New Crime: Asking for Directions While Male


How this poor girl will ever recover from the trauma she endured, I just don’t know.  Australia’s tdraznsbbs
New South Wales police
 are alerting the public to a:

Child approach – Mount Annan near Camden

Friday, 04 September 2015 10:56:36 AM

Police are appealing for witnesses after a girl was approached by a man at Mount Annan near Camden yesterday.

About 2:55pm yesterday (Thursday 3 September 2015) a 12-year-old girl was walking east along Main Street towards the intersection of Watermouth Drive on her way home from school.

As she walked further towards the intersection, a man allegedly approached the girl and asked for directions.

The girl then walked east along Welling Drive, when she looked behind and noticed the man was no longer following her.

She proceeded to walk south along Fitzpatrick Street when she was stopped by a woman who was concerned with the girl’s welfare.

The girl informed her mother of the incident who then contacted police.

The man has been described to police as being 40 to 50-years-old, 180cm tall, pale complexion, Mediterranean appearance, balding hair and unshaven. He was wearing glasses, a black and green jumper, blue pants with white reflective stripes around the ankles and sandy coloured work boots.

Police would like to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident or has information that may assist to contact Crime Stoppers.

Investigations into this matter continue.

Thank goodness! You don’t want a serious crime like this to go unsolved. The cops certainly have plenty of information to go on — the time, the day, the street — why is this demon still at large? We want answers! Gracious — the man was so fiendishly clever he didn’t even follow the girl after talking to her. How cold-blooded can you get?

Props to the mom who understood that we can no longer keep these incidents a deep, dark secret, festering in shame.

Props also to the bystander who did not remain silent, but bravely took it upon herself to alert the girl to what had clearly been some kind of something or other. Something or other very terrible indeed. How dare a man talk to anyone younger and female? I should HOPE “investigations continue” until the man is found, tried, and rotting in jail. He can ask all the directions he likes, once he is safely behind bars.

Until then, parents, hold your children tight. – L.


Another incorrigible male direction-asker! They are everywhere!

Another incorrigible male direction-asker! The menace is spreading!


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90 Responses to New Crime: Asking for Directions While Male

  1. George September 6, 2015 at 9:42 am #

    CC, 17, and his girlfriend, BD, were charged as adults in February for sending “sexually explicit” photos of minors — themselves — to each other’s cell phone when the Fayetteville teens were 16.

    Tempting to blame the police, but they did not write the crazy law, and I don’t like the idea you can write laws assuming they will not be enforced.

  2. Warren September 6, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    We need this to happen to someone very outspoken. Someone that will go to the press instead of the cops. Someone that will make it the outrage of the week in the local media.

  3. Papilio September 6, 2015 at 9:47 am #

    What – and he wasn’t even in a white van??

  4. Maryam September 6, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    I’m mostly surprised that a man asked for directions.

  5. Warren September 6, 2015 at 9:54 am #


    Yep, sexting between consenting individuals is the new paranoia of parents. Because kids and teens never sent naked pictures to each other ever before iphones. Oh wait, yes they did, it was called Polaroids and like cameras.

    George Clooney and his cousin another actor have a shared story. Back when they were young and Aunt Rosemary Clooney would hold parties, they would sneak around, swipe people’s cameras, take a picture of their privates only. Then return the camera. The joke supposed to be the surprise when the people, celebrities got their film developed. When Clooney told this story on late nite tv everyone laughed. I wonder why this was okay for him and his cousin to do, and now it is a crime where teens are being charged as adults?

  6. Donna September 6, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    We all need to move to Mount Annan because it is clearly the safest place in the world if cops have time to investigate THIS.

  7. Maggie September 6, 2015 at 10:01 am #

    My question, why aren’t the police also investigating the woman who stopped the girl? Didn’t she do the exact same thing?

  8. Vic September 6, 2015 at 11:33 am #

    Feminism is dead

  9. Kenny Felder September 6, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    Speaking as a man, I can promise you that this was an imposter. Real men *never* ask for directions.

  10. Michael Fandal September 6, 2015 at 12:37 pm #

    In this case the man asked for directions. In a future case an adult male of any age walking alone can be targeted by a girl with an active imagination and larcenous impulse. She could just make up a story maligning an innocent person out for a stroll and fresh air.
    Love the sarcasm in your story. Just a question of time until a degree in Coddling will be offered by some colleges.

  11. Beth September 6, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    My question is, what are the police going to do when/if they locate this guy? As far as I can tell no crime was committed, so…….???

  12. Puzzled September 6, 2015 at 1:53 pm #

    Maybe they’re looking for him because they’re afraid he’s still lost? When they find him, maybe he’ll finally get the directions he needs.

    I’m surprised that the news article does not contain the obligatory “the child was alright after such a terrible incident. This is a reminder to keep your children on a leash until they turn 35. If you’re a parent, hug your child a little tighter tonight. If necessary, drive to their place of work to do so.”

