Back to the Future: Was Doc “Grooming” Marty?


How hesynasnrt
can you tell when a culture is changing? When something that was once normal suddenly seems wrong. This can be good — grown African-American men no longer called “boy,” grown women at the office no longer automatically called “girl” — or it can be ominous. The story below is silly, but ominous. Our culture has nurtured the knee-jerk suspicion that anytime a man is interested in young people, watch out.

Dear Free-Range Kids: Something happened the other day that made me think of your blog.

In honor of the 30th anniversary, I was re-watching “Back to the Future” with a 23-year-old friend (I’m 34) who had never seen it.  We were mere minutes into the first film when she said, regarding Marty and Doc Brown, “That’s an inappropriate relationship.”

I was taken aback.  I have been watching these movies repeatedly my whole life.  Their relationship never seemed odd to me.  If anything, I wished I had had a genius time-travelling scientist friend to call my own.  But some time in the 11-year gap between my age and my friend’s, the social norms had changed in such a way that the friendship between a grown man a teenage boy had become something that stood out as suspect.

I wonder if this script would even get the green light now, or if it would have to be re-written to make Doc into Marty’s step-dad or something ridiculous.

Just thought I’d share. — Shari Creamer

I wrote back: Actually, that IS fascinating. When she said “inappropriate” was she truly disturbed, or was she just joking? Did she realize that treating all adult-child friendships as suspect is a new thing? What was “inappropriate” about it to her? Just very curious!

She said that a young boy going over to a doctor’s house, and also meeting him at 1:30 in the morning, would be cause for the police to come knocking on doors because everybody would automatically assume their relationship was sexual.

When I asked her why she felt the impropriety stood out to her and not to me (this is the really interesting part), I didn’t get the answer I was expecting.  I thought she would mention our age difference and that public ideas about what was proper had changed since I was young.  Instead, she mentioned her education (women’s studies and social work) and her volunteer work (rape crisis counseling), and said these made her more aware of and wary of inappropriate relationships.  In other words, the impropriety was there the whole time; I just wasn’t trained to notice it.

She did enjoy the movie though, so it couldn’t have bothered her that much. – Shari

As a gal who took some women’s studies classes back in the day and was also a rape crisis counselor for a little while myself, it worries me that this woman feels she has been trained to “see” something — exploitation, sex, danger — that actually isn’t there. There’s insight and then there’s, “To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” I do worry that we are creating a whole lot of hammers with our culture’s emphasis on worst-first thinking and our belief that young people are in constant danger. L


Doc, since you are an adult male, we can longer be friends. (Back to the Future, 1985. Directed by Robert Zemeckis Shown from left: Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly)

I’m sorry, Doc. But since you are an adult male, we can longer be friends. (Back to the Future, 1985. Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Shown from left: Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Emmett Brown, Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly)


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76 Responses to Back to the Future: Was Doc “Grooming” Marty?

  1. Puzzled November 24, 2015 at 8:29 am #

    One would hope that knowledge and experience of actual victims would help you to see the difference, not paint with a broader brush. I guess not, though, in this case.

    Ironic that people might find it less ‘inappropriate’ if Doc were Marty’s step-father; a step-father is more likely to be an abuser than a stranger.

  2. BL November 24, 2015 at 8:31 am #

    Can I go back to 1985 when at least some things made sense?


  3. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 8:59 am #

    Stuff like this is why I avoid stranger kids like the plague. People see inappropriateness in everything that used to be innocent. I won’t go to Little League games, although the memories of my own time they invoke and the usual pleasure most kids seem to take from the games outshines anything I see in the HS or adult games. I won’t do more than glance at kids in the mall. If I’m in the arcade and a kid asks to join, I’ll play until I die and then disappear…no matter how many tokens I have left. I won’t have some modern parent flip out and ask why I was playing games with their kid. I won’t take the chance that the kid lies and say I stepped in to play with them.

    I used to love going to the park and watching birds play in the pond. However, the local school sometimes brings kids during the best times to watch them and I’d hate to get accosted for being in their presence.

  4. Rhonda November 24, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    This is directly addressed in About a Boy when Toni Colette’s character confront’s Hugh Grant’s character about his relationship with her son. He’s properly horrified and she comes to see that it is just a friendship – a really, lovely, warm friendship.

  5. Mr. Shreck November 24, 2015 at 9:26 am #

    I’ve long referred to something I call the “cop sickness”. When one is constantly exposed to the worst sampling of human behavior, one comes to see everyone as a bad actor and becomes very cynical and pessimistic about human nature. It is a serious problem. Marriages dissolve, substance abuse (mostly but not always exclusively legal alcohol, which I assume has to do with the sincerity of officers not gone completely cold about what they do) and suicides are common. After all, it’s your experiences formulating a worldview, no? How can you not conclude the world is a dung heap when your job is to shovel dung?

    I guess I need to expand this concept to include the “feminist studies sickness”. How is a steady diet of sex-horror delivered via such a program different from one of violent pornography? If our minds are simple putty easily molded by a series of images and concepts into a worldview that may or may not have anything to do with reality, then what matter the ideological agenda behind the inputs? This stuff goes straight to the lymbic system and our big mammalian brains just really aren’t that good at differentiating one program from another when those neurons start lighting up.

    Yet how reactionary is it to call out the lack of difference between a modern feminist studies major and the repressed puritans of old? It’s harder still to engage with that analogy because it strikes as what it is: absolutely surreal.

  6. Beth November 24, 2015 at 9:33 am #

    Yes, I know it’s TV, but wonder what she would have thought of Beaver Cleaver’s friendship with Gus the fireman?

  7. Crystal Kupper November 24, 2015 at 9:44 am #

    I know it might be judgmental, but anytime I hear that someone has a degree in “women’s studies” I automatically stop taking them seriously.

  8. Michael La Porte November 24, 2015 at 9:46 am #

    A more neutral take on the “weird” relationship.

    FWIW, the “inappropriateness” of a relationship is usually tied to disparate power dynamics and the exploitation by the more powerful actor. Here, there doesn’t seem to be any power dynamic between McFly (a very confident, 17-year old male) and Dr. Brown, who is, as Mulaney points out, a “disgraced physicist.”

    Age disparity is not the sine qua non of a power disparity. If Dr. Brown had been McFly’s teacher, had he been NOT an outcast in the community, and had McFly been younger, female, or a minority, then we might be more apt to suspect.

    If anything, there’s an argument to be made that McFly is the more powerful of the two, socially, in the relationship.

    The “analysis” that there is a red flag here is likely due to an overdeveloped “red flag detector.” As they say, when your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  9. Michael La Porte November 24, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    @Crystal – that’s a shame (unless you are joking). I have a B.A. in Economics with a Minor in Women’s Studies. I hope my video and comment are still enlightening.

