We tell our kids to respect, listen and obey adults, but how do you also tell them that not all people are good, without ruining their happy view of the world?
Gary Martin Hays, founder of Keep Georgia Safe (although the rules can apply to any community) and Steve Daley, the National Director of radKids join the show to tell pick apart Bert’s conversation with his 9-year-old…
and to share how you can teach your kids to stay safe by being proactive, without frightening them.
THE BOOK KEEP GEORGIA SAFE RECOMMENDS: Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane)
From The Top:
The brutal murder of poor little seven-year-old child Jorelys Rivera has rocked a quiet Georgia town; she was abducted from within her own, gated community.
One Bert Show listener heard our conversation and was inspired to share her own harrowing story – from the actual kidnapping to how she recovered later in life with Emory’s Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome counseling by Dr. Rothbaum.
“It’s tough to make this “quick”, but I will try my best. I’m a happy, abundantly blessed mother of 4 boys. I have the most amazing friends in the world.
I grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I’m the youngest of 4 and have two brothers and a sister. I was 8 years old and in 3rd grade, and it was Oct. 1976. My sweet mom, my best friend, Heidi, and I were at a park 4 blocks from my home. My mom was watching us play and reading her book. I decided to pick my mom some flowers. As soon as I started, a man said “what are you doing”? I looked up, but he covered my mouth and told me not to say a word or he would kill me. He quickly forced me into his car and drove off.
I knew something really bad was going to happen. I asked him, “are you going to kill me”? He answered, “when I am done with you”. So many things raced through my head. I asked him, “will I ever see my mom again? I want to see my mom”. He said, “no”.
He took me to a cornfield and raped me. A part of me believed I was going to die that day, but a part of me prayed to God for hope. At one point he left to go to his car. He threatened me (as he did the entire time), and said not to move. I did move. I got to the side of the road and waved down a car.
Fast forward through the investigation. He was eventually caught and I had to identify him in a lineup. He was #4. He was 26 years old and was convicted of abduction and 1st degree rape and sentenced to 46 years.
It’s been a long road, but my Mom always gave me prayers and love. A big step for me was in college. I decide to take Tai-kwon-do. I worked up to my brown belt. I lived in Milwaukee after college and did volunteer work as a group facilitator for abused women. I secretly lived in fear that “he” would get out of prison and come back for me. I moved to Atlanta in 1996. I went through training as a rape crisis counselor for Dekalb County. I got married in Oct. 1999 and “he” was released from prison in Nov. 1999. At that point, I started some amazing counseling at Emory. I’ve also worked as a volunteer to teach women and children awareness (and how to avoid dangerous situations). We also taught them some basic self defense.
My oldest son, Nick, was born in 2001. Sean was born in 2004 and identical twins Matthew & Jake were born in 2006. I CANNOT imagine anything bad happening to them.
I know our kids need to be educated and protected. I know that I can help. It means so much to me to help protect children.
I would love to find out when the next training will be held. I would love to talk to you about other ways I can help.
Thank you!! : )”
Some statistics: the typical (important to remember, not all) abductor is a 27.7 year old, unemployed, white male who moves around a lot and typically has a prior criminal history.
The typical victim is a 11.4-year-old, female (74% of those kidnapped are females), who is friendly, outgoing and is from a stable family relationship.
Most of these abductions are crimes of opportunity. 66% of these people are in the area for legitimate reasons, and most abductions happen by someone the kid knows, within a quarter mile of the home.
The Bert Show community has some questions – and tips – of their own, which Keep Georgia Safe, answers.
- One idea is to play a “scenario” game: ask your child “What would you do if someone came up and asked you to help them find a puppy?” A good answer to tell them would be: “Grown-ups don’t ask kids for help, they ask other grown-ups.” That way they always come find you, first.
- You’re not allowed to hurt anyone, unless they hurt you. If they grab you, bite, fight, and scream “you’re not my mom, you’re not my dad.”
- radKIDS (Resist Agression Defensively) has some sound advice: 1) No one has a right to hurt me because I’m special. 2) I don’t have the right to hurt anyone else, unless they’re hurting me and 3) If they do, it’s ok to tell. So tell your kids if anything happens that “It’s ok, and it’s not your fault.” Kids don’t want to get in trouble, and often take the blame and keep quiet.
- From a friend of Jenn’s: adults don’t have secrets with kids, and you don’t have secrets from mom and dad. If someone has a ‘secret’ with you, you tell mom and dad.
- Tell your kids that if they get lost somewhere – a mall, zoo, park, wherever – a clear, safe, solution is to run to a mommy with kids.
- Code words are good (only people who know this ‘special’ word are allowed to pick you up), but people are even better. Only mom, dad, aunt, grandma, grandpa, etc. are allowed to pick you up and take you somewhere.
- Make sure your kid knows their full name, mom and dad’s full name, and phone number.