Please read my earlier post: “When Evil Strikes in the Form of Sexual Predator” describing the situation that compels me to research and write this blog.
I have created this “lesson” post for all parents, home schoolers, teachers, and others to use with children. The credit goes to the authors, officers, and educators such as “Action Against Violence” (AAF) – also known as Action Fighting Arts (AFA), Keep Schools Safe and Kid Escape.
I do not want to scare kids, I want them to be prepared; the Boy Scout motto with a twist: “Prepare for the Worst and get the Least.”
Our world may seem civilized for the most part, but the veneer is thin and cracking. For you to achieve your goals as parents (Moral and Self-Reliant Children) then you must be willing to educate them even on the uncomfortable subjects you pray your kids never have to deal with.
As a parent, you are your child’s super hero. As unpleasant as this subject may be, please find the strength within to confront and teach yourself and your children how to deal with the Super Villain – the Sexual Predator.
As Predators enjoy the younger, less educated and mature kids (translation: kids that won’t put up as much of a fight), then you need to figure out how to take pieces of these lessons and start educating them very, very young.
Lesson One: “The Talk”
If you haven’t had the “sex” talk it is time to tell them the truth about how our bodies work together in tandem. They need to understand enough basics to grasp which parts of the body are off limits to anyone but their chosen mate when they reach adulthood.
You can use a photo book designed to help you with this. There are many choices, a few are:
Mommy Laid an Egg: Or, Where Do Babies Come from? by Babette Cole
Go over the following word definitions yourself first and then decide which ones you want to share with your children. Older kids can usually understand the difference between these words and should know all of them. If your child is much younger, change the words in the definition, making it easier for them to get the concept.
They have or will hear these words spoken in school, on the news or out of your mouth. You are doing them a disservice if your form of protection is ignorance of their meaning.
Allow them to ask any questions, without fear of your own personal reactions and bias.
You don’t have to make it too serious, sometimes kids joke to release mental pressure, so don’t get angry with them; let them speak freely.
If they begin to tell you about past incidents they have seen, heard, or experienced – let them, and with no interruption or reaction on your part. Thank them for telling you. Do NOT tell them it is “all in their imagination” or how that “couldn’t have happened” – no matter how far-fetched the story is. They might be testing you at first to see if you are going to invalidate them. They must be able to trust you with their secrets without fear of “getting into trouble” or you will never hear those true secrets.
Encourage them to communicate on this subject; it is the facing (confronting) and communicating (talking, writing, drawing, etc.) on the subject that brings about their bravery and a willingness to do something about it.
This particular villain thrives and flourishes in families that are too scared to confront (face) and prepare against his evil.
Pedophile: An adult sexually attracted to young children. A child molester is a pedophile, but the molester acts on his attraction.
Child Molester: Someone (stranger, friend, or family) who touches you in an unwanted or improper sexual way or makes you perform sexual activities against your will.
Sexual Predator: A predator searches out his prey (like a hawk finding mice to eat). The predator can use computers, theatres, shopping malls, or any kid locations to find “prey” that they can attack and hurt kids in a sexual way.
Child Sexual Abuse: This means any time an adult or another child forces you or tricks you into some sexual activity. It includes showing you naked photos, touching your body, making you have sex with others or them. Using any object to enter your body in any open hole you have.
Sexual Harassment: To harass someone is to really annoy you verbally (with words), visually (with sight) or physically. For something to be Sexual Harassment, it has to be of a sexual nature. The person’s behavior is unwelcome. Some examples of Sexual Harassment that you should report to your parents, teachers, or adults in charge are:
Verbal or written: Someone asking or threatening you to touch their body anywhere that makes you uncomfortable. Anyone making sexual jokes, or telling you stories of a sexual nature that makes you uncomfortable. Anyone asking you out on a date repeatedly, after you have already said no.
Physical: hitting you; preventing or blocking you from getting away; inappropriate touching of a person or a person’s clothing; kissing, hugging, patting, stroking.
Nonverbal: Looking up and down a person’s body; hand or body gestures or facial expressions of a sexual nature; following a person.
Visual: Posters, drawings, pictures, screensavers or emails of a sexual nature
Lesson Two: Know Your Secret Weapons
The key to changing a molester’s mind about what he wants to do to you is to make him spend more time than he wants at the first place he finds you or your child, the initial (first) crime scene.
The goal of this lesson is to make the molester spend more time than he wants to at the initial crime scene. You do these by becoming a Tough Target Child (TTC). In these lessons you will be taught how be become a TTC.
Behind the Evil Mask: You need to know how these Chicken Hawks think and what they expect, so you will do the opposite.
Directly from the Action Against Violence website:
- He expects you to freeze like a deer in the headlights when he first touches you.
- He expects you to hold your breath and he knows that you cannot fight effectively without breathing!
- He expects you to say nothing and do nothing for the first 30 seconds of the attack.
