Guest Posts: Why I Didn’t Help A Lost Girl (And Troubled Boy)

Hi rfdhdiehkr
Readers — I got both these letters today and felt that together they make the point: We must start letting men know we TRUST them around kids. Thinking the “worst first” of all males is not only insulting, it is damaging the fabric of our society, pulling men away from their age-old jobs of  protecting and mentoring. (Yes, women fulfill those roles, too.  But the more the merrier!)

“You like kids? You must be a creep!” is a weird, paranoid, Nancy Grace-induced attitude. No one’s saying we should be naive about child abuse. But to have child abuse top-of-mind every time any man has anything to do with a kid is, well, perverted! Talk about ironic! — L.

Why I Didn’t Help a Lost Little Girl by Alan, in Utah

Our city had a carnival today.  While my 3 youngest boys were off at the dunk tank. (*Gasp* — by themselves!  With money even!) I was sitting at a table with all of the boys’ stuff (shoes, socks, stuff from the parade) when I noticed a little girl separated from her mom.  It must have just happened because she looking around bewildered at first, but within just a few moments she was crying pretty hard.

My first instinct was to go and see if she point out her mom, but Iwas worried about someone accusing me of something and being arrested and my boys coming back to an empty table.  So I sat and watched uncomfortably while this poor little girl became more and more agitated and crying more and more loudly.

Now, the part that bothers me the most about this is that there was a group of three women standing not 5 feet from this little girl.  They ignored her completely.  I finally decided to get up and do something and had gotten just a few feet from this little girl when one of the women butted ahead of me and asked her if she’d lost her mother.  As she escorted the child past she hissed, “Pervert!” at me.

I kept thinking of that poor man in England who saw the little girl walking who ended up drowning and was too afraid to stop and help her. I remember thinking when I heard that that there was no way I’d just drive off and leave her … but I know better now.  I’m much less likely to help a distressed child because I’m too afraid of what might
happen to my own kids.  And that’s just sad. — Alan

And here’s the other note

Why I Didn’t Help A Lost-seeming Boy, by “Philosodad”

“Stranger Danger” does cut both ways. Over the fall and winter I used to take my son to a playground closer to my daughter’s daycare. The kids there would ask me to play quarterback in the pickup football game (and let my three-year-old play, which was awesome). This was a lot of fun for everybody and gave the kids an unbiased referee (me), a quarterback who could throw deep passes (me), and a kid with a *brand new football* (my son), which is more or less pickup football nirvana.

One of the kids, who didn’t have a dad at home, got very attached to me… told me all his stories, wanted to stand close to me, wanted approval, Dad stuff, I guess. And because of this whole “stranger danger” mentality, I could just sense this sort of wary disapproval from the few other parents at the playground (none of whom were playing with any kids, not even their own) who just sort of watched. Watchfully.

I felt weird about the situation, so I just stopped going to that playground. Which was probably the wrong thing to do. It’s sad that even though I knew that I wasn’t a creepy stranger, I was so worried about being seen as a creepy stranger that I gave up a perfectly good opportunity to mentor a troubled kid for a few hours a week. — Philosodad

Oh no! A grown male near a child!

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100 Responses to Guest Posts: Why I Didn’t Help A Lost Girl (And Troubled Boy)

  1. Penni Russon July 19, 2010 at 8:20 am #

    Oh, how depressing.

    My husband is great with kids, forthright and confident and wouldn’t hesitate to help a lost child. No one has yet regarded him with suspicion.

    Ironically, he still tells my kids to look for a mum if they get lost.

  2. Anne V July 19, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    So darn sad. Why are men so scary?

  3. Stephanie - Home with the Kids July 19, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    This is depressing. My husband had a bad experience trying to help a crying little girl once when he was younger, and it’s why he is reluctant to help lost kids now. He’s too aware of how much many people blindly mistrust men.

    As for me, when I try to undo the Stranger Danger training my kids get at school, I tell them, among the usual authority figures, to look for a parent with kids along. Mom or dad, I figure a parent is a good person to ask. Sadly, I wouldn’t be at all surprised for a dad to be reluctant to help for just the reasons illustrated here.

  4. Judi H July 19, 2010 at 9:39 am #

    I had to catch myself today thinking this whilst at the beach with my kids today. A gentleman was walking by and he smiled at my kids and the other children playing in the sand and surf. I realized he was just happy to see happy kids. That’s all!

  5. Sarah July 19, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    seriously, I just want to cry.

    I even keep finding myself being suspicious despite my best efforts. I have had to force myself to leave the kids at the park, knowing it is perfectly safe, yet all the while having the what if’s cycling through my head.

    Today, we went to a place where people of all ages gather for music three or four times a year. It wasn’t too crowded today, just a bunch of us setting up for music next week. Someone handed three of my four children power tools. (All under the age of 11. Yipe!) I walked away so the look on my face wouldn’t make them fearful of those normal, helpful things. I left them in the company of three men that I know to varying degrees. At the end of the day, it felt so good to know they were dirty, tired, learned something new, and Mom wasn’t peering over their shoulders. Those men gave my children a priceless moment today and I am so glad they weren’t afraid to.

  6. Emily July 19, 2010 at 10:05 am #

    I too sometimes struggle with this and I don’t like it. Just yesterday this guy at a store was going on about how cute my daughter is, how cute her shoes were, her clothes, etc. She’s one–it’s pretty normal for people to act googly around her. But I found myself recoiling a little until I realized what I was doing. Why on earth do we do that? I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t judge a guy trying to help a child, though come to think of it I might offer to help whereas I wouldn’t if it were a woman. Not sure where that comes from. I don’t think it’s mistrust so much as the idea that I as a mom would be more comforting, but even that hints at some rather unfounded societal prejudices. Hmm.

    We were at a hotel, around 9 at night, and we heard a child screaming in the hall. It kept escalating until I finally went outside and saw a little girl, about 3, alone. I carried my baby to seem more mommy-like, and tried to get her to calm down. She was too hysterical to get many words out through her hiccups, though she did stop screaming. A few minutes later a man came up the stairwell and she ran to him, and they quickly went into their room with no word to me. I wonder what would have happened if my husband had gone to help her instead? And how would I have reacted if roles were reversed?

  7. Lisa July 19, 2010 at 10:06 am #

    I just read these to my husband and he agreed that he’d be reluctant to help a distressed child for fear of what might happen to him. As a mom of 3 boys who will one day have to face this idiocy, I’m really disturbed what society is becoming.

  8. This girl loves to Talk July 19, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    my brother works in the day care industry and is just loved by the kids. I hope he stays (It isnt highly paid in australia so he often thinks of leaving)

    Id like to add that often i think kids are returned their parents.

