Through a Rapist’s Eyes
During my two decades of work as an investigative reporter, I interviewed hundreds of convicted child molesters in prisons across America. My objective was to uncover how they had lured children and teens into abuse and worse. My intention was also to generate a criminal profile that could be shared with parents and law enforcement. Instead, I found child molesters and abductors to be a diverse group that possesses no tidy criminal profile and does not discriminate by race, gender, class or age.
So who are these sexual offenders?
- Males and Females
- Young Adults, Middle-Aged Adults, and Seniors
- Upper Class, Middle Class, and Disadvantaged
- All Races & Ethnicities
- Vocationally Diverse
One child pornography sting operation by the U.S. Justice Department and Customs Postal Inspectors resulted in well over two hundred arrests. The occupations of those arrested was a virtual rainbow of American life, representing 44% of all occupations listed by the U.S. Department of Labor.
How many child molesters live in the United States?
Approximately 400,000 convicted pedophiles currently reside in the United States, according to Department of Justice estimates.*
Are there really female child molesters?
Yes. A 2000 statistical report by the US Department of Justice* found that female offenders victimized:
- 12% of victims under the age of 6
- 6% of victims ages 6 – 12
- 3% of victims ages 12 – 17
How many victims does a child molester average?
Interviews guaranteeing complete confidentiality and immunity from prosecution, conducted by Emory University psychiatrist Dr. Gene Abel*, uncovered that:
- Male offenders who abused girls had an average of 52 victims each.
- Men who molested boys had an astonishing average of 150 victims each.
- Only 3% of these crimes had ever been detected.
How do child molesters get into situations where they can exploit children?
Few child molesters are able to resist their powerful urges to initiate contact with children and will go to great lengths to do so. Common strategies include:
- Befriending parents, particularly single parents, to gain access to their children.
- Offering babysitting services to overextended parents or caregivers.
- Taking jobs and participating in community events that involve children.
- Attending sporting events for children and/or offering to coach children’s sports.
- Volunteering in youth organizations, offering to chaperone overnight trips.
- Loitering in places children frequent – playgrounds, malls, game arcades, etc.
- Spending time in Internet gaming and social communities, learning the online interests and lingo of youngsters.
- Becoming foster parents.
What is the most common method used by child molesters?
The Affection Lure. (See Think First & Stay Safe™ Parent Guide) Most victims of abuse are “groomed” over a period of weeks, months, or years. The Affection Lure is used both offline and online to seduce unsuspecting youngsters in need of love and attention. Child molesters have repeatedly told me: When there’s a physically or emotionally absent parent in the picture, it makes the child more vulnerable than ever.
Which age group is most often targeted by child molesters?
In the interviews I conducted, the majority of molesters cited a preference for children on the brink of puberty. This is the age of sexual awakening, making it easy for molesters to prey on the sexual curiosity and ignorance of youngsters. To quote one of the sexual offenders I interviewed, “Give me a kid who knows nothing about sex, and you’ve given me my next victim.”
While we as parents are inclined to give pre-teens and teens more freedom and less supervision, this age group is actually the most vulnerable to abuse and abduction. We must talk frankly and often to our children about “the birds and the bees” and not allow sex offenders to educate our children for us.
Wouldn’t a vigilant parent be able to detect a child molester, just by their actions?
Not necessarily. Remember, sex offenders who prey on children:
- Are notoriously friendly, nice, kind, engaging and likeable.
- Target their victims, often insinuating themselves into that child’s life – their family, school, house of worship, sports, and hobbies.
- Are professional con artists and are expert at getting children and families to trust them.
- Will smile at you, look you right in the eye and make you believe they are trustworthy.
Do kids and teens ever sexually abuse other children?
Sadly, yes – and many of these juvenile offenders are victims of sexual abuse themselves. A U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics report* found that:
- 23% of all sexual offenders were under the age of 18.
- 40% of offenders of victims under age 6 were themselves juveniles
- 13% were 7-11 years old; 27% were 12-17 years old.
