For a moment, I want to talk about a subject many of us would rather avoid. But we cannot avoid it if we are concerned about our children and the children in our schools and churches. Recently I had Boz Tchividijian on my program to talk about how to protect our children from sex offenders.
He is the Executive Director of G.R.A.C.E (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) and has also served as an Assistant State Attorney dealing with sex offenders. He has written an article on five things you should know about child sexual offenders.
The first thing we should know is that offenders have many victims. That means that they most likely have victimized others long before they were caught. And it means that most who claim this was the only child they victimized are lying.
Second, offenders can be the most unsuspecting people. We expect every sex offender to be a “creepy guy.” That is not true. They are not easy to identify.
Also, offenders are not strangers. In the past, we told our kids that strangers could mean danger. While that is true, it perhaps gives our children a false sense of security. Only 10 percent of child molesters molest children they do not know.
Offenders often prey upon trusting and vulnerable young people. In order to gain access, an offender will have to take a potential victim through a “grooming” process. Once a relationship is established, the perpetrator is free to abuse.
Finally, offenders are often attracted to the faith community. They actually consider church people easy to fool. Christians and churches are often very trusting and provide an environment where sex offenders can easily gain access to children. Most churches are in need of volunteers. If someone steps forward to work in a church program, they are enthusiastically greeted. A church’s constant need for volunteers can easily cloud the church leaders’ judgment unless they are attentive to this potential problem.
We may not like to think about sex offenders, but we need to pay attention so we can protect the children.