    A few years back we were staying at a holiday house in the hills. the house had no fence. Our 2 year old was running circles aroudn and kept reappearing every few mins. We were chatting with friends then realised we hadnt seen her in a little while.

    We rushed out to the main road and saw a man in the distance carrying what looked like our child lying down. We seriously thought she was dead!

    The man said he saw a small kid on the side of the road in the bushes and thought that was weird, stopped and picked her up and carried her in the OPPOSITE direction to what she was walking hoping to find her parents.

    When we tell people this story all people think is “OH thank goodness that guy wasnt a pervert/bad guy” you would NEVER have seen your daughter again. Personally I was more worried about her drowning in near by dams.

    Just goes to prove people always think the worst yet we were EVER so grateful that that MAN STOPPED when he saw “something out of the ordinary on a country road (where I might add the locals drive VERY fast, so she could have been hit by a car!)

    Anyway nice man came to our rescue.
    Child safe with family. The end.

  9. bmj2k July 19, 2010 at 10:14 am #

    A few days ago I witnessed a very nice woman help a lost child on a busy street. I was in a car, in no position to pull over so I had no way of helping, but I was sorry to realize that, in this day and age, I would have to think twice if I were that woman. I want to say that I would of course have helped that child, but it is so sad that I would feel a need to run a risk/benefit analysis.

  10. This girl loves to Talk July 19, 2010 at 10:15 am #

    also i recently went with my kids to the roller skating rink. I commented to my mum that there was an old man skating there. He was pretty good for his age. My mum immediately said “well i hope he wasnt a pedophile.. hanging out at the skating rink!!”

    I just said ‘well he was skating the whole time, so he must just enjoy skating. I’d be more worried about all the parents who just sat on the sidelines!

  11. Stuart July 19, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    This is just plain old sexism. Discriminating solely based on gender is probably as baseless as the idea of stranger danger is. Neither attitude reflects the reality of the situation, and neither makes you any safer.

    As a side note: The poor treatment that men frequently receive in these situations is primarily reserved for straight men. I am white, mid-thirties, I look like an average man – and I’ve been in situations where women (and it’s always women – sorry, but that’s the truth) have been gearing up to, or actually accusing me, and then I haul out my secret weapon: my voice. I have a voice loaded with sibilants (ie. I lisp. I have a ‘gay’ voice). Immediately, you see their expression change, and all the rage evaporates, and just like that, I’m not a threat anymore. Just like they were making assumptions that I was a threat, now they make assumptions that I’m not a threat – it’s irrational.

  12. josee July 19, 2010 at 10:43 am #

    you know, a few months ago, a sweet older gentleman actually gave me a $5 bill because he thought my 1 year old daughter was so adorable. he wouldn’t let me refuse it. weird? yes. something to freak out about? not in the least. i’m pretty sure i could have outrun him if i needed to and that’s saying a lots since i was seven months pregnant at the time! seriously, it never occurred to me that he had anything nefarious in mind.

  13. Alexis July 19, 2010 at 10:54 am #

    Women treat men so poorly. And for no reason at all.

  14. Uly July 19, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    That first story is disgusting. Absolutely disgusting.

  15. Linda Lou July 19, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    The first story is fiction. Absolutely fiction.

  16. Uly July 19, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    And you know this because…?

  17. Benjamin Bankruptcy July 19, 2010 at 12:08 pm #

    I worked in cafe’s for years. We had this one kid (probably about 3 or 4) who used to come in, he was from england had this adorable english accent. I was about 18? I used to sneek him marshmellows and we were attached to a book store and if it was quite I’d read him a book (took 2 minutes and I thought it would make the parents happy to have him off their hands for the 5 minutes so they could drink their coffee). Anyway one day he gave me a hug and I freaked out and froze! didn’t hug him back his mum saw and they never came back.

    I’m sure if i’d had a vagina it would have been cool

  18. Annanina July 19, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    I was sitting in my car with the kids at a campsite entrance a few weeks ago… husband was inside getting us checked in…when i noticed a girl, maybe 4 years old, on a bike waiting to cross the busy road. She seemed to be by herself, no adults were around. Cars were driving by and some were stopping to let her cross, but she just sat on her bike and looked more and more upset as the minutes ticket by. I thought “I should help her cross” but was scared her mama-bear would descend on me from somewhere if I got out of my car and approached her. Finally a man came out of the camp office, noticed her, and walked out into the road to stop the cars and motion her across the street. She finally was able to cross, he helped her in a non-threatening way, and kudos to him for actually taking action to help her!

  19. Teacher Tom July 19, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I’ve taught preschool for the past 8 years, and before that was stay-at-home father who spent a lot of time in playgrounds with my daughter. As a young man I coached more than 40 different youth baseball teams — both boys and girls.

    In other words, I’ve spent most of my adult life playing with kids, both known and unknown. I don’t think I’m just lucky, but I’ve never been called “pervert” and I can’t recall an instance when a parent has steered her child away from me. I THINK this is because I never play with a child without first connecting in some way with the parent, at least making eye contact and smiling. There’s something suspicious about any adult who plays with a child without acknowledging the parent . . . Just a thought.

  20. Stuart July 19, 2010 at 12:53 pm #

    “There’s something suspicious about any adult who plays with a child without acknowledging the parent”

    Smart people with an intent to cause harm are already superior manipulators – they are going to deliberately and explicitly seek out the parents to built trust, so you are actually describing a ‘trustworthy’ behaviour that criminals default to (the one’s that have good impulse control anyway).

    It’s amazing how many people seem utterly incapable of thinking like their enemy – Let’s play a game: It’s called “What would I do if I were a paedophile”. It is so easy to see how flawed people’s thinking is once you look at it from that perspective. Where am I going to find my victims? How am I going to get past the parents? How am I going to hide in plain sight? Stop assuming and start asking questions – that’s far more useful.

  21. David July 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm #

    Walk Humbly

    Fear of what others will say is want of trust in Me. This must not be. Convert all these difficulties into the purification of your characters.

    See yourselves as those around you see you, not as you wish to be, and walk very humbly with your God.

    I will set you on high because you have known My Name, but it must be a purified you to be so exalted.

    Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Philippians 2:3


    blessings to you and yours this day and always …

  22. Linda Lou July 19, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

    He lost me at “hissed, ‘pervert.'”

  23. lonedattyof3 July 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Last night I came across a lost little girl, maybe 3-4, at a public music festival in a park setting. It was just dark. There was NO WAY I would approach her (everyone else was ignoring her or distracted–whatever….) I tried to keep track of her for about two minutes, but finally had to take off to chase my own toddlers who were hell-bent on testing their comfort distance from me in two different directions. One false allegation is one too many and I’ve met my quota big time.