  13. SKL September 6, 2015 at 1:57 pm #

    This kind of story really scares me, but not for the reasons some might think. :/

  14. Emily Morris September 6, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    I agree, Lenore. A man asking for directions is a big red flag.

  15. Papa Fred September 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm #

    Emiy’s right: VERY supicious behavior…and no lost puppy?

  16. Jim P. September 6, 2015 at 2:18 pm #

    “My question is, what are the police going to do when/if they locate this guy? As far as I can tell no crime was committed, so…….???”

    Ask any honest policeman and they will tell you “Everyone is guilty of something if you look hard enough.”

    Every jurisdiction has some really vague “suspicious behavior” laws that allow someone to be taken in and held often for days. The current trend is laws that prevent “behavior likely to annoy, upset or cause fear in the public”.

    Places that still rely closely British law usually can just take someone in for no reason at all for “investigation” and hold them for 48 (or more) hours at whim. U.S. cops can do this too but it’s a bit harder even though it’s extremely difficult to sue for false arrest but they have clever ways to keep you from contacting a lawyer until they are good and ready.

    if “anti terror” laws are invoked, they can be held a *lot* longer without recourse to an attorney in many many countries now and in some places without even any notice being given to anyone outside of the police.

    It’s not just the former Soviet Empire that can cause people to “disappear” any more.

    (I’m retired from a long career supporting Federal law enforcement and Intelligence work and some of this stuff is part of *why* I retired early.)

  17. Papilio September 6, 2015 at 2:25 pm #

    Puzzled: “Maybe they’re looking for him because they’re afraid he’s still lost? When they find him, maybe he’ll finally get the directions he needs.”

    Well… Yes. Because after all, if the girl did give him directions, wouldn’t they already know exactly where he went??

  18. bmj2k September 6, 2015 at 2:28 pm #

    Worst episode of Law and Order: SVU ever.

  19. Emily Morris September 6, 2015 at 2:31 pm #

    I discusses a similar problem on Facebook the other day. How do you protect children, namely boys, from all the scary alleged perverted males without subliminally telling these boys they are the same?

  20. Emily Morris September 6, 2015 at 2:40 pm #

    Papillo I thought the same thing. If the girl had done her duty as an anti-bad-male crusader (different from a citizen helping another citizen), she would have given the police the same directions she had given this deplorable piece of scum. Heck, were she really on game, her directions would have sent him straight to the police station and it clearly would have served him right.

  21. Smart not paranoid. September 6, 2015 at 2:58 pm #

    My kids (7 & 5.5) get lots of freedom to do things alone in our neighbourhood. We’ve actually taught them though that adults shouldn’t be asking kids for help. It’s classic kid streetsmarts. Total overreaction but the kid was right in not engaging with this guy (who I’m sure was just honestly looking for directions).

  22. Buffy September 6, 2015 at 3:09 pm #

    A 12-year-old is not what I would consider a “kid”. A 12-year-old is certainly competent to give directions, much more so than, say, a 4-year-old, whom it would be considered very odd to ask for directions. A 12-year-old? Not so much.

    Are we going to infantilize pre-teens so much that all adults have to avoid them at all costs? I guess the answer is yes.

  23. Michelle September 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    I’m confused as to why the woman was concerned. Did she see the man asking for directions two streets earlier? If so, why did it take her so long to stop the girl? If not, what was she concerned about?

    Smart not paranoid, I taught my kids the same thing, BUT I taught them to come get me (or send the adult to me), so that I could help out in case the adult really did need assistance. And I agree that a 12 year old ought to be old enough to give directions to passerby, if she knows the area.

    And, I don’t know, I almost think that advice was a vestige of my fears from before I started to see what my kids were really capable of. I mean, aside from it being strange to think a young child will be able to give directions, what’s the difference between giving an adult directions and stopping to talk to a neighbor walking his dog? You can TALK to strangers, just don’t go off with them!

  24. Beth September 6, 2015 at 3:40 pm #

    I too am curious about the woman’s thought process and what she said, like “Are you OK after a strange man talked to you, but I, as a woman, am fine for you to talk to?” “Do you know that you were just a victim of that man that walked away and is no longer in sight?” “Let’s tell your parents so that you can start therapy immediately. And remember, I’m trustworthy because strangers are only scary if they’re men.”

  25. Dean Whinery September 6, 2015 at 3:44 pm #

    Great use of sarcasm! Are there laws in Australia against getting lost, or asking questions on the street in broad daylight? Or not following a 12-year-old? What legal offense was committed?

  26. fred schueler September 6, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    We were approached and asked for directions to a quite remote community this morning by a man wandering aimlessly on a gravel road while his wife was hunched over a cellphone in their car, evidently seeking electronic guidance. I hope their marriage survives.

  27. Michelle September 6, 2015 at 3:50 pm #

    I just looked at a map. There is no Watermouth Drive, so I’m guessing it’s a mistake and they meant Waterworth Drive. Still, it’s ambiguous, because the road she was on would have already been Welling by the time she got to Waterworth. Regardless, it’s AT LEAST a 4 minute walk from the intersection of Welling and Waterworth to where she would have turned onto Fitzpatrick Street. Could have been longer if she was still on Main when the man approached her, or if she’d walked a ways down Fitzpatrick before the woman stopped her.

