Manual: How to protect yourself (or your child) against a child abuser

Today, I read in the news that there is a 1000 page manual that teaches how you can abuse a child on the Dark Web. It has been shared for ten years and is continuously updated with more tips. Owning and spreading this manual is still not a crime in the Netherlands. I was shocked and I asked myself what I can do to help. I already shared the news article on my personal Facebook page and on my blog, I want to start a counter move. After being harassed by psychos and their friends from when I was young and bullied my whole life, I really don't know what I should be afraid of anymore. Instead of taking revenge (and turning into them), I rather want to use my energy on preventing others from getting harmed.

I intend to create a manual on how to protect yourself or your child against a child abuser. I will do research on ways to stay safe and I will accept tips and stories to add to this blog post. I understand that it can be seen as victim-blaming and not all tips may work, as it is almost impossible for a small and inexperienced child to go against a manipulative adult with a large network of friends, who help him with the abuse, protect him by covering his tracks and doing nothing when they get reports and evidence of abuse, and stand up for him, by attesting for his good character and reputation and by attacking the victim. But I don't want it to stop me from trying. Even if the success rate is 1%, it is worth it. Someone might also recognize one of the stories and save a victim from further abuse.     





Tips

- I originally wanted to write that you should never leave your child alone with a person (men and women), but it is impossible to completely prevent this from happening. The predator could also not even be an adult, but a child, who is abused and deals with it by abusing others. Not everyone does this, some keep it inside and self-harm. Both kinds are equally precious people, who should be helped. The only thing you can do is to stay close to your children as much as you can. There really is no reason for someone to be alone with a child. Don't let the fear of insulting someone ("You don't trust me?") or going against an authoritative person (like police, teachers, doctors, camp leader, coach, etc.) stop you from protecting your own children.  

- Tell your children that they can always go to you, if something strange happened to them or if anything upsets them and made them uncomfortable. Let them always tell you, when they are touched in areas covered by their underwear. No matter, if they felt good or bad. Nothing should be kept a secret. Tell them that no matter what happened, you love them and will protect them. You will not get angry at them and there is nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing bad will happen, when they tell. Bad people, who frighten children are liars and get defeated like in the cartoons.             

- Keep a duo diary (child and parents take turns). You can already start this, when your child can write and draw (basically, hold onto a pen). I remember how hard it was to talk about things, so if that's not possible, you can let them write and/or draw it. Let your child have a habit of writing and/or drawing about their day and follow up by talking about it together. You can also stick Polaroid pictures, washi tape, and stickers in the diary to make it more fun and interesting. Explain to them that all emotions (good and bad) are natural and teach them how to respond in those kind of situations. Also, I remember drawing very dark drawings, when I was a child. I loved drawing a lot and I didn't want to lose the fun of that too, so I hid and threw away all the black coloring pencils. If similar things like this happen, carefully try to find out what is happening.    
The mother or father (or both) can write an entry, simplified to the child's level. You can even just draw a small emoticon of how you feel. The child can understand why you might be feeling sick, irritable, and stressed, and not blame it on themselves. You may be concerned that you might burden your child with your worries, but you don't have to let them know everything to the smallest detail. Just try to explain how you feel by referring to something that they or their friends have experienced. If you had a quarrel with a colleague, you can tell your child that it is the same as when his or her friend took a toy and not let them play with it. When you have a stressful deadline or a presentation you need to prepare, you can say that it is the same as not finishing your homework or preparing for a test. When they stop asking, you can leave it at that and when they are more mature and ask more questions, you can say more. Always tell them that you are capable of dealing with the situation and that they can still come to you with their problems.         

- Be suspicious, when your child gets too close to one person. Especially, if it starts to undermine your parental influence. Always keep communication with people in the open, no sneaky things is permitted. Tell them the story of Hansel and Gretel. When someone is always 100% nice to you no matter what happens, it is a witch (stray away from the typical female witch and ugly nose thing and tell them anyone can be one, like the wolf pretending to be Red Riding hood's grandma). Witches try to lure them in with candies and presents and eat them, after getting their trust. When someone gives you something, they always want something in return. You may ask, "What about my parents? They give me gifts too!" But even they want something from you in return, for example, for you to listen to them, behave, be a good student, and love them. With your parents, you at least know somewhat what they want in return. With other people, it might be something that you don't want to lose. Like your favorite toy, you don't want to lose that, do you? Your younger sibling or your best friend at school? Or your body. It may not seem like you lost something right at the start, but slowly, you will feel more and more disconnected to your body. It is like the shell of a snail or turtle, which is hit and smeared with dirty stuff. At first, it may seem that the snail is the winner, as he came out of the fight like nothing happened to them. But slowly, the dirty stuff on the outside will be like bacteria and mold and invisibly, destroy the one in the inside. The shell of the snail will keep renewing to protect the one inside, but it will make the wall between the one on the inside and the outside world thicker. You will not be able to get close to others anymore. If you keep getting hurt, you will start to hate the shell, the body, you are in, and unlike animals, you cannot shed it, so you will do all kinds of dangerous things for others to harm you or you will harm yourself in many ways.      
  