    And to TeacherTom: Your comment is an echo from my past. I worked 20 years with kids before I got slammed. I found out the hard way that all of my assumptions about protecting myself were ineffectual.

    Google ‘teacher false allegation’. So sorry.


  24. lonedattyof3 July 19, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

    And to Linda Lou: The first story may very well be fiction–so could the second. That is inherent in human nature (and the Internet). But speaking as a victim of a false allegation (with a summary court judgement to prove it), your horse appears to be pretty darned high.

  25. Linda Lou July 19, 2010 at 5:32 pm #

    I call ’em how I see ’em. That part of the story didn’t ring true.

  26. Jennifer Jo July 19, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Who is Nancy Grace?

  27. Kali July 19, 2010 at 7:14 pm #

    The crazy T.V lady who tells people how dangerous it is to let your kids out of your sight for 1.237 nanoseconds.

  28. Tom Bradshaw July 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm #

    I am a 31 yo father of a 10mo boy. I’ve been great with kids my whole life & worked at a preschool for some time as well. That said, the first letter is the main reason why I’d never approach a child in that situation alone. Fear. I just discussed it with my wife & we came to the conclusion that my best bet would have been to go up to the women & say that WE should find this girls mother. I think that would be my plan now.

  29. Raised Free-Range July 19, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    My boyfriend is the oldest of 4 siblings, helped raise his younger sibs, and just generally adores all kids. Every time we are in a public place, babies and kiddos smile and giggle at him, and he always waves back, says hi, and will toss back a ball or toy that has strayed our way. As of yet, no one has reacted badly, but stories like these make me worry for him. It is of course all perfectly innocent, but at this point I won’t be surprised if some crazy helicopter mom were to call him a pervert for smiling at her cute baby in the grocery store.

    I’m 18 and was raised completely free-range, before it was called that I guess! But in a way I was sheltered, sheltered from the kind of thinking that makes every friendly stranger out to be a pervert, and any helpful man a criminal. It is disgusting!

  30. Greg July 19, 2010 at 8:58 pm #

    Maybe we should make little buttons that say, “Hi, I’m just a friendly male and not a pervert.”

    Of course, they’d say that is just what a pervert WOULD wear…

    Seriously, I get funny looks all the time while playing with MY OWN KIDS at the playground. It has gotten worse since I no longer own a BlackBerry and can’t feign being distracted with work like a proper father.

  31. Rich Wilson July 19, 2010 at 9:00 pm #

    I have to agree with Linda Lou. The story may well have a basis in fact, but the “pervert” part put my skeptic hairs up. IF that happened, I don’t know if I’d think of it at the time and have the fortitude, but what I hope I’d do is call her on it. If someone thinks I have sordid intentions towards a child, they should be calling the police, not calling me names. I hate veiled threats. Make good or shut up.

    As for the 2nd story, we took my son to a public swim last Friday, and one of the local daycares was making use of the pool as well. I was ankle deep when we were mobbed with kids wanting to show me how they could swim, and dive, and anything they thought would get my attention. I didn’t want to just ignore them, but it was nearly impossible to pay any attention to my son at all. It kind of felt like tossing a bit of bread to a lone seagull.

  32. Greg July 19, 2010 at 9:04 pm #

    Linda Lou:

    It may be fiction, but people say weird, uncalled for things with little provocation all the damn time. My wife was accused by some helicopter mother of being an unfit mother — flat out said “you’re a bad mom” — for letting our two year-old slide down a “big kid’s slide” unaccompanied.

    One time, another lady went out of her way to belittle my wife in public, calling her stupid for changing a diaper on the beach…because you don’t know if perverts might be watching.

  33. pentamom July 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    “I call them as I see them” translates to “I accuse other people of lying with no evidence other than my own prejudices and no personal knowledge of the situation.” I’m not saying we should be credulous, but actual accusations of lying (or of anything) should be saved for situations where you have an actual REASON to accuse someone of something.

  34. Taylor July 19, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    She actually called Alan a pervert to his face! Holy smokes that shockingly uncalled for! I’m not sure what I’d do if that happened to me.

    I do like to smile and waive at kids on the bus, etc. Usually when the parents notice I reflexively explain I have to little kids myself…i.e. “Don’t worry, I’m not a pervert.” No offense guys with no kids (not that there are a ton checking these comments), but you’re going to have to think of your own “Don’t worry, I’m not a pervert” explanation, maybe nieces or nephews?

  35. su N July 19, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Wow, I guess we are a very liberal family, either that or some people need to get perversion off their minds. We tend to travel a fair share and my daughter and her step-father got seperated in a hotel when she jumped out of the elevator on the wrong floor. Before my husband could go get her a man found her and took her to the right floor. Yes! a man in a hotel with a little girl (sarcastic gasp) helped her get back to her dad. She even re-told the story at church saying he was a “nice man”. I would like to say congradulations to a very brave man who helped a scared little girl find her way back to her dad.

  36. Jay July 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    I was talking with my father about this a few weeks ago, and was astonished and horrified by his story of what happened the year I was born (1971) in a small city in western Canada:

    He was downtown, walking home from work, and he saw a young girl trying to cross the major east-west road through down town. The road, even then, was 6 lanes (now 8) of busy two way traffic, and the girl looked to be about 5 or 6 years old.

    He kept an eye on her and was determined to stop her if she stepped onto the road, but was also looking for the police officer he knew walked the neighborhood – remember it was1971, when they still did that!

    When the police officer appeared and my father (who was almost 30 at this point, and a professional on his way home from work, so would have been in a suit and tie with a briefcase) approached the police officer to ask him to help this girl the police officer GRILLED my father as if he was some kind of potential child abductor before he let dad go and went to help the girl.

    Dad was so scared by this that he made it a point to never be alone with a child who wasn’t his own… and actually, wasn’t alone with us all that often either!

    I never understood his issue with us having friends over when mom wasn’t home… but now I do! How sad. How many great playdates and sleep overs did I miss because of that police officer and his irrational fear of a man who happend to be my father?

  37. Jay July 19, 2010 at 9:47 pm #

    Sorry, that smiley face is supposed to be an eight with the closing bracket!

  38. Robin July 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm #

    I am so glad my husband does not watch TV or read the newspapers. He is blissfully unaware that he may be a danger, even though he has 2 of his own kids. I won’t tell him either. I want him to help lost kids, not be afraid of them. Our stranger danger has gotten itself turned inside out. So sad.

