It is unimaginable that three children could be abducted, imprisoned and multiply abused for a decade. But truly, abuse like this happens to many thousands of children in private homes right under our noses. Cleveland was such a rare case, and yet it all sounded so familiar.
What can we do? Protect our own children by giving them all the good info we can from good resources like Kidpower or Gavin DeBecker’s books such as “Protecting the Gift.” And do not scare them in the process—that doesn’t help at all.
Also, report anything that looks suspicious. Then, as we tell our students, tell and tell and tell until someone does something about it. In this post-9/11 era, we need to be aware, have courage and help each other.
Kidpower International Director Irene van der Zande shared this from her upcoming book, “Doing Right by Our Kids,” co-authored by Dr. Amy Tiemann,
“…what if the girls this man abducted [in Cleveland] had truly known HOW to resist being tricked into accepting a ride, and [had known] to make sure that a parent or other adult knew…
Please remind all young people who go out on their own to let their parents or other adults who care about them know BEFORE they change their plan. Attackers might act friendly, charming, and kind, to get people they are planning to harm to lower their guard. Attackers want privacy and control. If you get in a car or go to a house alone, in a way that no one else knows, you might be putting yourself in that person’s power.”
See the Kidpower website for lots of good information.