WILMINGTON — In a recent event in Wilmington, a 15-year old was reportedly assaulted by a homeless man, Gregory Jackson.
In a statement released by the Wilmington Police Department, the incident was recounted.
“On Monday, July 27, a Wilmington Police officer made contact with a 15-year old juvenile on Middlesex Avenue who reported that they had just been inappropriately touched by a male party that was unknown to the victim.
“Within minutes, Wilmington Police received a 911 call from a Clark Street resident reporting that a male party had fallen and cut his face. The male party on Clark Street was identified as the suspect in the previous incident, Gregory Jackson.
“The Wilmington Fire Department transported Jackson to Winchester Hospital where he was subsequently placed under arrest. Jackson is 25 years old and is formerly from Woburn. He is now listed as homeless.
“On Tuesday, Jackson was arraigned at Woburn District Court on one charge of Indecent Assault & Battery on a Person Over 14.”
The identity of the victim has not been named by police.
For many parents, this may be a brutal reminder of the scary world we live in today, and the fact that sometimes, we can’t protect our children from it.
However, there are resources available to parents concerned about the safety of their children, specifically through the RAINN organization.
RAINN, also known as the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization.
What is important to consider is this quote from RAINN: “Sexual abuse can happen to children of any race, socioeconomic group, religion or culture. There is no foolproof way to protect children from sexual abuse, but there are steps you can take to reduce this risk. If something happens to your child, remember that the perpetrator is to blame — not you and especially not the child.”
The two big pieces of advice RAINN has for parents is to be involved in their child’s life, and to encourage them to speak up.
In terms of speaking up, “When someone knows that their voice will be heard and taken seriously, it gives them the courage to speak up when something isn’t right. You can start having these conversations with your children as soon as they begin using words to talk about feelings or emotions. Don’t worry if you haven't started conversations around these topics with your child — it is never too late.”
Examples of encouraging children to speak up include teaching children about boundaries, about their bodies, letting them know that they won’t get in trouble for speaking up, and giving them the chance to bring up new topics in regular conversations.
In terms of being there for your children, RAINN says, “Being actively involved in a child’s life can make warning signs of child sexual abuse more obvious and help the child feel more comfortable coming to you if something isn’t right. If you see or hear something that causes concern, you can take action to protect your child.”
Examples RAINN provides are knowing the warning signs, showing interest in their day to day activities, talking about the media, and getting to know the people involved in your child’s life.
If your child is sexually assaulted, call the authorities, or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.