  10. Ted November 24, 2015 at 9:58 am #

    “She said that a YOUNG BOY going over to a doctor’s house, and also meeting him at 1:30 in the morning, would be cause for the police to come knocking on doors because everybody would automatically assume their relationship was sexual.”

    (emphasis mine)

    Young Boy????

    Marty is a 17- going-on 18 year old high-school junior or senior, right?

    This is perhaps the saddest part of this story to me.

    When late teen is considered a “young boy” there is no room for rational discussion about the place he can have in a relationship.


  11. J.T. Wenting November 24, 2015 at 10:53 am #

    Were it written today Marty would be a Latina girl with “transgender leanings”, and Doc a Black (oops, “person of colour”) lesbian woman.

    That way both the idea of a single man meeting with a child is gone, AND all sexual and racial privileged groups are covered all in one fell swoop.

  12. M November 24, 2015 at 11:10 am #

    What a great way to chase positive male adult roll models out of children’s lives. Consider them all potential predators. When we start to look at every male Minister, Sunday school teacher, Youth group leader, Boy Scout leader, Coach, Teacher, Neighbor as a potential threat, what’s next? Pretty soon all stepfathers and boyfriends are suspect, then all uncles, cousins, grandfathers and even fathers are suspect. Then all boys over a certain age, 15, maybe 10, maybe 8.

    We are raising male children who will know the discrimination of being considered a predator, merely because of their gender. It sickens me.

  13. Shannon November 24, 2015 at 11:18 am #

    Has anyone here watched the Nickelodeon show “Henry Danger?” The show is about a boy who’s 13, I believe, who is looking for a job. He goes into a store owned by Ray. Ray is also “Captain Man,” the town superhero. He needs a sidekick and recruits Henry to be “Kid Danger.” Think Batman and Robin with a younger Robin. Captain Man’s headquarters is a room below the store he works at. There are also a couple of other men who assist them. Henry has to keep it a secret from his friends and family that he is Kid Danger, but eventually tells his best friend, a young teenage girl who now helps them along with going into the secret headquarters alone with Captain Man and the other adults who help them. Captain Man is well known around town and has been to Henry’s house a few times and occasionally hits on Henry’s mother, even though the parents are married.

    Personally, I don’t see a problem with the show, my kids and I watch it every week. However, I’m shocked there isn’t some helicopter moms group protesting the show, demanding it be pulled off the air so it doesn’t give pedophiles the idea that they can recruit young boys into becoming superhero sidekicks.

  14. Emily November 24, 2015 at 11:42 am #

    I wonder, if her friend saw this explanation for the friendship, she’d feel more comfortable? Basically, Marty snuck in to the lab when he was 13 or 14 and eventually Doc hired him as an assistant. I remember when I was a kid my mom telling me that Marty worked for Doc and I just assumed that when your boss told you to be somewhere you were there or you lost your job.

  15. Shelly Stow November 24, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    Your conclusion nails it, Lenore, and we are also creating something else, something horrible for at least a future generation or two. Hopefully by then we will see what insanity this is, and the pendulum will be swinging back the other way.

    We are creating girl children who will grow up feeling that men are inherently bad and boy children who will grow up either feeling inherently bad or feeling angry all the time because they know they aren’t inherently bad but everyone thinks they are.

    We are also robbing those generations of children of role models and someone to hero-worship–not because they can kick a ball around a field but because they take the time to care and mentor and help where help is most needed.

    Waaay back, men were encouraged to go into early childhood education because some children had no positive role models except their teachers, and most of those were female. Today a man would have to be insane to seek such a vocation. In keeping up with my former education career happenings, I know that fewer and fewer men are willing to become teachers now even at the high school level. I don’t believe there is a shortage of men with the abilities and dedication to teach young people. I believe they are afraid to put themselves in the position of potentially having their lives destroyed with false accusations.

    I hope this will be a short pendulum swing.

  16. lollipoplover November 24, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    “Instead, she mentioned her education (women’s studies and social work) and her volunteer work (rape crisis counseling), and said these made her more aware of and wary of inappropriate relationships. In other words, the impropriety was there the whole time; I just wasn’t trained to notice it.”

    I majored in marketing/minored in women’s studies, volunteer with domestic violence victims, and am also *aware* of inappropriate behaviors and patterns in relationships.Let me point out another relationship that is COMPLETELY inappropriate:

    “He sees you when your sleeping, he knows when your awake.”
    Stalking is about control and this behavior is extremely damaging to victims.

    “He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake.”
    Control and and using *gifts* as manipulation and rewards are HUGE red flags. Worse, an old obese man entering a home during late evening hours and bribing young children with these grooming gifts is a blatant attempt to control their behaviors and freedoms for his own twisted pleasure.

    “You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why.”
    Attempts to regulate emotions is a control mechanism.
    I’m shocked that the big guy in the red suit isn’t on every sex offender registry for solicitation of minors.

  17. Shannon November 24, 2015 at 12:00 pm #

    “I’m shocked that the big guy in the red suit isn’t on every sex offender registry for solicitation of minors.”

    Don’t forget he also encourages children to sit on his lap.

  18. Adam November 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    While this isn’t directly related to Doc and Marty, someone pointed out that 17/18 is considered “young boy”, it further illustrates how absurd we are about age.

    A seventeen year old commits murder, and they’re tried as an adult who knew what they were doing. A seventeen year old has sex and they’re innocent, helpless, children who are manipulated or some other such madness.

  19. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 12:04 pm #

    When I was in school, I seriously considered a career in Early Education. I see restrictions teachers have today and I’m almost thankful I didn’t take that step. I couldn’t see being afraid of comforting a child by giving them a hug or, I’ve heard, being unable to touch in normal ways. I’m a huggy type person, at least I was with my ex’s kids…and I can’t see not being so with students. Nowadays, I’m assuming male behavior like that can get you sued.

  20. Donna November 24, 2015 at 12:23 pm #

    Is it just teens with older men who have an inappropriate relationship or was my teenage friendship with a female friend of my parents (whose children I also babysat) also inappropriate? We are still friends some 30 years later and the age difference is still the same so is it still inappropriate?

  21. david zaitzeff November 24, 2015 at 1:18 pm #

    I walk at Greenlake for recreation in good weather and I often walk in skimpy undies, which has been an adventure for everybody, but no legally bad results for anyone so far. In October in this year, a woman accosted me as I was walking and claimed, approximately, as follows, “You just walk so that kids will look at you. You walk in the afternoons when there are kids here; why not in the mornings or at night?”

    I explained I was either asleep, at home or at work in the mornings . . . and I did walk some nights but not after dark . . . and there were some times that I did walk at noon . . .

    based on 2 flimsy factors of which she had little knowledge, she had concluded and was accusing me of intentionally mentally molesting by my walking on the path–just as several thousand other people do every day it is not raining–all school kids in the area . . .