- Much of the abuse can keep going on, because the abusers force the child to keep it secret. When something always needs to happen in secret and it cannot be told to others ever, it means that it is something forbidden and wrong. Like the story Snow white, the witch waited until Snow white was alone and all the dwarfs were gone to work, before she gave her the poisonous apple. The witch didn't give it to her when a lot of people were around, because they would stop her. Even when it seems that everyone is around when someone is harassing you and seem to approve that behavior, they probably don't see it clearly, so loudly shout what someone is doing to you and that you don't want that. People might not believe it at first, but hopefully, one day they will, so keep talking about it. At the very least, you won't hate yourself for not speaking up and doing everything you can to save yourself.

- Children like having secrets, as it is in their nature to be playful and naughty sometimes. Teach them to enjoy revealing secrets too. Let them see that nothing bad happens and things will be fine, no matter what.

- Children only know how to primitively protect themselves from danger. They sharpen their teeth and nails to bite and scratch, use their poop to smear the attackers, and pee on them or fill up a bottle of pee to throw at them. Take a knife and store them near their bed or bring them to school to feel safe. Make themselves less attractive by cutting their hair, smelling bad, looking dirty, or gaining weight. Wearing many layers of clothing. Blocking their bed room door with things. 

- Watch out for more unusual signs, like changing eating pattern (no appetite because they feel bad, eating a lot to feel better, and easily puking), they don't like brushing their teeth (because having something poking in their mouth makes them puke), they are spending a lot of time in the toilet (weak or too strong anus muscle, unusual bleeding, wetting their pants or bed, they don't like touching themselves or being touched in the private area, even with toilet paper), they don't like showering (involves touching and being naked, which they want to avoid, but bathing and going to the swimming pool is soothing), self-harm and suicide attempts, and bad sleep (insomnia because of always being alert for danger and/or because the abusers visit during bed time, or nightmares from bad things happening to them).

- The child will become extra sensitive on the body parts, which are held hard during the abuse, for example neck, shoulders, hips, and ankles. Small touches can already startle them. Wearing pants with an elastic band, which isn't too tight, will make it more comfortable for them. Shirts with tight turtlenecks should be avoided, while a loose turtleneck can give them a sense of protection. Shoes that touch their ankles are not that comfortable, so let them wear boots or rain boots.

- After child abuse, most children will start to show sexual behavior (sexual facial expressions and movements, acting out with people, etc), which is too mature for their age. This happens unconsciously, even if they don't intend to do it, they will show these signs. Abusers might see this as confirmation that the child wants and likes it, but it is a strange way of coping with the harm that is done to them. They want to experience it again, but not against their will and with someone they trust and like. That way, the horrible memory will be replaced by a good one.

- Child abusers might try to trigger amnesia by putting you through near death experiences (scary and painful moments). I discovered when people tried to drown me in a sink that I was able to drink all the water in the sink within minutes. During drinking, the body automatically closes the air pipe and you won't get the feeling of drowning. They may also try to hold you from a high place on one leg, like from your bunk bed. It may be very scary from a child's point of view, but just close your eyes and keep in mind that they won't kill you, as hiding a dead body and having a missing child draws too much attention to them, and maybe, death is even better than being tortured continuously, so feel at peace with both outcomes. They may also lock you up in dark closets or dungeons, but when you close your eyes and sing or hum, it won't feel as scary. They may also bring large tarantula spiders, lizards, and snakes, but you can train your courage by looking at animal documentaries on TV and going near animals in the zoo.  

- Never stop fighting to protect yourself. Scream as loud as you can, kick their knees, and make as much noise as you can. They deliberately try to make you lose hope by making you think that nobody will come rescue you, so that you become meek and obedient and easier to abuse. I know that in this world, really nobody might come, but don't let them win. They can hurt you and take everything away from you, but your mind is still yours. I kept having in my mind that one day, I will beat them, even if I have to wait until they are old and wrinkly. One day, I will be the stronger one. When I read an article about concentration camp survivors, it is the same mindset that kept them alive and somewhat sane.

