Children First

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Children First

Each night as my three-year-old daughter gets prepared for bed; she typically prefers her dad to give her a bath and lay down with her. As a mother, sometimes the feeling of jealousy creeps in but is quickly replaced with understanding. I listen to the laughter and the commotion wondering just how long it will be before she unwinds and goes to sleep. Happiness fills my heart knowing that my daughter has this special quality time with her father. Unfortunately, for some children this bedtime routine with a parent or guardian would be a living nightmare. According to Roberto R. Gonzales, 1 out of 5 kids are sexually abused. (Zott, 2008) The vast majority of sexual assaults is on children below the age of 12 and occurs in a residence by someone the child trusts. (Zott, 2008) These are alarming statistic for anyone, especially for those who have children. Parents want to be proactive in raising their children in a safe and nurturing environment. So, it is important as a parent or guardian that the protection of our children is first on our agenda. The reality is that predators and pedophiles are among us in many different aspects. The pedophiles and predators are typically within the family unit, or within a circle of friends. The offenders are someone the child knows and trust. These predators are calculated, manipulative, and sneaky. Skillfully they use any opportunity possible to violate their victim. In the home parents must take responsibility for knowing who is around and what is going on with your child. However, sexual abuse against children is a world wide epidemic and must be dealt with as a society. Public discrimination against sex offenders, in conjunction with stricter laws will create safe communities to raise children.

First of all, placing a danger sign, in the yard of convicted sex offenders would be the first step towards publicly discriminating against convicted sex offenders. A danger sign in the yard of a sex offender would immediately alert everyone in the neighborhood to be cautious and aware. The sign would be a constant reminder for all the children as they walk past the yard. Most states now have a computer database that can search a neighborhood for sex offenders. This is a great step in the right direction however, not very effective. All sex crimes of every nature are listed in this database. So, the list is very long which means someone who is more of a threat to children may get overlook by another less dangerous conviction. Also, unless your household includes children, one is unlikely to check this list. For instants, living next door to you is a convicted child sex offender. Since you have no children you have never checked the list. This information would never affect you as a neighbor. Until, your friend stops by for a visit with young children and they are playing outside. If this criminal had an alert sign in their yard, you would be aware of the danger lurking next door. Also, signage would alert unsuspecting kids who may be selling candy door-to-door, or inform that parent bringing their child over for a sleep over. The yard sign would empower the neighborhood and mainstream the topic of sexual abuse. Educating our family and keeping the topic of incest and sexual abuse against children as topic of conversation will protect our children; as well as, eliminating feelings of embarrassment or feelings of responsibility for the victims. According to the survey I personally polled 58% were in favor of signage in the yard. When asked if there should be a limitation on how long the sign should be present 38% said yes and 54% were in favor of sign placement for life.

Furthermore, having a designated license plate to distinguish sex offenders would provide awareness through out the city streets. Think about how wonderful it would be to look around the parking lots of the schools, and parks without seeing that dreaded license plate. If you do...
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