    So again, WHY was this woman concerned? If she saw the man approach the girl, did it really take her 270+ meters to catch up to the kid and ask if she was ok? (And she was that far away when the “incident” happened, but somehow just KNEW something was wrong??) Or is this another busybody freaking out about a 12yo girl walking alone at all?

  28. fred schueler September 6, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    Jim P. wrote: “Ask any honest policeman and they will tell you ‘Everyone is guilty of something if you look hard enough.’” – I was taught the opposite (but still the same) in graduate school – “If what you’re doing is worthwhile it will necessarily involve the violation of some obscure regulation or other.”

  29. Papilio September 6, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    The male adult saw a capable person traveling by herself and therefore probably someone he could ask for directions, the female adult saw a helpless little kiddie who needed counseling for not being with a parent 24/7.
    That’s probably what it comes down to… :-/

  30. Donna September 6, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

    I don’t understand this idea that adults never ask kids for help. Where the heck did that come from? People who need help tend to ask whomever is available.

    In fact, kids are often the best sort of help. My kid gets asked about missing pets in our neighborhood all the time. Not in the “come with me to find my dog” way, but in “have you seen fluffy” is a pretty regular inquiry around here. SHE is the one in our house most likely to have seen Fluffy since she spends a helluva lot more time outside than me. She even found a neighbor’s missing cat one day. Bet that neighbor was happy that he didn’t follow the “adults never ask kids for help” rule.

  31. Chuck99 September 6, 2015 at 6:16 pm #

    Two points – first, the article says ‘the girl looked behind and noticed the man was no longer following her’. When was he ever following her in the first place?

    Second – I was often stopped when I was ‘a child’ (12 and older), by people who weren’t from the area, and were looking for something fairly common. Depending on their phone, maybe they can’t search, or maybe they just don’t know what to search. Kids are more likely to be afoot than adults, and older kids are more likely to know the area than people who aren’t from there.

  32. Donald September 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm #

    Child kidnapping is the number 1 favorite story for ratings. However there’s another that’s also way up there. It’s the story of, ‘The authorities were warned but failed to act’. This often makes the news whether it’s true or not. Even this story could have been twisted to bring such a headline. If another man asks for directions because the police didn’t respond to this one, the press would have a field day.

    To combat this, every complaint must be investigated. As a result this makes it wide open for abuse whether intentional or not. In high school you can bully someone by taking their lunch money away, Now you can bully someone by taking their kids away! This abuse has other affects as well. The 12 year old girl was traumatized because her bubble wrap cocoon made her emotionally frail. She may have been taught all of her life that adult strangers that are men should never approach her for any reason. The fact that he did means that she was almost a victim of the sex slave trade!

    The system has problems. However one of the reasons for this is our appetite for drama. The news will twist stories to gain the maximum outrage. They do this BECAUSE IT WORKS. My question is, why does it work? It’s easy to point the blame on everyone else. However we need to start looking at ourselves as to how we became so gullible? How did we become part of the problem? Did we become gullible because of the networks or did the networks start dramatizing because we are so gullible and love drama?

    Which came first? The chicken or the egg? BTW how come there wasn’t a trigger warning to this story? Now I’m traumatized! I didn’t want to read about an attempted kidnapping.

  33. BL September 6, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    Just make it illegal for anyone to talk to anyone else, ever.

    Problem solved!

  34. Donald September 6, 2015 at 6:37 pm #

    I don’t blame the woman at all. She probably saw the girl looking upset. When the girl told her the story, she colored it with the ideas which supported as to why she was upset in the first place. Only after the police investigated it did the facts come out.

    I doubt the police are on the lookout. Just because the news say that they are doesn’t mean it’s so.

  35. Puzzled September 6, 2015 at 6:47 pm #

    >My kids (7 & 5.5) get lots of freedom to do things alone in our neighbourhood. We’ve actually taught them though >that adults shouldn’t be asking kids for help. It’s classic kid streetsmarts. Total overreaction but the kid was right >in not engaging with this guy (who I’m sure was just honestly looking for directions).

    Huh? If you’re sure he was honestly looking for directions, why was she right? If she was right because he might be a dangerous pedophile, then why are you so sure?

    It would seem to me that most people are capable of figuring out what kind of help request makes sense, and from whom. “Help me carry this sofa” directed at a 12 year old non-olympic athlete probably doesn’t make sense. “Where is this road?” seems reasonable.

  36. Michael_oz September 6, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

    Some of you here have been questioning the fact that it was a male asking for directions. I can understand this would be a bit strange while driving, but this individual was walking. Assuming this area was not well known to the male involved, the lack of some sort of navigation aid (such as a smartphone with GPS), might make navigating while walking just that little more difficult.

    Another point that springs to mind: we don’t know WHAT he was asking. “Where is the nearest X?” could come under *asking for directions*.