- He expects you to fight against his strength with your strength (he grabs you by the throat and begins to squeeze & you expend whatever breath you have left attempting to pry his much stronger hands off your throat).
- He expects you to LILO – Lock In and Lock Out, meaning you will Lock In only one singular body area to counterattack, if you do counterattack at all, and tragically Lock Out all other possible targets of counterattack.
Your Secret Weapon: A predator’s weapon is surprise. Your secret weapon to counter his weapon is simple:
Do what the attacker least expects you to do and to do it with the force you can muster while not backing down for anything (absolute commitment).
Lesson Three – Trust & Personal Safety Zone (PSZ)
Choose a Safety Coach (Parent, Teacher, or other) and run scenarios to drill the children in each of the following lessons.
How does a kid decide whom to trust? This requires more listening than talking on the Safety Coach’s part. Most often it is a family member, family friend, or trusted employee that molests a child or adult.
The hardest thing is for a child to go with his gut. He has senses, and he needs to rely on them.
Drill #1: Create a Gold List. Ask the child for a list of people who does not “give them the creeps”, and they would feel safe alone with?
This is their Gold List. This list changes as life goes on and people do or say things to them. Reassure them it is okay to add or remove people from this list at any time, it is their list – no one else’s. They can write it down or keep it in their head.
Once Kids have their Gold List identified, they need to be both aware and able to control their personal space.
Drill #2: Defining Your PSZ. Have them hold the hula-hoop around their waist to define their own Personal Safety Zone (PSZ). They allow no one save those friends and family they fully trust (on their Gold List) into that zone.
The Safety Coach role-plays scenarios with the child to teach them what to do if a non-Gold Lister attempts to enter their PSZ without his or her permission, but not necessarily grab at them. If they grab at them, that triggers another drill.
Have the child practice:
- Step Away
- Slide Away, recreating their space
- Put an environmental barricade between himself (the child) and the non-Gold Lister
Drill #3: Getting the CREEPS! If someone “gives you the creeps”, they automatically are a Non-Gold Lister. Re-enforce that they must always trust their gut. If they are getting that “creepy” feeling, they are to move away and put as much distance between himself and the creepy person (kid or adult alike).
- Have them drill getting a creepy feeling about someone one and moving away quickly, putting as much distance as possible between them.
- Have them run in a zigzag or serpentine fashion away from a possible attacker.
- Have them practice always remaining in the company of at least one other child. Two children together have an 80% less chance of abduction per Action Fighting Arts.
Lesson Four – First Touch Trigger
The predator usually chooses victims who are quiet, timid, and still. Nearly 9 out of 10 victims freeze at first touch. To teach the child to be a Tough Target Child (TTC), you have to teach them to use this first touch as a trigger to explode into action.
Drill #4: Being Touched from Behind. Have the Safety Coach touch the child from behind, teaching the child to quickly swing their arms and hands towards their head – as if they were Elvis combing his hair- to escape the arm grab that most predators go for.
Then have them step and move away while shouting at the Chicken Hawk. If there are other people in the area shout, “Hey, This guy is not my father!” and other appropriate words to attract other adult attention to them.
Have them GO CRAZY – I kid you not. They have permission in this circumstance to act as crazy as they can. Examples of crazy are: loud, profane, nasty, moving around non-stop, hands and fists pumping, rolls on the floor while yelling, staring at the Bad Guy: C-R-A-Z-Y! You want them draw attention to themselves and startle the Chicken Hawk.
The child should use “Going CRAZY” technique for all remaining drills.
Lesson Five: Kid Escape Delaying Tactics
These drills are taken directly from the 35-year retired Police Officer, Harry A Widger or “Hammer”. He has successfully used the tactics to drill children and adults alike who have in turn avoided abduction.
A tactic is an action carefully planned to bring about a specific end goal. In our case, the goal is to delay the predator and make him/her change his mind about touching, hurting or taking you.
The National Center for Missing and Abducted Children studied 403 attempted kidnappings from February 2005 to July 2006 and discovered a ray of hope for concerned parents;
Children who fought their attacker had a 60% chance of escaping their abductor. About 10% of the children who were attacked were able to escape their abductor “when an adult or another child just happened by—“
Choose a Safety Coach (Parent, Teacher, or other) and run scenarios to drill the children in each of these actions:
Drill #5: Run while Looking at the Predator. Predators are SCARED cowards on the inside. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be so sneaky and pick the quite, easy kid who freezes. The more you see them with your eyes and stare them down, the more afraid they become. They know you will remember more about them when you describe them to your parents and the police.
After you run away from the Safety Coach, describe everything you remember seeing to a 2nd Coach, without looking back at the original Safety Coach. This gives you practice in noticing clothes, colors, and physical descriptions even when you are scared.