  39. Teri July 19, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    As the mom of 4 grown men it just breaks my heart to know this is the kind of world we’re sending our young men into. That they are kind and good men who would be treated so cruely by women whose starting point is “All men are evil.” I work in a primary elementary school (preschool-1st grade) and this spring we had a young man student teaching in our building. A mom actually came in the office to question why we would allow a man to teach there implying that certainly he was only there because he was probably a pedophile! She thought it was very suspicious. How would she feel if her son decided to be a teacher of young children and was called a pedophile by someone who didn’t even know him just because he’s a man. How unfair to our student teacher and HIS parents! He was an excellent teacher by the way. On our side of the counter we would LOVE to see more men choose elementary teaching. How sad, sad, sad.

  40. Larry Harrison July 19, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

    I’m 41. Last Saturday my wife & I were letting our 2 kids play int the park. My wife was playing with our 1 year old son some distance away, to where you couldn’t tell she was my wife.

    This one girl, about 6, came to where I was swinging my 3 year old girl (which I tend to do in a rather “animated” fashion, much to her amusement) and asked me to swing her. Further, she didn’t want me just pushing her from the back, she wanted me to push her in a manner that involved running as I pushed, so as to make it a real crazy sort-of ride like at an amusement park (that’s how I was pushing my own, again, much to her amusement).

    Even as I realized her parent may show up and go schizoid, I wasn’t going to deny her child-hood enjoyment, and gave her what she asked for. A hot day (especially when you’re doing something so active), I even removed my shirt for comfort. She then went to the monkey bars and wanted me to help; she’d go as far as she could, then have me help her down (again, shirtless) when she couldn’t handle it anymore.

    Eventually her mother showed up & wasn’t at all upset. She didn’t engage me in conversation, we simply went our separate ways and that was the end of it.

    If the mother had gone schizoid on me, so what? I’ve been through much more traumatic experiences. After going through those, something as relatively mundane as a “Nancy Grace” mother going nuts is the least of my concerns. Just the same, I’m thankful–for the child & the mother, NOT for me–that the mother apparently WASN’T the Nancy-Grace type.

    All of this on my wife’s 32nd birthday, to boot. Can you imagine a much better present to give to your wife than that?

  41. kherbert July 19, 2010 at 11:07 pm #

    Could you tell if he was from a different culture? Several Hispanic cultures and Eastern European cultures have a superstition that if they complement a child without an exchange of something of value they will accidently put a curse on the child.

  42. Scott July 19, 2010 at 11:11 pm #

    This has been going on for a long time.

    When I was 8 or so, on the 3 mile walk home alone from school, there was a man who would work on projects in his garage at about the half way point. When he was there I would stop and see what he was working on and he’s sometimes let me operate the drill press, hammer or screwdriver.

    Years later, in a different suburb, when I was 17 years old I was working on my own big woodworking project in the open garage where I’d also have the radio going. The neighborhood kids would come over and watch and ask questions. I didn’t ask them to come over or encourage them, but I would answer their questions about woodworking and listen to them talk about their parents friends and schools while I was working, nod and say “uh huh”.

    At some point one of their mothers came over and talked to my mother to find out what was going on and where their kids were. My mother said, “I knew that was a bad idea to let them around. Those kids can’t hang out here, what will people think. Things aren’t like they were when you were growing up. Now there are molesters. If you keep doing this, you are going to get arrested.”

    I thought it was totally absurd and she was massively overreacting. So I explained the situation and asked people around to get other opinions, sure that they would see that mom had lost it. To my great surprise, every single person I talked to agreed with my mom – in the modern world it is unacceptable for an adult male to spend any time in the presence of children or to even speak to them.

    This was more than 20 years ago. Those kids were told not to come around and that was the end of it.

  43. kherbert July 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    I was at the mall a few years ago and there was a little girl sobbing. A gentleman topped to help her. When she didn’t calm down after a little while, I went over to help. Turns out she was a Spanish speaker, and i was able to get her name from her.

    When the parents came running back looking for her, they thanked and hugged both of us.

  44. Ben July 19, 2010 at 11:48 pm #

    I enjoy reading this blog and the posts. I hope it doesn’t become self-fulfilling, however. In the way that Nancy Grace makes you think that stranger abductions are a daily occurrence (and they’re not), some of stories and postings here can make you think that being accused, arrested, etc., for talking to a child you don’t know is also a daily occurrence (I don’t think it is, but I”m starting to doubt myself). If you see a kid you think is in trouble, try to help. In the story above, I might have first asked the 3 women standing around if they knew where the girls mother was. Being direct is the best approach to me.

  45. Vince L July 20, 2010 at 12:27 am #

    Stuff like this makes it harder for me to play with my own kids at the park. I tend to be an involved parent and goof with my kids. Not once, but twice, when I have told other kids that I am playing with my girls and can’t play with/include them they have jokingly (?) threatened to call me various things (ie perv, ped, etc). I promptly got my kids and left. With a zero tolerance society and the defualt that the kids are always right I can’t afford the headache dealing with authorites would make life. Kids know this and now are taking advantage of it.. sort of instead of being lurned by candy to get them the kids THREATEN unless they get what they what.

  46. Eric July 20, 2010 at 12:33 am #

    I guess it’s just ingrained in society that men are the cause of most troubles in this world. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree, but to say women have no part in it is completely wrong. There are women who abuse their kids, who kidnap children, and who murder them as well. What’s just as bad or even worse, there are women who are involved with men who abuse their kids, but sit idly by doing nothing. For all we know that woman who took the little girl just as Alan decided to help, could have been the one that was a pervert. It’s definitely a sad world we live in. Too much finger pointing, that they forget to be compassionate and helpful.

    As for Philosodad, I feel for him, more so for the little boy. I have a couple of friends who are single moms with boys. One has the baby daddy come around every other week (better than nothing). The other, nowhere to be found. But both boys still yearn for that constant male roll model. They are good kids, but because of the lack of male guidance, they tend to act up every so often. I do find myself playing the part whenever I visit, just like I do with my nephew. It’s incredible how much they change when a positive roll model (other than their mothers) is around. But due to more complicated reasons, I try not to get to attached. Point being, people forget the helpfulness of mentoring. Concentrating too much on what the world is saying…stranger danger, male perverts, etc. If I were Philosodad, I would have gotten to know the mother of the little boy, and expressed his willingness to be a “big brother” whenever they were at the park. That way, if she was cool about it, it wouldn’t matter what anyone else thought. As I’ve always said, it’s about the kids, no else.

  47. BrianJ July 20, 2010 at 12:41 am #

    I’m a 44 year old man with 2 kids.

