ORANGE PARK – Somer Thompson’s grandmother was among 300 people who came to hear child safety expert Ken Wooden give advice on how parents and other adults can teach children how to protect themselves from increasing numbers of sexual predators.
When the two-hour presentation held at First Baptist Church on Saturday, March 6, was over, Debbie Bowling said she can only hope Wooden’s message might someday spare others from living the nightmare she has endured the past four months.
“It’s too late for Somer, but I hope this will help other families,” she said, standing near a pew where she and her daughter, Diena Thompson, cried together during an October memorial service for the 7-year-old child who was abducted and murdered on her way home from Grove Park Elementary School.
“It was very compelling,” Bowling said. “There are evil people living out there.”
Wooden, a former journalist, told his audience that the best way to protect children is to teach them the ploys predators use most often.
“Pedophiles are organized and they don’t give up,” he said to an even mix of men and women, including Clay County School Board members, county commissioners and Sheriff Rick Beseler. “If predators are using lures, shouldn’t we be teaching our kids the lures?”
Based on interviews he has had with convicted child abductors, rapists and murderers about their methods, he presented several examples of those lures, the most common of which is exploiting a child’s “endless need for affection or attention.” He said pedophiles engage children in conversation to learn what types of relationships they have with their parents — and what type of relationship their parents have with each other.
By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
Educate Yourself -- Learn the Facts
It May Just Save a Child's Life!!