oh, my, yes! "Children should be seen and not heard." Thank goodness, that foolish belief is no longer a child-rearing strategy today. Unfortunately, today, the problem is that the parent may be so tired or so busy or so pre-occupied, that the child can speak, without actually being heard. Parents, listening to your child takes skill and patience! Many children can't quite describe their experience, either because they are too embarrassed or they don't have the words. Watch for the subtle signs like withdrawl, or strange behaviors, or odd rashes.
1 person likes this
@Feona1962 (7527)
• United States
28 Jun 07
When I was about 5 years old, my uncle's father came to visit and he put his arm around me and he kept moving it until it was in my pants holding my bare bottom...Even at that age I felt something wasn't right...Which it wasn't...I didn't tell anyone, but I did stay away from him when he came to visit or we visited him...To this day I do not want anyone touching me...I am so sorry to hear about what you endured...thank you for sharing your tips, because it is such an awful thing that can happen to anyone...My children are grown but I have 2 grandsons ages 5 and 3 and they are always carefully watched when they are with me......Education is the key..
• Canada
28 Jun 07
Thanks for responding. People think that abuse is only defined by actual rape, but this simply isn't true. Touching is as much an affront to a child's dignity and sense of safety as rape. I remember, as a 6 year old, going to our country store to pick up something for my mother. The store owner's son picked me up, put me on the counter, and began to fondle me. I remember the bad feelings and shame that came with that incident. I squirmed until I got away, but I never told a soul. I just couldn't; I think pedophiles count on the inability of a child to tell. Let's keep those stories coming in the hopes that somethihng we might share will help a parent know if their child is in danger. Best wishes to you, from one grandmother to another!
1 person likes this
@Feona1962 (7527)
• United States
28 Jun 07
thank you and this kind of posting is extremely important...As a child I remember telling someone NO and they didn't pay attention. When someone says NO, DON'T DO THAT, that should be the end of it, but unfortunately it doesn't work that way..We need to tell our children that nobody should touch them...NOBODY!!!!The hard part about that is the ones in the family or friends that the child trusts may be in a different catagory than anyone...If I told my grandsons that nobody should touch you..they would reply. "not even you" or "just mommy or daddy", or just you gama and papa... then how do you explain this? without getting yourself into too deep and confuse them....how many grandkids do you have?
• Canada
29 Jun 07
I have 8: 7 biological granchildren and 1 stepgrandchild. You make an excellent point; it is very hard for a child to know who they are to be careful of when it comes to a family member or family friend. My abusers were accepted by my family; one of them was a chef who used to cook terrific meals for us. But now I realize it was all a ploy just to be around the kids (he abused my little cousin, too). Children have the correct instincts; children know when something is wrong. Empowering our children or grandchildren to stand up for themselves, and speak out boldly is a very good thing.
28 Jun 07
When I was 5 I was molested by my older cousin who was 12 or 13 at the time. He may not have technically been considered a pedophile if he was 12, but he knew that his behavior was inappropriate and still went forward. If it hadn't been for my brother, who was 9 at the time, telling my parents I often wonder if things could have gotten worse. Because of what happened to my I have almost developed a sixth sense for who not to trust, but I know that won't protect my daughter. My daughter is only six months old, but I have already caught some men looking at her and commenting on her looks in a creepy way. I can honestly say that I don't trust anyone, but my husband and a few close friends around her, but I know that even those who I trust could be a very well hidden pedophiles. I'd also like to thank you for putting some of the warning signs up, because a lot of people don't recognize the warning signs until it is already too late.
• Canada
28 Jun 07
Thank you for sharing your experience. You are right in not trusting those who comment on your 6-month old child in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. Some pedophiles are attracted to babies, too. Our maternal instincts are sometimes our best defenses, and yet, some of us have been taught to ignore those instincts. Good for you, that you are honoring the safety mechanisms that nature has put into place to help mothers protect their young. To other mothers out there, listen to your instincts -- they could very well save your child from a horrible experience.