    When I see little kids I never hesitate to wave, say hi, pay them a compliment or generally behave as I am inclined to behave. When I see a child who has been separated from their parent, I stop what I am doing and help. When I’m at the playground and other kids want to play with me and my kids, I welcome them.

    I have never once been confronted about this behavior. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, I’m just saying it hasn’t happened to me. I have also never heard anyone that I know personally tell me that it has happened to them.

    Let’s not Nancy Grace this issue. Yeah, some people in some places make a big hairy deal about men being nice to children. But if if doesn’t happen in your area, don’t stop being yourself because it might.

    Also, if you see or hear it happening to someone , step in and defend that person. Call people on their irrational behavior.

  48. frootbat31 July 20, 2010 at 12:44 am #

    My husband, fortunately, is a fireman, so helping a child wouldn’t be seen as him being a pervert, but I must wonder why he didn’t say something to one of the women to help her. I wonder if the guy who didn’t help that kid who drowned took the time to ask someone else to help might’ve saved the child.

  49. Lucy July 20, 2010 at 12:45 am #

    It’s very very sad the way people are made to feel in this society, and men, it’s not just you. My own elderly mum (complete with white hair) had a similar experience one time, she was dressed in work clothes (had been helping to clean the parking lot at her church!) and stopped at Home Depot on the way home. At the store she encountered a little girl who was crying and stopped to ask if she knew where her parents were – a prelude to escorting the child to the customer service counter- when another woman butted in and took charge of the child, giving my mom a dirty look though she had no more knowledge of the child than my mom.

    I say if someone really acts like story #1, call em on it. LOUDLY. What business did that woman have with the child? Make her explain publicly why she is so must more trustworthy.

  50. Icalasari July 20, 2010 at 12:59 am #

    This is where my Aspergers is an advantage. I am completely blind to the subtle, disapproving glances from other people, instead concentrating on helping a child or making them happy. Then the parent sometimes smiles (which is an expression I recognize)

  51. Eric July 20, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    @frootbat31: I’m guessing that because those women were so close to the little girl hearing her cry, you’d think they’d do something. No one needs to be told to help out a child in need. The unfortunate and sad thing is, it took a male to step up for them to react. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t about helping the child, but rather satisfying their own self-indulged need to be that person to claim “they saved a girl from a pervert”. I bet you if Alan didn’t react, those women would have just gladly stayed put. Again, selfish adults.

    Personally, if I saw a lost and distraught child, I’d be putting their safety and needs before mine. Face the consequences later. I don’t think I could forgive myself if I didn’t, and saw the tragic news of that child on the news. Without walking off, and plenty of people witnessing me helping the child (maybe even asking another bystander for assistance), I’m going to help that child. If anyone should accuse me of anything else, I would certainly challenge them. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve put people in their place for speaking out of turn or disrespectfully. No one should ever feel guilty for helping out another human being, child or adult.

  52. Patti July 20, 2010 at 2:02 am #

    This is so sad it brought tears to my eyes. This sort of stuff needs to be shared, though, so we can wake up and smell the reality. Thanks.

  53. Sarah July 20, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    Just because the majority of child abusers are male, does not mean that the majority of males are child abusers.

    Men – keep in mind that as fewer men help children in public, it will be seen as less and less normal to do so. Of course, it’s easy for me to say that, as I’m not a man.

    No idea as to how accurate the following statistic is:
    “Male sex offenders were the perpetrators 96% of the time, according to an American study of 60,991 sexual assault victims (American Bureau of Justice Statistics Study, Snyder, 2000, p. 81).”

  54. Icalasari July 20, 2010 at 2:26 am #

    Sarah: That is reported. A raped man often doesn’t report it because of how society views female on male rape (as TVTropes calls it, “Rape is ok when it’s female on male”), which leads to skewed statistics

  55. Linda Lou July 20, 2010 at 3:08 am #

    “As the mom of 4 grown men it just breaks my heart to know this is the kind of world we’re sending our young men into.”

    I think the problem is being overstated. Just another type of hysteria to keep everyone on their toes and feeling put upon. Just because it feeds into a certain agenda doesn’t make it true. I know plenty of male coaches, teachers, preschool volunteers, childcare workers, and lifeguards, in addition to having a father, FIL, husband, two sons, brother, BIL all of whom are out in the world with their kids and other people’s. Amazingly, none of them have ever had anyone hiss “pervert” at them. In fact, I don’t even know a single person IRL who has had the experience some men are describing. If that’s happening to you, I’m truly sorry and yes, it’s most definitely wrong, but I see nothing wrong with a little healthy skepticism when a story seems off.

  56. Claudia Conway July 20, 2010 at 3:18 am #

    About the woman who felt the need to his ‘pervert’ and anyone who flashes dirty looks at people who talk to or smile at their kids, etc, I wonder what they think they’re going to achieve?

    Endangering children is what they’re going to achieve as they hammer home the message to both adults and children that ‘other people’ are dangerous.

    I wonder if the best response is for adults thus accused to actually come back and argue with these people. To say ‘Hey, that was unnecessary …’ and to make it clear they are not ashamed to have been nice to a kid or to have looked out for someone.

    But I guess it’s easier to shrug it off, lest you have a real nutcase on your hands who’s going to start elaborating on what this ‘pervert’/potential kidnapper was doing relating to their child.

  57. Jen C. July 20, 2010 at 3:28 am #

    At the store with my two girls the other day, my 3 yr old said, “He likes my flip-flops.” (She’s known for saying completely random things out of the blue.) I asked her who, and she looked around, pointed at the nearest man, and said “him.” The man smiled and agreed that they were beautiful flip-flops, which made her grin. I never thought for one second that he was a “pervert” or anything like that. He was just a nice man, shopping by himself, reacting to a totally cute and innocent kid who singled him out.

    It was nice to see a man not react in horror or competely ignore her, out of some baseless fear of being marked a predator. I’m sure it also helped that I laughed and smiled at him when my lil one pointed him out. Maybe if we, as women and mothers, make a little effort to show men that we don’t think they’re all bad, they’ll be more inclined to relax around children. Just a suggestion. 🙂

  58. Lara July 20, 2010 at 4:23 am #

    This webiste is becoming the exact counterpart to what the other “hated” helicopter websites are. It is judgmental thinking that your own parenting style is the best and needs to be followed by everyone. And the same amount of fear is installed through this website than through the other sites. It is the fear that people are just out to get you (instead of child rape and abduction warning, we are reading about CPA, police being called, landing on sex offender list for no reason…).

    I find it annoying, horrible, and deeply disturbing that the answer to one extreme is only another extreme.

    Why can’t there just be a good middle ground, acceptance, tolerance, and understanding of different cultures and styles.

