Frequently there are reports in the media that some adult occupying a position of trust has abused that trust and inappropriately had contact with a minor child. Adults accused of inappropriate contact come from all social strata, religions, races, and occupations. Seattle PI.Com is reporting in the article, Voice teacher accused of persuading student to strip to sing better:
A former community college instructor in Tacoma faces accusations that he convinced a student that she could improve her vocal range by getting naking or touching herself sexually.
The News Tribune says Kevin Gausepohl, 37, is charged with seven counts of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and one count of obstructing a law enforcement officer. The charges he faces are midemeanors.
He is a former music instructor at Tacoma Community College. He is accused of telling a Gig Harbor student — a 17-year-old girl attending college as part of the Running Start program — that he was studying how sexual arousal could change vocal range. http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/Vocal-teacher-accused-of-persuading-student-to-2432792.php#ixzz1i3Z9NVlf
This guy abused his authority and violated his position of trust.
A rudimentary definition of sexual abuse is found at the link Sexual Abuse:
If a child is involved, the following activities are a few examples considered to be sexual abuse:
· Touching of a child’s private parts
· A child touching someone else’s genitals
· Sexual intercourse
· Obscene phone calls
· Watching sexual activity
Keep in mind these examples do not constitute a legal definition of sexual abuse. Each state defines what constitutes sexual abuse in that state. Generally, sexual abuse occurs when an adult person makes sexual contact with a child or there is forced sexual contact by a peer of the child.
For a good description of personal boundaries see the descriptions by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen who describes both healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
A personal boundary is a space around yourself that gives you a clear sense of who you are and where you’re going. When you choose who you allow into your physical, emotional and mental space you’re activating your personal boundaries.
For example, if your mother or child asks for a ride to the mall and you can’t say no without guilt, then you’re not protecting your personal boundaries. If your colleague consistently sloughs off her work for you to do and you haven’t figured out how to stop, then you’re not protecting your personal boundaries.
The key to healthy relationships is a strong sense of personal boundaries. If your boundaries are collapsed or inflexible, your relationships will suffer….
Personal boundaries are evident and effective when you know who you are, and treat yourself and others with respect. If you have healthy boundaries, you may:
Feel free to say yes or no without guilt, anger or fear.
Refuse to tolerate abuse or disrespect.
Know when a problem is yours or another person’s – and refuse to take on others’ problems.
Have a strong sense of identity.
Share responsibility with others, and expect reciprocity in relationships.
Feel freedom, security, peace, joy and confidence.
How do you set healthy boundaries?
Setting healthy boundaries involves taking care of yourself and knowing what you like, need, want, and don’t want. The best time to set personal boundaries is before they’re being encroached upon.
Two steps to healthy personal boundaries:
Be honest with yourself with your true feelings and opinions.
Share your feelings and opinions with others.
The college professor was not who many feel would fit the picture of a molester, but he was. So, are the Mary Kays of this world, molesters all.
What is a Criminal Background Check?
The legal definition of a “criminal background check” focuses upon the review of public records. Legal Definition of Criminal Background Check
A criminal history background information check is the review of any and all records containing any information collected and stored in the criminal record repository of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state Department of Public Safety, or any other repository of criminal history records, involving a pending arrest or conviction by a criminal justice agency, including, but not limited to, child abuse crime information, conviction record information, fingerprint cards, correctional induction and release information, identifiable descriptions and notations of convictions; provided, however, dissemination of such information is not forbidden by order of any court of competent jurisdiction or by federal law. Criminal history background information generally does not include any analytical records or investigative reports that contain criminal intelligence information or criminal investigation information….
Parents should be aware of any criminal record, but they should focus on crimes of violence and sexual crimes like rape. Is the person a known registered sex offender?
The US Department of State describes the different ways that an individual can demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record. State Department Criminal Records Check
LOCAL POLICE CHECK: Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way they deem appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.
FBI RECORDS CHECK: The Criminal Justice Information Services centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting a written request to the CJIS . The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided.
If you are interested in a criminal background check, the CASA program lists resources for each state. Casa State Background List
How to Recognize Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children
Shelia Wilkinson describes signs of sexual abuse in children. Sexual Abuse Behaviors Among the signs she tells parents to observe are:
1. Pay attention to your child’s posture. If your child suddenly has pain or difficulty sitting or walking, talk to them. Check out their bodies but be prepared that they may fight you on this. Abusers often threaten to harm the children or their families or pets and your child may be terrified.
