Overheard on CNN.com: How do we protect children?
Most children are abused by someone they know and trust, the American Psychological Association says.
November 11th, 2011
01:14 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: How do we protect children?

Comment of the morning:

"People prefer the stereotype of the bush-dwelling, candy-waving, trench-coat-wearing, ... van-driving pedophile because it is far safer than the reality." - Stitches77

News stories such as the Penn State sex-abuse scandal raise questions about how to identify a sexual predator or to know if a child is being secretly abused. Two CNN.com reports on those concerns prompted some readers to suggest ways to protect children and even to tell their own stories of sexual abuse.

Warning signs of sexual abuse often overlooked

The myth of the 'monster' pedophile

BethTexas1 said, "Parents have a responsibility to teach their children to listen to that nagging feeling that tells them something is not right with a person or situation. In most cases, they're right. Also, times have changed, and those meek little mommies who teach their children to worship adults and be good little boys and girls are setting their kids up for this kind of thing."

DeathStalker said, "I often instinctively like or do not like a person from the first five minutes of meeting them. I have ignored that instinct in the past and been burned by it. I now pay much closer attention to that instinct. I use this not only at a personal level but at a professional level as well."

KtinME said, "Tell your children that it's not OK for anyone to touch them if it makes them feel uncomfortable, and that includes all family members, including yourself. Tell them that if someone does make them feel uncomfortable, that you will believe them without question if they tell you."

johnsole said, "Very few offenders are so-called strangers. Children must be taught early in an age-appropriate manner about what is acceptable touching and what is not and to be taught the nonacceptable touching is still nonacceptable even (if) it comes from someone they love. Stranger danger is as much a myth as the boogeyman."

JenLaw said, "We had a pedophile try to become the youth leader in my church. Being that I'm a rape survivor, I spotted it right off, but did I have a fight on my hands. I actually had to get people he raped come forward and identify him as a rapist before my own church would believe it."

swans13 said, "As a girl I was abused weekly by my model-citizen Dad, so when I became a mom, I was very open with my three boys about this subject. However, I made a mistake by telling them I'd 'kill' anyone who harmed them because that may have kept them from coming to me for fear I'd end up in jail. Keep your cool when talking about the lengths you'll go to protect them, and let them know you're smart enough to protect them no matter what they have to tell you."

chuckwebb said, "When I was 14, my Sunday School teacher in (North Carolina) ... and I began to have a relationship until I was 16. He got married, he bought me gifts, took me on vacation and scared me for life. It's hard to adjust when your innocence is taken away. No therapy can make you feel secure and safe."

cloud91977 said, "My abuse went unreported for years because my stepfather threatened to kill my mother if I told her or anyone else. He sexually and psychologically abused me between the age of 7 or 8 to 10 years old. He was a minister and would always make me kneel and pray ... after he was finished abusing me. Please parents, if your child is acting out, make sure that they aren't going through hell before you get too mad at them. Sometimes there's a lot more going on than brattiness."

Farwalker said, "My parents did nothing to protect me from a predator. They allowed what sensible people would consider to be inappropriate behavior both in and out of their view. At 12, I was allowed to have private hangout time with the 'family friend.' I was permitted to sit on his lap during a movie in our home with other church friends. He had two steady years in which to 'groom' me for his advances. And when I finally called the police to report the abuse, I was left standing alone. My parents didn't even accompany me for the deposition.

"There were warning signs. I became anorexic; I stopped wearing makeup or styling my hair. My grades slipped. I got into fights at school. I went from a pretty, athletic, accomplished teenager to a wan, withdrawn little ghost. And no one said a word the whole way down. Parents, don't let my story become one that your own kids tell one day. Love them. Let them know they can tell you about problems without judgment. And above all, be the guardian of their innocence. You can prevent abuse simply by being there."

Do you feel your views align with those of these commenters? Post a comment below or sound off on video.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.

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Filed under: Crime • Jerry Sandusky • Overheard on CNN.com • Penn State
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. michaelfury


    November 11, 2011 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    The articles are worth readin; all contain good tips that I've employed in my 30+ years of being a mother.

    November 11, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jerry Sandusky

    Phillip tell Uncle Ray I want to have a 3 way with you guys call me

    November 11, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Lita

    that perv would like that

    November 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andreas Moser

    For me, babies are not a taboo: http://andreasmoser.wordpress.com/2011/05/26/babies-are-not-taboo/

    November 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. fernace

    Education for both kids & parents is needed because this epidemic must be stopped! The molestation our young is a horrid statement about human kind, yet it's been happening since time began & still going on today without diminishing! Having a good relationship with your children, warning them of dangers & urging them to speak up if some 1 is touching them or saying something inappropriate, are key actions to keeping them safe! Monitoring your childs activities getting to know their friends & their parents is also important! I hope we can get rid of this scourge in my lifetime!!

    November 11, 2011 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. banasy©

    As do I, dearest fernace, as do I.
    As usual, you've said it the best.
    Thank you.

    November 11, 2011 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. layminister herman

    @fernace seems as if every time you speak its words of wisdom I also pray we can do away with all the perverstion in the world
    @banasy 30yrs of being a parent by the looks of you on your picture sure couldnt tell you still hot moma

    November 11, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |


    November 11, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Scottish Mama

    Hellllllll. hellllllllll. hell is for children. (Pat Benitar)

    November 12, 2011 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @layminister herman:
    Thank you very much!
    That's nice of you to say.
    I try.

    @Scottish Mama:
    Ah, yes.
    Pat Benitar.
    Fabulous voice!

    November 12, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WOT

    Be A Good Parent, talk to your children about Good ad Bad People of the World! As I read on the s@@t house wall:" We are the people our parents warned us about"!

    November 12, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Scottish Mama

    @Banasy I have read them also. common sense things usually.

    November 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm | Report abuse |
  14. terriannrn

    For Goldie Taylor:
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was so very courageous of you; also heartbreaking. Hopefully your courage will inspire other victims so tell their stories. And it reminds all of us to listen to our children, believe our children, and pay attention. And tyvm to Don Lemon for his wonderful reporting too.

    November 13, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Report abuse |
  15. reggie

    Hello guys this is so heart breaking I truly think that parents think as long as I live around great people that have great jobs and pay taxes everything will be fine look molesters dont live in a great home or have great friends and call the police when somthing is wrong but guys guess what they do.

    November 14, 2011 at 3:38 am | Report abuse |