  22. Warren November 24, 2015 at 1:22 pm #

    How many times have we heard that kids, more so boys, need a postitive male role model. That there is not enough male mentors out there.
    Why? Because the men have to do it the way women want, under supervision, after being background checked, fingerprinted, passed a lie detector, and provide a dna sample. Then only mentor them in a gender neutral, non offensive way.

  23. Care and Caution Do Not Equal Paranoia November 24, 2015 at 1:23 pm #

    I have been a follower of your free range kids movement. However, your recent articles regarding sexual abuse have concerned me. It is not productive to be overly paranoid about sexual abuse and to consider every adult nefarious. It is equally appalling to be dismissive of the statistics on sexual abuse.

    At the foundation of the free range movement is data, and the data shows that kids are very unlikely to be kidnapped. The story on sexual abuse is very different. 1 in 4 women will be assaulted in their lifetime. I would urge you to research this further before posting articles criticizing people for being on the alert for sexual predators. Kidnapping is unlikely because assault by strangers is rare. Unfortunately, kids are more likely to be victimized by a loved one or someone they know. Unlike kidnapping, which very few will experience, being taken advantage of by an adult is something that has happened to many, many Americans.

    I don’t advocate worst case thinking and knee jerk reactions. I don’t advocate being distrustful of all men. I do advocate teaching children how to identify suspicious behavior. I do advocate for parents being on the alert and to know who is interacting with their children, from daycare providers to coaches to close family friends. If a man is interested in your child, you should absolutely scrutinize that! Scrutiny doesn’t mean pitchforks and torches; it does mean doing your due diligence and not taking every action at face value (ex. A gift from an adult. It could be innocent; it could be a sign of grooming for sexual assault. Is it automatically a sign of grooming? No. Have gifts been used to gain children’s trust as part of the grooming process? Absolutely. Should adults question who is giving the gift and why and keep an eye on that relationship? Absolutely. Do experts on sexual abuse support this scrutiny? Yes.)

    We don’t need to “see” something that isn’t there; however, we do need to “see” something that is there. And how do you advocate that we do that?

    Many, many parents have not seen what is happening to their children right under their nose and the consequences are heartbreaking.

    I have a feeling that this has not occurred in your own family. If it had, I think your approach would be more nuanced and less sardonic.

    Your attitude on this issue (from this and one or two other posts I have recently seen and your whole “Eek a Man!” section) borders on cavalier. I would urge you to reconsider your message. I have been a fan of the movement but these article leave a bad taste in my mouth. One can believe in free range parenting while also believing sexual abuse is real and worthy of a certain level of vigilance. Do not conflate generalized paranoia with the very real need to pay attention to the adults interacting with your child.

    I hope that this comment will be taken to heart instead of received defensively or trashed by your followers (let’s engage, not troll). I consider myself a reasonable person, which is why I have been behind the free range concept- it’s reasonable! I think my argument here is also reasonable and I hope it will be considered. I often look to the data for guidance, and I think the data is on my side in this case. I hope you further look at the research and consider a better way to address the balance between unfounded fear and realistic caution.

  24. Kate November 24, 2015 at 1:27 pm #

    Finding Neverland uses discomfort with a man taking an interest in young children as a plot point and has the childrens’ mother threatened with loss of her children partially because of this “inappropriate relationship.” In real life, there were no whisperings or suspicions about Barrie’s relationship with the boys until just the last twenty years, when suddenly all kinds of people starting speculating that Barrie was a pedophile. By that point, the only person left with first-hand knowledge was the youngest Davies boy, who said that as far as he knews, Barrie wasn’t sexually attracted to anyone, man, woman, or child. But I doubt the rumor will go away–as you observe, we are becoming trained to view the world through that sexualized lens.

  25. Care and Caution Do Not Equal Paranoia November 24, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    (And before everyone argues that this isn’t the point of this particular post, please realize I am addressing a sentiment seen in this post AND other writings. It is not a point-by-point breakdown of the validity of the McFly/Doc situation but rather an observation of a general trend that I find concerning. Let the outrage begin.)

  26. Tim November 24, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    She didn’t really say how the relationship was inappropriate, other than to say people would make assumptions. That doesn’t make it inappropriate, and it’s wrong and dangerous to think that it does.

  27. Doug November 24, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    CCDNEP (no, your handle is too long to reproduce),

    That “1 in 4” statistic has been so thoroughly disproven I’m surprised there are still people around who believe it.

  28. Shannon November 24, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

    “If a man is interested in your child, you should absolutely scrutinize that!”

    Out of curiosity, why is it that you single out men as being suspicious? What about women?

  29. Shelly Stow November 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Care and Caution, I do not know whether Lenore ever answers her comments, and I know even less if she would appreciate my presuming to answer for her; yet I shall presume.

    Having read almost everything she has written on the subject, I believe that her concern does indeed revolve around the inflated fear of strangers. She is an opponent of the public sex offender registry because that is the message it sends–your children are at risk from strangers. We all know, as you stated, that the risk is from those in the children’s lives, but even there we must differentiate between reasonable risk and paranoia. Lenore has expounded a very common sense approach to teaching children about potential risky situations and behaviors and agrees that the very best prevention is open lines of communication between parent and child.

    Now, this is me: I have read everything that leads to the “one in four” figure, and I do not find it an accurate assessment. Questions were asked that elicited responses indicating a sexual assault when the actual behavior may have been an attempt at an unwanted kiss or a hand upon an arm. Calling everything rape or assault belittles rape and assault when it does occur.

    Of course sexual molestation of children is real and is serious. We need comprehensive education, awareness, and prevention programs in every school in America. We also need to keep things in perspective. Many times more children are mistreated with emotional and physical, non-sexual abuse, up to and including death, yearly than are sexually abused.

    I am in no way trashing your comment. You are very well-spoken and respectful, and I hope that I have been also.

  30. Care and Caution Do Not Equal Paranoia November 24, 2015 at 2:06 pm #

    Doug, even if 1 in 4 were considered over-inflated (and I disagree that it has been debunked), all the rates you find via research are still staggeringly high. To say that 1 in 4 is unfounded doesn’t address the crux of the argument, which is that is happens a lot more than anyone would like to believe and is an issue that deserves parents pay close attention to.

  31. Hancock November 24, 2015 at 2:07 pm #

    The 1 in 4 women argument a strange one. Is it 1 in 4 of ALL women, or 1 in 4 of a particular group of women? Americans? Swedes? Black? Christian? What? Who is being sexually assaulted, and in what way? Blackout drunk sex? Involuntary rape? Cat calling? Sex that was fun in the act, but regretted the day?