    I think these stories are sad for two reasons:
    1. That people call other people names because of fear driven anger.
    2. That other people need to feed upon those incidences and declare the whole world lost…


  59. Steve July 20, 2010 at 4:34 am #

    Isn’t it fascinating that today’s parental fearmongers NEVER seem to think about a scenario as common as this?
    A middle-aged man stands at a grade school fence watching kids at recess. The principal calls the police and a squad car appears. An officer talks to the man:

    “Why are you standing here watching these kids?”

    The man says, “Several reasons. One is they remind me of my own kids when they were small. I have such fond memories of those days. What kind of father wouldn’t have fond memories of his own small children? Mine are grown now, but there’s something so pleasant and satisfying about watching small children at play. Do YOU have kids?” he asks the officer.

    The officer nods. “I’ve got kids and grandkids.” He glances at the playground and smiles. “In fact, there’s my daughter’s little Ashley over there… the one in the yellow outfit.”

    The man continues, “Another reason I stopped was simply because of my own childhood memories. I went to this school myself. Time sure flies, doesn’t it?”

    “Sure does,” says the officer, as they continue to reminisce about childhood for the next 15 minutes.

    Of course these days, a situation like this would end with the officer making a wry face and telling the man to leave because the general fearmongering society had become so wildly irrational.

  60. Scott July 20, 2010 at 4:35 am #

    “Male sex offenders were the perpetrators 96% of the time”

    It’s an interesting contrast to things like The Big List of school teachers who are pedophiles:

  61. Lyanne July 20, 2010 at 5:59 am #

    My husband also will not approach lost children. Usually we are together so he will have me wait with the child while he looks for the parents. He also will not ever, under any circumstances, drive a babysitter home.
    On the other side of that coin, he gets very nervous and wary when people stare at or compliment our children.

  62. Wendy July 20, 2010 at 6:42 am #

    This is just sad beyond words. What the hell is wrong with our society? Parents need to get it through their hard-ass heads that sometimes strangers AREN’T perverts, but are trying to HELP. Sad, so very sad, that this is were the world has come to. Everyone’s got it in their heads that every other person is like an evil witch or demon or something. Before I read this, I, too, would stay away from kids who appeared to be lost, although I so desperately wanted to help. But now, I’ve gotten so mad that I don’t care what people say.

  63. tommynomad July 20, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    While I agree that flipping to the other extreme–the world is going to hell in a handbasket–isn’t beneficial, I still think it’s important to share these stories.

    Twice in my life I’ve had to help lost/scared toddlers. The first time I was 19 years hold, had long hippie hair, and was shirtless in a park in Norway. The mother was grateful to the point of offering me a meal and a bunk for the night. The second time I was 32 years hold, had long hippie hair, and was shirtless in a park in Canada. I was ‘intercepted’ by some batshit-crazy lady who (I didn’t describe it this way until now, but the term fits perfectly) hissed “pervert” at me. She then yanked the child away in a manner I wouldn’t grab my own child, let alone a distraught toddler I didn’t know.

    For 20 years I’ve been an educator. After 10, I stopped working with small children because of the paranoid rules: no closed doors, don’t be alone, no touching. Anyone want to tell me how to dress a child who’s soiled themselves without touching them? After 15 years, I quit working with minors altogether, because I was reprimanded for touching a student (“once more and we have to fire you”). The student I touched was a 200-lb high schoolers who was beating the tar out of a much smaller kid (I weigh 150 myself). The “touching” was grabbing hiw singing arm and preventing it from breaking the smaller kids bloody face any further.

    Now I teach adults. That’s sad, but it’s a professional choice. There’s no way I’d ever not help a scared kid because of what *might* happen, and I think we men need to ensure we continue to exhibit normal, caring, manly* behaviour with kids in all situations.

    *listening, playing, mentoring, laughing, hugging, jostling, napping

  64. tommynomad July 20, 2010 at 7:45 am #

    apologies for typos on hold/old, schoolers/schooler, hiw/his kids/kid’s: I’m playing with my newborn as I type.

  65. Aubrey July 20, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    I was on the other end of this recently, grateful that a man helped my 5yo but totally understanding why he might not have. She was looking for me during her tennis lessons: I thought she was already on the court with her class, and I was on the other side of the building from where she was looking. When I came around to where she was, a man was walking with her, trying to be comforting without getting too close and trying to decipher her crying to figure out who to look for. I thanked him for helping her, and he just looked like he was worried about what I might think, and said that he worked at the highschool, hoping that would be a valid reason for helping her. It’s terrible when men think they have to have a reason why it’s okay for them to help a child, and that he just assumed I would be angry that he was with my 5yo. This is a dad I see in passing 4 days a week all month, because our kids are in the same tennis lesson, so not entirely a stranger, but he’s worried that I will suspect his motives. Even as a woman with kids, though, I am wary about helping a child, lifting them up to a swing at the park or whatever, because of people’s paranoia.

  66. Sally July 20, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Remember that women are taught from early childhood to fear men, that men will harm them, that they can’t go out at night/anywhere alone or men will harm them, and society is constantly telling women that men will hurt them if they are not constantly vigilant and take every precaution ever thought of or it’s their fault because men are so violent.

    Why is it such a stretch that this thought process that states that men are unable to help themselves when it comes to harming women, that they’d also be unable to help themselves when it comes to harming children?

    This sexist thinking hurts everyone, and it takes people speaking out about all of it to make a change. When you’re not actively speaking out about it and telling people “Hey, that’s actually really sexist and wrong” whenever they say something like “Well thank goodness it wasn’t a man who found that child, he would probably have been a pedophile”, then you’re silently agreeing with them. Changing things like this is difficult and uncomfortable… but necessary.

  67. Taylor July 20, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    @Lara – I’m afraid it’s kind of the way of the internet. We’re all fairly anonymous here, and facts on a website tend to exist in isolation. People assemble around a single idea, discuss that single idea. It’s only natural for it to occasionally become a contest of “I’m free-rangier (yes, rangier) than you, ” which does lead toward an extreme.

    My brother once doled out one of the most solid pieces of parental advice I’ve ever heard: You wreck your kids, I’ll wreck mine. In general it seems that a “free-rangish parent” is less likely to another parent how to parent than a “safety-first parent.” Understanding and acceptance is nice, but staying-off-each-others’-backs kind of tolerance can do the trick quite nicely. You wreck your kids, I’ll wreck mine.

