Predators in our midst

What is a predator? Who can be a predator? Where do they live? A predator, as defined by Webster's Dictionary, is "one that preys, destroys, or devours." Another dictionary adds, "one that victimizes, plunders, especially for one's own gain." All animals in the food chain have a predator, but the most common of predators is one who violates someone sexually. In today's society, we have sexual predators in our midst without realizing it. Anyone can be a predator with varying characteristics. Predators live everywhere, and they lurk just about anywhere including our own homes. Predators feed on vulnerability, when one is susceptible to any type of attack, physical or mental. It does not necessarily mean they will inflict physical pain immediately, but they in the interim can cause mental anguish and pressure. Gifted in the art of persuasion, predators easily tempt you into doing almost anything you would not normally consider. In other words, they are great "con artists." Predators not only can harm and wound you, but they can permanently scar you for life both physically and mentally. In the worst possible scenario, they can kill you. Such violators grasp any opportunity befriending you and promising you all sorts of things. Predators bestow upon you lavish and secretive gifts. They worship you as if you are on a pedestal until they find something or someone more intriguing, and that is when you are bound for a traumatic experience. Students: beware of posting personal information on popular sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and others. Beware of friends that coax you into mysterious parties or situations, especially friends of the opposite sex. Date rape is a prime example some predators do not take no for an answer. Please do not forget that it all started with Brooke Bennett's uncle, the predator, who had emailed her under a fictitious name to abduct her and kill her all under the auspices of a party. If you suspect someone you know is at risk of abuse, please contact Childhelp's 24/7 hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Let me leave you thinking about these enduring quotes: "There is a charm about the forbidden that makes it unspeakably desirable." (Mark Twain, d. 1910, Albert B. Paine, ed. Mark Twain's Notebook, 1935 p. 460) "A snake lurks in the grass." (Virgil, Eclogues, c.37 B.C., p. 92) "I've got a little list I've got a little list. Of society offenders who might well be underground, and who never would be missed who never would be missed." (W.S. Gilbert, The Mikado, 1885 p. 88) Predators they can be just about anyone near or far. Catherine M. Oliverio, Poultney

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