Inappropriate vs. Dangerous

Maybe you saw or heard the uproar last month about the children’s film “Show Dogs”. Maybe you missed it. For those of you who were wrapped up in all the happenings in the month of May and didn’t catch it, I’ll quickly bring you up to speed.

“Show Dogs” (listed as an adventure, comedy, and family-film) is rated PG and was released on May 18th. A mom’s review of the film went viral after she described scenes in the movie. The scenes she described were considered inappropriate by some people, and other people considered the scenes outright dangerous. The scenes she described were ones of an undercover police dog pretending to be a contestant in a dog show. Inspecting private parts is part of what happens at a dog show and this was included in the movie. The undercover police dog didn’t like having his private parts examined and snapped to try to get it to stop. The undercover police dog was told to “find his zen place and let it happen” and the examining of his private parts happened multiple times.

This is not only inappropriate, this is also dangerous. For those of you who have completed MinistrySafe training (or any other child abuse prevention training), hopefully you immediately recognized this scene (and these lines) as not only inappropriate for children, but also dangerous for children. These are ‘grooming behaviors’. For those who haven’t completed MinistrySafe Training, ‘grooming behaviors’ are behaviors that desensitize children’s response to inappropriate and/or unwanted physical touch as well as gain the trust of the child and family to gain access to a child for the purpose of sexual abuse.  It is dangerous to desensitize children to inappropriate and/or unwanted touching. Every child should be taught that unwanted and inappropriate touching is not ok. The scenes in this movie show children how to cope with inappropriate and unwanted touching rather than empowering them to tell a trusted adult to stop the touching from continuing. There are many steps to the grooming process of sexual abuse. If you have not completed MinistrySafe training, then I BEG you to register for the next training (even if you have no intention of working with children/youth). The more people we have trained in this church and in this community to watch for the signs of sexual abuse, then the better we can protect our children from sexual abuse. Please help us place as many watchful, trained eyes in this community as possible!

Terina Maldonado (the mom who wrote the film review) is now on my ‘hero list’. She immediately recognized the difference between inappropriate and dangerous and she used her platform (blog) to bring awareness to the issue. Her blog went viral and then something amazing happened. A petition began on change.org, people spoke up, the producers pulled the film from theaters, the scenes were deleted and the film was re-released in theaters (although I have heard from people who saw the movie after the re-release that some of the dialogue from those grooming scenes remain). One mom’s movie review and courage to stand up and say something made all the difference. Her actions resulted in big changes.

Let’s be the next hero who recognizes the difference between inappropriate and dangerous and let’s says something. Let’s all get trained. Let’s all be sure we know the red flags to watch for that may indicate sexual abuse or grooming behaviors. Let’s stand together and say that these dangerous things won’t happen on our watch. Let’s be the next person to make big changes happen to keep our kids safe.

Let’s all do all we can, as often as we can, in as many ways as we can to protect the children!

Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.
-John Wesley

Read more: Read Terina Maldonado’s review of the movie here. https://eastmesa.macaronikid.com/articles/5b017dc3700a6450421ef1c2

Do More: Learn more about MinistrySafe and register for a training here.
http://www.fumchurst.org/ministrysafe/

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