    As for this very fun movie, no. There really does not seem to be a sexual aspect between Doc and Marty, and they seem to be on equal terms. As a mom, I probably would express.concern for my 17 year old being out late, but ultimately I would acknowledge that I can’t stop him, or effectively reprimand him for it; and if he gets in trouble, there is only so much I can do.

  32. PDB November 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Kind of remind me of my professor of Torts in law school, who said on the first day of the class that by the end, we would see potential hazards (and lawsuits) everywhere.

    Didn’t happen with me, not sure if it happened for other students. The prof was a bit full of himself too.

  33. Care and Caution Do Not Equal Paranoia November 24, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    Appreciate your thoughtful response, Shelly Stow. I agree with a lot of what you said, and I absolutely agree with Lenore’s response about the best approach being open dialogue with children. I just find the tone of many of these articles concerning (as I noted, borderline dismissive of a real issue) and urge her to reconsider. Perhaps these blog posts don’t reflect her broader thinking. Something to think about is that articles that appear cavalier may alienate people who agree with her overall approach but care a lot about this issue.

    I don’t know if she reads the comments either. 🙂

  34. Warren November 24, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    Care and Caution,

    Your chosen name is the battle cry of the “Better safe than sorry” brigade.

    Doug is correct that your old 1 in 4 stat has been trashed long ago.

    The next big red flag in your comment is this, “I have a feeling that this has not occurred in your own family. If it had, I think your approach would be more nuanced and less sardonic.”. Those that have experienced it tend to be so jaded and biased, that they see it everywhere. Not only that, they love to believe the inflated data and stats, so that they don’t feel so alone, like they were targeted.

    So, you are letting your personal experience jade and guide your stance, while relying on false data.

    No one is saying that abuse doesn’t happen. What I am saying is that we don’t have to be on constant alert for it.

  35. Taed November 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    Of course if you’d like to see a truly inappropriate show (which is largely based on Doc & Marty from _Back to the Future_), check out _Rick & Morty_ on Cartoon Network. Happily, it’s the humor that is completely inappropriate, not their relationship. Definitely not for kids (unless their parents let them, as this one does).

  36. James Pollock November 24, 2015 at 2:23 pm #

    I only ever saw the first “Back to the Future” movie, but as I recall, Marty was more at risk from his mother.

  37. Kenny Felder November 24, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    A tremendous amount of college today seems to be focused on getting people to see danger and offense where no one normally would. The more problems you can spot in everyday occurrences, the more educated you are!

  38. sigh November 24, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    My son is in another province billeting with a family while attending an elite sports program. Sadly, the billet family is not doing squat to incorporate the boy into their family or give him a sense of connection. They turn out all the lights after dinner, retreat upstairs, and he is left, like Harry Potter, to himself— not under the stairs, but in a little room, alone on the main floor of the house.

    He can’t drive yet, so he’s marooned there. When I saw how isolated he was becoming, I mobilized and went out there to get people involved and connected. One of them is his counsellor at school, a wonderful young guy with a couple of little kids himself. He also had the experiencing of billeting as a young athlete, so he knows the ups and downs.

    When I came to him and asked for help, he suggested that my son could come along to his 6-year-old’s hockey practices on Wednesdays. The counsellor offered to take my son with him after school and get him to the rink, “If that’s okay with you.”

    Okay with me? I was absolutely thrilled! My son would not only get to volunteer and pass on his skills to younger kids (contribution), he would get one-on-one time with this wonderful man as they drove in the car to get to the practice (connection, friendship, companionship, caring). Plus, it turned out they stopped by the counsellor’s house, and my son got to meet the adorable little 3-year-old daughter.

    Here’s how my son described the girl: “Well, mom, I don’t want to seem like a pedophile or anything, but she is really really cute.”

    Pedophile? Because he finds a three-year-old girl adorable? Aren’t we all supposed to find little kids adorable? Isn’t it hard-wired into our brains to go “awwwwww….” when we see any “baby” of any species (okay, maybe not spiders)?

    And this counsellor, asking me if it was okay for him to drive my son somewhere in a car. Alone. I actually cried with gratitude. I couldn’t think of anything better for my son than to be spending time with this man and his family.

    I’ve told my son repeatedly that if something ever feels weird, especially with a coach or adult friend, to acknowledge that “weirdness” and talk to me about it. But we don’t start out assuming coaches or counsellors or teachers are “weird” if they show a special interest in him. We trust that he’s interesting, and that the desire to contribute to other human beings is a pretty present need in most of us, so we assume that’s what’s motivating the behaviour.

    Until proven otherwise.

    My son is already trained, at age 14, to assume he’s a “pedophile” if he finds preschoolers cute.

    So, so, so sad.

  39. Doug November 24, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    The “1 in 4” crap is more easily trashed than the “2000 children a day are abducted” crap; that’s how bogus those statistics are.

  40. John November 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm #

    Well, I think mainly America, England and maybe Canada are the countries where this type of paranoia now exists when it never used to years ago. Australia and New Zealand are probably not too far behind. Mainly the Western countries are the problem with America leading the charge.

    I am currently a Big Brother volunteer for the third time and the BB Social Worker and I agreed that had Big Brothers/Big Sisters, which has been around since 1904, never existed and let’s say somebody in 2015 came up with the idea of pairing an adult male with a young boy, who is devoid of a male role model, to act as a mentor and somebody to spend time with, the idea would NEVER get off the ground. The “experts” would be calling it “dangerous” and a “foolish proposition”. The very suggestion of allowing a young boy to be with an adult male unrelated to him would be deemed “absurd and risky” and completely out of the question. People would be mystified as to why a man would want to “hang around” a young boy he’s not related to. The person’s motive would be interpreted as being nefarious and questionable to say the least. This is the 21st century mindset were up against folks.

    BUT the reality is, BB/BS has proven to be very successful and a wonderful program for young kids without a role model. Now I’m sure that have been nasty incidences of BB’s turning out to be perverts but those incidences are few and far between and the benefits of the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program has proven to far outweigh the downside and risks involved. Its continued existence proves that, but I believe many of those same people giving kudos to the BB/BS program today are those who would have scoffed at it had it never been invented!

  41. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    I can meet and befriend a kid (at least I used to be able to, before I became so paranoid about some people) in a few minutes. Kids tend to really like me or not. The ones that do become fast pals. It’s like they can tell on some level that I want to be a friend and I don’t intend harm. We have some of the same interests. I love most YA literature. I like youth sports (mostly for nostalgia reasons and the above joy in kids faces.). I enjoy video games and martial arts. Most kids seem to enjoy those things. I have never been burned by making a friend with a kid.

    Adults, on the other hand, I find making friends with them a very painful process. I think when it comes across to parents of some kids and maybe they misinterpret my awkwardness as some sort of skeevy. I don’t really know. So, I don’t try anymore. I find it hard to trust adults to not be looking out for themselves. I’ve had some disastrous friendships in the last two decades.