2. Look for adult behaviors. Suddenly seductive rubbing on or around the genital area, using sexual words or adult, flirty behavior. …
3. Watch for sudden shyness or fearfulness. Refusing suddenly to change in front of others or in gym class is common. So are nightmares, bedwetting and sleeplessness….
4. Know your child’s habits. Are they suddenly eating a great deal more or less? Do they want to be alone more or never alone at all? Are they afraid or reluctant to go places they always enjoyed? Do they talk about or try running away? Daycare, school, friends’ and relatives’ homes, the nursery at church, all seem like safe places but these are the places where kids most often get abused.
5. For older children, pregnancy or contracting an STD may not be promiscuity. It may be sexual abuse. ….
6. Talk to others–discreetly. Getting to know your child’s teachers, principal, nursery workers and sitters is extremely important if you want to ensure your child’s safety.
7. Listen to your child. The last warning sign is the most important. If your child talks about or reports sexual abuse, believe it to be true. The evidence is very clear that this is not something that children make up…..
8. Remember to take action if you have suspicions…..
Don’t be afraid to gently ask your child about their experiences in different settings like school, daycare or recreational activities. Listen to them and any cues they provide. Abuse sometimes happens to infants and toddlers. Since an infant is too young to verbalize what is happening there are certain signs that a parent should look for. Dr. F. Felicia Ferrara’s video describes what parents should observe in infants and toddlers. Infant and Toddler Abuse Parents should look for strange rashes and an unusual fear of people as possible clues that something might be wrong.
What to do if You Suspect Your Child has been Abused or Molested
The National Child Trauma Stress Network has excellent resource material available. National Trauma Stress Network They suggest the following actions’ if you suspect your child has been abused:
1. Stay calm…..
2. Believe your child, and let your child know that he or she is not to blame for what happened. Praise your child for being brave and for telling about the sexual abuse.
3. Protect your child by getting him or her away from the abuser and immediately reporting the abuse to local authorities. If you are not sure who, to contact, call the ChildHelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453; http:// http://www.childhelp.org/get_help) or, for immediate help, call 911.
4. Get help. In addition to getting medical care to address any physical damage your child may have suffered (including sexually transmitted diseases), it is important that your child have an opportunity to talk with a mental health professional who specializes in child sexual abuse. Therapy has been shown to successfully reduce distress in families and the effects of sexual abuse on children. Many communities have local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) that offer coordinated support and services to victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse. For a state-by-state listing of accredited CACs, visit the website of the National Children’s Alliance
5. Reassure your child that he or she is loved, accepted and an important family member. Don’t make promises you can’t keep (such as saying you won’t tell anyone about the abuse), but let your child know that you will do everything in your power to protect him or her from harm.
6. Keep your child informed about what will happen next, particularly with regard to legal actions. (For more information on helping abused children cope with the stress of dealing with the legal system, see the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s factsheet, Child Sexual Abuse: Coping with the Emotional Stress of the Legal System, available on the web.
It is not the child’s fault that he or she has been abused It is the fault of the abuser and parents must emphasize that what occurred is not the child’s fault.
What can Parents do to Prevent Their Child from being a Victim
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should take the following steps. Sex Abuse Prevention
· Talk to your child about sexual abuse. If your child’s school sponsors a sexual abuse program, discuss what he learned.
· Teach your child which body parts are private (parts covered by a bathing suit) and the proper names of those parts. Let him know that his body belongs to him. Tell him to yell “no” or “stop” to anyone who may threaten him sexually.
· Listen when your child tries to tell you something, especially when it seems hard for him to talk about it. Make sure your child knows it’s OK to tell you about any attempt to molest him or touch him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable, no matter who the abuser may be. Let him know he can trust you and that you will not be angry with him if he tells you.
· Give your child enough time and attention. Weekly family meetings can be used to talk about all good and bad experiences.
· Know the adults and children with whom your child is spending time. Be careful about allowing your child to spend time alone or in out-of-the-way places with other adults or older children. Make visits to your child’s caregiver without notice. Ask your child about his visits to the caregiver or with child sitters.
· Never let your child enter a stranger’s home without a parent or trusted adult. Door-to-door fund-raising is particularly risky for unsupervised children.
· Check to see if your child’s school has an abuse prevention program for the teachers and children. If it doesn’t, start one.
· Tell someone in authority if you suspect that your child or someone else’s child is being abused.
The world can sometimes harbor dangers, but parents must be ever vigilant and always aware of their child’s world to prevent predators from robbing their child of their childhood. Hopefully, the vigilance of the parents and the community will prevent more children from an experience that will take away their childhood and sometimes can take their life.
Dr. Wilda says this about that ©