Maybe Some Men are NOT Child Sexual Predators?

Hey Readers! It turns out we’re not the only folks disgusted by the story highlighted here yesterday describing the “characteristics” of a pedophile (basically: anyone who’s male and has ever been near a kid). Apparently the fear-mongering has upset an entire continent: Australia, where it was published. One blog tore the piece apart thusly:

Child abuse advocates and experts have rubbished Australia’s most-read website, news.com.au, for running a story advising readers how to spot a paedophile. They say the checklist was inaccurate, irresponsible stereotyping.

The article, published yesterday, warns the reader of nine different “types” of child molesters and the behaviours they supposedly exhibit. These behaviours are as varied as being a teacher, dating a single mother or simply being overly eager to babysit.

Social media went berserk in protest and forced news.com.au to expunge a passage recommending people not allow child abuse sufferers near their children.

The story, by veteran journalist and former political adviser Candace Sutton, originally warned:

“Paedophiles are often the victims of child molestation themselves. If you know this about a person’s past, beware. It’s all very well to feel sorry for a person, but don’t let them anywhere near young people you know.”

That passage has now been removed, with no acknowledgement from the site. A short biography was also uploaded, claiming Sutton has decades of experience covering the crimes of sex offenders.

It’s thrilling that this kind of “Male = Molester” drivel is being taken to task. I’m not sure that would’ve happened a few years ago and I am feeling rather heartened. And I’m not even an adult male who likes kids! – L.

It's possible this man is NOT a threat to this child!

It’s possible this man is NOT a threat to this child.

22 Responses to Maybe Some Men are NOT Child Sexual Predators?

  1. pentamom September 20, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

    Well, maaaaaaaaaaybe. But you can never be too careful, you know.

  2. Rob September 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    What kills me here is that they’ve removed a passage in the article about keeping your kids away from people who have been abused, presumably because it is offensive to insinuate that people who have been abused, may be abusers themselves.

    But heaven forbid they remove the entire article for, you know, insinuating that every man alive is a potential child predator.

  3. pentamom September 20, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    “insinuating that every man alive is a potential child predator.”

    Not EVERY man. Only the normal ones, the good-looking ones, and the friendly ones.

    The ugly anti-social creeps are apparently safe. Except the ones in the pictures.

  4. Brooks September 20, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    I have an African American friend who tells me about women who will clutch their purses and cross the street when they see him coming, even when he’s walking with his children. As a graying, middle-aged male, I experience something similar in my own neighborhood if I drive too slowly (so as not to run over the occasional ball-chaser, look towards or wave to kids playing in the yard, etc. I have seen the icy stares and laser-vision of the ever-suspicious moms, regarding me with every possible kind of distrust and disgust.

    Just the other day, at the soccer field, with about 250 people milling about, a little boy walked up to me and another dad 3 FEET FROM THE MOM, and the first thing she said was, “Now Johnny, don’t forget stranger-danger.” I politely told her that was pretty much a myth and then proceeded to give her facts to support that statement. She was not at all impressed, and of course didn’t believe me. Of course the loser in all this is Little Johnny.

  5. Laurie A. Couture September 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    It disgusts me how these sexist, anti-male articles continue to spread when most men and boys are wonderful and nurturing! Women sexually abuse and rape children in far greater numbers than crime stats, the media and so-called human service agencies report, and there is strong evidence that a high percentage of male sexual predators were sexually abused as children by a female predator. I have been working in the mental health and social work fields since 1999, and the reality is very different than the stereotype: Females sexual abuse children in almost equal numbers to males and boys make up a slight majority of all child sexual abuse victims.

  6. S September 20, 2013 at 6:55 pm #

    Good thing women never molest children! Oh wait..

  7. forsythia September 20, 2013 at 7:00 pm #

    Well, you know, pediatric oncologists are often afraid to have kids because they see so many rare cancers, too. That doesn’t change that the odds of any of this are very very low.

  8. Rachel September 20, 2013 at 7:08 pm #

    Oh I do hope between your blog, and those around the world, we can get over this highly-anxious, paranoid era, where we fear our fellow humans–particularly the men! It is really true that men are discriminated against when it comes to children.

    I’m the type of person who smiles and waves at babies I don’t know and almost always get a smile back. I help kids get on the monkey bars at a playground, and put band-aids on kids knees if they happen to be alone and get hurt. So far, I’ve got no suspicious looks. Usually smiles and small talk with the parents and the kids. But, yeah, if I were I man, I think I’d be a lot more guarded. It’s a shame!

