Friday, December 15, 2017

Protecting against predators


Last week I sat with my 11-year-old twin boys and explained to them what a paedophile is. They were utterly disgusted that there are such “sickos” in the world who would sexually prey on children.
I felt great sadness as I shuddered at the thought of the number of predators out there ready to lure our children who cannot peacefully enjoy an innocent childhood in today’s world.
When I saw the photos on social media of the alleged paedophile clad in a green T-shirt, his hands and feet bound with plastic straps I thanked God that he was caught and stopped from harming that 11-year-old girl or any other children.
I have seen some comments from people defending the man, saying that he did not do anything wrong and there could be more to the story.
This is why society is in such a mess. When a grown man demands a phone number from a child dressed in her school uniform and then messages her phone and demands a meeting, how can anyone defend that?
Because of the intervention of her mother that girl was saved from who knows what horror. She could have been the one bound and beaten; she could have been raped, tortured, made to carry out his sick fantasies, and she could have been killed.
The Children’s Authority praised the mother for being proactive in protecting her child but called on the public to report all such incidents to the police and not engage in vigilante justice.
While this may seem the sensible and right thing to do, in the country we live in today, justice sometimes seems a distant dream.
A mother’s love has no limits and any parent, be it mother or father, would even kill in defence of their child.
This year, a Texas mother helped catch an alleged paedophile by posing as her nine-year-old daughter.
Jonathan Ashley Butler, 36, was arrested on February 12 after driving to meet who he thought was a nine-year-old girl for sex.
According to an online news report, communication between Butler and the girl was discovered when the nine-year-old left her cellphone in her mother’s car.
The mother checked her daughter’s text messages and was taken aback when she saw a conversation between her daughter and Butler.
The mother began texting Butler herself, posing as her daughter. They texted back and forth for a while, then she propositioned Butler to see what his response would be.
“I say to him, ‘I want you to be my first.’ He said, ‘You know I could get in so much trouble, though,’” the mother was quoted saying in the report.
After Butler agreed to have sex with the nine-year-old girl, the mother immediately called the police. He was arrested and charged with solicitation of a minor, a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
There was also a report where a Texas father beat to death a man whom he found raping his five-year-old daughter.
A grand county jury decided not to press charges against the 23-year-old father after he killed 47- year-old Jesus Mora Flores for raping his child.
The report stated that under Texas state law, deadly force is authorised and justified in order to stop an aggravated sexual assault.
What are our laws here? There is need for more public education on our laws as it relates to our children and their protection.
While the authorities need to continue to play their part in apprehending and prosecuting these predators, the greatest responsibility lies in the hands of parents to talk to their children and build that unbreakable trust. Also, does an 11-year-old really need a smartphone? We as parents have to make that “call”.
Thankfully that 11-year-old girl related the incident to her mother and that is because the child trusts her mother and sees her as her protector.
There are many children out there who can fall easy prey to the many perverts who use social media as their sexual trap. I have had patients share some harrowing stories of how their young daughters were wooed by men online/on Facebook and whom they actually met without thinking of the dangers.
We as parents need to talk to our children more openly, talk to them about sex, about the ghastly things that could happen to them should they put their trust in strangers.
These sickos don’t walk with a sign on their foreheads saying they are sexual predators; they could be anyone, from the accountant, the doctor, the garbage man, the taxi driver, the pundit, the imam or the priest to the trusted “uncle” or neighbour next door. Unfortunately, not a soul can be trusted, and this must be drilled into our children’s minds.
Our children today face so many more dangers.
In Toronto, Canada this year, 13 men were arrested after police cracked a paedophile ring following a three-year investigation. The men caught were between the ages of 27 and 74 and could face charges linked to the sexual exploitation of children.
More than 150 officers were involved in this case.
Unfortunately, we do not have that kind of manpower in our Police Service to protect our children. We therefore have a duty to start our policing at home.