When our sons were very little, we did what every good parent does to try and prepare our children for the worst case scenario in a public place—they can’t find mommy or daddy. What we taught them to do is something I think every parent should consider. It wasn’t the easiest because it contradicted what was in the main stream. To me, it seemed like the safest of any option and we still live by it today.
Something to think about: a uniform is a pretty easy thing to counterfeit. A store employee or even a police officer’s attire is not hard to come by, and the lamest counterfeit will pass the scrutiny of terrified child. The simple fact that you can get a job at Wal-Mart does not make you a good person. AND, a pedophile knows that we teach children to look for that familiar and easy to recognize clothing. If they’re going out to abduct a child from a public venue, what might they be wearing? So is it really smart to teach our children that they should trust someone who looks like a police officer, or like someone who works in the place where they’ve gotten lost? And when they’re scared, do you really think they’re going to remember what employees of the place are supposed to be wearing?
I taught my sons to look for a woman, ANY woman. If it happens to be a woman in one of those easily recognizable uniforms, all that much better. But really, pick a lady who looks friendly to you and go right up to her. Tell her you’re lost and you need help. Is it possible that someone who is female will hurt my child? Definitely possible! Is it likely? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Of every possible and every likely scenario, my child being abducted by, beaten by, or sexually assaulted by a female after getting lost in a public place is so unlikely that I’d bet my right leg it would not happen.
The world is filled with a lot of wonderful, kind, and loving men. I am blessed to count them among my dearest friends, colleagues, and family members. I know for a fact that my husband would drop everything to help a lost child. But the sad reality is that if you want to give your child the best shot at staying safe when they’re alone, teaching them to gravitate toward women is their best odds. And odds are really all that stands between them and a lot of bad stuff. No decision is a sure thing.
In preparation for this post, I’ve been researching the latest statistics on crimes against children. Specifically, I wanted to know what percentage of violent crimes against young children (12 & under) are committed by women. I’m not finding much information on that and I tend to believe that this is because the answer is “not very many”.
What today’s research has taught me is that comparatively few children are actually abducted by strangers; something like 300 to 500 per year nationwide. That’s 300 to 500 too many and so we have to teach this stuff. But the reality sets in when you read how many are abducted by a familiar non-family member. Then it gets down-right nauseating when you start getting into what crimes family members tend to commit against children. This is not my area of expertise, but it’s worth mentioning that ¾ of all abducted victims are female and 51% are adolescent.
How do we keep them safe from all of THAT? I have no idea. Martial Arts seems like a good start…