  42. Millie November 24, 2015 at 3:30 pm #

    We know we shouldn’t worry about our kids being around strangers because strangers are the demographic that is least likely to commit acts of violence or sexual abuse against our children. Lenore has pointed out repeatedly on this blog that the safest place for our kids is with a group of strangers (yes, I get that she saying this in a tongue-in-cheek fashion).

    So, that means that the people who our children know relatively well are the ones who pose the most danger to them as far as risk for abduction, murder, and yes, child sexual abuse. Right? The Youth Victimization Report by the National Institute of Justice (one of the few sources I can find that hasn’t tried to spin the evidence to make it sound better or worse depending on worldview) shows that 74% of adolescent sexual assault victims knew the perpetrator well. ( Yes, I did note that the victims of child sexual assault only made up 8.1 percent of the sample, so we’re not talking a significant portion of respondents.

    Also, from what I can find via a quick search, perpetrators of sexual crimes committed against children are overwhelmingly male. ( Sorry, guys, but that means that parents are not crazy to be interested in the nature of your relationship with their child. Sucks, but that’s just the way it is.

    So, I don’t see what’s so wrong with saying that maybe we should teach children how to identify suspicious behavior or be alert about who is interacting with our children. Based on the response that Care and Caution has received, you’d think such a suggestion is posited by some worst-first knee-jerk overreacting fool and not a reasonable adult who can look at the evidence (much of which can be found on this blog) and come to some pretty basic and reasonable conclusions about how we should treat our children’s relationships with other adults.

    If you’re wondering, yes, I am one of the kids who wishes their parents had been a little less trustful of our good family friend and church youth leader who took a lively interest in me during my youth. Some wildly inappropriate fondling and a great deal of shame on my part were the thankfully the only outcome of his interest. (It doesn’t make sense that I would feel shame but that just seems to be what young girls who go through that kind of thing do.) However, I am aware of at least one girl whose attentions from him didn’t stop at fondling. I have actively worked to approach parenting from a rational and not-overly-fearful perspective and Lenore’s work has been invaluable to me and my sanity (and my marriage, for that matter, since I live with a true free-ranger). But, it is NOT worst-first or foolish for parents to be aware of and cautious about the relationships that their children form with other adults.

    It might be helpful for someone, Lenore, or anyone really, to write an article that reasonably suggests how a parent might go about maintaining that difficult tight-rope walk between cautious, careful oversight and free-range principles.

    And, I’d like to say thank you to Care and Caution for your thoughtful and nuanced response to Lenore’s original article. I have had the same growing concern about the flippancy with which sex abuse issues are addressed by Free Rangers. Unfortunately, in conversations that play out in comment sections, it seems that nuance and careful consideration are disregarded in favor of hyperbole and extreme sensitivity. I notice you didn’t call yourself something like “ALL MEN ARE CHILD RAPISTS!!” Now, THAT would sound like a battle call for the “Better Safe Than Sorry” crowd.

  43. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm #

    I don’t want to think about Big Brother, John. When I was fresh out of the Army, about 24 and with a steady job, I had a gf but I wanted a little brother to hang with and help out. I applied BB went through the home visit and their personality test. My references filled out their forms and turned them in. I soon get a letter stating I had been turned down and they wouldn’t tell me why. I am not a perv, never been arrested, and I was gainfully employed with a girlfriend.

    It’s been 20 years now and I still have no idea why. I don’t know if my references thought it weird that a young man wanted to hang with boys or if my sister’s bouts with DFACS showed up and caused me trouble. They wouldn’t tell me. Grrr…

  44. Dana November 24, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    everyone would assume it was sexual because it was 1:30am? Wow, and here I had no idea that sexual abuse only happened after dark! 😉

  45. Shelly Stow November 24, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    No “like” buttons on this blog, but I gotta say—Sigh, like, like, like!

  46. sigh November 24, 2015 at 4:27 pm #

    “It might be helpful for someone, Lenore, or anyone really, to write an article that reasonably suggests how a parent might go about maintaining that difficult tight-rope walk between cautious, careful oversight and free-range principles.”

    I don’t want to sound snarky, but it seems to me this entire blog is addressing exactly what you are requesting.

    And the answer is this: Talk to your kids. At every stage of their development, celebrate their progress and steps toward more and more competence while simultaneously preparing them for the challenges life may present.

    Note the difference between the word “prepare” and “protect.”

    Preparation for a possible encounter with someone who wants to prey on them sexually is an important part of raising kids. Here’s what it might look like:

    1. As soon as a child is verbal, teach them all the scientific words for the parts of their bodies. Make sure little girls understand the difference between “vulva” and “vagina,” for instance. Stay away from “funny” names for anything related to sexual development. Call it what it is.

    2. As soon as a child is becoming self-aware and being left in the care of others, have them notice their bathing suit, and what it covers. Explain those parts stay covered in public, and it’s not because those parts are bad, but because they are private. Make sure the child knows that it is their CHOICE whether and when someone touches those parts.

    (NOTE: It can be confusing to say, “No one should ever touch the parts your bathing suit covers,” because a doctor, parent or caregiver may need to do this for various important reasons. And kids will sometimes experiment with each other playing “doctor.” It’s not about the touching as much as the CHOICE about it that matters to the child… kids need to know they and they alone are “in charge” of those special parts of their bodies, and really, ALL parts of their bodies, and can say NO to whatever they don’t like, including hugs and kisses from anyone, even family!)

    3. Tell your child that they are equipped with a special “spidey sense” that tells them when something feels creepy or icky. Explain that this may or may not involve grownups they know, love and trust… it could be a casual conversation with someone they’ve just met, or a beloved relative, or a teacher or coach they want to impress. But they will know. It will be like… “eeeewwww… my stomach feels tingly and I’m getting kind of hot and embarrassed and I just want to GET OUT OF HERE.” And tell them that it’s good to be able to feel that, and you are totally OK with them getting away, and not worrying about offending anyone or being rude. “If you feel that icky feeling, go somewhere safe right away. You don’t need to say why, just go. And I will listen to you afterward and make sure you are OK.”

    4. Talk to kids about sex. From a very early age. Not just “how babies get born” but the fact that there are very pleasant feelings associated with sex and cuddling and hugs and kisses, and it’s natural to have those good feelings. The most important part is CHOICE and being in a place of total and complete YES when you are having experiences like that with another person. That you BOTH must be 1000% YES in order for that to work. And if there’s even the slightest bit of “No, I don’t really want to do this,” that it’s OK and necessary for you to take care of yourself and say no to it. And again, emphasize that you will be there to listen afterward and make sure they are OK if they end up in a “I had to say no” situation.

