“The ratio of boyfriends sexually molesting kids compared to biological fathers (and even married step- fathers) sexually molesting kids (theirs or anybody else’s) is, for lack of a better term, ‘crazy high.’ If you had to pick one demographic feature that could predict if a kid was being sexually abused or not, the answer to the question ‘Does their mother cohabit outside of marriage with a man who is not the child’s father?’ would be the one to choose.”
A reader who is a police detective writes:
I was reading through the comments section in your post about the Her Too or #MeToo movement and I noticed a lot of questions from readers about what to look out for in order to keep their children safe. I thought I might pass along some observations from over twenty years in law enforcement and over 13 years as a sex crimes detective in a city in the Southeast. These are admittedly anecdotal observations and not anything based upon actual scholarship, although there are plenty of such studies out there. You can feel free to share any of this with your readers as you see fit. If so, please redact my identifying information.
Generally speaking, our society still spends too much time focusing on “stranger danger” even as most people, particularly in the wake of prominent sex abuse scandals such as the Catholic church abuse scandal, know that most abuse involves people who are known to the child. They are the ones who have access and who have the opportunity to gain the child’s trust. Obviously stranger kidnappings, sexual assaults, and the like do happen, but they’re the statistically the equivalent of being struck by lightning. We should all take reasonable precautions to avoid being struck by lightning, by coming inside during a thunderstorm and not standing under trees or other tall objects, but that doesn’t mean that we neglect more common dangers at the same time.
As to the question “Who in a child’s life is likely to be a pervert?” the answers are common sense. We just don’t always want to admit it. The most likely threat comes from non- related males living in the child’s home. In order (and, again, this is based solely on my personal experience and observations) the most likely offenders are:
- Adult males co- habiting with the child’s mother (the live- in boyfriend)
- Teenage step or half- brothers
- Step- fathers (Men who have married the child’s mother.)
Of those, the number of offenders who are the mother’s live-in boyfriend far outstrips the number of other offenders. The NIS-4 or 4th National Incidence Study of Child abuse and Neglect that was reported out in 2010 claimed that children who lived in homes where their biological mother was cohabitating with a man who was not their father were approximately 11 times more likely to be sexually, physically, or emotionally abused than children who lived with their married, biological parents.