Rape Prevention: Paedophiles – Kelee Arrowsmith

Rape is one of the most devastating personal traumas one can experience. Many victims feel as if their lives have been shattered and that their psychological and physical privacy has been invaded. The emotional scars last for months or years and sometimes never heal.

A great deal of information is available on rape and rapists but the fact is that rape affects the younger generation far more than mature adults. In South Africa, an average of one in three women is raped before the age of twenty five. For this reason, we need to focus our education and prevention efforts on teens and pre-teens.

A large contributing factor is that we teach our children to respect other (especially older) people. This leaves them vulnerable to predators, many of which are family members or friends of the family. These predators don’t randomly choose their victims; they manipulate and test their potential prey thoroughly before making their move. Often, they chose a child or teen who is a loner or has low self esteem and they begin to “groom” them. The predator makes the child feel special by giving them little gifts and telling them secrets and once comfortable that the young person is not telling anyone they will commence the abuse.

The “touching” usually starts as a game so that if it is reported, the perpetrator simply brushes it off as a joke. The relationship becomes important to the child, which strengthens the “no tell” message that they receive from their molester.

Of course, once the young person realizes that they are in a bad situation, the predator has made them feel that they (the victim) are responsible for what has happened, which makes it even more difficult to tell anyone about the abuse.

Grooming is just one of the most common ways in which rape occurs. Once a rapist has found a way to get away with his (or her) crime, he will use the same formula again and again – there is almost never only one victim. If the rapist is found out, the family usually will chose not to expose the crime because of the shame and so the abuser simple picks another victim.

In the case of children and teens, one of the best ways to prevent them from falling prey to an abuser, is to teach your children how to be assertive and set personal boundaries. Strong personal boundaries make it very difficult for a predator. A simple way to teach a young child about personal boundaries is to tell them that we are all the boss of our own bodies and let them know that that they do not always have to accept a hug or a kiss from a relative or friend if it makes them uncomfortable. Assure them that they will not be in trouble if the friend or relative comes to tell on them.

Roll play with your child so that they know exactly what they are going to say and do. Let them know that if anyone tries to touch them in any place that they swimming costumes normally covers, that they are to come and tell you immediately. 

You can also assist by scrutinizing the adults and older children that your child interacts with to make sure that their interaction is appropriate to their “job roll”. For example, a music teacher’s roll is to teach music. It is NOT their job to take your child to the movies or ice skating, remember that these predators look for kids AND adults with weak boundaries.

Instead of trying to find a “one size fits all” way of preventing rape, we need understand the various ways rapes occur and look at our individual vulnerabilities and how to mitigate the risks to which we are exposed.


You can’t run away – Kelee Arrowsmith

You can run, but you can’t get away from crime. Everyone wants to leave South Africa because of crime. Not me.
Everyone tells you what you ALREADY KNOW; that violent crime is UP and that you need to be aware. You tell your kids “be careful”, but what does that mean? You are telling them what they already know. How about telling them HOW to be careful?
That’s the tough part.

Because of the HUGE international problem with drugs, crime is becoming a part of life worldwide. While I was in France last year (presenting a workshop on saving yourself in violent crime situations), a lady was hijacked, yes HIJACKED right outside the army barracks in Rennes (Western France). She was hijacked and raped.

How safe are you? 
How safe is your family? 
What is the cost of keeping them safe?

Let me give you clue about the cost of staying safe. It pales in comparison to the cost of being the victim of violent crime. The cost of crime is not only the total amount you have to spend on replacing the physical items that you loose; a much higher cost is the mental anguish that you and your family will suffer. This emotional distress continues long after the cost of the missing items has faded. The REAL cost of crime cannot be measured in money. 
When it comes to their safety, people fit into 3 main categories:

  1. I can take care of myself. You don’t need to read any further, you’ve got it covered. 
    2. What crime? See number 1. 
    3. I know there is crime but there is so much and it is so varied, I don’t know what to do. Read on.

People often say that they know all about crime. They see it on the TV, in the papers and on the internet. Reading about the various crimes that are perpetrated does help us to prepare against the bad guys to a certain degree and it is very important to stay up to date with the latest criminal trends. 

The problem is that we are mostly learning from the victims about how to protect ourselves, after the crime has happened, and that means that the best we can hope for is that the crime happens to someone else first, so that we can be prepared for it (maybe!). 

It is imperative to understand that the bad guys are constantly developing new ways to separate us from our hard earned money/car, etc., and that they are individuals and as such, there are thousands of new and ingenious schemes developed every day. So trying to play catch-up only makes us feel more helpless. 

HERE’S A WAKE UP CALL: Prevention is the best way, the easiest way, and the least expensive way. By prevention, I don’t mean run away or hide away in a castle. You still have to go to work. You still have to interact with the world. 

Staying safe is not about how expensive your alarm system is or how good the security at work is. You need to make safety a part of your life. Everyday. Everywhere. All the time. Staying safe is an ongoing, iterative project that needs to be planned (together with your family), tested (a plan that is not tested is only a theory) and put into production (made part of your life). 

Think you can make safety a part of your life? In my opinion, you have no choice.

An Introduction To Child Safety – Kelee Arrowsmith



Not sure how to start talking to your child about Safety? Here is a simple way to start. Let your child draw him/herself and then add their Personal Safety tools. Add as many as you can think of and discuss each one. Remember that YOU are your child’s best safety instructor.


Keeping secrets: No-one is allowed to tell your child to keep secrets. A paedophile will use secrets to try to drive a wedge between you and your child

Personal space: Teach them about personal space by talking about it in different ways. For example when they go to the bathroom, they close the door to create personal space. Mention it whenever they go into some kind of personal space.

Good touching / bad touching: Areas covered by swimming costume (bathing suit) – no one is allowed to touch them there and they should never touch anyone anywhere that is covered by their costume.

No-one has the right to make your child feel uncomfortable:  Paedophiles often start with tickling or playing. Teach your child to walk away and say “don’t do that to me please”.

Safety Password: Next time you talk to your child about safety, come up with a safety password and you can use when someone goes to pick you child up from school, sport, etc.

REMEMBER that simply telling your child is not good enough – you need to tell them regularly and especially important, you need to roll play different scenarios with them

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