    5. Believe what your kids say, and honour their truth. Not just about being molested, heck, honour their truth about how they feel about their bratty cousin. “I hate Tara. She’s so bossy.” Instead of saying, “Oh, but Tara is a nice girl, she was just tired that day,” you empathize. “Sounds like you would prefer to have more of a say in how you guys play together, huh?” This empathy builds trust. They’re more likely to come to you with what’s going on in their lives if you have listened and reflected back what matters to THEM, rather than jumping in to fix things, denying what they feel, or letting your own discomfort get in the way of letting them have their true experience of something. Trust is huge. It’s what set the stage for being able to help a kid who HAS had a trauma recover from that experience. Trust is the antidote to shame.

    6. Be sex-positive yourself. Don’t deny that you have sex, but keep it private. Celebrate your own body. Be a role model of someone who takes care of themselves, has healthy boundaries, and doesn’t let others exploit them. Practice being neutral and calm when questions come at you about anything related to sexuality. Have calm, information-based discussions. Allow ANY questions at all. If you don’t know the answers, say so, and find them. Show your child you cannot be “scandalized” by any sexual topic. This is important. They have to know you are a safe person to talk to about sex.

    7. Set your child free, in age-appropriate ways. Let them use a public washroom by themselves if they feel ready for it and can reach the plumbing easily. Let them take a bus somewhere. Let them go to a friend’s house by themselves, or go to the store. And let them know: “It’s very unlikely you’d ever meet someone who randomly means you harm, but listen to that “spidey sense” inside of you if it starts going off. You’ll know if you’re sensing something is weird. I trust you to know that, and I also know that it’s very unlikely anyone will mean you harm. So go out there and have your experience, and then come back and tell me all about it!

    How’s that? We cannot control for every possibility that someone will mean our kids harm. But assuming anyone friendly means harm is totally toxic, as is ignoring your responsibility to prepare your child to be self-aware, sex-positive and knowledgeable, have clear boundaries and power over themselves, and a huge sense of trust that you will hear them, whatever they are feeling.

  47. Warren November 24, 2015 at 4:29 pm #


    Explain your cautious approach? How does that work?

    Because for all the years I have been a parent, I always relied on my ability to read people, and what kind of vibe I got from them. And that was basically it. So I am wondering to what lengths you go to in order to approve of the adults in your kids lives?

    I don’t really need to know them. I don’t care what they do for a living, I don’t care if they fish, hunt or play sports. I don’t care if they cheat on their taxes. And I don’t give a rat’s rear what religion they are. If my gut says they’re okay, and my kid’s gut says they’re okay, that is good enough for me.

    What parents have to do is stop worrying about everyone else. The only skill you need to teach your kid is to trust their gut, their instincts. And then give them the confidence and courage to follow that gut. You don’t have to teach them good touch from bad touch. You don’t have to teach them what grooming looks like. You just give them the support they need to trust their gut. That means when you trust your kid to handle it, and your kid knows you trust them to handle it, then your kid will know they can trust themselves to handle it.

  48. Heather November 24, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    Hancock and Doug:

    Regarding the 1 in 5 stat, here is a piece by one of the people who did the study people are citing when they misuse that statistic:

    So, in answer to Hancock’s question: the study covers senior undergraduates who responded to a survey at two US large universities. 1 in 5 had some form of unwanted sexual contact: groping, unwanted kiss, unwanted contact with a penis etc. All were acts that can legally constitute sexual battery and are crimes.

    But if you cut it down to just unwanted penetration, that’s 1 in 7 (14.3%).

    That’s still a high enough statistic that it’s realistic to be wary. If everyone was open about their experiences, you’d know lots of victims. People are not, because there are social disadvantages to having been raped or assaulted. Realistically, nobody cries rape after regretting a sexual experience, because the downside to crying rape is far worse than the downside to saying that you wish you had not gone to bed with that guy.

    On the other side of the fence, surveys have consistently reported that college men acknowledged forced intercourse at a rate of 5-15%. So that’s 1 in 20 to 1 in 7 college men has forced intercourse on a partner. How many men in your college course?

    A national survey of rape showed that 1 in 12 college men committed acts that met the legal definition of rape, and of those men, 84% did not consider their actions to be illegal. So some college aged men literally do not realise they are committing rape.

    (from here:

    This is why people get pissed off when you claim that sexual assault stats should be taken with the same pinch of salt as the ad campaigns from safety gadget manufacturers. In all likelihood, they underestimate the situation, because women just deal with a lot of sexual assault.

    From my experience, some men don’t have a back button. They just assume they got past first base, and now they can go all the way. One chap I kissed at Uni was a terrible kisser. Could I get him to realise that I now wanted out? Not a chance.

    Could not get rid of him all night. Then he asked the friend I was staying with if it was ok to come back to hers after the club, while I was at the loo (he didn’t ask me. Didn’t even tell me). So I’m walking back to hers, and discover he’s coming too, and to stop him I have to make a fuss in front of everyone. Then it transpired he expected to share the bed with me (and there is nowhere else to sleep). Ended up drawing an absolute line “no more” while in bed with him. I was 17. It was my first night out. I literally had no experience in setting the boundary. Now, I’d have far fewer qualms about embarrassing him by telling him to bog off and bitching about his poor kissing to my friend.

    This is why consent classes and teaching people how to set boundaries is important.


  49. Doug November 24, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    Heather, the response rate (42%) of the study throws into question using that data for pretty much anything. Self-selected studies do not produce reliable results. Therefore, as anyone familiar with statistics can tell you, you cannot use those results to reach conclusions.

    If you insist on using flawed data, you should expect to be ridiculed.

    Much like the “2000 children abducted every day” people are rightly mocked for being fear-mongers and worse.

  50. John November 24, 2015 at 5:19 pm #


    Don’t know what to tell you Dhewco except that I’m sorry that happened to you. I can’t imagine the references you used would have blackballed you. Or at least if they couldn’t give you a good references, they should have had the guts to refuse your request when you asked them. Regardless, BB should have given you a reason why they rejected you and if it was because of a poor reference. If I were you, I would try volunteering again and see what happens.

    I THINK the Big Brother agencies can vary from city to city. My first stint with BBs was in a major city and the screening process was a very unpleasant experience for me. I had to be interviewed by a board of people from the community as to why I wanted to be a big brother and they asked me very personal questions about my sex life. When I gave them an affirmative answer to their question if I had ever heard of NAMBLA you could just see the red flags going up in the room. It’s as if they thought I was a card carrying member of that organization merely because I had HEARD of it! They asked me if I had many friends which I thought was a very awkward question. The truth is, I didn’t have a lot of friends at the time mainly because the few friends I had I spent lots of time with. So needless to say, I squirmed at some of their questions BUT they ended up approving me anyway.

