For many parents, learning their child has been sexually molested or assaulted is about as bad as it can get. But it can get worse still if the abuser is someone the parent is in an intimate relationship with.

Children who live with their married biological parents experience the lowest rates of abuse and neglect, while those living with a single parent who has a live-in partner (about a third of all children) are 20 times more likely to be sexually abused.

What the hell is that all about?

It may be because people who aren’t biologically related to the children don’t feel an emotional connection to them. Also, surrogate parents may be less able to convince the children to obey them and so resort to psychological control or physical force to exert control over them.

Things That Make You Go Hmmm WTF?

Some sexual predators marry women either to use them as their “beard”—meaning they use the marriage to appear normal and respectable while they’re actually busy molesting kids—or to gain access to children (their own through the marriage or their partners’) who they can victimize.

Other men enter into relationships with women who already have children just to gain access to their kids. They can be extremely charming to both the women and their children—grooming the whole family—all while they’re plotting to molest the kids as soon as they can.

I urge everyone who’s thinking about dating, moving in with, or marrying another person—man or woman—to do a background check on them. A good background check service only costs around $20 and will tell you if the person you’re researching has any criminal convictions, is on the national sex offender registry, has declared bankruptcy, and so on. (Be sure you’ve got the correct person by entering their full name, date of birth, and address!)

But don’t rely just on a background search; after all, the person may never have been caught and so there will be nothing on the record. An intuitive hit is your most important clue; trust it. Soooo so many people have nagging feelings they can’t quite silence, no matter how they try, that whisper to them something’s not right about the person they’re dating or living with or have already married. They tell themselves it’s nothing; that they’re imagining things or being overly sensitive when their partner does something douchey. They squelch that sick feeling in the pit of their stomach when they see the creepy way their partner’s lips curl when he looks at their children.

But they know, deep in their heart and in their gut, that something’s wrong. They just don’t want to consciously admit it because it would mean they’d have to end the relationship. And that’s SO hard! (Deal with it and do the right thing for your child’s sake.)

If your gut is sending you distress signals (no matter how miniscule) that something’s off with a person you’re seeing, stop seeing them.

Yes, it’s that simple.

Your gut knows things your mind hasn’t noticed yet and it’ll never steer you wrong. Trust it and you’ll avoid months or years of torment, regret, and therapy bills.

Even if everything seems hunky dory with your new love, spring for the 20 bucks and do a background check anyway. To quote Forest Gump quoting his mother: “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.” Could be nothing, could be something. Either way, you’ll feel better knowing you took action.

Be the parent your child deserves!


the Badass Grandma

About CJ Scarlet

CJ Scarlet, aka the “Badass Grandma,” is a danger expert, victim advocate, and crime survivor herself. Most importantly, Scarlet is the doting grandma of three precocious toddlers. CJ has given speeches and workshops at national and international events; and has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, including MSNBC and NPR.

The former U.S. Marine photojournalist and forest firefighter holds an interdisciplinary master’s degree in Humanities with an emphasis on human violence from Old Dominion University. Named one of the “Happy 100” people on the planet, CJ’s story of triumph over adversity is featured in two bestselling books, including Happy for No Reason and Be Invincible.

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