- Like with your parents, you may think that the only way for the anger, punishments, and scary things to stop is to obey, but with abusers, it is the opposite, it is best to always resist. The harder you make it for them to abuse you and the more attention you bring to them, the more likely, it is going to stop. Otherwise, it is until you are 12 years old, when people start to take your words seriously, when you start getting your period, when you get feminine curves, or until you are 18 years old and you can finally go wherever you want without parental permission. This is important to know, as with being tortured on a daily basis, the only way to hold on, is having an end point to look forward to.

- Always stay present and don't try to escape with you mind, no matter what they do. You can handle any pain and you are stronger than you can ever imagine. Even if you fail to do this, you are still a brave person that is worthy of love and happiness. Sometimes, even super heroes cannot beat the enemy. There is always next time. Celebrate the times that you were able to escape or to lessen the damage done to you and forget about the times, you failed.                          

- If you are suspecting something, try to ask a friend that your child has never met to be alone with your child and calmly and gently talk them into taking their vest off (naturally wearing a t-shirt underneath). This situation should be similar to them and the child will either freak out, resist aggressively and starts yelling loudly, or if the abuse has been going on for a long time without any hope of being rescued and running out of energy and ideas to escape this awful thing happening to him or her, the child will look like a dead body (like their soul has left their body, dead eyes, no expression on their face, and no power in their limbs to resist).

- Another way to find out, is secretly visiting their school and asking permission to observe your child. Most victims are loners. The abusers tell them to obey and keep quiet about it, by threatening to hurt or kill their loved ones. So, they avoid getting too attached to people or even animals. I remember that when I was a kid, I witnessed how psychos grabbed my favorite gold fish with their bare hands and crushed them in front of me. The next day, my parents discovered the dead fish floating in the aquarium and they told me that gold fish can suddenly die without reason. Even though I told them about the psychos that came in the previous night, they didn't believe me. It made me quite scared, seeing how they can kill without getting caught. But I grew up learning that death is not a bad thing. I knew that the gold fish have died and that they went to a good place, where the psychos can't hurt them anymore. I even kept talking about the psychos and their bad deeds to everyone around me for years and even though, nobody listened or saved me, and I got angry at them for it, nothing happened to me. Victims also get into a strange split: if they stay alone and keep quiet, nobody will get involved in it and get hurt by it, but they won't be saved, and if they do get close to someone and tell, their loved ones will feel the same pain as being abused themselves, and that's in case they believe it, as if they don't believe it, the victims will be attacked by the very people they love and trust, which hurts a lot. No matter what they do, it seems to be wrong. A lose-lose-lose situation. Most people will do nothing and endure the pain all by themselves and pretend to be fine on the surface.

- After reading about the Bart C. case in the Netherlands, I have to add that you need to tell your kids to not touch (or even kick?!) people in places covered by underwear too, when they are asked or forced to do it. When someone touches themselves in those areas in front of them, they need to run away as fast as possible and not look. Preferably, yell to get help and inform others of this strange behavior. Any new and strange games, which involves bodily contact and/or being forced to do and see things, kids should tell their parents or even shown how it was done (just tell them that you want to play too). Never get angry or act weird when they do, as it may cause them to never tell you anything, as their favorite teacher might get in trouble for it. 

- If you are already targeted by psychos, you have to get help within two weeks. Amnesia will kick in around that time and you won't be able to remember what happened to you. The psycho that harassed me literally told me that. It didn't really work with me, because I was already almost kidnapped by a psycho, when I was just a few years old and not much was able to still shock me. Getting help is not easy as the people close to the psycho will never question him and target you instead. The teacher only needs to tell fellow teachers that "you have a bad situation at home" and those magical words will make them lose hope of changing things. Nothing can be done, so they let things happen to you without helping. Because you don't say anything, people will accept any explanation for your strange behavior from others, how ridiculous it may sound to you. But when you say something a whole mob will attack you, question your credibility, and rip your story apart. Don't rely on someone else for your safety. Everyone else can, but you cannot. Accept it and try to deal with it on your own. The pain of being betrayed by the people you want to trust is too much pain for you to handle at the moment. Never be alone with someone. Tell everyone in shops and houses on the road from home to school that you are stalked by psychos and that they should look out for suspicious people following you around the time school starts and ends. Back then, some shop owners did try to stop the guy following me, but he said he was just walking on the public street and they could do nothing about that. Now, you can take pictures and make videos of the guy following the little girl with your mobile phone. The more pictures and videos you take, the more proof you have to arrest the guy for stalking.

