Parents are awkward and resistant about telling their children about child molestation, and even moreso about incest! They easily warn them about kidnapping, which is rare, but not about being molested. As David Finkelhor points out, if parents do warn their children about the possibility of sexual abuse, they often wait until too late. A third of sexually abused children are abused before the age of nine (Finkelhor, 1986, 229).
Linda Sanford, in her 1985 book The Silent Children: A Parent’s Guide to the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse, warns about the possibility of sexual abuse at four different levels: stranger contacts, acquaintance contacts, child-care contacts, and contacts with people the child loves.
As Petra poionted out to me, “You (I) don’t mention that, according to research the world over, across all economic groups, a child is most likely to be molested by somebody known to the victim. A close friend of the family, an uncle or a member of the child’s immediate family.” Thanks for making that crystal clear, Petra!