  37. Rook September 6, 2015 at 7:55 pm #

    Poor guy would have been better off asking directions at a gas station. Although I guess they would have warped that as a sneaky attempt to rob it.

  38. Dhewco September 6, 2015 at 8:05 pm #

    If I hear another joke about men asking for directions, I’ll scream.

  39. Sarah September 6, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    I disagree 100%. Sorry if I am an adult and want help, I ask another adult. And really, this is how people get into peoples’ space- asking the time, asking directions. Is it over-zealous from the police, sure. The girl has a right to decline and the right to tell her mother. Maybe, just maybe she did not feel safe- hence the call to the police. People, read the Gift of Fear. If the girl thought nothing of it, she would have shrugged and not told her mother.

    And frankly, yes, men if they get based their biases as most don’t ask for directions, should take into account that it can make lots of girls and women uncomfortable. The girl was alone. Why ask her? Eh. And shit, with GPS now on phones, I would question his motives. Damn right.

  40. Barry Lederman September 6, 2015 at 9:29 pm #

    Hi Sarah, You can question his motives all you want. The fact remains that he his interaction was non-physical brief. Further he did not follow her. Where is the crime? Why is this even worthy of an incident report?

  41. Beth September 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    Asking directions or the time is getting into people’s space? God forbid anyone forget their phone, have a dead battery (or horrors not have a phone), or not have a watch or a map.

    What kind of conversations are allowed in your world, Sarah?

  42. A Dad September 6, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

    Where is the room with the puppies and coloring books? Are they showing Paddington Bear to calm her fears?

  43. BL September 6, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

    “Maybe, just maybe she did not feel safe- hence the call to the police.”

    Maybe she’d feel safer inside her house, all doors locked, hiding under a bed, her hands cupped over her ears so she can’t hear anybody talking to her.

    Seriously – calling the police? What sort of crime is alleged here? None that I can see, yet anyone with information about this is supposed to call something called “Crime Stoppers”.

  44. Jennifer September 6, 2015 at 10:25 pm #

    If I’m adult and need help/want information I ask the closest person who looks capable of supplying it. And if that help/info is basic information about my whereabouts a 12 year old walking about on their own would seem a logical choice

  45. Warren September 6, 2015 at 10:54 pm #

    Smart not paranoid,

    Nope, that’s paranoid.


    That is paranoid and ant-social.

  46. Warren September 6, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    Oh and for all of you saying that technology means not having to ask for directions…………’re all wrong. Up until a few months ago every freaking electronic map had me and my neighbors in the middle of a lake five miles from here.
    There are still a lot of places not accurately covered.

  47. J.T. Wenting September 7, 2015 at 12:38 am #

    So now, simply because smartphones with GPS exist everyone is to be a paranoid loner who never talks to anyone else, just mutters into his or her “device” all day long?

    What about all the people who don’t even have smartphones? Or don’t have a data plan because they’ve no use for it or can’t afford it?
    Tourists without international data roaming?
    People who actually prefer personal interaction to talking to a piece of plastic…

    But beware: it men aren’t allowed to ask children for directions, or wave to them when the child waves in greeting (children tend to do that still, thank the providence, not all of them have yet been turned into paranoid schizophrenics) people will also no longer respond.
    If I now see a child in danger, the child can go to hell for all I care. If helping a drowning child is liable to get me arrested and on some sex offender list as a pedophile for daring to touch a child, I’ll let the child drown.
    And the busybodies who’re the ones accusing men of being pedophiles for even being on the same side of the street as a child are the ones who should feel responsible for that death (though I know full well they won’t, they’ll scream bloody hell that nobody bothered to help the kid).

  48. Puzzled September 7, 2015 at 12:54 am #

    Sarah – perhaps you missed the part where a nosy bystander suggested to this girl that she should be afraid. We have no reason to think she’d have made a big deal minus that.

    And, honestly? Asking directions or the time is “getting in someone’s space?” Are we losing the notion of living in society? In a society, we help each other in small ways, we talk, we don’t scream “OMG A PERSON TALKED TO ME” when someone needs directions. I would not want to live in a world where any interactions on the street are taken as an offense.

  49. sexhysteria September 7, 2015 at 3:19 am #

    All men are suspicious unless they are government employees. Thank God for the government!

  50. BL September 7, 2015 at 6:52 am #

    “CC, 17, and his girlfriend, BD, were charged as adults in February for sending “sexually explicit” photos of minors — themselves — to each other’s cell phone when the Fayetteville teens were 16.”

    By the way, in North Carolina the age of consent for actual sexual activity is …


    But nekked pichurs are illegal.

  51. Vicky September 7, 2015 at 8:01 am #

    Brilliant Lenore. And scathingly entertaining. Much props.

  52. lollipoplover September 7, 2015 at 9:09 am #

    “…contact Crime Stoppers.”

    You mean Conversation Stoppers.
    Asking for directions is not a crime, its something that happens in civilized societies without paranoid reactions.

  53. Donna September 7, 2015 at 9:22 am #

    Gee, Sarah, paranoid and anti-social much?

