Is it just me? It seems that my ability to enjoy the moment when taking my nephew to "kid" friendly activities is being impacted by the observation of "Creepy" adults mingling through the crowds. When I say "creepy" what I really mean is sexual predators.
For example, last weekend, my husband and I took my nephew to a local amusement park. The evening started out fun and full of excitement for us all. We talked in the car all the way there about greasy food and crazy rides. To be a bit honest, I was scared of the ride thing just because I am older and have a weaker stomach. My husband and nephew were getting all excited.
So let me start with our arrival... We conveniently parked very close to the entrance and the lights were sparkling and brite. Loud screams of fear and enjoyment filled the air. Smells of carnival food circled around us and the best expression on a little boys face that anyone could ask for. So we moved toward the entrance heading straight to the food stand with a mission to get a corn dog and fries. That 300 feet journey was quite the eye opener.
As we walked toward the food stand, I immediately noticed very young girls dressed extremely skimpy. I get that it is summer and the weather is warm but really.? Half of their asses and most of their boobs were exposed. My mind went to trying to guess their ages. I suddenly noticed a man walking behind a group of these girls with the most disturbing grin on his face. Stopped me dead in my tracks. He looked to be about late 30's and the girls looked about 14 or 15. I wanted to walk up to him and say "You sick Bastard"! I didn't and only because my time needed to be focused on my family. Plus they hate it when I embarrass them.
While we ate our "dinner", I noticed a couple of men just standing by themselves. I thought "I wonder if they are waiting for someone" or "What the hell are they doing just standing there looking at kids". We finished eating and headed for the rides. The first ride was the spider and the line was long and slow. This gave me ample time to observe the people and environment around me. My stomach was sick. Maybe from the food, but I really think it was from the Predators in the park.
I watched one man standing on a wall that was about 20 feet away from the restrooms. He was watching people (more attention on kids) going into the bathroom. I observed a "family" mom with what appeared to be boyfriend and friend of boyfriend standing together for a long time right in front of us. The weird vibe that I picked up on was that both of the MEN didn't pay much attention to the mom but ALOT of attention to her young teen daughter. Lastly, I noticed a man with a child who seemed to be at some of the rides we went to at the same time. "Creep" factor all over the place! Father... maybe. Friend...quite possibly. Family member... I think so. I just know that he was not acting right with this child and when they went on rides, he would sit extremely close to the child. When you know, you know.
So here is my disclaimer... I have worked in sexual assault prevention for over 15 years. I am a bit jaded at times. I know what people are capable of and have advocated for victims from age 5 to age 75. I know that we have an estimated 65 Million people in the USA who have been sexually abused. Sex offenders tend to enjoy grooming crowds and individuals as much as they do their victims. Sex Offenders truly "get off" on being in public spaces and feeling like "nobody knows".
What we have happening in our society and communities in NOT o.k. I don't want to be the only one seeing Sex Offenders in our crowded amusement parks. We need an uprising of everyday people to see the importance of seeing them.
Amusement Parks Should Be Only For Kids!!!