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Dear HeartTouchers.com readers,
The two articles below could be the most important articles or stories we have ever sent out on HeartTouchers. If you read them, you will have educated yourself on how predators operate and what you can do to protect children and teens in your home, your school, and in your church. Sadly most predators are not the scary guy who randomly pulls up in a car and tries to drag your child into his vehicle. No, most predators slip into trusted roles like coach, youth leader, and family friend. As a couple who has had to work with both families and police to bring perpetrators to justice, this is the best article Kristi and I have ever come across that explains how these predators operate.
Read this article, forward it to every single person in your address book, and then print it out and save it for future reference. You want to make sure you share it with your pastor and anyone who works with teens or children in your church. There is nothing worse than a predator who uses the name of God as a means to gain access to children or youth. The information below may save you and your family years of pain and heartache and may save a child or teen from having their life destroyed.
The greatest deterrent for a predator is a mom and dad who know how they operate and will not allow people like this to gain a position of trust in the family, in your church, or on your child's sports team or youth organization.
Kristi and I have dealt with situations where we have had to go to the police with information on predators in our own community and we are always looking to educate ourselves more on how we can keep teens and children safe from predators. If you have dealt with something like this, let us know how closely this article mirrors your own experience and feel free to share your thoughts with us via e-mail. We will not share what you send us with anyone nor will we put it on HeartTouchers in future e-mails unless you specifically ask us to. Even then we will not print your name or e-mail address.
You can e-mail us at: HeartTouchers@aol.com or just reply to this e-mail.
From my family to yours,
Author Michael T. Powers
Grooming Children for Sexual Molestation
By Gregory M. Weber
You're a thief--a con artist. You recently met an elderly widow with a good-sized bank account fueled by pension and dividend checks. In sharp contrast, your own financial engine is running on fumes. You decide to take her money.
So you befriend the lady. You run small errands for her. You buy her gifts. You listen to her stories and you comfort her when she feels lonely. You put your arm around her and tell her you understand her problems. You spend time with her each day. You tell her she's special. You gain her trust. Her natural suspicion disappears.
Only then does the conversation shift to money. You tell her about a tremendous investment opportunity. You offer her a chance to share in this special event. If she's curious, you play on that curiosity. You answer her questions and downplay her fears.
And your work pays off. She trusts you. She signs the check.
Three minutes after her bank opens, you're in the wind, cash in hand and ready to target your next victim.
But what if you're a child molester--a predator? What if the object of your desire isn't the widow's bank account, but her six-year-old grandson? What steps will you take to get what you want?
Not much will change. A predator will identify and engage his victim. He'll gain the child's trust, break down his defenses, and manipulate him into performing or permitting the desired sex act. If necessary, the predator will gain access to the child by employing the same techniques with the child's parent or adult caretaker.
The process is called grooming. It increases the predator's access to his victim and decreases the likelihood of discovery.
Anna C. Salter is a respected psychologist. She is an expert in the field of child sexual maltreatment, and she spells it out:
"The establishment (and eventual betrayal) of affection and trust occupies a central role in the child molester's interactions with children....The grooming process often seems similar from offender to offender, largely because it takes little to discover that emotional seduction is the most effective way to manipulate children." These men are convicted child molesters. They, too, are experts in the field of child maltreatment, and they also spell it out:
"[P]arents are so naive--they're worried about strangers and should be worried about their brother-in-law. They just don't realize how devious we can be. I used to abuse children in the same room with their parents and they couldn't see it or didn't seem to know it was happening."
"I was disabled and spent months grooming the parents, so they would tell their children to take me out and help me. No one thought that disabled people could be abusers."
"[P]arents are partly to blame if they don't tell their children about [sexual matters]--I used it to my advantage by teaching the child myself."
"[P]arents shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about things like this--it's harder to abuse or trick a child who knows what you're up to."
Here's what the predators are up to.
Grooming is a process. It begins when the predator chooses a target area. He may visit places where children are likely to go: schools, shopping malls, playgrounds, parks, and the like. He may work or volunteer at businesses that cater to children. Other predators strike up relationships with adults who have children in the home--single parent families make particularly good targets.
Victim selection and recruitment are next. There is no prototypical victim of child sexual abuse. Any child may be victimized. Not surprisingly, predators often target children with obvious vulnerabilities. A child who feels unloved and unpopular will soak up adult attention like a sponge. Children with family problems, who spend time alone and unsupervised, who lack confidence and self-esteem, and who are isolated from their peers are all likely targets.
