FRANCOIS SENECAL-TREMBLAY JR., Special to the Gazette January 29,1998
Georges Manoli, of Street Safe Kids, stood before some 50 employees of Merck Frosst Canada’s Pointe-Claire offices to give them a cold-shower lecture on pedophiles.
He was invited by Linda Godin, co-ordinator of Health Services at Merck Frosst, because, as she said, « I can not think of anything more scary than having my children out on the street without some sense of self defence. »
Manoli, an officer with the Montreal Urban Community Police. has specialized in crime•prevention and personal-safety education for more than 20 years. His condensed lecture dealt principally with hovv pedophiles lure children and how parents and children might protect themselves.
« Pedophiles think having sex with a child is normal. » Manoli said. « There are believed
to be some 4 million pedophiles in the UnitedStates. »
Very few child molesters are the dangerous abductors people read about in newspapel: Contrary to popular opinion a pedophile is a person a child knows or gets to know,
Over 97 per cent of offenders are male.
And their problem, Manoli said, « is in their head, not between their legs. » He cites as an example a grandfather who was recently arrested and who vms also paralyzed below the waist.
There are two types of pedophiles. Situational molesters are not primarily attracted to children, Preferential child-molesters have « a real sexual inclination for children . It is a way of life and an obsession. »
Pedophiles seduce children through several stages. « From a child molester’s point of view, If you select
your victim properly and seduce them properly the secret takes care of itself, » Manoli said.
To protect children, parents have to question some of their basic assumptions about child-raising and communication, As long as sex education with children is a taboo subject. there will be victims. « Show me a child who knows nothing about sex and I will show you my next victim, » Manoli said.
In response to a question raised about the fear of traumatizing children about sexual assault, Manoli responded: « We hold two, sometimes three, fire drills a year in schools to teach children how to react if there is a fire. Yet, we don’t seem to scare them to death about catching on fire or what it is like to have a third-degree burn. » Why should they be traumatized if educqted properly about pedophiles?
After years of telling children not to talk to strangers, ManoH said. « We have to teach our chilch’en that they can talk to strangerssafe strangers – when they are in danger:
“And they have to learn how to identify safe strangers. »
Teaching children not to respond to a stranger’s questions and to walk away is another simple but effective defence tactic.
Manoli’s Street Safe Kids safety courses are recommended by The Missing Children’s Network of Canada. Other courses include sexual-assault prevention, bullyproofing, safety education for blind and handicapped, and more. For further information call George Manoli, 328-4683.