    That said, I don’t think I consider calling a stranger a pervert a “parenting style.” 😉

  68. Sandcut July 20, 2010 at 11:05 am #

    The first problem with the attitudes depicted in the post is that men tolerate being treated this way. The second problem with the attitudes depicted in the post is that women tolerate men being treated this way. Giving in to the “what has society become” mindset only serves to perpetuate the problem.

    Society is what we decide it should be. I’ll be damned if I’ll let a child wander alone for fear of someone else’s perverse neurosis!

  69. baby-paramedic July 20, 2010 at 12:47 pm #

    I noticed up above that there was a point made about males not reporting rape when it was done by a female.
    In one state I lived in it was actually not recognized under the law that a female COULD rape a male.
    This has since changed, but only recently (as in, about 2 years ago).

    Just an interesting point, when even our legal system doesn’t recognize it, it doesn’t exactly help people contemplating coming forward.

  70. Donna July 20, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    In many states, men still cannot be raped. Rape is defined specifically by the penetration of the female sex organ by a male sex organ. In some states, old sodomy laws allow for the prosecution of forcible anal or oral sex regardless of the gender of the participants, but there is no actual crime of rape for men. Even in the states where this has changed, I’d bet that you’d have to look really hard to find a court that will actually vigorously prosecute male rape by a female (male rape by another male is much more likely to be taken seriously). Hell, until a few years ago, it wasn’t a crime for a husband to rape his wife in most states. The law is slow to change with the times.

  71. Lisa July 20, 2010 at 10:37 pm #

    I tell my 8 year old son if he gets lost find a Mom or Dad. I don’t want my son growing up with the impression that men are creeps and perverts of they like being around kids. Child molesters can be women also not just men.

  72. AB July 21, 2010 at 12:03 am #

    @ tommynomad I’ve been hearing stories from male friends who teach high school about how the kids in their districts will cry “pervert” when reprimanded by a male teacher because they know they can try to get away with bad behavior.

  73. Lucy July 21, 2010 at 12:31 am #

    @Aubrey – I don’t help kids that aren’t mine (or under my supervision) at the playground either, but not because of the ‘pervert’ label; rather that other bane on normal society – Liability. If the kid fell off the swing while I was pushing it, is there any chance I wouldn’t be sued?

    Sadly, I don’t want to risk that. So I just smile and tell the kids politely that their mommy or daddy will have to help them.

  74. capn_amurka July 21, 2010 at 12:39 am #

    I’m one of the men that won’t volunteer to help a child for exactly the reasons highlighted. The suspicion and paranoia directed toward men is palpable.

    The really sad thing for me is that despite having recognized the problem, not only are we at a loss for a solution or even a way to improve the situation, we seem to be on a path that will exacerbate the problem.

    That is, given enough time, this prophesy of danger to children from strangers will become self-fulfilling. If the men like myself who would like to act in good faith or to help them are motivated to withdraw from interaction with children who are strangers to them, then the remaining pool of men who interact with children who are strangers to them will increasing be men who would like to act in bad faith or to harm them. People will become increasingly suspicious of men; more men who would act in good faith withdraw; lather; rinse; repeat.

  75. pentamom July 21, 2010 at 1:01 am #

    “I’ll be damned if I’ll let a child wander alone for fear of someone else’s perverse neurosis!”

    But remember what Alan said — it wasn’t just his self-esteem that was at stake. He was afraid that if he got hauled off by overzealous authorities, (or, I presume, even entangled in some time-consuming interaction with hysterical parents or bystanders) HIS kids would then be abandoned at the carnival. There’s more to it than “am I willing to put up with some abuse” — depending on how badly the people concerned want to flip out, there’s “am I willing to put my own family at risk?”

    So while I agree that we can all play a part in creating a healthy society, as long as attitudes like this are prevalent, there is genuine, large-scale risk involved in acting against it. Remember Edwin — yeah, he’s fine today, but no kid is left undamaged by wrongly being put into the JJ system and tarred as a felon. And an adult who’s been arrested, maybe had his kids temporarily removed from his custody, missed work due to being jailed, and had to spend who knows how much on legal bills, has lost a bit more than the discomfort of ugly looks and ugly words.

  76. pentamom July 21, 2010 at 1:33 am #

    I guess the safe way to do something like this would be to keep a few feet between the child and you, and say something like, “Are you lost? Should I ask someone to help you find your mommy?” Not foolproof, but at least you’re signaling to the nosy bystanders that you’re not about to take the child off somewhere by yourself.

  77. tommynomad July 21, 2010 at 4:22 am #

    Pentamom, your advice is solid, but that’s exactly what I had done when I was insulted by the nutbar: knelt a metre away from the child and asked “have you lost your mummy or daddy?”

    I guess I’m lucky not to live in a litigious society, but I think shattering the vicious cycle Capn_Amurka speaks of is as much my responsibility as anyone else’s. Maybe if I lived in a culture of fear, I’d change my mind though (I haven’t spent time in the US since the 80s).

  78. Eric July 21, 2010 at 5:56 am #

    @ Lara: That maybe true to a degree, but what we say here, is based on actual facts. What helicopter parents say are based purely on perception.

    Example; when we say “teaching your child your own fears, will only be detrimental to him/her as they get older”. This is just simple fact. They learn fear is the norm, and there for fear what may not necessarily need fearing. That they grow up insecure because of it. And insecurity leads to many social dysfunctions.

    When they say, a child can be abducted by a stranger if they were left on their own at a park or they’re own backyard, that is inaccurate. There is a remote possiblity (given the statistics of child abductions) that could happen. There is the remote possibility that they can fall and crack their head open, or the remote possibility that a runaway car will veer off the road and into the playground. These are “what ifs”. It’s these what if’s that drive helicopter parents to be the way they are. Living in a what if world, closes many opportunities for your child.

    We aren’t saying our parenting is best and it should be standard. We are saying, let up on your kids. And look into yourself. Most of these helicopter parents are reacting based on their own experiences and fears. Probably brought on by their own parents. It’s selfish to make your child live YOUR life, and never give them an opportunity to live there’s.

    Each of us here have a different method of parenting, but the one key thing we all share as Free-Range parents, is that we teach our children to be self sufficient, to let them learn on their own, but to always know that we are close by if they need a hand. We don’t treat them like the delicate dolls that can be broken at any given moment. We don’t shun the world or shun them from the world. It’s human nature to adapt to whatever situation comes our way. If we don’t learn to adapt, we get left behind. It’s no different for children.

  79. MikeB July 21, 2010 at 6:16 am #

    This is going to be hard thing to combat, so we’ll all have to look for opportunities to voice our opinion that it’s fine and good for men to have reasonable and appropriate interactions with kids. One thing that may help, in a small way, is to give kudos to men who do step up to help the lost child, do let the neighbor kids hang around, do push kids on the playground swing. Praise that behavior, loudly and in earshot of the tisk-tiskers!