    The BB agency in the current city I’m in is great. They do the usual intensive background check but they don’t pick your brain with personal questions probably because they realize what you do in your personal life is your business anyway, as long as you don’t bring it into the life of your “little” and it’s presumptuous to assume that you would. They mainly focus on what you’re interested in so they can match you with a “little” who has similar interests. There is also a one year grace period under the BB agency I’m in before they allow an overnight with your “little”. If you violate that rule, they would just terminate the match and the “big” could then be removed from the program, depending upon the circumstances.

    So Dhewco, I’d give it another whirl if you’re still interested in becoming a BB volunteer. Even if you’re still living in the same city, I’m sure the BB staff has completely turned over from what it was 20 years ago and their screening procedures have probably changed too. They are desperate for volunteers so they will do what is safe and necessary for the good of the match but not so much as to sour potential volunteers who would be of great value to a child’s life.

  51. Alanna November 24, 2015 at 5:25 pm #

    Shari’s friend seems to be missing the point that the two of them are drawn together because in many ways they are both or at least they both feel like outcasts.

  52. James Pollock November 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm #

    “On the other side of the fence, surveys have consistently reported that college men acknowledged forced intercourse at a rate of 5-15%. So that’s 1 in 20 to 1 in 7 college men has forced intercourse on a partner. How many men in your college course?”

    I think you’re misrepresenting the statistic here, specifically around the word “forced”, and in the notion that someone has done something once means that they’ll do it again.

    If you use the broadest possible wording of the question “have you ever had sex when you knew your partner didn’t want to”, you might get 1 in 7. But that isn’t “force”… that’s talked him or her into it, or, as is common in long-term couples, one of the partners not really wanting it, but doing it because they care about the other person to do it anyway (and no, that’s not just women.)

    If you’re dealing with people who have small children, it may well be that NEITHER partner particularly wants it… they just know it might be a while until the opportunity presents again, so they’d better take the opportunity while it’s there. (YMMV)

    On the second point, I think an honest survey would show that a LOT of Americans have shoplifted… which tells you nothing at all about whether those exact same Americans are CURRENTLY a shoplifting risk.

  53. Hannah Pazderka November 24, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Mr. Shreck, I loved your comment, “Yet how reactionary is it to call out the lack of difference between a modern feminist studies major and the repressed puritans of old?”. What’s even more surreal is that the woman making the observation is only 11 years younger than the other lady. So the “repressed puritan” dated back to 2004! Yeesh.

  54. Warren November 24, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

    I am still trying to wrap my head around why surveys are still being used to compile data. Opinion polls and such are fine, they are just used as trend indicators, so that politicians and businesses can gamble on what the public wants. But to use a survey as your basis for determining actual facts is insane.

    Too many variables.

  55. Lee Baldwin November 24, 2015 at 6:05 pm #

    ok, i’m older (61), but when i was 4 my grandmother’s next door neighbor’s 18 year old son broke his arm, so he couldn’t work. that meant i spent a lot of time playing with him because he was home and bored enough to play with me. we played board games, discussed books (i was reading at high school level) & news, he helped me build stuff, etc. it turned into a sort of friendship. no one seemed to think it was all that unusual though, just like a kid & her babysitter, or a big brother & little sister sort of thing. we remained friends until he got married, when i was 9. his wife was insanely jealous & didn’t want him talking to me (anyone surprised that marriage didn’t last?). we corresponded erratically since he divorced, and i was invited to his second wedding several years ago. his new wife is a lot nicer 😉 i find the idea of only having same aged friends a very myopic & limiting. kids can learn a lot from friends of different ages, even over 14 years apart. jumping right into “predator” seems like a mental illness

  56. Jason November 24, 2015 at 6:14 pm #

    If we’re talking about misused facts and statistics, then this whole idea of strangers being safer to kids than family and friends might as well get tossed. Face it – a “stranger” has less access to a given kid, is not trusted, etc., not to mention that there is a massive population of strangers out there, the vast, vast majority of whom will never harm a child.

    That does not mean that any given stranger is to be trusted more than Uncle Bob, just by virtue of being a stranger, and I don’t think even the most flippant deniers on this blog would trust their child to a random stranger based on that misunderstood statistic.

    Furthermore, once a stranger has befriended your child, he or she is no longer a stranger, and had suddenly become dramatically more likely to molest your kid. He’s right up there with grandpa and the science teacher and youth pastor.

    When Marty first met Doc Brown, he was probably very safe. After all, Doc was more likely to molest his step kids or nieces and nephews than he was Marty. But, after they became friends, Marty’s risk became much greater, even though Doc himself hadn’t changed in any way.

    By definition, we don’t know anything about strangers, so were wary of them as adults, too. I don’t wander off with someone I just met to help him jumpstart his car down the street, and I don’t tell someone in the park my address. Common sense dictates that we treat strangers differently, not welcome them with open arms like a Middle Eastern refugee.

    As for kids, and to be more realistic, one or more posters on here some time ago recommended the Cub/Boy Scout videos on Recognize, Resist, Report. I wish the thinking in those videos replaced the blind terror point of view that seems to be more common. They showcase smart rules for younger kids and rational thinking for older ones in evaluating both strangers and known persons.

  57. Donna November 24, 2015 at 6:25 pm #

    “1. As soon as a child is verbal, teach them all the scientific words for the parts of their bodies. Make sure little girls understand the difference between “vulva” and “vagina,” for instance. Stay away from “funny” names for anything related to sexual development. Call it what it is.”

    While I’ve never understood cute names for body parts and would highly recommend against giving any part of the body a name with negative connotations, it truly matters naught what body parts are called in any particular family. As long as everyone in the family is clear as what words are used for what, you can call anything whatever you want to call it. Certainly knowing the difference between a vagina and vulva is completely irrelevant for most of childhood. While I don’t particularly care what anyone teaches their children about body parts, I’ve never understood the insistence that small children need to have an gynecologist-level of knowledge about their genitalia and them having such gives any protection from sexual assault. Unless you are teaching your children the scientific names for ALL the body parts, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to single out the genitalia for this special treatment. Using the word of common usage in society is really fine. In fact, calling it something like a “monkey” is fine, odd, but no more odd really than calling the synovial hinge joint the “funny bone.”

  58. Donna November 24, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

    “Realistically, nobody cries rape after regretting a sexual experience, because the downside to crying rape is far worse than the downside to saying that you wish you had not gone to bed with that guy.”

    There is also a downside to being known as someone who gets drunk and sleeps with a stranger at a party. Which downside is worse? In many circles, being a “slut” is far worse than being raped. I personally know women who have changed their tune as to consent in the days, weeks, and in one particular situation DECADES, after the consensual sex occurred in order to rewrite their own sexual history into something that is acceptable to their definition of who they are – which does not include them being someone who sleeps with a stranger. None pressed charges – although we’ve had proven cases of that here too in our little college town, that is more rare – but all would fill out a survey claiming to have been raped when the reality is far more murky.

