Cross posted at Greenville Dragnet
Stop It Now! purports to be a organization dedicated to stopping child sexual abuse, though many have pointed out that much of their website is devoted to minimizing child sexual exploitation and giving advice to people that amounts to letting child molesters off the hook. They claim to have received a grant from the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice (grant number 2010-DD-BX-0694) which is used to fund an online advice column called AskNow!
In a recent column someone supposedly wrote in to ask what to do about their 13-year-old son, who was caught “practicing” kissing with his 4 1/2 year old sister. Their advice is a shockingly blase shrugging off of troubling child sexual abuse. I will reprint their response in it’s entirety:
If this was a one–time practice for a first time kiss with his same-age girlfriend, it does not seem to be something that is very concerning, although certainly still offers an opportunity for some healthy sexual development and healthy boundary education with your son. Knowing him as well as you obviously do, does his explanation make sense to you and seem plausible?
Have you noticed any other concerning behaviors in your son? Have there been any other sexual behaviors between your children? I would encourage you to take a look at the Signs That a Child or Teen May Be At-Risk to Harm Another Child. Look especially for patterns in the behaviors, behaviors that you’ve tried to redirect before that keep coming up. A single sign is not necessarily meaningful, but seeing a group of them could be concerning and call for follow-up.
Even if you do believe that this is an isolated incident, please still consider addressing any concerns that may come up about how your son may have gotten his little sister to participate in this behavior. These questions may help you to further assess your son’s behavior and this incident:
Did he threaten or bribe his sister to get her to kiss him?
Did she try to refuse to participate?
What’s your daughter’s presentation? Did she seem scared? Or did she seem more pleased that she was “helping” her big brother practice for something important?
Did he try and keep this behavior a secret?
If any of these questions raise worrisome thoughts, or if you are seeing other behaviors in your son that concern you, then yes, increasing supervision is very important and it’s possible that you may want to seek out other professional supports.
Regardless, talk with both of your children about this experience. Avoid blame and shame – rather use this opportunity to make clear and re-establish your family’s rules about appropriate and inappropriate touching, and about personal and privacy boundariesi.
This is a good time to learn about child sexual development, and particularly about the differences between typical and common behaviors for different age groups, and behaviors that could be concerning. Our online listing for Resources on Age-Appropriate Sexual Behavior can help you locate accurate and age-appropriate information. Additionally, our tip sheet, Talking to children and teens can support you in ongoing conversations with your children.
As a final note, I don’t know whether one of your children told you about this behavior, but if they did, they should be commended for sharing this with you and you should be commended for raising children who know that they can tell their parents when something unusual or inappropriate occurs.
Emphasis added by me of course. Notice that right off the bat this group is advising that finding out your teen son has “practiced kissing” his 4-year-old sister is not necessarily cause for concern. Think about that for a second. A teenager, kissing a toddler to “practice” for his girlfriend is no big deal according to a group dedicated to stopping sexual abuse? And forget the fact they’re brother and sister for a second – that in and of itself is clearly problematic and something parents should probably be looking into counseling for.
This is a TODDLER that a teen is using as a sexual surrogate. This is bizarre and potentially dangerous behavior that a parent should take as a sign that it’s time to get their son some psychological help. Even at 13 it is not normal for a child to be attracted to 4-year-old or interested in sexual experimentation with them for any reason.
But the Stop It Now! crew goes further in the second paragraph by imply the 4-year-old might be partially to blame for the molestation her older brother inflicted on her. They advise the parent to find out “how he got her to participate” as if she’s a co-conspirator – she’s a TODDLER. How morally backward and degenerate do you have to be to even suggest that a teen and the toddler he was caught molesting could in some way share the blame for the molestation?
Not that Stop It Now! believes in blame. After all they call for the parent to talk to the teen who molested a toddler to not “shame or blame” him. Only some fascist, I suppose, would point out that a teenager who is using a toddler as a sex doll to practice his moves on is completely at fault for the situation and the subsequent problems his behavior causes. Only a heartless fiend would suggest that a person who has kissed a TODDLER in a sexual manner should feel shame!
And almost as bad as all that the anonymous advice columnist prevaricates on the issue of whether the parents of this deeply troubled teen should supervise him more. The answer is of course he needs more adult supervision, but Ask Now! gives a virtual shrug of their shoulders and says “maybe” on the issue. What kind of organization that wants to prevent child abuse takes that sort of insouciant stance toward parenting a teen who has shown signs of being sexually predatory?
One that gets a grant from the Department of Justice.
These people are taking your tax money and using it to promote a dangerous agenda. Stop it Now! sees child molesters as victims and they promote a quasi-Marxist “restorative justice” program designed to de-stigmatize sexual predation and exploitation and desensitize Americans to the horrors of child sexual abuse. I am calling my congressman now to demand that this group be defunded and the Department of Justice explain why a group like this is getting taxpayer money and I urge everyone reading this to do the same.