In the past month, there have been four charges of exposure or molestation in the Orlando area water parks including Typhoon Lagoon, Wet n Wild & Aquatica. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 7% of boys and 25% of girls will be molested by the age of 18. As a result of the recent events, Orlando’s NBC affiliate, WESH 2 News contacted the President of Total Life Counseling Center to ask Jim West, MA, LMHC, NCC these 3 questions (See News Video Segment Below):
- What can parents do to protect their kids from sexual predators?
- What can a child do if they are touched inappropriately or someone exposes themselves?
- What makes a sex offender do molest children?
- Parents need to be careful not to use water parks and their season passes as a baby sitter for their children at the parks. If a child or teen is touched inappropriately they would rather tell their parents. If their parents are not around they may just feel dirty, shameful, responsible for the act and therefore not say anything at all. Be there at the Park with your children and make sure they tell you where they are at all times.
- Parents need to supervise their children/adolescents and tell them if anyone is following them, making them feel uncomfortable or touches them to come to scream or yell first and tell them immediately. Draw attention to themselves and the perpetrator so the lifeguards and officials can spot the perpetrator.
- Sexual offenders in most cases have been molested as children. When children are molested it’s important to get counseling so they can work through the issues of guilt, feeling dirty or shameful. Additionally, they need to learn that this was not their fault and learn appropriate boundaries as well as healthy sexuality when age appropriate. Sex Offenders often will offend on someone they know whether it’s a neighbor, friend of the family, family member, etc. Sexual offenders often have difficulty interacting with same age peers which effects their ability to have healthy relationships. Additionally, sexual offenders have sexual addictions to include heavy pornography.
If your child has been molested or abused please get help for your child so they do not repeat the same behavior on someone else. Once a sexual offender always a sexual offender according to research.
NOTE: you can freely redistribute this resource, electronically or in print, provided you leave the authors contact information below intact.