  59. Liz November 24, 2015 at 7:09 pm #

    I always thought people were joking when they thought that Marty and Doc’s relationship was somehow bad, especially when Cracked brought it up:

  60. Kristin M November 24, 2015 at 7:45 pm #

    @ Shannon actually, Santa doesn’t encourage kids to sit on his lap. The child’s parents are usually the ones putting their own children at risk by putting them (and at times, forcing) in the gloved (no dna evidence), soft fuzzy hands of st. Predator, I mean Nick. And not only encouraging them to smile and look pretty, but to ask for specific “bribes”.

  61. Dillon Petrucha November 24, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    The reason you are having difficulty with this relationship is because you are not thinking 4th dimensionally.

    Doc and Marty are friends because in 1955 Doc met Marty and helped him get back to 1985.

  62. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

    John, I wish I could. Two years later, I tried again. It was probably too soon and the same woman was over the area. I lived in between two much larger towns. The first one I tried was in one town and I tried again in another, two years later.

    I was sent a letter telling me never to try again. The letter was so harsh that I wondered what law I’d broken. Again, I’d never been arrested, I’d never been accused of a crime, and I’d never thought about committing a crime towards a kid. I couldn’t understand it, but that letter made me assume that someone must have shot me down or something.

    According to google, they can turn you down if they dig up things about your family. My sister had her kids removed by DFACS for neglect. I never made it to the interview with the community committee.

  63. Dhewco November 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm #

    It didn’t help that one of my references turned out to have the same problem as my sister. Her daughter, my gf, was a pregnant 18yo when I met her. I was a good little mormon and fell in love with her anyway.

    I’ve wondered if having that woman as a reference probably killed it for me. I didn’t know the details of her relationship with DFACS when I listed her.

  64. sexhysteria November 25, 2015 at 5:40 am #

    Good Illustration of the self-interest behind child sex abuse hysteria. Opportunists and profiteers selling women’s studies, social services, rape crisis “treatment” are merely promoting themselves rather than “protecting” kids.

  65. Joe November 25, 2015 at 7:14 am #

    I think this little mix up must have been just a big misunderstanding. Your friend must have seen the wrong trailer. Perhaps this is the trailer she saw?

    You could see why she might get the wrong idea.

  66. Anne Huddleston November 25, 2015 at 11:04 am #

    I am so glad I am 58 and have only about 30-40 years left to endure this madness.

  67. Anne Huddleston November 25, 2015 at 11:09 am #

    On a lighter note, there IS that recent TV series with Millie Driver about a single mother who welcomes the relationship her 8 year old son develops with the (handsome, young) neighbor next door. For tension, naturally they have an adversarial relationship because she is like a 60’s earth mother and he is a gad-about. But at least they don’t spew any “inappropriate” sick thinking on the show, and the presence of a male presence in the boy’s life is considered a gift..

  68. Braden November 25, 2015 at 11:46 am #

    Isn’t this a very similar relationship to Carl and Russell in Pixar’s Up. Pretty sure your projecting a little.

  69. John November 25, 2015 at 1:04 pm #


    You are spot-on with your assessment! My grown 52-year-old niece, who underwent verbal and some physical abuse at the hands of her alcoholic father when she was a child, still sees a counselor because of the relationship she had with her dad who is now deceased. The counselor she was seeing tried to convince her that her dad was sexually abusing her. My niece had no earthly idea how she arrived at that conclusion but she informed the counselor that her dad verbally abused her, he physical abused both her and her mom and that she believed her dad was basically an awful dad BUT in no way did he ever touch her sexually. Sexual abuse was NOT the issue but according to my niece, the counselor still insisted that her dad was sexually abusing her and until she came to grips with that, according to the counselor, she would never be at peace.

    My niece then flat out told the counselor that she was fired!

    So many counselors nowadays seem to be infatuated with sexual abuse and they base their whole occupation on it.

  70. sigh November 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm #

    As a young woman, I had a counsellor suggest to me I’d been sexually abused by my father. The counsellor based this assumption on the fact that I have a habit similar to nail-biting. Huh?

    I actually asked my dad if he had any recollection of doing anything like that, because I certainly didn’t. He looked pained to be asked, but was very even-handed about it, and said no. I am sorry that counsellor ever suggested such an outrageous thing to me, based on zero clinical evidence.

    The “repressed memories of sexual abuse” thing got so bad that many relationships between dads and their kids were ruined by “recovered memories” planted in the kids’ minds by “helping professionals.” Sad, sad chapter in the brief history of Western psychology.

  71. Tommy Udo November 25, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    The (female) instructor of the mandatory “Perspectives on Gender” course I was forced to take in college informed our class that “all men are rapists; the ones who haven’t done it yet just haven’t had the opportunity.” There were two assistants who sat behind her, a man and woman, who were called “facilitators”. If any student attempted to question anything, the facilitators would interrupt and shout him or her down. It was like some kind of surreal Nazi tribunal. This was twenty-five years ago, and the brainwashing has become worse since then.

  72. Art November 25, 2015 at 3:41 pm #

    @ tommy udo,

    WTF?? That’s beyond insane.

  73. Papilio November 25, 2015 at 4:51 pm #

    @Anne: “I am so glad I am 58 and have only about 30-40 years left to endure this madness.”

    If that’s a sort of weird version of ‘Happy birthday!’: you’re 2 days early 😛

  74. A man November 29, 2015 at 7:15 pm #

    The reactionary backlash to progress beyond patriarchal gender relations, here and elsewhere, is so sad. Is the part of the feminist movement responsible for this change in culture perfect? No, but thank goodness we don’t live in the historical period before the voices of these feminist critics were heard. They’ve solved an incredible problem: social denial of the widespread oppression by patriarchy. Every solution contains the seeds of the next problem, though so here we are wrestling with what comes next. To say “take me back to when things made sense” is an absurd statement lacking self-awareness.

    Finally, with regard to this situation: 17 year olds are generally so irritating that an educated adult stranger to befriend them is unusual and warrants a quick check-in to make sure it’s not a sex-power thing.

  75. A man November 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm #

    Or, less abstract, talk to some adults who were sexually exploited by adults when they were young and having some concern about Marty and Doc’s relationship just makes sense. It’s the responsible thing to do.

  76. Saddened November 29, 2015 at 8:49 pm #

    Something similar, but with actual monetary effects recently happened to me. I rented out a cottage on my property to a young woman and she was fearful that my brother would do something to her. I assured her that he was sensitive to our needs as a business and would not jeopardize my livelihood. She seemed to accept that and then found any little excuse to downplay the beauty of the home. We ended up parting ways; but it was tragic that just seeing my brother (who is a decent looking person) made her think that she was in danger. It seems as though any person that one is does not already know is suspect. ‘Very, very sad.