  9. Timothy Cooke September 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    “And I’m not even an adult male who likes kids!”
    Well, I am. I guess that makes me a child predator, even though I have three young children of my own. Or maybe not.
    Joking aside, I’m very glad this idiotic drivel is being opposed, and that this extremist viewpoint isn’t representative of our society in general. At least some people are still sane…

  10. Beth September 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm #

    In my opinion, “male = molester” won’t really be taken to task until all the ridiculous rules in day cares and schools regarding male staff are eliminated. You know, the ones like “no male employee can change a diaper”, and “two staff members must always accompany any child to the bathroom”, and “two teachers in every classroom with the door open”, etc.

    These respected institutions are the first to assume that any male interested in these careers must have nefarious intentions. And when you tell me that these policies are a hedge against false accusations, please provide a link to a reputable study or statistic on the number/type of false accusations, especially from the diaper-wearing set.

  11. bmjj2k September 21, 2013 at 1:37 am #

    Shouldn’t Australia be more worried about dingoes?

  12. SKL September 21, 2013 at 9:54 am #

    The dangerous thing about this approach is that it implies that you can actually tell who’s going to bother your child and who isn’t. The fact is that pedophilia is a very invisible disorder. Short of knowing for a fact that person x has bothered children in the past, the smartest approach is to give kids the tools to keep themselves safe from anyone who might bother them.

    Last week I left my 6yo daughters at a kid party run by mostly men, with mostly boys attending. I mean, there were “red flags” all over the place – a bunch of men wanting to play with children, offering them goodies, dimming the lights. I don’t know those people and didn’t do any background checks. But I talked to my daughters and told them to stay with the group (except to go to the bathroom) and stick together and watch out for each other. I keep things open with them so they will tell me if something concerns them (at least I hope so – they have in the past). It may not leave them 100% safe, but neither will any other approach.

  13. Owen Allen September 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    Here’s a link to one of my photos from the recent “Octopus’ Garden at the Cairns Festival in august 2013 which I was the organiser. I think a couple of parents did get lost :). Most of these people were strangers to each other – shoulder to shoulder men, women and kids, enjoying arts and crafts together. I enjoyed also that a quite large number of indigenous families turned up over the two weekends we held this which is a huge sign of where the inclusivity levels are reaching in the community.
    We do keep an eye out for unsavoury behaviour and my ‘alert’ is unattached males just loitering for long periods, but I am not going to do more than create a ‘watchfulness’ with my team. Incidents do happen at the discomfort limits at Festival. One unknown fellow who was taking a lot of photos of teenage girls dancing in ‘light’ attire was at the receiving end of a tart comment from one of the girls herself, after which he left. Self assertiveness like this also removes the guess work for adult supervisors ie at what stage will I approach this man. However, problems are more likely to ensue over the facepainting queue :) http://www.flickr.com/photos/owen59/9588241333/

  14. Maggie September 21, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    I have to admit, it really disturbs me to read these kind of articles. Basically any man who happens to like children or shows any interest in children is suspect.

    Since even relatives are suspect, how to we manage to have positive male roll models for our kids? Apparently, the only men who are somewhat trustworthy are those who hate children and loathe to be around them.

    My poor sons, being raised in a era where they are immediately suspect unless they treat smaller children with disdain.

  15. J.T. Wenting September 22, 2013 at 1:13 am #

    “Shouldn’t Australia be more worried about dingoes?”

    There are only 3 confirmed instances of dingoes killing people, and only 1 of them was a child.
    So no, there’s no reason to be worried about dingoes.

    “The dangerous thing about this approach is that it implies that you can actually tell who’s going to bother your child and who isn’t”

    Well, if you assume everyone is out to abduct your kid, and you act on that by never letting your kid interact with anyone, there’s no need to tell who’s actually intent on abducting your kid as you’ve just done it yourself and nobody else can ever do so, right?

    “Since even relatives are suspect, how to we manage to have positive male roll models for our kids?”

    The basic assumption of these articles is that such a role model doesn’t exist, all men are fundamentally evil, and should therefore be kept away from your children (or indeed, not interacted with at all).
    It’s of course utter idiocy and if a man were to even think the same about women he’d be locked up for discrimination based on sex, but there you have it, the end result of decades of radical feminism.
    Only one step left, mandate all men be sterlised at birth and all children created in test tubes (and only girls of course).