    Maybe he asked her because she was the only person around. Maybe he didn’t have a smartphone or his battery was dead. Maybe he was looking for a location for which he didn’t know the address to put in his GPS. Maybe he was in a hurry and asking someone for directions rather than looking up and address and then putting it into google maps was going to take much longer. Maybe he would rather live his life outside of devices and actually interact with other human beings occasionally.

    I also don’t understand why some are starting with the premise that this man KNEW she was 12 just because we know it from reading the article. We don’t walk around with neon signs over our heads advertising our age and people are actually pretty bad at guessing ages. 12 is particularly difficult. That is right on the cusp of puberty. I know some that age who still look like children and some who could pass for much older teens. Not that I think there is anything in the world wrong with asking a 12 year old directions, but he may have believed that he was asking an older person.

    Any question of this man’s motives is completely delusional. He.did.nothing. He asked for directions and then walked away. He didn’t ask her any personal questions. He didn’t touch her. He didn’t get angry when she didn’t give him directions (or maybe she did). He didn’t follow her. He didn’t even continue on the same route as her because that is the direction he was going. If she interpreted that as scary than her radar is off.

    And frankly we should never call the police for non-crimes and the police should not waste time investigating non-crimes. This guy did absolutely nothing illegal whatsoever. Even if he had improper motives. Even if he did seem off. HE.DID.NOTHING.ILLEGAL. We don’t get to punish people for improper thoughts or even those who do completely legal acts with improper motives. Minority Report was fiction; in the real world we don’t get to punish pre-crime.

  54. Dhewco September 7, 2015 at 9:45 am #

    I disagree with what Sarah said and I find her attitude sad. However, I’m glad she had the courage to speak up and put it out there. What was it Voltaire said, “I may disagree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”

    Anyway, as a single, childless, white male…I’d never ask a child I don’t know for directions. I don’t speak to kids unless they speak to me first. I stopped that pretty much the first time I was accosted by a parent for talking to her kid in an arcade; and this was when I was dating a girl and at the arcade with my girl’s kids. The kid asked if he could play the slot beside me. I agreed and we played a few dollars worth of time before the parent noticed a ‘stranger’ playing beside her kid. Never mind the fact that I was there first…I was the one being suspected of ulterior motives. The boy gave an apologetic shrug as I got up to get away from the woman. I’m very non-confrontational most of the time.

    We don’t know much about this situation. We don’t know if he got out of a car to ask, we don’t know what he was asking for directions to. GPS can be wrong, especially if it doesn’t update. The guy did nothing wrong. We have no idea how close he got to the girl to ask. There’s nothing obviously creepy about asking.

    Anyway, my two cents.


  55. Shelly Stow September 7, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    Lenore, your biting satire is the best part of the whole piece. Keep it coming.

  56. Erics September 7, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

    @Michael Fandal: It wasn’t the girl’s doing. She just told her mother what had happened to her on the way home. It was the mother that called the police. Based on the police “report”, there is really nothing to go on. Other than a man asked her for directions and went off on his merry way. THIS is the problem. Aults making an issue out of nothing because of their own selfish and ignorant fears. I’m pretty sure the little girl is confused, but forced to believe that something “bad” did happen to her. Well, because her mom said so. It’s like the blind intentionally making someone else blind, just so that they can say “I lead them”.

    “Ignorance, the root and stem of all evil.” – Plato

    A little off topic, but this is an interesting read that relates to this kind of hysteria. Seems ignorance has continued to play a major role in human history. Ancient philosophers knew what they were talking about. But still had the wisdom to acknowledge when they didn’t.

  57. Erics September 7, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    @Sarah: That was one of the most ignorant comments I’ve read. If I’m lost, and I see a little girl walking (I’m presuming to go home), and seeing no one else in sight, my automatic thought would be…”Hmmm..I’m lost, girl must be from around here, at least I can get an idea of where I’m at. Let me ask her.” How does this line of thought make me potential predator? Again, this is people’s ideas of “what MIGHT happen”, based on their own views, which are based on their fears and ignorance. Which are based on the things they read and listen to. An early post I made has a link to this way of thinking. It’s called “transferred ignorance”. Perhaps it’s where the saying “the blind leading the blind” comes from. Don’t lead the blind, when you can’t see yourself.

    The girl will only believe what she has been taught to believe…by HER PARENTS. So if her parents are ignorant, she will become ignorant. And she doesn’t even realize it. This is the danger parents pose on their own children. Teaching their kids the WRONG things, and leading them to believe it’s truth. And as they grow up, it becomes second nature to them. We’ve all read and heard of stories of children in their 20’s who still can’t fend for themselves, and are still fearful of the world. Guess who’s fault that is. Mentality like yours contributes to such ignorance.

  58. Beth September 7, 2015 at 4:03 pm #

    A 12-year-old is not a little girl.

  59. Donald September 7, 2015 at 5:27 pm #

    “Maybe she’d feel safer inside her house, all doors locked, hiding under a bed, her hands cupped over her ears so she can’t hear anybody talking to her.”

