Do child predators bamboozle you?
Devlin's attorneys are counting on it.
I've been duped, bamboozled, conned, hoodwinked, and tricked - by whom? Yes, these synonyms for "victimized" would have you believe no harm is done. Hollywood joins in the fun with movies such as Big Bully. It's just all laughs. Here comes the curve ball, and you'd better duck - in real life that 90-mile-an-hour curve ball for kids is predators who abduct, bully, abuse, assault, molest, stalk on the Internet, sell or use drugs and alcohol with minors, and the list keeps growing. When one in five children will become a victim of a child predator, isn't it time to take victimization seriously?
We've been bamboozled long enough. The old saying 'out of sight, out of mind' has become the social norm, much to the delight of child predators. But if you turned on and tuned in to "Dateline," your blinders came off. There they sit, in broad daylight, with the cameras rolling as Chirs Hansen reads transcripts of their online conversations with Perverted Justice's decoys acting as minors. (For unedited transcripts visit Dateline.com. More info: Yello Dyno Memos: Oops! You're sitting next to a child predator! and Millions of Dr. Jekylls and Mr. "Hides.")
Teachable Students? This 15-year-old cartoon from The Atlantic Journal looks as though you stepped into today's classroom. The difference is the increased number of victimized students. These damaging influences cause 10-15% of the teacher's time to be spent in "classroom management." The students are not in a "teachable" state. Their concerns are much more fundamental, "Am I safe?" "Am I loved?"
"Will I be hurt again tonight?" How do we improve test scores? Imagine if the teacher had that extra 15% of time to actually teach.
How do we improve the school climate? Stop the victimization of our children.
So how do we respond to predatorial behavior?
With disgust and anger and now legally we are beginning to demand appropriate sentencing, But is it enough to get us "really" out of our La-Z-Boys?
Take, for example, the highly publicized kidnapping of the two boys, Shawn Hornbeck and Ben Ownby, in Missouri.
The plight of the victim, Shawn, should have brought us right out of our seats. As the story unfolded an insidious question caught many off guard, and attention shifted to Shawn's behavior, not that of the predator.
For starters, here's the view presented in the media: His abductor, Devlin, has held a job at Imo's Pizza for 20 years....
"'He was a gentle guy. Completely under the radar,' says Imo's owner Mike Prosperi, who has known him for 25 years and says he was a reliable worker who got along well with police officers who often ate at the parlor." - People Magazine 1/29/07
Shawn was hidden in plain sight, only 50 miles from home, for four years; he had friends, was free to come and go, had a cell phone, access to the Internet, and was often seen outside tossing a football with a friend, or riding his bike.
Now, Devlin's attorneys have entered a plea of "not guilty" to 75 state charges (which could result in a life sentence and 170 additional years if convicted on the federal charges). His attorneys did not accept the plea deal because they believe their client will have a better chance with a jury. Why would they ever think a jury would be an advantage? What are they counting on?
Maybe this can be answered by reflecting further on the insidious question itself, which has bounced across the airwaves, "Why didn't Shawn just go home?" He could have called home. Told any of a number of police he encountered, but he didn't. Therefore, somehow, the thinking goes, Shawn must be culpable. We settle back down in our La-Z-Boy and change the channel. To continue understanding why we turn our thoughts toward the victim being culpable, we need to reflect on some of the synonyms for victimize: duped, bamboozled, conned, hoodwinked, tricked. What's the benefit of considering victimization in such non-threatening terms? Why are victims included in the blame for what happened to them?
Picture a woman in her late twenties, jogging in her middle-class neighborhood at lunch time. She passes a man watering his lawn and takes no real note of him. Moments later he brutally attacks her. It was mid-day in a normally safe neighborhood. If her neighbors face the fact that she wasn't doing anything wrong, then how do they 'box' the event so it could never happen to them? By blaming the victim, "Certainly SHE must have brought it on herself," we are able to slide comfortably back into our La-Z-Boys and continue our own 'hoodwinked' lives.
But how is the story viewed through the eyes of experts, such as Melody Gibson, co-founder of Operation Outlook whose organization has helped in the recovery of thousands of children? Melody with accuracy, compassion and clarity shares her experience with children, such as Shawn, "Point is, an innocent 'child' was lured and abducted, and he acclimated as a child does to his victimizer--his ‘abuser. Children, like pets, live in the moment. They don't fully realize the abuse will repeat itself. Even after they see it will, they acclimate to lies and threats--and they stay alive and make no waves. When they make waves, they are further abused and threatened ...regardless of what anyone else says to you or asks of you, an abused child is a VICTIM. Children are victims no matter the circumstance, the time that passed, the opportunities that they have missed to get away. It doesn't’t matter how we rationalize he or she could have gotten out. That is hindsight, it is insensitive, and it means none of ‘us’ were in the right place at the right time... Who's to blame for that? The VICTIM? I think not."
To curb the tide of victimization that is plaguing our society, we all need to be sure we are putting the blame where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the predators. This misperception that innocent people, victims, are guilty too, is what Devlin's attorneys are counting on. If his attorneys are successful in undermining the credibility of Shawn, the victim, Devlin will not receive the punishment he deserves. Other predators are sure to take note and have been taking note of our unwillingness to blame the predators. This deception about victimization leaves us all vulnerable. Sitting ducks you might say, waiting to be preyed upon.
Yes, I do believe we are making progress. Together we're waking-up adults, passing legislation, and most of all we are training our children. When they encounter predators, as Shawn did, their training should give them the knowledge, courage, and confidence to act because they know they have the right to be safe. Check-out the Channel 11's coverage of the attempted abduction of a nine-year-old boy at the top of this memo. If more children are trained with Yello Dyno, we won't have to wake up to a Shawn story right in our own neighborhood or walk into classrooms filled with unteachable kids.
Yours for child safety,
Yello Dyno Founder
P.S. NEW RESEARCH: Yello Dyno is a 'stress inoculation for children. Need more scientific research? Over 8,000 students from Ector ISD, Odessa, Texas, participated in our 2005-2006 REdS Independent Research, "The Yello Dyno Program demonstrated the ability to produce significant positive outcomes related to the children’s recognition of potential danger from child predators and what steps to take to escape those dangerous situations...It was found to be effective with all grades and performed especially well in lower grades (K & 1)."
The findings show that 80.8% of the students tested demonstrated an increase in knowledge after one cycle of the Yello Dyno Curriculum.
P.S.S. NEW! Tricky People! Curriculum (Grades 4-5) PowerPoint presentation, with three songs and six video lessons embedded in the presentation, wakes up and empowers children to protect themselves from the dangers of Tricky People, child predators.
Educators, Non-profits, Churches and Law Enforcement: to have a Yello Dyno Curriculum sent to you for a thirty-day review, fill out this online form, or call me at 888-935-5639 ext. 100 or email me at Jan@YelloDyno.com
Comments? Ideas for future memos? Contact me: Jan@YelloDyno.com.
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