Do We Really Need a Book for Pedophiles?
In response to news about a How to Guide about pedophelia soaring to best seller status, a child abuse and sex crimes prosecutor in New York City offers a first step in keeping children safe. Prevention begins with education and tips for parents.
By: Jill Starishevsky, Safety Star Media
CONTACT: Jill Starishevsky
New York City Prosecutor, Child Abuse/Sex Crimes and Children’
For Immediate Release
Do We Really Need A Book for Pedophiles?
There is outrage among parents nationwide as a recently released E-book on Kindle has garnered much attention. The name of the book is irrelevant as it is the subject matter that is meant to frighten and alarm. The E-book teaches pedophiles how to get away with molesting children. Far from something our society needs or wants, it may be surprising to some that sales of the book shot up on Amazon 110,000 percent in one day.
According to Gawker.com, parent groups have demanded that Amazon take the book off their site and have threatened to boycott. While this becomes a First Amendment issue and the debate surrounding it catapults this book to best seller status, little to nothing is being done to protect the children who are put in harms way by these protected words.
New York City Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Prosecutor, Jill Starishevsky, offers a solution to problem. She recommends the first step be educating children about sexual abuse prevention. “If we are going to arm pedophiles with an instruction manual, why not arm children with the information they need to recognize and avoid this behavior.” says Starishevsky.
According to Starishevsky, abusers can only function as long as the child keeps their “secret”. When touching has occurred, the abuser will often admonish the child not to tell. The reasons can range from “Don’t tell anyone because no one will believe you.” Or they’ll suggest the consequences of telling, “I’ll go to jail and then it will be all your fault, or “If you tell, it will break the family up.” These are just a few. Sometimes the abuser confides in the child and makes him or her feel chosen. “This is something special, it’s something I only do with you.”
By educating children about what child sexual abuse is and encouraging them to tell a parent or a “safe zone” adult, parents can work toward ensuring prompt disclosures and preventing abuse.
In her more than decade of work in this field, Starishevsky has tried many sexual abuse cases, but when she wanted to talk about safe touch with her daughter, she couldn’t find a good book aimed at young children. Thus she wrote My Body Belongs to Me. Using gentle rhyme, the book is well suited to children ages 3 to 8 and makes safe touch easier to talk about with young children. Starishevsky offers a compelling, uplifting message. And the message is simple: if someone touches the private parts of your body, tell an adult right away. Now in its second printing, the book is set for relaunch at the end of November.
Professionals in the field of child sexual abuse have been widespread in their support of My Body Belongs to Me. According to Ingrid Walker-Descartes, Assistant Program Director and Attending Pediatrician at Maimonides Infants and Children's Hospital of Brooklyn, My Body Belongs to Me is an invaluable tool. “If you are struggling with what to say to your children about sexual abuse, this book is a great place to start.” It provides a great approach towards enabling families to open a discussion about a topic that is unpleasant, but extremely important.
Starishevsky shares practical tips to guide parents and educators:
How should parents talk about touching with their child?
Discuss the correct names for body parts. Be sure your child knows to come to you, a teacher, or a family friend if someone touches them inappropriately or makes them feel uncomfortable. From a parent’s standpoint, if someone you know makes you feel uneasy, trust your instincts. Make sure that person is never left alone with your child. Consider carefully your choice in babysitters.
Who is doing the abusing?
Parents often think sexual abuse is done by strangers. Wrong! More than 90 percent of sexually abused children are abused by someone they know and trust: A stepfather, an uncle, a priest, a coach. It can be anyone who has the trust of and authority over your child.
3 Tips Every Parent Should Know to Keep Children Safe from Sexual Abuse
1. No secrets. Period.
Encourage your children to tell you about things that happen to them that make them feel scared, sad or uncomfortable.
2. Teach your child the correct terms for their body parts.
This will make them more at ease if they need to tell you about a touch that made them feel uncomfortable. Additionally, if a child uses a word like “cookie” or “peanuts” to describe their private parts, a disclosure might be missed. A busy teacher who hears a child say, “He touched my cookie” might just offer the child another cookie instead of offering help. Inform children that the parts of their body covered by their bathing suit are private and are for no one else to see or touch (noting the necessary exceptions for bathing, potty issues and medical treatment in the presence of Mom or Dad). Keep in mind that children may be confronted with another child who touches their private parts. Explain that private parts are private from everyone – including other children. The same rules apply –if someone touches them inappropriately they should tell a parent or teacher right away.
3. Let children decide for themselves how they want to express affection.
Children should not be forced to hug or kiss if they are uncomfortable.
Jill Starishevsky is in New York City and is available for interviews in person or via satellite.
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Jill Starishevsky is an Assistant District Attorney in New York City, where she has prosecuted hundreds of sex offenders and dedicated her career to seeking justice for victims of child abuse and sex crimes. Outside the courtroom, Jill's fondness for writing led her to create thepoemlady.com, where she pens personalized pieces. Her mission to protect children, along with her penchant for poetry, inspired My Body Belongs to Me. A mother of two, Jill is also founder of HowsMyNanny.com, a service that enables parents to purchase a license plate for their child's stroller so the public can report positive or negative nanny observations.