Drill #6: Use Barricades in the Environment to Delay the Attacker. For example, if the child is near a swimming pool or on the water on a towable tube and can swim, they could jump in and swim to the middle; Bad Guys would have a hard time fishing them out of the water. If there is a car, tree or something else that they can run around and grab while holding on tight, like a game of “You can’t catch me.” Ensure they stay CRAZY, as per the earlier drill. In a later lesson, they will drill Grip, Dip, and Spin if the Chicken Hawk is persisting and grabs them.
Drill #7: Your Shirt is on Fire! Have the child quickly drop to the ground as if their shirt is on fire and roll as if they are trying to put the fire out. Adults have a tough time catching a kid who is on the ground and does this sort of thing. In a later lesson, they will drill Grip, Dip and Spin if the Chicken Hawk is persisting and succeeds in grabbing them. They key is to STAY on the ground; not physically picked up and put in a vehicle.
Drill #8: The Crab Walk. After playing “Shirt on Fire,” have your child face the Bad Guy and drop, placing the palms of both hands on the floor while raising his or her butt slightly off the floor. Have him quickly crab walk backwards away from the Bad Guy. Scramble away as quickly as possible. By doing this the child can cause the Bad Guy even more of a delay and make his Internal Clock tick even louder. He might break off the attack. Ensure the child is MAKING NOISE and being crazy.
Drill #9: Destroy the Environment. Some predators will tell you, “I am in your house and you invited me in, so no one is ever going to believe you that I hurt you.” The way to get around this is to go nuts and start throwing things through the windows (windows are messy and make noise when they break), breaking and smashing things around the house, etc. This way there will be no doubt in parents or police minds that there was some form of attack and fight.
Have the child look around and locate things he could quickly use to smash windows or break that would show there was an attack and fight, proving he is not an easy target that “no one will believe.” You can do a mock demonstration of this with the child.
Lesson Six: Refusal to Go – Fighting Back
“Self Defense is not an injury free endeavor.” Kids have been able to save themselves from being abducted.” John Hall, Kid Escape DVD
Thousands of children have been abducted from their own beds with their parents only a few yards away. Teach them to save themselves by latching on to a bedpost, a chair – anything hard to pick up or by curling up into a ball and screaming as loud as they can.
You have to emphasize that the Bad Guy might try to beat the child and may even hurt the child, but they cannot back down and give in.
John Hall produced a Kid Escape DVD. You can view his DVD and show your kids these moves. Practice the techniques with them
“Kidnappers want speed and control.”
“Kidnappers want “speed” in their first approach so if your children DELAY being moved by sitting on the ground, precious seconds pass and now abductors are more worried about getting caught.
So what is a kidnapper’s next instinct? It’s to pull AWAY from your children and then run away from them. Imagine the mystified look on a kidnapper’s face as your kid plays “twister” on the ground.”
Drill #10: Pole Grab. This survival technique works well both in and outdoors per AAF. You would be surprised how imaginative your kids can be with this drill. You want them to do this as many times as they need and want to do it. Have them work out many possibilities for the same scenario and drill each of the possibilities. You want them to realize that there are many ways to save themselves so if one way isn’t working for them, they have to keep trying others.
Outdoors: Mock up a scenario whereby the child is out for a walk or bike ride. Have the Safety Coach pull up next to them and attempt to force them into their car or van. The Safety Coach can first ask the child an innocent question to get them to come closer to the van (like to look at a photo, pretend injury, or act hard of hearing).
Have the child grab onto some sort of telephone pole, lamppost, their bike, or even a tree and yell at the top of their lungs, “Help! This man is not my father.” Obviously, you will need to notify neighbors of the drill before hand, or do it privately by reducing the yelling to just a whisper for the drill.
Chicken Hawks are mostly cowards. If they can’t unlatch you, they will usually drive off, as they are worried they might be caught. As they drive off, try to get a look at the man, the vehicle color or car type, and the license plate (if you can), while staying latched to the pole or object until you know you are safe.
Indoors: Mock up a scenario with the child in bed and a Bad Guy comes through the window or door. Teach the child to grab hold of whatever solid thing is around them (a chair, bed frame, desk, etc.) and hold on for dear life, while yelling at the top of their lungs.
If there is nothing around them, drill them to curling up into a tight ball or drop to the floor in the Grip, Dip, and Spin move (see next drill) all the while screaming as loud as they can.
Drill #11: Grip, Dip, and Spin: This is John Hall’s trademarked move. You need to view his demonstration of it and then practice it with your child.
You can find a video demonstration of it on www. Kidescape.org. I showed this clip to my 7-year-old son, and successfully drilled him afterwards. He had fun and found he was very good at it.
This is a very long post, but one near and dear to my heart. If you have children, print out the drills, do your homework and DRILL-DRILL-DRILL.
The social veneer of our society is and always has been very thin. Don’t let yourself or your children fall into one of its ever-widening cracks.
Dana Houston Jackson