MIAMI (CBS4) – Right now a serious email about an extremely serious topic is flying around the Internet. It’s titled ‘tricky people’ are the new strangers. It addresses who out there really will molest and rape your children and it’s likely not who you’d think.
A rape victim spoke candidly about her years being abused from age 7 to 17.
“I was 7 years old when I started being molested by my father. When I was 12 years old is when I started being physically raped by my father,” said Castanda Paul.
It’s a hard story to tell and a hard one to hear.
“He would go and say something about it being in the bible and say it was ok,” Paul explained to CBS4’s Cynthia Demos.
Castanda is 18 now. She says she has no problem showing her face and talking about what happened because her goal now is to help others. “The hurt I went through I didn’t want another child to go through that. ”
Castanda was tricked her whole life. Now this e-mail which was first posted on checklistmommy.com by blogger Sarah Levy is circulating the Internet and showing up on e-newsletter sites talking about just that, how to keep your kids safe from tricky people.
The expert in this email, Pattie Fitizgerald from SafelyEverAfter.com has held seminars on this subject is in California. But we found local experts here at The Kristi House. Trudy Novicki is Executive Director. “I think it’s great. “I think any attention on child sexual abuse is good,” Novicki told Demos.
While “stranger danger” is not a bad thing to teach, Novicki told Demos, it’s not the most important thing. “So much of our abuse is incest.”
The statistics are startling. 5% of kids who are molested will be victims of strangers. The other 95% will be victims of people they know and trust. Those are the tricky people!
“Be careful of the babysitter, the older cousin, the assistant at church, the assistant to the soccer coach,” cautioned Novicki. “Anyone who only wants to spend time with kids and never adults, someone who volunteers to babysit for no money, someone who gives a child expensive gifts for no reason. And know when they’re manipulating your child, they’re manipulating you! So parents who think they have a coach or teacher or clergy that’s so attentive and a good role model and almost like another parent, well then you should think again.”
But more than anything, if you think you should keep a keen eye out for that dirty old man, you’re wrong.
The median age of a perpetrator is a 14-year old boy
Novicki also said that you should teach your kids from the time they speak, to use the words penis and vagina, the anatomically correct name of their body parts.
“You can be sure that if a child says don’t touch my vagina it’s going to have much more of an impact on someone than if the child stays there silent,” said Novicki.
Afterall, 1 in 6 girls and 1 in 10 boys will be molested.
“Their molester was often the person in family giving them the most attention,” said Novicki.
That was the case for Castanda. Her father showered her with attention and gifts and activities. We asked her if her mother knew what was happening all those years.
“She thought something like that could happen but she never really thought it was capable of this,” said Castanda.
The experts say if there is any doubt, there should be action.
“You think in Castanda’s case there were more red flags the mother should have paid attention to?” asked Demos.
“Absolutely,” responded Novicki. “Absolutely.”
We checked Broward County records and found Castanda’s father has been charged with seven counts of sexual battery and lewd and lascivious battery on a child. He is making his way through the court system. As far as becoming more educated on how to talk to your kids about tricky people, the Kristi House offers free classes say every parent should have.