  16. JaneW September 22, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    If the author works with sexual abuse every day, I can kind of understand her seeing it everywhere. However, she should NOT go writing articles about how her extreme experiences are normal!

    “I investigated the case of a male teacher who was a pedophile and abused students. Therefore, male teachers are dangerous.” That’s the logic here. No analysis of relative risk, or what percent of male teachers do things like that.

    I prefer: Teach your children about body privacy, teach them about screaming bloody murder, and listen to them if they try to tell you someone hurt them, even if it’s someone you trust. No profiling necessary.

  17. Steve September 22, 2013 at 5:49 pm #

    Brooks said:

    “…a little boy walked up to me and another dad 3 FEET FROM THE MOM, and the first thing she said was, “Now Johnny, don’t forget stranger-danger.”

    I wonder how she would have reacted if you had immediately said, “Are you saying my child should be afraid of YOU?”

  18. Papilio September 22, 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    “In my opinion, “male = molester” won’t really be taken to task until all the ridiculous rules in day cares and schools regarding male staff are eliminated. You know, the ones like “no male employee can change a diaper”, and “two staff members must always accompany any child to the bathroom”, and “two teachers in every classroom with the door open”, etc.”

    I agree that we should stop treating all males as suspects and that teaching kids those three R’s is a good thing, but I’m also thinking of the daycare employee who molested nearly seventy children under the age of 4 (youngest was like 6mo or so). Too young to RRR.
    So… What would be the non-ridiculous rules in this situation?

  19. Liz September 23, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    It’s already too late for one gent in Australia … falsely accused of a one-time incident of molestation (from a single lap-sitting episode), this dear man wound up taking his own life after having his reputation and finances ruined by the accusation and subsequent legal battle.

  20. Jim September 24, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I am a 50 year old white male who has been profiled by the police department for allowing kid into my home. I have been investigated by every child organization in the state of Kansas. Why? I spent 25 years in the Armed Forces. I have taken care of 17 year olds and up for a long time. But one cannot rest on his laurels. I explained to the kids grown ups revert back to their immoral way of life and assume every grown man has lived a life as trashy as their own. Kids morals, values and beliefs are very raw and undeveloped. Someone has to tell them right from wrong. Did I have to defend myself through all these investigations? No, The kids saved me. (Cameras in my home helped).

  21. Jenna K. September 28, 2013 at 6:14 pm #

    My kids walk home from school, for which I get a lot of slack from other parents in my community because it’s a mile and my youngest child to do the walking is only five, but she walks with her older brothers.

    Anyway, their route to and from school last week had some road construction on it. On the way home, they found that part of the sidewalk had a giant hole in it due to the construction and the pipes they were installing. But no problem, they turned to the nearest construction worker and asked him to help them get across the hole. He did, they got across, and guess what?

    They were safe! A strange man helped them and they were safe!

    Go figure.

  22. NS September 30, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    I had to explain to my wife what it feels like as a man, to be looked at in such a way. You see, while we don’t yet have kids of our own, we have loads of nieces and nephews between our two families. I love kids, I love their openness and sense of wonder at the world around them, and I don’t see them as being in any way of less worth than an adult, so I listen to them when they speak, show them respect, and enjoy their company as much as that of their parents. Of course, this draws all sorts of funny looks in public, and it gets rather uncomfortable.

    I will go into toy stores to shop for the kids in my life at Christmas time, but for birthdays, and other occasions, I prefer not to. I used to, but I grew tired of the assessing looks from clerks and parents in these places, as if a man in his late twenties in a Toys-R-Us on his own could only be a pedo on the prowl, no way could I be there shopping for a gift. My wife could not for the life of her understand how I felt, until I told her that to many people in these shops, I’m not a customer, I’m a rapist, and that I didn’t want to be in that environment.

    I have never harmed a child, and can’t imagine ever wanting to, but I know that the sort of people who write articles like this, and those that read them, and take them to heart look at me not as a person, but as an imminent threat to any children around me. How am I supposed to feel about that? How am I supposed to deal with that when I have kids of my own, and have to be out in public with them, in this atmosphere? I wonder if Candace Sutton would feel comfortable living in, or raising children in a world where people look at her, the way she looks at men like me.