Some child molesters jump out of bushes and molest your child on their way home from school. But more likely, he is your friendly neighbour or attentive house-help, or even a charming relative.
It could be the son of a friend who is all too willing to babysit your children, the paedophile in your circle may be the schoolteacher, the bus driver, the youth worker or the lay preacher at your place of worship.
Note that sexual predators lurk around and target vulnerable children, but even if your child is not ‘vulnerable’, a predator may groom your child, at first in a non-sexual manner right under your nose, till they find the opportunity to strike.
Who Is A Pedophile?
Simply put, a paedophile is someone who is sexually interested in children. As a medical diagnosis, paedophilia is a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents characterised by a primary or fixated sexual attraction to prepubescent children (generally 13 years or younger).
How Can You Spot A Paedophile?
Is someone already grooming your child for the abuse they intend to perpetrate soon? Below are a few signs to help you spot a potential abuser.
1.The Average Joe:
Don’t be fooled by a person’s appearance, outward propriety or importance in the community, when seeking out a child sexual offender.
Also, paedophiles are almost always men. They could be married or not; it doesn’t really matter, and they work in a very wide range of occupations, from unskilled work up to corporate executives.
What to look out for is someone who relates better to children than to adults, and has either very few adult friends or whose friends might also be sex offenders.
Signs to watch for: paedophiles usually prefer children in one specific age group, such as infants and toddlers, children between six and ten years old, or “tweens” and young teenagers up to the age of 16.
2. Child-Related Workers
While paedophiles can work anywhere, they do find ways to be around children as often as possible. It may not be their principal profession, such as a teacher or priest, but a voluntary or weekend position as a sports coach, camp counsellor, school bus driver, daycare worker, Boy Scout leader, church or secular youth worker can provide the contact with children they need.
Watch out for teacher adoration beyond the bounds of a normal crush, accompanied by “secret” phone calls and special individual attention.
3. Close Relatives And Partners
How often have do we read of fathers and close relatives, such as stepfather, uncle, grandfather or live-in boyfriend of the mother tainting the sexual innocence of little children?
The incestous or family molester is very often a smooth operator and more likely to make sure that their victim never opens up.
Single mothers are easy prey for sexual predators whose real intention is to hit on the child, while continuing a sexual relationship with the mother.
Children are silent for a number of reasons – they may feel “special” with all the attention being paid them, and they may love the abusive adult.
Or their silence may be achieved by the abuser threatening the child with splitting up or somehow damaging the family if he or she reveals the relationship, or by making the victim feel they are dirty, naughty and to blame for what has occurred.
A person concerned about child molestation going on in a relative’s home may be surprised to find that the mother of the child is aware, and complicit, for similar reasons of feeling intimidated by the molester and not wanting the “family” to split up should the situation be revealed.
4. The Generous Molester
Beware of toys or gifts from an unknown source turning up in your child’s possession, even if it is from a known source but is getting quite consistent and excessive.
Paedophiles often like to “buy” your child with presents and often can, in a twisted manner, portray the child as the sexual aggressor after the victim realises he or she can bargain for toys, clothes, outings or games by withholding sexual “favours”.
5. The Always Available Baby-Sitter
Many mothers regard him as a godsend, who will safely mind their children while they go to work, or go out with their friends.
Often a single male with no friends, this sort of paedophile will place himself in a situation where he becomes the go-to-guy when it comes to where your kids can stay after school or if you need to rush somewhere.
6. The Internet Groomer
While children can be judgmental about a person’s appearance and likely to read a misfit for what he is, the internet has paved the way for sick adults to connect with kids.
Paedophiles may be loners and outcasts in real life, but protected by the internet, they can assume whatever image that helps them attract their victim.
7. The Damaged
Paedophiles are often the victims of child molestation themselves.
“Paedophiles who were child molestation victims frequently seek out children at the age or stage of physical development at which they were molested, and are able to more easily justify their repetition of history.”
According to Candace Sutton, who has spent decades working as a crime reporter covering cases of sex offenders, murderers, and child sex offenders.
8. The Good-Looking, Charmer
People tend to judge others by their superficial appearances, and no doubt, good-looking charming people enjoy the easy friendship and good will of others.
But if you are trying to spot a paedophile, a handsome face and cute smile don’t say much. Paedophiles can be charming, attractive men with social graces and an easy manner. They may be respected community members.
They know how to play upon a child’s need for attention and affection and come across as being helpful and trustworthy.