Sexual abusers are likely to be people we know. If sexual abusers were always frightening "strangers" stalking young children in parks or playgrounds, we might be able to identify them as dangerous persons. But many statistics say that in 85 to 90 percent of child sexual abuse cases, the child knows and trusts the abuser.
Any person can be a sexual abuser. They can be fathers, step-parents, mothers, grandparents, uncles, aunts or other family members. They can be teachers or coaches, babysitters or Sunday School teachers, neighbors or ministers. They can be anyone who has close contact with children. Sexual abusers have one common characteristic: that they had thoughts about sex with children and then they acted on those thoughts by sexually abusing a child.
It's hard to face the fact that someone we know, and even someone we admire, might be sexually abusing children. But we must not try to convince ourselves that this never happens in our churches or schools or communities. Instead, we need to know how to protect the children in our care.
If you have any questions about child sexual abuse,