Workshop held to help prevent and identify child molestation
BY JURRY TAALIB-DEEN
Journal Staff Writer
A group of people sat in horror as Ida Brassfield, a former victim of child molestation, revealed that her ex-husband told her he married her because he was drawn to her children.
He ultimately molested her daughters, Brassfield said.
Her testimony was a part of the Self-Improvement Workshop Series that addressed the topic “Pedophiles and Predators: What They are and What to Look For,” on March 21 at Kent Library, 3101 Collingwood.
The facilitators, Wayman Farmer and Ben Hester Jr., addressed this topic because they feel it’s contributing to the destruction of the family.
“This behavior is rampant in the black community,” Farmer said. “It’s going unnoticed and not being talked about.”
Pedophiles are “using parents as pawns in order to get at their intended target; the children,” Hester said.
Stephen Coker and Melvin Johnson presented information they felt would be valuable to those in attendance.
“What does a pedophile look like?” asked Coker, who worked several years in a treatment center that housed pedophiles and rapists. “What does a rapist look like? They could be sitting amongst us right now.”
The point he said he was emphasizing was the perpetrators don’t have a particular face.
“Don’t trust what you think or see,” Coker said. “Check on your kids. A pedophile has a system. They’re intelligent and they study the information we’re presenting to you today.”
Brassfield shared with the audience the first time she was molested and the tactics that were used against her to continue to rape her. She said she wants to talk about her experience so that others won’t go through it.
She said a priest was the first person to molest her when he visited her in the hospital when she was in the third grade.
Around the ages of 13 and 14, she said relatives raped her. In the neighborhood she grew up in, a 32-year-old man opened a neighborhood store that was “just for the kids.”
She said he singled her out and begin to rape her and take “control over her mind.” He picked her from school and controlled which of her friends he could be around. “My ideas about what was going on was so distorted,” Brassfield said.
She said she had good parents and came from a good home and that she never told her parents about what was going on.
Brassfield would later on find out that her sisters were also being molested.
Pedophiles aren’t who people think they are, she said. They’re not as television shows betray them as, nor are the home environments one without two parents. Both parents can be in the home.
Farmer and Hester want people to educate themselves and talk to children in order prevent the perpetrators from taking advantage of them.
The next workshop on pedophiles and predators is 6 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the Lagrange Branch Library, 3422 Lagrange.
For more information or to schedule a presentation with the Self-Improvement Workshop Series, call Farmer at 419-283-1017 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Hester at 419-322-5107 or email@example.com.