- Keep a logbook of everything the psychos did to you with clear names, addresses, and dates. You might not be taken serious by police and other people when you are still a small child, but when you become an adult with high education, a good job, and lots of influential and powerful friends, it will become an important piece of evidence. You don't need to write it down in an actual notebook, which can be easily found and destroyed, use the notepad function on your phone or computer and also automatically save it in the free cloud storage. You can also automatically save and send pictures of the culprit (face, clothes, body shape/height, licence plate of the car, etc.) there.

- Even if you do everything you can to protect your children, sneaky and manipulative people can still slip past your wall of defense. That's why you should provide your kids with the tools to protect themselves. You might want to take them to martial arts classes focused on defending themselves. Teach them the weak spots on a human body: stick their fingers in the eyes (I was too scared to do this, as the eye balls might pop out or explode), bite in the nose, ears, or neck in a sawing motion by moving your teeth from left to right until it starts to bleed (those places have the thinnest and most sensitive skin, are the easiest to reach when they rape you, and it will be easier to find the culprit, if he is living in the same neighborhood), and use your sharpened nails to scratch their face, hands, and other visible places (for DNA and easier to identify later). You can also teach them how to use common items as weapons. You can use shoe laces, backpack straps, scarves, and rolled up thin sheets/towels to choke someone with your body weight, trip/tumble him until he is on the floor, and jump on their body and privates. This should give you enough time to run to safety. You can also use hockey sticks, baseball bats, badminton or tennis rackets, and even long umbrellas to hit their knees, as it is important to crush/impair their mobility first. Use all your strength for one good clean hit, as the weapon can be taken from you and used against you.

- Give your kids a safe place, where they can hide and protect themselves. It can be a storage closet, which can be locked on the inside, a bedroom with a good lock on the door, an attic with stairs that needs to be pulled down to enter, a treehouse with a rope ladder, or a shed in the garden with a tiny window.

Stories 


Situation: A young male petting farm worker caught a four year old girl, when she sneaked out of the room, where her teacher and classmates were, to hide the peacock feather that she got as a present in her coat's sleeve, as the other classmates want to steal it from her or break it. He first scared her by telling her that she is a thief caught red-handed. He pulls her into an empty room and the girl is so scared of being punished that she obeys and follows him. He suddenly attempts to kiss her and the girl doesn't want that and tries to escape. The guy holds onto her arm and refuses to let go. The girl kicks and screams as hard as she can and tries to get away from his face that is closing up. The guy waits, until the girl runs out of energy. He isn't getting closer, so he sticks his tongue out to touch the girl's cheek and makes weird moves and sounds with his tongue to freak her out. After screaming really loud, the teacher and her classmates comes in to rescue the girl. The guy speaks first and explains that the girl wanted to be alone with him and kiss him. The people buy it (a twenty something boy with a 4 year old girl?!), as the girl cannot give a consistent story (super scared to death). When she tries to calm down and tell her story, the guy keeps interrupting her and describing and acting out the weird sounds and movements that he made with his tongue is too weird to do without laughing. Since the girl laughed, everyone thought it was a joke and moved on without doing anything.            
Analysis: 
1. Children are afraid of getting punished, so the fear makes them unable to think straight. Even though the girl was reluctant to follow him and she could have screamed right there, the guy stayed calm and friendly and threatened to increase the punishment, if she didn't listen. She thought that he was only going to reprimand her and that it was only going to take a few minutes and let her guard down. 
2. Abusers act strange (making strange sounds and facial expressions or 180 degrees behavioral change) and use strange props (masks, extravagant (clown) makeup, doctor needle, speculum, plastic ball gag, sex toys, weird torture tools, etc.) to make the story of the abuse sound too strange to believe, even for the victim himself or herself. 
3. People like to stay in their own safe bubble. Anything that deviates from it, they like to dismiss.     
Action: 
1. Make it clear to your children that nobody is allowed to punish them, only you can. Don't use scary punishments to let your children behave. Let them understand that you only want them to learn what they did wrong and become a better person. When someone takes them to a quiet, hidden, closed, and unsupervised place, it is okay for them to expect the worse to happen and refuse to do that.  
2. When children describe strange things that they could have never seen before and show a strange fear for people in costume, believe them, calm them down, and protect them from harm. 
3. The only thing we can do is making taking action normal and not (or as less as possible) disruptive for people's lives.


