Sunday, August 10, 2008

First big social decision for my daughters...

The number that gets quoted and sited in all the literature and articles I see is 25%.
or 1 in 4.
That number is the number of women who are sexually assaulted/molested by age 18.

from National Alert Registry

The statistics say that one out of every three to four girls has been sexually assaulted by the age of 18. One boy out of every six will be abused by the age of 18. Although we have some reports and convictions to base these statistics on, they are actually not accurate. So many cases of child molestation go unreported each year, so we really cannot estimate the real numbers. The FBI reports that the National Institute for Mental Health found that only 1% to 10% of victims ever tell that they were abused. Boys report far less than girls.

  • The average child molester will molest fifty girls before being caught and convicted.
  • A child molester that seeks out boys will molest 150 boys before being caught and convicted and he will commit at least 280 sexual crimes in his lifetime.
  • The standard pedophile will commit 117 sexual crimes in their lifetime.
  • Most sexual abuse happens between the ages of 7 and 13.
  • There are over 491,720 registered sex offenders in the United States.
  • 80,000 to 100,000 of the above offenders are missing.
  • Molesters known by the family or victim are the most common abusers. The Acquaintance Molestation accounts for 70-90% of reported cases.
I have 5 friends who were sexually assaulted as children. 4 of them were at sleepovers.

Up until today, Chowder and I had tossed around the idea of a No Sleepover policy. It is actually a little hard for me, because I don't normally go extreme in parenting. But 1 in 4? That is way too big of a real risk. And because I can't trust myself to say, "Oh, well, that dad looks nice." or "Gee, her big brother is an honor student." (only to find out that the brother had a friend spend the night, too.) So, rather than getting into an awkward pick and choose which friends we think are safe enough and really quite possibly ending up wrong, and since we won't have double standards for our sons (who are also at risk) we thought it would be best to just eliminate sleepovers all together.

Today, one of Jellybean's new friends invited her for a sleepover. And I said no. I actually said, "No." It was hard at this age because she is only 6 and though we have had the Private Parts talk, it is not something I am ready to put out there just yet. But, I did explain to the mom and she wasn't offended. She said it made sense. And instead we arranged for Jellybean to go over and have dinner, watch a movie, and I will pick her up at 9:30p. A good substitute plan.

I know it will get harder for my kids to accept this rule as they get older and slumber parties become the norm, but we'll just have to deal when we get to that point. Slumber parties can be pretty nasty social experiments all in themselves and many times nothing nice is happening between midnight and 8am. We can always bring them back for breakfast in the morning. I just really feel that God put this in my heart, and that I am protecting at least one of them from something really horrible that could of been in their future.


Kristina said...

Hi Cakes,

Your post "de-lurked" me, I found blog a long time ago through Niki's.
You have a beautiful family I must first add.

Now as a victim of sexual assault myself, I will say I am a firm believer of the parents protecting their children and educating them.

I will say I think it's great you are protecting your children.
The no sleep over thing is something I will want to consider when I have my own kids for sure.

You are doing a great job.

Mamabear said...


I'm with you. Even though Pookie and Bear are a long ways from sleepovers, I don't like the idea of not knowing what is going on. I've worked with inner city youth up here and have heard stories. I've also had conversations with one mom who was always willing to host sleepovers, but her daughter could not go and sleep over. I like the idea of being willing to host (within reason) all the time. Good on you for making this decision and allowing Jellybean to go as long as she is.

Rose said...

Those statistics are terrifying.

We don't do sleepovers either, but when we go on vacation or have cousins visiting, they all want to "camp out" on the floor together. How in the world do you tell your in-laws that you don't want their twelve year old son sleeping in the same room with your daughters without sounding like you are accusing their child of being a molester? There's just no easy way to be always wind up sounding like a psycho paranoid freak eventually, so might as well embrace the title.

Jenni said...

Sheesh, why doesn't Rose log herself out when she's done on my computer? Grrr...this is Jenni (above) not Rose!

valerie said...

This has always been one of my biggest fears, lurking at the back of my brain. That being said, both dd and ds have slept over a few times, as our friends "babysat" both for evenings (and they have kids waking at 6 a.m. so why make them stay up until 11 or 12 so we can pick up ours?) and a weekend getaway (we have no family close). So - do you have babysitters you trust?

valerie said...

oh - but I do think it's a good rule in general and I don't necessarily think slumber parties will be the "norm". I don't recall sleeping over anywhere except with relatives until I was a teenager.

JLP said...

Not sure about this one. Honestly, the thought never occurred to me until you brought it up at IVFC. I guess I was one of the lucky 3 out of 4. (However, most of my close friends have told me stories of being molested, and it usually was the friend of an older brother, so I can see how the circumstances of a sleepover would lend themselves to this happening.)

I'm hoping I can go with my gut on this one when we get to that point.

It does shock me, somewhat, the ease with which some of my neighbors will answer "yes" to their young girls (7 or 8 years old) asking to sleep over at so-and-so's house.

Thanks for the food for thought.

annie said...

this is some really good food for thought. My daughter is just starting sleepovers (mostly at our house so far) but I may need to think this out a little more.
(my concern will be figuring out the best way to convey our stance without it seeming like we're presuming them to be pervs)
Thanks for this info.

Mel said...

Mmmh, will have to pray over this one some more. You have made a good point here. My prob is Daniel is often sleeping out so how do I tell my girls no?

valerie said...

I hate this statment: "most of my close friends have told me stories of being molested". It just makes me want to cry, especially the part about friends of brothers - where were the brothers?