Nowadays, people are required to take a training course in how to Protect our children from sexual predators. Volunteers, teachers, coaches, principals, pastors in my Diocese... This is what has become of our society, a place where worry is too needed. I went to the workshop last night. I watched the video interviews of victims and even a couple of perpetrators. And I was really sad [grossed out, too, but mostly sad]. Some of the information was common sense--what to watch for, what to do if you suspect it.
I was surprised by how calculating the villains were... the planning, the manipulation. It was not pretty, not reassuring. And when I finally walked away, I thought to myself, 'it could be anyone'. It could be the guy who was sitting next to me tonight. It could be a friend. Perhaps we are supposed to guard against paranoia, and I will try. One mother there boldy stated that her children do not go to birthday parties or sleepovers. Part of me applauded her.
Last year, I sent my daughter to a sleepover at her girlfriend's house. And she had a wonderful time. I'd met the parents and I knew the young lady who was their daughter. But the portrayal of these bad guys last night made me think... it doesn't have to occur. Violation of a minor happens, sometimes without that minor knowing. And if I have to worry about what everyone is thinking, if they are planning... well, then I'm screwed.
I guess we need Faith. We need the tools to Protect our Children. Our children need to know they can come to us. They need to know they are cared for and loved. Even when adolescence has thrown monkey wrenches into our communication lines, we have to be strong and brave against what the world is throwing at us today.
It's an uncomfortable topic, but it must be addressed, right?
With love for my children,