Indecent exposure, flashers and kids
Help your child to avoid these creeps (and stay safe) at school or in the park.
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Image via Chantelle Visser/Facebook

The news story of a Cape Town man that allegedly masturbated in front of a woman has provoked intense discussions on social media platforms. One common thread in these discussions is this fear that parents have: if someone did that in front of my child, what would I do? Almost every school has stories to tell of incidents of indecent exposure happening from strangers standing at the fence or parked at the school gates.

Here are some tips on avoiding creeps that enjoy indecent exposure:

•    Tell your kids to obey the school rules on remaining within the school boundaries
•    Ensure your child knows not to approach strangers at the fence while at school
•    When going to the park with your kids, choose a park that will have other families rather than one where you and your child may be alone
•    If you feel uncomfortable if someone is watching you and your child and you’re alone, leave the street or park
•    Be vigilant- if you see someone sitting alone in a car in a quiet road, avoid walking past that car or cross over to the other side of the street
•    If someone is exposing themselves to you/your child walk away quickly and alert the police.

What an expert says about exhibitionism:

According to About Health, an exhibitionist is someone who someone who gets a thrill of exposing themselves to someone else against that person’s wishes. It may be a form of paraphilia which is considered a mental disorder. They may become aroused by the reaction of the victim.

In addition, the article states that it’s not a good idea to just dismiss exhibitionism/flashing as a nuisance as the perpetrator may escalate their behaviour to sexual assault. They recommend:

•    Moving away as fast as possible, but if reacting roll your eyes, shout at the person and state that you’re calling the authorities
•    Call the police, and try and remember as many details as possible about the offender, especially details about their face- if possible, take a picture from a safe distance for identification purposes
•    Express strong body language by turning away your feet, body and torso so as not to give them attention and avoid responding emotionally
•    Do not approach or stick around, scream and run. Tell kids to shout “fire” if they are approached
•    If grabbed, fight as hard as you can, or, if overpowered, fake a seizure or even wet yourself so as to destroy the fantasy.

Escape!

They suggest that avoidance and escape is of the utmost importance, adding that flashers rarely do this behaviour as an isolated incident but they are likely repeat offenders.
Of course, you may not encounter this behaviour, but it’s always safer to make sure your kids know how to react around strangers and how to avoid compromising situations.

Do your kids know how to react around strangers?

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