Situation: A four year old girl is being harassed and followed by a 20+ year old guy. She doesn't know what to do, but the first thing that comes to mind is to go to a place with a lot of people. She heads to the large zebra crossing close to her school, although it is not on her way home. She keeps yelling to total strangers on the street that she is being harrassed by a guy and that she wants someone to bring her home safely. She sees a woman with a baby stroller and she thinks that she would be the most trustworthy person to look for protection, but she refused. In a total panic, the girl keeps yelling angrily for help and throws herself in front of a car, as she rather wants to be dead than touched by the guy. The guy lifts the girl by holding her by the waist and saved her from getting hit by a car. The people around them don't believe that he is a psycho after that act and they start to think that the guy is right about the girl being a lying brat. The girl loses faith in people and never seeks help from others, as they are cowards who do nothing when they see something scary happening in front of them, always fall for the stupid mindtricks, and make her feel the deep pain of disappointment.
Analysis:
1. In general, people want to stay out of trouble and don't want to experience anything creepy. When there is a lot of people, they expect someone else to help. When everyone thinks this, nobody helps.
2. The woman with a baby stroller seems to be the most trustworthy from first glance, but it might not be the right person to go to for help. First, she is the most busy person, juggling a lot of tasks on her own. She needs to rush to pick up her other children from school, head home to prepare baby formula or a change of diaper, and/or buy groceries to make dinner. Not much time to spare.
3. After not being believed even when things are happening right in front of them and not getting any help for many years may make you lose hope and become bitter and angry at the whole world. It is only natural.
Action:
1. Just like when someone wants to rape or rob you, it is better to yell "Fire" than "Help". When something concerns themselves or their loved ones, people come out to see what is happening. Otherwise, it is safer to stay inside, hide under the blanket, and make no sound. It is better to just ask one specific person to help you than yell at everyone around you. After asking a lot of people, who refuses to help you, you will automatically get angry and nobody would help an angry person. So, try to find a suitable person for help as fast as you can and try to control your anger. It is better to cry than to get angry, as crying children triggers an automatic response in people (not psychos as they were never protected when they cried, only harmed more, so they would respond with anger to stop your crying) to comfort you and protect the weak.
2. This is quite a tricky one. A guy would not be the safest bet, as they could be more self centered, less compassionate, lack of a warm and caring nature (not always their fault, but society's) and can even be a pervert too, who can easily be convinced by the psycho to rape together. There are always exceptions, but basically, all men were raised to see taking care of children as a woman's task and rape is something that is the girl's fault (she shouldn't be alone, she shouldn't smile that lovely to me, she shouldn't trust people so easily, etc.). A single woman would also be too scared to take on a grown man, who is accused of being a rapist. Her own safety is at stake. I have also considered asking help from children, but young boys could see it as an opportunity to "experiment" with a female body different from theirs and to look cool and grown up in front of their peers. Young girls might get jealous of the girl if she is pretty (she must be lying to get attention like the pretty girls in their class) or turn giggly (scared of the situation and refuse to help). I think the best way to be safe is entering a cafe like Starbucks. One of the waitresses can bring the girl home and let someone cover her shift for a few minutes or let the girl sit at one of the tables and wait for her mom to pick her up, after calling her. In a cafe, there is always people around, so she is not likely to be attacked by the cafe employee or drunk customers like in bars. 
3. I didn't know how to deal with the situation, when I was still a kid. Everyone saw that teachers were bullying me right in front of the whole class (and classmates happily joined in) and psychos were following me around and harassing me day and night. People saved me many times by pulling psychos off of me, while I was in shock on the floor, but they refused to be witnesses at the police station as "nothing happened" (as they prevented worse things from happening), they were too scared for retaliation, and it would be too much hassle to set an appointment during weekdays and work hours (no time, too busy). Basically, I was on my own against a whole bunch of psychos, who could attack me whenever they wanted and without getting any punishment. Some kind people did help me enough to keep me from dying, but they couldn't stop the harassment, aka living hell, from happening on a daily basis. As a coping mechanism, I just stopped talking and did nothing. At least, I wouldn't be able to hate myself for saying or doing something wrong. I am 100% sure that I was able to minimize the damage done to me by doing that. As a consequence, you do need to accept the fact that you will die a little every time you sit alone in class, it will be easier for people to manipulate your image into a negative one, as the only rare response that they will lure out of you will be an angry one (as you want to be left alone, even if it is painful and lonely), and it will also be easier to single you out in a quiet place, as you will have nobody to protect you. I don't know how I made it through those times, but what helped me, was telling myself that I was a person with no past (forgot all the horror that happened to me and let go of the anger) and no future (I didn't have to make any plans for the future, as I might not even be alive, so I didn't have any unnecessary burdens and worries) and every night, I die and I start a new life the next morning. I only had the current and I would make the best out of that. 



     

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