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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Sexual predators; help us stop them.




Sexual predators.1  I wish I had a better term to describe those people who bully, pressurize, bribe and exploit others so they can feel powerful over other them and make them do things they don't want to do. It's not the label I would use for that kind of person, but I hope you know the type of people I am trying to describe.


And as anyone who has seen the headlines in recent years will know, there are nasty sexually motivated offenders out there.  Why? I'm no expert but I see around me that street drugs are ubiquitous, sexualisation of young people is used to sell music and clothes, pornography that normalizes bullying and exploitation is common
There is greed and violence associated with selling street drugs that has spawned whole networks, cuckoo houses and honey pots with an embedded culture of exploitation and lack of respect.
The ever growing World Wide Web has enabled ever more people to find, talk to and connect with people whilst remaining anonymous.  Pornography has almost gone mainstream.  Being less judgmental and having more conversations about healthy sex, experimenting and curiosity are I believe good things.  But I also believe pornography spreads the message that it is ok for sex to be selfish, an entitlement, exploitative and without consequences.


So, helping our kids (especially but not exclusively boys) respond to porn is kind of a parenting requirement in the western world.
But what else can be done?  Well the fight against sexual exploitation has got five messages which come from people who have been targeted by, survived and beaten predators.  This, amongst other things, what they said.




·   I didn't know I was being targeted for sex. I thought we were online friends. To the boys and girls in front of their iDroid Smartphone, XSwitchProStation, Tablet, Laptop and PC - it is ok to be suspicious.  If someone is trying to get to know you better or you are suspicions at all, go for the "kit always on, video chat check or ghost".  If you only know them online and only ever see their avatar, it's just sensible to have a video chat (with their clothes on!!) to prove neither of you are some middle aged bloke.  No cam, connection too slow, not allowed and 'another time' excuses earns a trip straight to the "ghost zone".  And if you are asked to do the same, it's up to you if you chat or take the "ghost" option.  


·  I didn't know my boyfriend wanted me to have sex with his friends. There are some things you need to know.  These are: You are an incredible person. You will do great things, have great friends and work out for yourself who you want to share your body with.  If your "boyfriend" insults, says things to hurt your feelings, insults you in front of his friends or acts like he is "in charge" of you, he is not your boyfriend and you should dump him.  Maybe try to avoid a row. Find an adult you trust, your parent, your doctor, your teacher, any police officer and tell them what has happened.  


·  I didn't know that texting a naked selfie would end up on the internet forever.  This applies to text messages and all your other tech.  If you haven't gone "kit off" then probably best you don't.  Every text, video chat or photo on any app can be recovered. People will show and share photos and videos, you know they will.  They will still exist on the internet when you find someone you want to get serious with.  They will be there when you go to university.  They will still be there when you apply for..........you get the message.  If you have already gone kit off, you will be fine but you may want some help if your photos are shared. We can help.  Oh and if you think about sharing, texting or forwarding something to your besties or mates - that is a criminal offence.




·  I didn't know that my daughter was being sexually exploited - I thought she was out with her friends.  For all the families of all types out there, please keep talking to each other. Be honest with each other. Don't judge. Do listen, help and support.  There is so much to cope with as you grow up and it's not easy.  Being able to help someone stop a bad decision becoming a really nasty situation is what it's all about.  Oh, and this more "do what I say" advice.  I am on a life long course learning how to talk to my family.  Just when I think I've got it sorted, the instructions change.



·  I didn't know if I had concerns about exploitation I could call the police.  You can. We want you to.  By email to 101@dc.police.uk or phoning 101, or online reporting at our website, or picking up the blue phone at a station, or Crime Stoppers Crime Stoppers Website .  Please do to tell us what is worrying you.




Yours


Inspector



PS - may the people around you be kind to you and each other, drive carefully and look after everyone's stuff.

1. I don't really like the term.   It suggests the abuser is some sort of a "stalking hunter" which in my experience is giving them way more status than they deserve. The converse is that there is some sort of "prey" which does not do justice to the bravery, dignity and ability to fight I have seen in survivors.

















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