@Vixx06 (162)
28 Jun 07
Its a horrible thing to think of. I am a mother to 3 girls and I worry about them all the time. I have never been a victim of abuse but I do have friends that were. One of my friends was abused by a female family friend. I never even thought about looking at my female friends and family memebers. I think that this sort of thing has been very much highlighted here in the Uk recently due to a few horrific events. The most recent seems to be the abduction of 4 year old Mddie from her holiday apartment in Portgual. It is now 56 days since she went missing and still no sign. We all live in hope of her being found alive and well. As a mother I think what you are doing is fantastic. The more that people know the easier it is to spot these evil people. I am only sorry that you had to go thru such a horrible time in order for you to be able to give us mothers this help. Thank you
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jun 07
Thank you for your heartfelt response. I am hoping to see many people respond to this thread, especially those whose children may be in danger of being abused by a pedophile, directly within their family circle. My heart goes out to those parents who have lost children to the attacks of strangers; as a mother and a grandmother, I can't imagine what the pain must be like. I consider myself lucky, by comparison. Be blessed, and know there are many of us who are behind you, and praying for you, as you raise your little girls in today's dark and scary world.
1 person likes this
@mgmagana (3621)
• United States
28 Jun 07
i don't think i do, but after seeing those shows on dateline, how to catch a predator, it could be anybody! but i trust my family and friends and know that none are interested in my kids like that! the one's i worry about r teachers, dr.'s, the ones i'm supposed to trust.
1 person likes this
• Canada
28 Jun 07
Thanks for responding. You are absolutely right. Perhaps the definition should be widened to those people "associated" with your family circle. That would include those other questionable people like swim coaches, boy scout leaders, teachers, and doctors that we are supposed to be able to trust. It's a large group, but I am hoping that something I write here will help a parent to know if their child is in danger of pedophilia abuse, no matter who the person may be.
1 person likes this
@Jasmijn (145)
• Belgium
28 Jun 07
I hope you realise pedophila is a mental illness, and if there are pedophiles in your circle of friends or family, don't reject them, but try to help them and encourage them to find help. Most pedophiles do hate themselves for their feelings, but when everyone turns away from them, they usually have no other choice than to turn to others with the same problem as them, and in those cases they'll frequently be told that what they feel isn't so bad, and they'll probably believe it too, as they'll find that others like them are only human too, and probably much nicer to them that the ones that rejected them instead of helping them.
• Canada
28 Jun 07
Thank you for your response. You are right - pedophilia is a mental illness needing psychiatric intervention. But this blog is to help mothers recognize the signs of pedophilia, in order to first protect their children. Once the pedophile has been caught and stopped, then the intervention can begin. But if mothers aren't even aware of what to look for, then how can a pedophile be caught, in order to be helped? Perhaps another thread is in order dealing with the issue of pedophile rehabilitation, if such is possible.
• Canada
29 Jun 07
Not at all. It's just that your comment is important enough to have its own thread. Even as the survivor of child abuse, I hope that pedophiles have the opportunity to get the help they need.
• Australia
29 Jun 07
Be nice to someone who preys on the most precious thing in the world...I think not. Sure, they need psychiatric help, but they can get that from behind bars. *Others like them are only human too* What is that? You cannot justify the actions of these people, and their actions are INhumane, to say the least. I have no idea how you can realistically feel this way. Be supportive, encourage them to find help? How about calling the police and reporting the crime? Enough studies have been done to find overwhelming results which show the rehabilitation of a child molester is a rare, and near impossible event. Consider this.. You have been your supportive self, you've reached out, encouraged them to seek help. For what it looks like, the person appears to have been rehabilitated. Would you trust them to be alone with your child? I think any parent worth the title would say no. I think most would agree, keeping your child safe is a little more important that being politically correct with a misplaced social conscience.
1 person likes this
29 Jun 07
For someone who has not criminology or phsycology experiance it is totally irresponsable for you to make such statements. I am from a close family and we all show an interest in others children, We all play with each others kids including play fighting, We all take each other kids on days out, and I have when asked stayed at home to babysit I have never read such crap regarding such a sencative issue, What you are saying will inciminate 95% of the population when you see your parents, family and friend they will ask how the kids are, they will be tactile whilst playing with them and offer to baby sit whilst you go out, Your comments if read would make a mother look out for those signs and possible incriminate inocent people whilst other who do not display these signs will go unchecked. The best thing to say to parents is use your common sense, If it makes you feel uncomfortable or if you have to question thier motives yourself, then there is something to worry about
• Canada
29 Jun 07
Obviously, you have never experienced abuse as a child, by a pedophile. Let me tell you, there is nothing more revolting than the oily feeling that comes with the pawing of your body by a pedophile. A child does not need a criminology degree to know this is WRONG! As both a survivor of child molestation, a mother, and a grandmother, I say parents must be hyper-sensitive to the potential of a pedophile attack on their children. It is exactly your attitude that is the reason so many pedophiles (within our family circles) get away with their behaviour. No one wants to confront them! Who cares if an innocent person is questioned? -- If they truly are innocent, then their first concern will be for the child, not themselves. They will welcome being questioned. Wouldn't you agree?
