Friday, July 12, 2013

Repost: How much do you worry about sexual abuse?

I've contributed to the Orlando Sentinel's Moms at Work blog since 2010. The blog is changing content management systems and my old posts will no longer be available to the public, so I'm reposting them here, in the order that they were originally posted.

Dec. 5, 2012

I won't lie: I'm pretty terrified that I'll let the wrong person too close to my daughter, and she'll somehow end up hurt.

The unseemly story surrounding Kevin Clash, who was the voice and puppeteer for the popular Sesame Street character Elmo but is accused of having sex with minors, reminded me of just how vigilant I have to be. While Clash's case was certainly unique, it's clear that I have to stay on my toes to make sure my daughter's not in harm's way. The case, about which Clash has been tight-lipped, was also a reminder that I need to pay attention to the adults who are around her both during school and in weekend activities.

I know intellectually that the rate of child sexual abuse is falling, but that doesn't mean I don't still worry.

But I wonder whether my worry has kept or will keep my daughter from developing relationships that will be meaningful to her as an adult. For example, the pastor of my childhood church was one of my personal heroes; today, however, I'm incredibly unlikely to let my daughter spend time alone with my family's priest.

Are you concerned that your zeal for protecting your family could actually prevent your child/ren from having valuable experiences?

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