Yesterday I wrote about how the term "stranger" makes our children vulnerable. Today I want to talk about how a stranger can be someone you have met before.
Our paths cross with people all day long, and we assume a level of societal acceptance when that happens. We are polite, kind, curious, and caring. We talk to the same librarian, or someone strikes up a conversation with us at the park, or we wave to a neighbor and speak occasionally, but they are all strangers. We feel friendly towards them, and that's what the bad guys are going to count on. If someone was attempting to take advantage of you this is how they would "groom" you. They will do the same to your children, of all ages.
When someone is grooming you they are preparing you for something else. They are installing a false sense of trust, and because we are so ready to trust people sometimes we don't pick up on anything unusual. Or we ignore that signal, because this person has been nice in the past.
Did you know that 73% of sexual assaults are perpetrated by non-stranger? In other words, they had met their predator somewhere before the crime was committed.
Each situation is unique, and each person is their own, which is why it's so important to not give away your trust to just anyone, and to listen to your inner voice. It's also important to teach your children this as well.
Again, do not create a world of fear for you or your child to live in. Continue to live friendly, kindly, in a loving manner. There are many kind, helpful, safe people in the world. It's simply a matter of thinking about life differently. It's a matter of learning to listen to yourself, and not trusting someone just because you apparently have something in common. It's a matter of creating a safer world for your child to live in by teaching them the truth, rather than scaring them about a "stranger."
Because the person of whom we need to be careful may be someone we have already met.