    “So now, simply because smartphones with GPS exist everyone is to be a paranoid loner who never talks to anyone else, just mutters into his or her “device” all day long?”

    You’re all wrong. Siri will talk to you on your phone. It’s ok to be anti-social. Siri will keep you from being lonely

  60. Donald September 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    “Adults making an issue out of nothing because of their own selfish and ignorant fears. I’m pretty sure the little girl is confused, but forced to believe that something “bad” did happen to her. Well, because her mom said so. It’s like the blind intentionally making someone else blind, just so that they can say “I lead them”.”

    Parents with anxiety honestly believe that they’re giving their children a protective ‘gift’ by teaching them to have anxiety. That makes about as much sense as gift wrapping smallpox and believe that they’re doing someone a favor! What’s worse is that they also believe that the other parents that don’t gift wrap smallpox are neglectful because they don’t love their children as much

  61. lollipoplover September 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    My 12 year-old daughter is already 5’7 and 115 lbs. and still growing. She also has a brain and manners and can say “I don’t know” if asked a question or better, actually give directions to someone in need.

  62. Beth September 7, 2015 at 7:19 pm #

    @lollipoplover…that’s why I don’t understand why a few people here have called her a “little girl”!

  63. anonymous mom September 7, 2015 at 10:45 pm #

    I could have passed, easily, for 18 when I was 12. There’s no reason to think he had any idea what her age was. I have friends who post pictures of their 12 and 13 year old daughters who are dressed and made up so that they look 25. And then of course they freak out about “pedophiles” looking at their daughters, but that’s a different issue.

    As for adults not asking kids for help, why not? Why is it so important that kids be useless? A friend of mine called me the other day to see if I’d send my 11 year old over to help her move a piece of furniture. I was glad to send him. Kids, especially by 11/12/13, used to do all kinds of useful things. I’m not sure we’ve served them well by taking that away from them.

  64. Malcolm James September 8, 2015 at 4:30 am #

    Firstly, it is quite clear that there is any evidence of a crime having been committed or of any intention to commit a crime.
    Secondly, it is clear that the woman who intervened could not have witnessed the incident and either felt it was inappropriate for a 12 y.o. to be walking alone or the girl was showing signs of distress.

    Thirdly, a 12 y.o. is quite old enough to give directions and to distinguish between an innocent request and anything more sinister.

    I wonder whether this shows the baleful influence of social media. It is quite possible that it was Mum who got aggressiive and emotional in the police station, insisting that ‘something mustbe done’. 20 years ago the police would have told her firmly that there was no evidence of a crime and that they could do nothing. Mum would either have left muttering darkly and done nothing or she might have complained to a supervisor, who would presumably dismussed it in fairly short order. Either way the incident would have been very minor. Nowadays in today’s fevered climate concerning paedophilia and child abduction Mum could have whipped up a storm on social media, leaving the police convicted in the court of public opinion. It doesn’t cost the police much to put out this release as a PR exercise, knowing full well that the only well they are likely to find out who this man is is if he turns himself in.

  65. BL September 8, 2015 at 5:15 am #

    @anonymous mom
    “I could have passed, easily, for 18 when I was 12.”

    Which isn’t really meaningful under the circumstances. There’s no “age of consent” for being asked for directions.

  66. anonymous mom September 8, 2015 at 5:50 am #

    @BL, that’s true, except for the belief, even expressed in these comments, that adults have no business asking children for help, ever. Even if we accept that’s true–which I don’t think we should–unless she was walking around with a shirt on that said “I’m 12,” my point was that this guy had no way of knowing how old she was. Are we going to ask adults to card people who might, potentially, be under 18 before they ask them anything, just in case they are a minor? Even if you truly believe that adults should never, ever ask kids for directions, once we’re talking about teens, even some very young teens and older tweens depending on how physically mature they are, you still won’t know much of the time how old the person you are talking to is.

  67. lollipoplover September 8, 2015 at 7:17 am #

    What about 12 year-old girls asking adult males for directions??

    We went on vacation 2 weeks ago to a very remote island- no stop lights, stores, or cell reception. On the 3rd day, my daughters (12 and 9) asked to go on a bike ride to get some more of the apple cider donuts we bought from a farm stand on the first day. We had already biked the island several times with them so I thought they knew where they were going and let them go. They didn’t return for almost an hour and I was ready to go look for them when they came biking back to our house with smiles and a large jug of apple cider…but no donuts.

    They got lost. It was hot. They biked in circles and were looking for the orchard near the stand but no luck. So my 12 year-old daughter stopped and asked for directions. She said the man “looked like a pirate and had an enormous brown dog” and told her he owned the orchard that made the donuts and they were all out for the day but put an order in for her for the next day (they have an honor system stand by the side of the road). He gave her the most amazing apple cider and directions to get back to our house.

    They biked back to that orchard almost every day- to visit Shiloh the doberman and the very nice owner who I’m sure saw a spike in his cider and donut sales for the week (and the DID look like a pirate!) And those apple cider donuts…I still dream about them.