  80. pentamom July 21, 2010 at 9:19 am #

    MikeB — good point. This is somewhere where moms, in particular, can really make a difference by being positive toward ordinary men who come into proximity with their children, even when you don’t have a situation such as you describe.

  81. car July 21, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    thanks for post.

  82. Sandcut July 21, 2010 at 11:39 am #

    Sorry, pentamom but, your logic on post 76 is on par with the same fractured logic of helicopter moms (and dads). Being risk-averse despite a very low probability of occurence (e.g., litigation) is just foolhardy and self-defeating.
    The worst thing that a good man (or woman) can do is nothing

    @ MikeB’s post 80, well said. Spoken like a natural leader.

  83. bequirox July 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm #

    I try really hard to smile at men when I notice they’re noticing my daughter. (Which, if you think about it, is the same as reverse discrimination of minorities, but whatever.).

    Sunday I was at a restaurant waiting for my to-go order and there was another couple there waiting. My daughter climbed off her chair and walked toward them and said, “HI!!!” The wife didn’t say anything, but the husband said, “Hi, sweetie!” I asked her, “Are you making friends?” And suddenly this guy couldn’t get enough peek-a-boo with her. It was adorable. I’m glad he wasn’t scared to play with my daughter, because if you try to ignore her it just makes her more persistent.

    As for whether or not the lady hissed “pervert,” That’s definitely a possibility. My sister was walking past a sales booth at a mall and when the sales girl asked if she was interested my sister said no. To which the sales girl muttered under her breath, “Bitch.” People say snotty things, half hoping the person they’re talking about will hear them but mostly just wanting to vent their feelings.

  84. kymlee July 21, 2010 at 1:28 pm #

    I think this fear of men is also part of the reason mom’s are almost always granted custody of children. Fathers have lost their rights, men are seen as pediophiles and children are raised by women who teach them to be fearful of men. I have two boys. I really hope that we reach some point of balance before they grow up. They’re both caring and I could just see them helping a kid in need. It sucks that this sort of ugly sexism is pervading our society. It sucks and its sad.

  85. Jessika July 21, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

    This is so damn sad, I really have nothing major to say. Well there’s this. There’s an abundance of programs to offer boys (and girls) adult role models. To allow yourself to be a part of a childs life outside the boundaries of such a program is viewed with suspicion. Just that it needs to be within a program and that the thought of doing so, is preventative against pedophiles is just poposterous. So is the notion, of course, that each and every man that merely speaks to a child is doing it to abduct it.

    They are the Threats with capital Ts. Pedophiles and terrorists. Some might characterise pedophiles as terrorists. Whenever there’s a scandal involving a pedophile, media blasts it out of proportion making it sound as if any man at a daycare center etc., is a pedophile in the making. That so totally sucks.

  86. gramomster July 21, 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    @ Linda Lou
    …” He lost me at ‘hissed’, ‘pervert’.”

    I’ve heard it happen. People comment to themselves, or under their breath, and those about whom they are commenting hear them, whether intended or not. ‘Fag’, ‘freak’, etc are terms that are also treated this way. It’s rude and obnoxious, and oh-so-common. Heck, I’m in my mid-40s, wear tie-dye, have long purple hair and live in the Midwest. People do it all. the. time.

  87. SKL July 22, 2010 at 12:54 am #

    I wish I had time to read all the comments, but I don’t. I’ll just say my piece.

    We need to come up with language to combat this attitude (specifically the implication that a man coming to help a child is a pervert).

    How about, if a man in that situation gets “the look,” he could make eye contact and calmly say, “I’m a parent too.” Or just, “I’m a parent. It looked like the little girl needed help.” (Or if that’s not true, “I’m an uncle. . . .”) Something totally neutral that will hopefully make the ignorant person think, “why did I assume he was a creep?” or, “come to think of it, maybe there are men who care about children too.”

    (Of course if I heard someone say “pervert” at me, I’d probably let it show by saying, “excuse me?” Assuming I could still talk through my anger.)

  88. SH July 22, 2010 at 10:41 am #

    I had that things get stuck in our minds like that. I had a friend tell me a time ago to never allow a teenage male to babysit my kids because they can’t control their hormones and will most likely fondle or rape my kids, even my son.
    Totally insane. Totally ridiculous. Totally profiling. TOTALLY stuck in my mind and we’ve only had female babysitters. It would never happen. It’s a stupid statement but it warps its way around your thoughts.

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  91. Priscilla July 25, 2010 at 1:05 am #

    People really can and do assume things without knowing and can make very rude comments. Once my sister was babysitting a small child and had her in a department store. My sister was about 15 years old. The child started throwing a temper tantrum. She overheard a lady nearby whisper to her husband that “A girl that young shouldn’t have a baby anyhow!”

  92. Bob July 26, 2010 at 1:17 am #

    I am a single guy, and I would NEVER intervene with a child unless the child’s life was directly in danger. It is simply too risky. False criminal charges, a civil lawsuit, etc. could all be leveled against me. It would cost thousands and thousands of dollars to defend myself, and I might end up losing everything.

    I make it a point to ignore children as much as possible, even my friends. At most I will offer a polite hello or something like that, but then I make it a point to refrain from any other kind of interaction.

    Let the parents who gave birth to these kids take care of them. Our matriarchical society has demonized men to this point, so be it. This is the way that a majority of people seem to want our society to be like, so let it be that way.

    If you are a single man, watch out. One altruistic act on your part could cost you everything you’ve ever worked for in your entire life. No thanks, it simply isn’t worth it.

  93. Bob July 26, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    One last thing, if you think it through from the guy’s point of view, the consequences could be horrific if you are falsely accused of wanting to molest the child.

    1. Your reputation with your friends, family and community would be destroyed forever, even if you were later proven innocent.

    2. You could be forced to spend thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars defending yourself in a civil and/or criminal case.

    3. If you lost a civil case you could lose everything you have. All of your money, property, etc. all gone to the parents of the kid you tried to help.

    4. If you lost a criminal case you would be put in prison as a child molester. You would then become a target for rape and murder inside the prison system, despite being innocent.

    Those of you out there who blithely dismiss these possibilities have no idea how the court system works, it is stacked against men completely. So any involvement with a child involves HUGE risks for men, especially single men without kids.

  94. Big Jim July 26, 2010 at 10:14 pm #

    Tis is NSFW, foul language is beeped out.

    But this is exactly how I feel as well.–FjGgAig

  95. Mora July 28, 2010 at 7:02 am #

    So darn sad. Why are men so scary?


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