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Plastic Soldiers by [W.D. County]

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Plastic Soldiers Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 9 ratings

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Length: 230 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"County's thriller is relentlessly grim. ... Nevertheless, the story's fully developed characters are riveting, from the boys' varying coping mechanisms to their parents' reactions (drowning in denial; craving vengeance). The extensive cast coupled with relatively short scenes makes for a brisk momentum and a quick path to the resolution. A serious subject receives understandably bleak but insightful treatment in this thriller."--Kirkus Reviews

From the Author

My novel is fictional, but sexual abuse of children is all too real. The statistics mentioned in the novel are true--and tragic. The story deals with abduction of children by a person unknown to the children. In actuality, most sexual assaults are committed by a person known to the victim. A report titled, "Youth Victimization Prevalence and Implications" found nearly three out of four child victims of abuse reported that the assault was committed by someone they knew well.
 
According to the NSOPW (National Sex Offender Public Website) maintained by the Department of Justice, approximately 400,000 pedophiles live in the United States. There is no obvious way to identify them. They don't wear a sign. They don't have a certain look. They may be male or female; young or old; upper-, middle-, or lower economic class; and any race. They are notoriously friendly and appear trustworthy. Furthermore: 28 percent of male rape victims were first raped when they were 10 years old or younger; 26 percent of sexual abuse victims are 12-14 years old, 34 percent are under 9 years old.
 
As reported in the Atlantic, "in 2012, the International Labor Organization estimated that there are 20.9 million human trafficking victims worldwide. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, sexual exploitation is the most commonly identified form ahead of forced labor. Numbers released by the National Human Trafficking Resource Center suggest that also holds true in the U.S., where more than 4,000 cases of sex trafficking were reported."
 
As reported in Manna Freedom, there are more slaves today than at any time in history; 60 percent are children; every minute two children become victims of human trafficking; the average lifespan of a child sex slave is only two years. 
 
With regard to missing children, early involvement of the FBI is important. The law does NOT require a 24-hour waiting period to report a missing person. When a child is reported missing to law enforcement, federal law requires that the information be entered into the NCIC (FBI's National Crime Information Center). For the year 2016, the NCIC reports that 647,435 children were reported missing. The vast majority are runaways, abduction by a spouse, and abduction by a person known to the child. A hundred or so are abductions by a stranger. Some of the runaways and some of the abductions by strangers end up as sex trafficking victims. 
 
An article by Jodie Gummow states, "Tina Frundt, who works alongside FBI investigators in locating online predators, says such websites are a feeding ground for traffickers: 'The traffickers are online all over backpage and it's like kiddy porn but most providers are unfamiliar with the lingo and code words used by pimps and buyers so we're missing it.'"
 
Local law enforcement should be aware of (and utilize) the CARP (Child Abduction Response Plan) and the ViCAP (Violent Criminal Apprehension Program) database. 
 
Experience has shown it is almost impossible to cure pedophiles from their sexual attraction of children. Harvard Medical School reports that researchers have found no effective cure for the condition; therefore the focus must be on protecting children.
 
Not all pedophiles act on their impulses to molest children. Not all child molesters are pedophiles. The term "Preferential Child Molesters" can be applied to the pedophiles who do act on their impulses. And according to an FBI report "More Preferential Child Molesters seem to prefer boy than prefer girl victims."
 
The majority of child sexual abuse doesn't involve abduction; it occurs at home, at school, at church by adults known to the victim. The perpetrator may be a parent, an uncle a teacher, a babysitter, a priest, a neighbor. Pedophiles can be anyone. 
 
How can loving, responsible parents protect their children from monsters who hide in plain sight? Should children be kept at home, monitored every minute of every day, and warned not to trust any adults, especially men? Is being paranoid better than being victimized? 
 
Maybe. But I believe it's possible for children and parents to be vigilant without being fearful. Children should be taught to trust their feelings concerning inappropriate touching. Children need to know they can talk to their parents or other trusted adults about such experiences. They need to know that adults will listen, take them seriously, and protect them from further abuse. They need to know they have not done anything wrong. 
 
This isn't always easy. Children may be afraid to talk about the experience; the abuser may have threatened the child or the parents if the secret gets out, or the child may feel ashamed about what happened and fear rejection or punishment. Parents should be alert for changes in the child's mood and behavior, and should initiate a discussion to determine the cause. Discussion of sex is often taboo around young children, which may instill a sense that sex should never be talked about. Therefore the topic of sexual abuse may need to be approached obliquely, letting the child "test the waters" for how the parent will react. 
 
Sexual abuse is a devastating experience with long-term psychological impact. Emotional support and psychological therapy can help steer the victims/survivors toward self-confidence and healthy interpersonal relationships.
 
Love your children. Abuse is never their fault.

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Reviewed in the United States on June 29, 2020
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