- 39% of the offenders of victims ages 7-11 were juveniles.
- 27% of the offenders of victims ages 12 -17 were juveniles.
What types of assaults were these?
Juvenile offenders under the age of 12 were responsible for:
- 23% of forcible sodomies
- 19% of forcible fondlings
- 17% of sexual assaults with an object
- 7% of forcible rapes
Juvenile offenders ages 12 – 18 were responsible for:
- 36% of forcible sodomies
- 27% of forcible fondlings
- 23% of sexual assaults with an object
- 17% of forcible rapes
When and where did these assaults usually happen?
The peak time for juvenile assaults was 3 pm, after school. Other spikes in the number of incidents were at the traditional meal times of 8 am, noon and 6 pm. Most of these assaults happened in the home of the victim, the home of the offender, or another residence.*
How many of these assaults were by family members?
- 49% of offenders of victims under age 6 were family members.
- 42% of offenders of victims ages 7-11 were family members.
- 24% of offenders of victims ages 12 – 17 were family members.*
Are there groups of organized child molesters that prey on children?
Yes. Small groups of militant and highly organized child molesters operate worldwide, and many claim genuine concern for the welfare of children. The actual number of members in these organizations is unknown, though their power is evident. One pedophile organization’s newsletter correctly identified ten sting operations in five different states. Another exposed and compromised four federal sting operations. Clearly, these organizations have connections.
What are their beliefs and goals?
In general, these groups believe that sex with children is harmless; some even claim that sexual relations are healthy for children. Their goals include decriminalizing child molestation and lowering the age of consent.
Where do they meet?
In addition to attending conferences and conventions, members now meet primarily via the Internet where they may swap methods, success stories, even names, descriptions, and images of children. Since the early 1980’s, they have exploited the Internet to communicate with one another, spreading their propaganda to anyone who will listen.
Aren’t their activities illegal?
Most of these groups and members are careful to keep their public activities within the realm of protected civil liberties.
In 2006, a new political party (PNVD) was established in the Netherlands. Commonly referred to as “the Pedophile Party,” it seeks to lower the age of consent from 16 to 12. Opponents had asked The Hague District Court to bar the party from registering for national elections, but Judge H. Hofhuis ruled: “Freedom of expression, freedom … of association, including the freedom to set up a political party, can be seen as the basis for a democratic society.”
Are these groups a real threat?
While the average child molester does not belong to an organized group, we would be foolish not to take seriously any group whose members are committed to sexual activity with children.
1) The first thing men look for in a potential victim is hairstyle. They are most likely to go after a woman with a ponytail, bun, braid or other style that can easily be grabbed–most likely a woman with long hair . Women with short hair are not common targets.
2) The second thing men look for is clothing. They will look for women who’s clothing is easy to remove quickly. Many of them carry scissors around specifically to cut clothing.
3) They also look for women on their cell phone, searching through their purse, or doing other activities while walking because they are off-guard and can be easily overpowered.
4) Men are most likely to attack & rape in the early morning, between 5: 00a.m. and 8:30a.m.
5) The #1 place women are abducted from/attacked is grocery store parking lots. #2: office parking lots/garages. #3: public restrooms.
6) The thing about these men is that they are looking to grab a woman and quickly move her to another location where they don’t have to worry about getting caught.
7) Only 2% said they carried weapons because rape carries a 3-5 year sentence but rape with a weapon is 15-20 years.
8) If you put up any kind of a fight at all, they get discouraged because it only takes a minute or two for them to realize that going after you isn’t worth it because it will be time-consuming.
9) These men said they would not pick on women who have umbrellas, or other similar objects that can be used from a distance. Keys are NOT a deterrent because you have to get really close to the attacker to use them as a weapon. So, the idea is to convince these guys you’re not worth it.
10) Several defense mechanisms he taught us are: If someone is following behind you on a street or in a garage or with you in an elevator or stairwell, look them in the face e and ask them a question, like what time is it or make general small talk: ‘I can’t believe it is so cold out here, or We’re in for a bad winter. Now you’ve seen their face and could identify them in a line-up; you lose appeal as a target.