  68. Nikola September 8, 2015 at 8:30 am #

    Sarcasm’s nice, but beware of Poe’s law. 🙂

  69. Beth September 8, 2015 at 8:48 am #

    I kind of wish Sarah would come back and elaborate on everyday social interactions being interpreted as ‘getting in people’s space’ , because that totally confused me.

    @lollipopover, where was this? I’m hooked on just your description!!

  70. Donna September 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm #

    “Which isn’t really meaningful under the circumstances. There’s no “age of consent” for being asked for directions.”

    It is relevant to the idea stated repeatedly here that adults never ask children for help.

    That said, the age issue was brought up by me because of what seems to be just accepted in many of the responses that the age of 12 was a fact known to the man. Some seem to forget that the man in question did not have the benefit of a newspaper article stating her age before he decided to approach her. WE know she was 12, but he may not have come close in his guess. The people concluding that he was up to something because (a) adults don’t ask children for help, and/or (b) men shouldn’t approach 12 year olds should consider that our age is not projected over our heads as we walk down the street and people are notoriously bad at guessing it. Personally, I don’t think it matters whether he intended to approach a 12 year old or a 16 year old, but it apparently does to some who commented here.

  71. anonymous mom September 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm #

    FWIW, it also notes that she said he was “no longer following” her. Which would indicate to me that he came up behind her. If we’re bad at guessing ages, we’re going to be especially bad at guessing them based on a person’s backside. I was 5’6″ at 12. My husband, who is 6’5″ now, was like 5’10” or something ridiculous. I think it would be a bit creepier to stop somebody, make them turn around, and stare at them for a while, trying to ascertain their age before talking to them, then to just tap a person on the shoulder and asking them a question.

    @Beth, that’s standard internet fare, especially for women. See the feminist blogosphere and “Schrodinger’s Rapist” and people who claim that a man asking them what book they are reading is tantamount to assault. There seem to be an increasing number of people who believe that personal space isn’t simply a cultural preference and maybe a social nicety but that being able to go out in public without anybody speaking to you–or perhaps even looking at you–is an inalienable right that it is quasi-criminal to breach. See also this insane list:

  72. Papilio September 8, 2015 at 3:46 pm #

    @Anonymous mom: Wow. I just read that link, and while she made some minor points that are quite ‘Duh!’, it read like a ‘How to make a problem out of most everything’… or perhaps ‘How to victimize yourself’ or so. Sheez.

  73. Beth September 8, 2015 at 3:49 pm #

    @anonymous mom, thanks! That looks like a really interesting rabbit hole to start down.

    It sure concerns me that those who believe this teach it to their children as well; what’s our cultural/social future going to be like when those kids become adults?

  74. Steve September 8, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    lollipoplover — Thanks for posting your great island story!

  75. Donna September 8, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

    Anonymous mom – Wow! If you (the author, not you) truly believe that 9 out of 10 men who say “have a nice day” are hitting on you, you have a serious narcissism issue.

  76. BL September 8, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    “what’s our cultural/social future going to be like when those kids become adults?”

    They may become old, but they won’t be adults.

  77. Warren September 8, 2015 at 10:36 pm #

    One thing people might be doing is taking “asked for directions” to literally. In an area that I am not familiar with I have no problem asking kids if they know where something is that they would be familiar with, like a McD’s, Tim Hortons or the like. I would be more inclined to ask an adult for things such as hospitals, garages, and stores.

    By the way in most places in Ontario, you could ask a 2 yr old where the Tim Hortons is and they would know.

  78. Warren September 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm #

    I couldn’t even get through the whole article, you linked. That author has some serious emotional issues.

  79. hineata September 9, 2015 at 12:28 am #

    @anonymous mom – that article was sick….really sick.

    And just to pick up on one point, maybe I AM a weirdo, but I quite often leave the house hoping I’ll get to have a random conversation with a stranger. People are inherently interesting. That was one thing I loved about the US, actually….in just 3 days I got to chat to all sorts of clerks, shop assistants, neighbours etc. Y’all seem really friendly :-).

  80. Puzzled September 9, 2015 at 12:52 am #

    >Women feel vulnerable on the street, period. When a man interacts with her on any level she did not invite, it’s >threatening, period.

    I’d say that, right there, is where the article goes wrong. It’s a subtle shift, but a real one, from “feels” to “is.” You can feel whatever you want, but when you shift to ‘is’ you’re making an accusation.

    Anyway, the article is also massively self-contradictory. People know when someone is harassing them and when someone is being nice intuitively, she writes. Okay, fine. She goes as far as to say it doesn’t matter what they say. Okay, fine. But then, why the list of 5 things you can’t say, and one easily misunderstood action?

    Furthermore, if only the person being harassed knows if they are or not (after all, as she writes, only that person is the expert about their own life), what are we supposed to do with the video? We have no idea if she’s being harassed, since we don’t know her life.