Predators engage or "recruit" their victims in different ways. Many use a combination of forced teaming and charm. They may offer to play games, give rides, or buy treats and gifts as tokens of friendship. They may offer drugs or alcohol to older children or teenagers. And they almost always offer a sympathetic, understanding ear. Your parents don't understand or respect you? I do. Other kids make fun of you? I know what that's like--it was the same way for me when I was your age. They don't trust you at home? Boy, I know what that's like--your parents never really want you to grow up. But I trust you. I respect you. I care for you more than anybody else. And I love you. I'm here for you.
Successful predators find and fill voids in a child's life.
A predator will usually introduce secrecy at some point during the grooming process. Initially, secrecy binds the victim to the predator: "Here's some candy. But don't tell your friends because they'll be jealous, and don't tell your mother because she won't like you eating between meals." Later on, secrecy joins hands with threats: "If you tell your mother what happened, she'll hate you. It'll kill her. Or I'll kill her. Or I'll kill you."
The forging of an emotional bond through grooming leads to physical contact. Predators use the grooming process to break down a child's defenses and increase the child's acceptance of touch. The first physical contact between predator and victim is often nonsexual touching designed to identify limits: an "accidental" touch, an arm around the shoulder, a brushing of hair. Nonsexual touching desensitizes the child. It breaks down inhibitions and leads to more overt sexual touching--the predator's ultimate goal.
The best way to recognize grooming behavior is to pay attention to your child and the people in your child's life. Gavin de Becker sensibly reminds us that "[c]hildren require the protection of adults, usually from adults. Their fear of people is not yet developed, their intuition not yet loaded with enough information and experience to keep them from harm." There are many demands placed upon our time, but nothing?nothing?is more important than the welfare of our children. When we blindly surrender responsibility for them to others without question, we invite trouble. Parents should know their child's teachers, coaches, day care providers, youth group leaders, and other significant adults in their lives. Make unannounced visits. Ask questions. Stay involved.
And please--talk to your children. Teach them to recognize grooming behavior. Teach them to be wary of any physical contact initiated by an adult. And teach them to trust you with their problems and their pain. The safest child is the child who knows he can bring his problems and concerns to parents and adult caregivers without reproach or retaliation.
Weber, Gregory. "Grooming Children for Sexual Molestation." The Zero - The Official Website of Andrew Vachss. [August 26, 2009]. <http://www.vachss.com/guest_dispatches/grooming.html>
Used by Permission
BEWARE OF THE PREDATOR!
by Carole Merwin
He may be her older brother, uncle, dad, step-dad, grandpa, friend, or neighbor. He may be highly respected and even a pillar in the community. He "grooms" his victims; he befriends them, and appears to be a really nice guy. He is a sexual predator.
She is young, trusting and may be looking for a father figure. She may feel the need to please him. Then the touching starts. Before she knows what is happening, things get worse. He doesn't use force, he doesn't need to. She submits, and to her shock, her young body may even respond to his touch. Her life is forever changed, the damage done is immeasurable. She has lost her innocence, she can no longer trust, and she feels guilty, full of shame, betrayed, dirty, used, confused and responsible. She doubts that anyone will believe her, so she does not tell. She hates what has happened, her self-esteem is zero. She will forever be haunted by what he did to her.
She is a victim.
If you find this happening to you, tell him "STOP", tell him 'NO". Realize he is only using you for his own self satisfaction. No matter what he has told you, he does not love you. If he loved you he would be about protecting you, and would never harm you. He may twist things until you no longer know what the truth is, and you may want to believe him.
If you are a victim, you must tell someone; it is the only way to start down the road of healing. You have been wounded, and your wound is deep. Talking about it may be very difficult. Think of this; by exposing the predator, you may save another young girl from becoming a victim.
The sexual predator has been around for a long time, and the number of young lives that have been damaged (boys as well as girls) is astronomical. So what can be done? We can start by educating young people of the danger. We can watch closely as relationships develop the between the young and older adults. And we must expose the predator, no matter who he may be; for if we don't, the number of victims will only grow. It happened in my family; don't let it happen in yours.
You can contact Carole by replying to this message and we will send your correspondence to her.
