How to Prepare Your Kids for the Dangers of Sexual Predators
If you are looking for a guide on how to prepare your children for the dangers of sexual predators, The Well Armored Child: A Parent's Guide to Preventing Sexual Abuse, by Joelle Casteix, might be the book for you. Casteix outlines how to take your child from being an “easy target” for sexual predators to a “hard target,” one who is not likely to experience sexual abuse. She summarizes: “The purpose of this book is to give you the tools to identify and stop the 90 percent of predators who are never arrested or convicted.”
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) defines sexual abuse as:
The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child to engage in, or assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct or simulation of such conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct; or the rape, and in cases of caretaker or interfamilial relationships, statutory rape, molestation, prostitution, or other form of sexual exploitation of children, or incest with children.
All of these avenues of abuse can leave a lasting and devastating impact on children.
The book’s author, Joelle Casteix, writes from a perspective of a child sexual abuse victim. She includes a thorough explanation of why she is qualified to write this book and the abuse that she endured throughout her high school years. Her personal experience bleeds through to each page. She now works to advocate for and mentor other child sexual abuse victims.
Five chapters are devoted to understanding a predator. Readers can learn about the grooming techniques used by child sexual abusers. Often predators devote many months of time and attention to convincing children that they wanted and asked for the abuse the predator has in store. The loyalty of child sexual victims to their abusers can be confusing to onlookers, but understanding the work that a predator puts into this grooming technique helps readers to know what to look for before the abuse leaves permanent scars.
Casteix gives an overview of how to protect children from sexual abuse at each stage of life. She designates a chapter each to protecting your children through infancy, toddlerhood, elementary school days, preteen and teenage years, and even as you send your children into the world at age eighteen. I appreciated her breakdown of age-appropriate guidelines and how to apply them starting in the first few weeks of your child’s life. Casteix stresses the importance of parental involvement in a child’s life beginning long before he hits puberty.
Readers will notice a few quirks of the author as they read the nearly 300 pages of text. One such quirk is the use of the word “hinky.” After numerous uses, I had to consult the urban dictionary to learn that “hinky” is when “something as yet undefinable is wrong, out of place; not quite right.” Personally, I found the use of such a slang word in a serious book out of place.