  81. Julie September 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    For those who think it is odd to ask a “12 year old girl” directions because of her age:

    It is also good to keep in mind that there are many 12 year old girls that had their big growth spurts, have developed their figures, and whose voices have changed (yes, girls’ voices change too) making them appear “older” than one might guess – even without said girl trying to dress or act older.

    You can put my 12 year old in a group of high schoolers, and I guarantee you wouldn’t pick her out of the group as being the 12 year old. She is as tall as me, has a womanly figure, and carries herself with confidence (and no longer has that little kid voice her younger sister has). She could pass for 15 or 16 easily…

    Personally, though, I would assume that if a kid is responsible enough to be out and about on their own, they would likely be able to give me at least general directions to basic locations in the area…

    I even encourage my kids (10 and 12 now) to approach adults when they appear “lost” around town. They have learned what that “look” is (you know the one) and offer to help. The town is only so big, so if the person is looking for something in particular, the girls usually know which direction they need to go.

  82. lollipoplover September 9, 2015 at 3:00 pm #

    The Champlain Islands in Vermont (we stayed on the northern most island). It’s close to the Canadian Border (and Montreal) but we just enjoyed the beauty of a farming island that is unspoiled and didn’t need to go anywhere. Biked every day for miles before seeing a car (there’s more bikes than cars here) and the kids were in the lake the entire time- swimming, fishing (great big bass and wall eye caught), kayaking, and paddleboarding. If they weren’t in the water they were attending to the animals on the farm we rented- they had alpacas and baby chicks and the owner gave the kids instructions on their care for the week. Have some great photos of bathing alpacas! We ate fresh fish most nights (caught by the kids) and sent the kids to the organic produce stand for veggies and fruits daily. We only left the island to replenish our supply of good Vermont craft brews. The people who live here are lovely and it is such a different kind of vacation- I highly recommend it!

  83. Dr.LJ September 10, 2015 at 4:02 am #

    Didn’t even offer any boiled lollies or promises of seeing a kitten or puppy. how standards have fallen.

  84. anonymous mom September 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    “It sure concerns me that those who believe this teach it to their children as well; what’s our cultural/social future going to be like when those kids become adults?”

    I think things like the Bustle “harassment” article *are* what the future looks like when kids raised on “stranger danger” become adults. Most of the women I’ve seen who really buy into this “Any man who ever dares to talk to me in public is harassing me” attitude are in their early or mid 20s; they were raised with stranger danger. And I think absolutely that kids who are taught that the world is full of scary people out to hurt them will grow up to be, as these women are, adults who think the world is full of scary people out to hurt them.

    A while back there was a lot of talk in online feminist circles about “Schrodinger’s Rapist.” The idea was, basically, that a woman cannot know whether a man is a rapist or not until he actually tries to rape her, therefore women are justified in treating every man in every situation as somebody likely to be a rapist. (If the guy on the bus next to you asks you how you are doing, you ignore him, because you have no idea of knowing whether his intention is to rape you or not.) Aside from how statistically flawed this is (women are far, far more likely to be physically or sexually assaulted by a man she knows and likes and trusts–a partner or friend or coworker–than some random guy on the bus or street or in the elevator with her, yet these women never think that their boyfriend might be Schrodinger’s Rapist), it is just rooted in such insane paranoia. But, then, I once saw a woman argue completely seriously that, because 1 in 4 women is a victim of sexual assault, you can never trust men because 1 in 4 encounters with them ends in rape, so we probably should not expect rationality.

    However, stranger danger seems to morph, when the children become adults, into misanthropy in general and misandry in particular pretty quickly. Children taught the world is full of evil people seeking to do evil things to them are not going to suddenly stop thinking that at 18.

  85. Beth September 10, 2015 at 12:09 pm #

    My head is spinning. So do these women ever date? Have they suppressed any hope they might have had to get married some day?

  86. Papilio September 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm #

    “1 in 4 women is a victim of sexual assault”

    This kind of thing always make me wonder how enormously broad their definition of ‘assault’ is… and if some insignificant but less-than-perfect encounter with a male would make ME one of those in the 25%, too…

  87. JulieC September 10, 2015 at 2:59 pm #

    My understanding is that the often quoted 1 – 4 number (primarily used when discussing college sexual assaults) is based on a few extremely small studies and that the term “sexual assault” covers not only what you and I think is sexual assault, but unwanted looks, comments and touching. So, if a guy said, ‘hey, you are hot. Let’s get out of this joint and go back to my place’ and you didn’t appreciate it, you’ve just been sexually assaulted.

    I fear for the future!!

  88. Donna September 10, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Papillo – In the same breath that they say 1 in 4 women are sexually assaulted, they also say that most sexual assaults are not reported. My question has always been how the heck do you know how many people are experiencing things when those things are generally not reported to anyone when they occur?

  89. Tommy Udo September 16, 2015 at 6:53 pm #

    If I want to speak to a twelve-year-old, I will. Anyone who doesn’t like it can suck an egg. I’ve never harmed anyone in my life and I resent the assumption that I’m a kidnapper/rapist/murderer just waiting to happen.