11) If someone is coming toward you, hold out your hands in front of you and yell STOP! or STAY BACK! Most of the rapists this man talked to said they’d leave a woman alone if she yelled or showed that she would not be afraid to fight back. Again, they are looking for an EASY target.
12) If you carry pepper spray (this instructor was a huge advocate of it and carries it with him wherever he goes), yell I HAVE PEPPER SPRAY and holding it out will be a deterrent.
13) If someone grabs you, you can’t beat them with strength but you can by outsmarting them. If you are grabbed around the waist from behind, pinch the attacker either under the Arm (between the elbow and armpit)OR in the upper inner thigh VERY VERY HARD. One woman in a class this guy taught told him she used the underarm pinch on a guy who was trying to date rape her and was so upset she broke through the skin and tore out muscle strands – the guy needed stitches. Try pinching yourself in those places as hard as you can stand it – it hurts.
14) After the initial hit, always GO for the GROIN. I know from a particularly unfortunate experience that if you slap a guy’s parts it is extremely painful. You might think that you’ll anger the guy and make him want to hurt you more, but the thing these rapists told our instructor is that they want a woman who will not cause a lot of trouble. Start causing trouble and he’s out of there.
15) When the guy puts his hands up to you, grab his first two fingers and bend them back as far as possible with as much pressure pushing down on them as possible. The instructor did it to me without using much pressure, and I ended up on my knees and both knuckles cracked audibly.
16) Of course the things we always hear still apply. Always be aware of your surroundings, take someone with you if you can and if you see any odd behavior, don’t dismiss it, go with your instincts!!! You may feel a little silly at the time, but you’d feel much worse if the guy really was trouble.
MORE SAFETY TIPS:
1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do : The elbow is the strongest point on your body. If you are close enough to use it, do!
2. Learned this from a tourist guide in New Orleans : If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse, DO NOT HAND IT TO HIM. Toss it away from you….chances are that he is more interested in your wallet and/or purse than you, and he will go for the wallet/purse. RUN LIKE MAD IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!
3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car, kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole and start waving like crazy. The driver won’t see you, but everybody else will. This has saved lives.
4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars after shopping, eating, working, etc, and just sit (doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.) DON’T DO THIS! The predator will be watching you, and this is the perfect opportunity for him to get in on the passenger side, put a gun to your head, and tell you where to go. AS SOON AS YOU GET INTO YOUR CAR, LOCK THE DOORS AND LEAVE.
a) If someone is in the car with a gun to your head DO NOT DRIVE OFF, repeat: DO NOT DRIVE OFF! Instead gun the engine and speed into anything, wrecking the car. Your Air Bag will save you. If the person is in the back seat they will get the worst of it. As soon as the car crashes bail out and run. It is better than having them find your body in a remote location.
5. A few notes about getting into your car in a parking lot or parking garage:
A.) Be aware: look around you, look into your car, at the passenger side floor and in the back seat.
B.) If you are parked next to a big van, enter your car from the passenger door. Most serial killers attack their victims by pulling them into their vans while the women are attempting to get into their cars.
C.) Look at the car parked on the driver’s side of your vehicle, and the passenger side. If a male is sitting alone in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back into the mall, or work, and get a guard/policeman to walk you back out. IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead.)
6. ALWAYS take the elevator instead of the stairs.(Stairwells are horrible places to be alone and the perfect crime spot. This is especially true at NIGHT!)
7. If the predator has a gun and you are not under his control, ALWAYS RUN! The predator will only hit you (a running target) 4 in 100 times. And even then, it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ. RUN, preferably in a zigzag pattern!
8. As women, we are always trying to be sympathetic: STOP! It may get you raped or killed. Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking, well-educated man, who ALWAYS played on the sympathies of unsuspecting women. He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often asked ‘for help’ into his vehicle or with his vehicle, which is when he abducted his next victim.
By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself--Learn the Facts--It may Just Save a Child's Life!!