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We have recently seen the disclosures of coaches abusing their amateur athletes. Female swimmers, gymnasts, skiers along with other sport participants have had their innocents torn asunder by so called "community pillars" to help guide them along and not take advantage of their innocents. Recently an Alpine Canadian female skier and her team members came forth to accuse their coach of rape. Her parents had agreed, that at the tender young age of 14 that it was a good idea for her to live with her coach.

Donít get me wrong. The majority of coaches are good people who give of their time to help upcoming athletes grab the brass ring.

However, there are a number who will take advantage of their positions of authority to do grievous life-long- harm to those who gave them their trust. Sexual violence is a very real problem in our society and sticking your head into the sand will not make it go away. "The Center for Disease Control & Prevention estimates that 1: 6 boys and 1: 4 girls have been sexually assaulted. 30% of female university students have indicated that they were sexually abused but for the most part did not report the crime to the authorities."

"The most recent estimates are that approximately one in seven children/teenagers receive some sort of unwanted sexual solicitation while they were on line."

"Myth: most sex offences are committed by strangers. Fact: the vast majority of sex offenders were known by the victims. 34% of children were assaulted by family members. 59% were sexually assaulted by an acquaintance. Only, 7% were assaulted by a stranger. Fact: we are often afraid of the wrong people. The "stranger-danger phenomena" ignores the reality that the vast majority of sexual offenders were known to the parents and their children."

Hard to tell young people to trust when they have been maligned and misled. I have been told by some of my female students that: "they trust themselves, but not so much others."

Some simple advice that I have for parents: never ever give carte blanche permission to others to be alone with your children. It is sort of like signing a blank cheque with the numbers invisible to be completed by the recipient. Hard to erase the adverse actions of a few predatators after the fact.

It is a good idea to question why and be very discerning of the good intentions of other. The sages teach us that: " the road to hell is paved with good intentons." Parents who tell me that: " they would trust their sonís/ daughterís lives to others" are in fact doing just that.

It takes years for young people to build a positive self concept and it takes mere minutes to destroy their self confidence and a sense of well-being.

Folks please remember to do due diligence before you act on blind faith and find that you have not protected your children. Parents please take the time to start a meaningful discussion with your children about appropriate age sexual behaviour.

If you need some help? Check out the book. "Protecting your child from sexual abuse. What you need to know to keep your kids safe." Authors Elizabeth Jeglic and Cynthia Calkins PHD.

Len Lesser is an education/career counselor in Dorchester, Ont.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com