Author: Tammy L. Ruggles

Sexually Reactive Children

As parents, teachers, ministers, counselors, and childcare providers, how can we distinguish normal sex play from sexually “acting out”? And what do we do about it if we encounter sexually reactive children who engage in overt and continuous sexual behavior? Six-year-old Jason has been touching his infant foster sister inappropriately. Eight-year-old Alisha undresses younger children on the playground and mimics oral sex. Ten-year-old Adam was caught masturbating a same-age, same-sex playmate in the boys’ bathroom at school. All the above children have one thing in common: They are sexually reactive children, which means that they are acting out in sexual ways because they themselves have been sexually abused in the past. It is learned behavior. These children relate to others in sexual ways because these are behaviors with which they are familiar. They have either watched or participated in sexual acts. Although sexual abuse is a horrible act against anyone, sometimes these young victims don’t understand the dynamics or realize the ramifications. Not all perpetrators behave violently with their young victims, and when or if a child has derived pleasure from the act, It’s even more confusing for them to understand the nature of abuse. Without intervention, redirection, and therapy, these children can grow up to be juvenile and adult sex offenders. Some children are eroticised without becoming offenders, so we should be careful to avoid labeling all sexually...

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Profile Of A Pedophile

Pedophiles don’t have signs on their backs or neon arrows pointing over their heads. It’s easier to believe that the “dirty old man in the park”, rather than the clean-cut bus driver down the street, is a pedophile. Pedophiles aren’t confined to our Catholic churches. They are in Protestant churches, synagogues, and mosques. Some of them are teachers, counselors, scout leaders, truck drivers, factory workers, and youth ministers. In fact, they are wherever children can be found, irrespective of age, race, education, occupation, class, social standing, or income. Celibacy isn’t the reason priests prey on children. sexual attraction to children, and sexual gratification from children, are the reasons. Though there is no hard and fast profile of a pedophile, here are some general characteristics: Popular with both children and adults. Appears to be trustworthy and respectable. Has good standing in the community. Prefers the company of children. Feels more comfortable with children than adults. Is mainly attracted to prepubescent boys and girls. Can be heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual. “Grooms” children with quality time, video games, parties, candy, toys, gifts, money. Singles out children who seem troubled and in need of attention or affection. Often dates or marries women with children that are the age of his preferred victims. Rarely forces or coerces a child into sexual contact. Usually through trust and friendship. Physical contact is gradual, from touching, to...

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