29 Jun 07
Obviously your wrong I was abused when I was a child fair enough it wasnt by a family member, But there must be a line drawn between being protective and scare moungering. But there is a reason the police and social workers dont give out leaflets telling you what to look for because while your looking for the points you have detailed your missing other thing, Other things that may be blindingly obvoius is you wasnt fixated on looking for other signs, Yes if you telling your points stops one person being abused then it is worth it. But at what cost, If you are from the UK I am sure you will remember when the newspapers printed pictures of known abusers which is when people where attacted because they looked like the pictures and know abusers dropped off the system and went into hiding. Dont you think Its better to know exactly where they are than not knowing where they have gone. Yes your point do IN SOME CASES highlight a risk, but as a mother/father grandparent wouldnt it be safer to say if it doesnt feel right then its not right.... Fair enough we know there are times where abuse has occured over a number of years and with the benefit of hine sight something could of been done to stop it. The real issue here should be harsher punishments not just 3 or 4 years in prison, anyone who has them sorts of feeling or could deliberately hurt a helpless child should get life, In the UK Parliment is discussing the possiblility of Chemical Castration but again this wont protect everyone.
• United States
3 Jul 07
The sad thing is, this description could also be a very loving or attentive aunt, uncle or family friend. I often ask my sister how her children are doing, I'm always willing to babysit, I take them on frequent outtings, and I buy special gifts for them when I have the money... because I LOVE them! Would people suspect me of being a pedophile???
• Canada
4 Jul 07
In a word, "No." Pedophiles are quite different from you; they seek out one special child and romance him or her just as an adult would romance another adult. A pedophile is after an intimate relationship; they act much differently than a person like yourself, or a loving grandmother, who adores their loved one's children or child. But we must err on the side of caution for the safety of our children. It is better to be wrong about suspecting someone than not suspecting someone who in the end harms our child. I can only wish someone would have suspected the pedophiles in my life.
@tdtgh26 (22)
• Guam
2 Jul 07
I know from experience pedophile's can be your Grandpa or an Uncle. I not saying only, but in my prior experience they were. I cannot really say what to look for, because I was only 3-4, but it has made me very protective over my kids and knowing what I do, am very choosy who keeps them. I have asked my kids on more than 1 occasion if they have ever been abused in any way. I tell them I will not be mad at them. I know if my parents would have ever asked me I would have told. Not saying that in every case, but always make your child feel safe with you and talk to them. If your child acts hestitant towards a person ask why and do not assume they are just being shy, espescially if the child has known the person.
• United States
29 Jun 07
This didn't happen directly to me, it happened to my daughter, and the pedophile was her father...I had known him for 16 years when I he was arrested...an affectionate father was something I admired about him, because I always wished for affection from my own father...he was the pillar of his community...he was an alderman at his church, donating alot of his time...he was a hard worker and good provider...he was married, supposedly happily...It came as a shock to everyone that he had been molesting my daughter for 2 years...from the age of 9 till he was arrested when she was 11. He will be spending 27 years in prison for the things that he's done..as far as we know she is his only victim...but in essense we were all his victim, because he fooled us all!! My daughter is now 18 years old, just graduated high school with honors, and will be attending college in the fall...she wants to be a social worker, and help children...she has had the same boyfriend for 2 years and she has a healthy loving relationship with him...I do see distance from her with adult men...she will like someone I date, but will not get emotionally as close as my other kids will. So far she has blocked alot of what she's been thru...but she has become vocal about what happened and has done lectures in front of class about what has happened to her...she seems to be using what happened to her as a tool to teach others...just as you are here...which is a very admiral thing!!
• Canada
29 Jun 07
You have indicated one of the most tell-tale signs about pedophilia: pedophiles really are affectionate, and very likeable. They do not come off as creeps. They appear normal and loving. Pedophiles really do like children and they are very attractive to children. That's why they are so successful in abusing children. It's hard to react negatively towards a pedophile who is a member of your family, like your father. Instead, you make excuses for the abuser and allow the abuse to go on, in silence. My prayers of support go out to your daughter, and her mother: You. People forget how hard it is on the mother after she discovers pedophilia within her family circle. Blessings to both of you!