Creation Q & A
The Mystery of Ancient Man
"Colossal stone monuments. Advanced civil engineering. Lost civilizations . No, it's not the plot for an adventure movie! But peeking into our ancient past reveals a true story far more interesting ."
by Steve Cardno
Did visitors from space help build the great pyramids of Egypt and Central America?
Is advanced technology from an alien civilization needed to explain how ancient man could move huge stones, build monumental structures, create intricate artwork and organize complex cultures? Some think so, because of their evolutionary belief that ancient man was ?primitive'.
If evolution were true, the further back into history we look, evidence should show a gradual decline in man's intelligence, moving closer to the ape's. Biblical creation would indicate otherwise. Man, created in God's image, has always been intelligent. People make discoveries and invent things, and this knowledge is passed on and built upon. In this way, technology can increase within a society, but this is not because people become more intelligent.
A short time after creation, people were already inventing things such as musical instruments, and metal-working (Genesis 4:21-22). By the time of the Flood, mankind would have reached a high level of technical ?know-how'. We don't know exactly how high,1 but there are some clues.
First, it was sufficient for Noah and his helpers to be able to build a huge ocean-going vessel. The Ark measured approximately 135 metres (450 feet) long, 23 metres (75 feet) wide and 13 metres (45 feet) tall (Genesis 6:15). We know that these proportions were ideal for stability.2 This colossal task would have required advanced knowledge in engineering, not to mention timber-working techniques (see also Q&A: Noah's Ark).
Second, we can get some indication from the level of technology in those civilizations which sprang up rapidly after the Flood. Noah and his family would have tried to carry with them as much know-how as they could, to survive, and restart civilization in the ?new world' for which they were headed.
The Bible records that soon after the Flood, mankind built a huge city. This was in the fertile river valley of Mesopotamia, around present-day Iraq. Even evolutionists can't ignore the evidence here, and generally refer to this area as the ?cradle of civilization'. Which it was?but only for the post-Flood world.
The tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9) was probably a ziggurat, or the first type of pyramid, like others still standing in the area (around present-day Babylon). Similar styles of pyramids are found in ancient civilizations all around the world. Evolutionary historians believe that each culture devised the same style of building independently. But it seems more sensible to suggest that they are similar because they all came from the same origin?Babel.
As with any group of people in society today, those that existed at the time of the Tower of Babel would have had a diverse range of skills. Some were builders, some artists, and others farmers. However, when God divided the groups by language, the broad pool of knowledge was divided also. The original groups that became, for example, the civilizations of the Egyptians and Mayans obviously included people skilled in civil engineering, building, and so on, as evidenced by the rapid establishment of their cultures. Other groups would have lacked such knowledge.
Imagine if you and your extended family were suddenly forced to migrate rapidly into an unpopulated wilderness. Even though you come from a society with great technology, it is likely that your family group would not carry all of the necessary knowledge with you to, for example, be able to find ore-bodies, and smelt and work metals. So you might choose to use stone tools to survive.
Click on the Bible above or visit the web site listed below!
This new addition to our web site will give you an article on the leading news in the
Creation/Evolution controversy each day. This section also includes a rotating
Question and Answer feature and a weekly Creation Comic strip from the people
at AnswersInGenesis.org. Be sure to come back and visit each day for an informative
article that will help you keep up to date on the latest news in this controversial area
Thought For The Day
"Here is the test to see if your mission here on earth is finished: If you are alive, it isn't." --Richard Bach
Verse for the Day
"For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands."
Kid's Thought For The Day
"Sometimes you need a little push to go down the big slide."
Parent's Thought For The Day
"If your baby is 'beautiful and perfect, never cries or fusses, sleeps on schedule and burps on demand, an angel all the time', you're the grandma." --Theresa Bloomingdale
Coach's Thought For The Day
"We're never as good as we think we are, nor as bad as we think we are."
Writer's Thought for the Day
"Use plain, simple language, short words and brief sentences. That is the way to write English -- it is the modern way and the best way. Stick to it; don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in. When you catch an adjective, kill it. No, I don't mean utterly, but kill most of them -- then the rest will be valuable. A wordy habit, once fastened upon a person, is as hard to get rid of as any other vice." --Mark Twain
Deep Thought For The Day
"I had the worst study habits in the history of college, until I found out what I was doing wrong -- highlighting with black magic marker."
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This Week: "You Were Shaped for Serving
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