3 more…that’s how many new Facebook stories I’ve read this morning alone written by middle class white women being targeted by sex traffickers for the abduction of their middle class white children in Target.
Now, I know this is probably going to spark unpopular opinion, and that is okay. Because in my opinion, sex trafficking and child abduction are very REAL AND SCARY THINGS that should be taken VERY SERIOUSLY and women, children and parents should be EDUCATED on. What you are doing, sharing those fear mongering social media posts that get shared all around your gated community? THAT IS NOT HELPING.
Look, I will be the first to say, be diligent. Be aware of your surroundings, listen to your gut, keep your kids close when you are in public. Do all of these things, because that is just the life of being a woman and being a parent. But let’s take a minute to educate ourselves on some cold hard truth nuggets for just a sec, okay?
How many substantiated instances of abductions or even attempted abductions have happened (in the Cedar FALLS Target, Walmart, Menards or insert your favorite shopping venue here ___) in our area in the past year? 5 years? None, then? Hmm. How many of these “attempted abductions by probable sex traffickers” stories have you seen shared on facebook just this week in the same stores, same area? Quite a few, eeh? How many reports of danger or potential danger while grocery or throw pillow shopping have been released in the same amount of time by our public safety officials? Our local police department? Nope, none there either. ARE YOU THINKING CRITICALLY? ARE WE EVALUATING RISKS LOGICALLY? ______________________________________________________________________________
Here are a few truth nuggets for you.
1) Middle class and upper middle class children shopping in broad daylight with their mothers are not the typical target for abductors or sex traffickers. In fact, statistically, if you fall into that group, you should be much more concerned about your child being molested by a family member or acquaintance, which will happen to about 1 in every 5 children.
2) The typical targeted “for sex” child in America would be your child(ren) playing outside unattended…children walking alone…children in unpopulated areas…children from dysfunctional or abusive homes…children of drug or alcohol affected parents…children coming from poverty…foster and adopted children…children spending large amounts of time outside of the home (think specialized athletes or extra-curricular youth programs).
3) While we seem to only hear about the fear of our white children being abducted, the reality is that statistics show that 65% of abductions are actually of minorities. _______________________________________________________________________________
Ladies, I get it. HONESTLY, I do.
A few years ago, I MYSELF had a really scary experience at a local Walmart.
I was positive that a man was after me or my then 7-year-old daughter. I called store security and the local police. I was also HIGHLY EDUCATED BY FACEBOOK STORIES of all of the “scary characters” out there targeting Target and Walmart moms such as myself.
WELL…turns out that after footage was reviewed (and yes, the gentleman WAS FOLLOWING US through aisles, stood VERY close to me and my daughter, did leave when we left, and did not make an actual purchase…all typical predatory behavior and all) …that this was simply a case of mistaken intentions.
You see, the gentleman was special needs, unbeknownst to me. He was trying to engage, rather awkwardly, and had other reported cases of this unfortunate behavior.
What is ironic is that a year after this incident, I actually became the mother of a special needs child, whom I can 100 PERCENT see doing exactly this someday. I am telling you this because I get it, because I have been there.
I let the fear mongering of my fellow soccer moms invade my thoughts and invade my psyche making me feel vulnerable and scared. I let all of those completely unsubstantiated stories on social media (most of which a security guard or police are never even notified, further making me believe that the stories are nothing more than either fear-baiting, intentional or unintentional, OR attention-seeking) fill my subconscious and feed the bad wolf, and I have a feeling that if you are sharing the same that you are feeding the bad wolf too.
IF GOING TO TARGET WITH YOUR CHILDREN WAS AS RISKY AS FACEBOOK MAKES IT OUT TO BE, don’t you think we would be hearing CASE AFTER CASE of ACTUAL Target and Walmart abductions? But we don’t, do we? Because middle class white children aren’t abducted from Target while holding their parent’s hands. And every Middle Eastern man you see is not a sex trafficker.
Just stop sharing and posting. Where you really need to be diligent is when you are leaving your child unattended. When your child is on the internet. When you child is with that program director who tries a little too hard and lingers just a little bit too long. When your child rides their bike around the corner or to the friend’s house down the street. You need to invite the unattended child into your home for an after-school snack. That foster kid in the crappy home in your kids’ school? She is at risk, and you should be diligent there. That kid whose backpack smells like pot, yep, he is at risk too. Those “rough around the edges” minority kids? Those are actual targets for potential traffickers.
If you want to be afraid or worry about the safety of our children, PLEASE DO!!! Just know that stopping in for your venti-mocha-frap double shot espresso while touring the latest release to the cat and jack line REALLY is not the place where you need to fret and fetter. Thanks to the strange way our brain is wired, we are always on the lookout for danger and we even become ADDICTED to feeding our brains a constant influx of “bad” or “negative” news…if you don’t believe me, research it. It is part of our natural instincts and survival skills, and we are slowly brainwashing ourselves to believe that danger and imminent threats are virtually EVERYWHERE at all times.
The one you feed.