@mansha (6301)
• India
29 Jun 07
MY son was aved from such experience when he came and told me that one of the relative's sixteen year old son rubbed him on the back with his thing. I have always encouraged him to speak about anyone touching him or showing him his private parts. I think its very important for a child to learn about it and have confidence to report it,and in no way feel its his fault.
• Canada
29 Jun 07
Bravo! You are to be commended because obviously the bond with your son provided the safe environment for him to come back to you and share. But for many children, that bond, that safe environment doesn't exist. Especially when the parent or caregiver themself was abused as a child. My grandmother simply couldn't protect me, because no one had protected her. (She was raped at 13, got pregnant, and then was forced to marry her rapist.) So, when I casually mentioned that I didn't like her boyfriend and that he was always bugging me, her defensive reply was that, "I was asking for it." I hope more mothers, like you, encourage their children to speak freely knowing they are safe to do so, that they will be BELIEVED when they tell, and that something will be done about their complaint.
• United States
2 Jul 07
Everyone I do not know is a potential pedophile. I always keep my eyes out for people who address my children especially when they do it by their first name. WHich tells me that if we are in a store and a person approaches my child and calls them by their name that they have been watching them. I really hate it when a strange engages my children in conversation!!!
@axter69 (379)
29 Jun 07
I know in the US they have Sarahs law and now in the UK we have like a most wanted, the thing that gets me though is that the jail time served is no where near any thing that it should be. there is no deterant at all and whats 9 months in prison? you serve 3 months and are back out to re-offend. In my eyes this crime as bad as Murder if not worse, with Murder you life is over, with a crime such as this you live on but also have to live with the thoughts and nightmares left.
@Krisss (1231)
• Australia
29 Jun 07
I feel a list like this lulls people into a false security. Your child is safe with NOONE! My now adult daughter was molested by a family member and even with the benefit of hindsite not one of those things in your profile fits. I was so careful about who I left my children with. My daughter was always with her brother and only with family members, and only ever when there were more than one person, and always a female. Her paternal grandfather molested her, while her grandmother was in the kitchen making a cup of tea, while her brother slept in a bed in the same room.
• Australia
29 Jun 07
My heart goes out to you, and I congratulate you on surviving the torment of your childhood. I have 2 young cousins who were raped by their babysitter. the whole ordeal turned very ugly, and one of the girls no longer lives at home, because of the reaction she got from her parents. Basically, she was told *Look at all this trouble you caused. Just because you couldn't keep your mouth shut*. It's horriffic and the abuser was given a very lenient sentence, even thouh this was not his first offence, because the prosecution argued that he had a lower than average mental capacity. I am tired of *do-gooders* and political correctness setting these monsters free to prey on our kids. Much harsher sentences are needed, with mandatory psychiatric treatment. I am the mother of 2 young boys, and I am constantly paying attention to who is talking to them, etc. They are my whole world, and heaven help anyone who would dare to steal their innocence.
• Australia
29 Jun 07
Oh thank you for your effort in sharing your views. I have read your post completely and I've learned something. Very informative and worth posting here in mylot. Sorry to hear that you have been a victim of this too. So far, Ive got one cousin that was raped by her father.
@FSCAries (881)
• United States
29 Jun 07
That's good information to know, I just would like to think I never will run into any!
@liranlgo (5749)
• Israel
29 Jun 07
First of all i have to say that you choose a nice name. hadassah is the second name of the queen ester. and she is a hero in the bible. Now lets get to the response itself. I do know how to spot a pedophile among my friends and family. All you have to do is look at this persons behaviour when he or she is near children. Usually the eyes say everything, and the mimics of the face. There are alote of intelligent pedophiles, and it is going to take a long time to trace them if you will look for only the points that you said here. So i re-command looking at his face mimics, it can not lie.
@soccermom (3200)
• United States
28 Jun 07
All the behavior you described could go either way Hada, you could actually be describing mt MIL, and I'm positive she is not a pedophile. But like I said, it could go either way. My oldest daughter was sexually assaulted by my now ex husband when she was 3 and 4 years old. NOBODY ever suspected this was going on, including myself. I have spoken about this alot here. My daughter didn't ever say anything until after him and I had seperated for other reasons, and even then it was just changes in her language that alerted me. Things like "daddy likes it when I pose in the bathtub." I reported him and after a long, traumatic court process he was sentenced to 6 years, he took a plea deal, he was looking at 30. The guilt I felt as a mother was unbearable for quite a long time, as well as the shame to find out had been "duped" by this man. He had a history of preying on single mothers and I was one of them. Thank you for your discussion and bringing more light to a growing problem in this country.