Friday, August 24, 2007

Watch Out for that Guy Pushing the Stroller!

Several readers have emailed this article from the WSJ entitled "Are We Teaching Our Kids to be Fearful of Men?"

Are we teaching children that men are out to hurt them? The answer, on many fronts, is yes. Child advocate John Walsh advises parents to never hire a male babysitter. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers rather than male passengers. Soccer leagues are telling male coaches not to touch players.

Child-welfare groups say these are necessary precautions, given that most predators are male. But fathers' rights activists and educators now argue that an inflated predator panic is damaging men's relationships with kids. Some men are opting not to get involved with children at all, which partly explains why many youth groups can't find male leaders, and why just 9% of elementary-school teachers are male, down from 18% in 1981.

People assume that all men "have the potential for violence and sexual aggressiveness," says Peter Stearns, a George Mason University professor who studies fear and anxiety. Kids end up viewing every male stranger "as a potential evildoer," he says, and as a byproduct, "there's an overconfidence in female virtues."

Virginia's Department of Health has a troubling ad showing a man holding a little child's hand. The caption reads: "It doesn't feel right when I see them together." If you get a chance, click on the article and take a look at it and see the negative statement it makes about men.

The excuse given for the negative ad is:

Virginia's campaign was designed to encourage people to trust their instincts about possible abuse, says Rebecca Odor, director of sexual and domestic violence prevention for the state health department. She stands by the ads, pointing out that 89% of child sex-abuse perpetrators in Virginia are male.

The psychological damage to children of not having men around to interact with because of these scare tactics is never mentioned but something that should be considered by the Virginia Department of Health when they develop such ads. Surely, they can come up with something creative that would help make people aware of sexual predators but would not demonize men in general, most of whom are innocent.


Blogger Earnest Iconoclast said...

Isn't there a civil rights issue here? What percentage of men are child abusers? And don't women kill their children more than men do? This whole thing is a joke. Just like how Megan's Law requires that someone convicted of pasting their butt in a window to moon someone along with pedophiles.

I'll be first in line to flay someone who hurts my child... but that's no reason for everyone to freak out and DO SOMETHING to protect the children even if it doesn't necessarily actually protect, you know, the children. I have a saying for this kind of thing... "Ready! Fire! Aim!"

My daughter is seven and I already worry about how we act in public... I should be able to hug my daughter without wondering if some busybody is going to call CPS.


3:58 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger DADvocate said...

Rebecca Odor's own reports on Prevalance of Sexual Violence in Virginia states:

- 1,769 women and 705 men over 18 were interviewed

- 94% of male victims were under the age of 18 while only 78% of female victims were under 18

- 39% of the perpetrators with male victims were female

I wonder why they only interviewed less than half as many men. Is it preset bias?

Shouldn't they be focusing more on sexual abuse of minor males?

Looking at the report males also found hotlines and the police much less helpful than females.

If they want to "encourage people to trust their instincts" then why are they biasing their message. That's not instinct.

Overall, the data seems so sparse that to draw such broad conclusions. Tell Mr. Walsh that I had a friend whose female babysitter used to expose her breasts to him and get him to play with them, etc. when he was about 9 or 10 years old.

Meanwhle, we have another female teacher in Ohio whose been sexually abusing a boy for the past 5 or 6 years starting when he was 11 years old. I'd be willing to bet female on male sexual abuse is one of the most under reported crimes.

Rebecca Odor is an MSW. A species I've learned to fear. In my experience they tend to think they know much more than they really do.
Shouldn't they be teaching boys to be equally cautious of females?

5:18 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger gs said...

Virginia's campaign was designed to encourage people to trust their instincts about possible abuse, says Rebecca Odor, director of sexual and domestic violence prevention for the state health department.

Was it designed by the same experts who used to "uncover" children's memories of abuse? What's the evidence that people's instincts about possible abuse are trustworthy?

From the WSJ editorial (titled 'Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Fearful of Men?'): Most men understand the need to be cautious, so they're willing to take a step back from children, or to change seats on a plane. With advocates like this, who needs adversaries? Afaic if an airline does not want a child next to the reserved seat I paid for, they should move the child. But I'm not sure I wouldn't get myself taken into custody for complaining: one more reason among many to fly as little as possible nowadays.

5:27 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Earnest Iconoclast said...

If an airline asks a man to move so that a woman can be seated next to an unaccompanied child, the airline has put the man in the position of choosing one of the following:

1. Going along with the assumption that he is likely to be a child molester.

2. Arguing with the request and coming across as a jerk or getting arrested by the TSA for being a potential terrorist.

Lose-lose situation.


5:48 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


I have a post from about 2 years ago on the airlines asking men to move their seat for a child. There are some very interesting responses from readers. You can read it here:

5:53 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger leon said...

What irks me the most about this issue is that they are using Gavin De Becker's teachings directly from his book and while his book is has some good advice but a lot of it is fear mongering which even he states that people worry too much about this minute crime. That whole campaign looks like a cut and paste job from his book.

From page 14, I wish he took his own advice: As you worry about some imagined risk, you are distracted from what is actually happening.
Perception, not worry, is what serves safety.Perception focuses your attention; worry blurs it.

His book also is sobering on exactly who the perpetrators are and it's family members, not just all men.

6:01 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Paul Moreland said...

The assumption is, a man's "equipped" to be a sexual predator due to his physical, biological construction. So it's only "natural" to assume that he's a sexual predator. That, of course, makes as much sense as assuming that a woman is a prostitute because, after all, she's perfectly equipped for the job.

6:06 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Trust their "instincts"? Trust their instincts?! As if people could tell their instincts any more from their trained-in emotional responses, gibbering on cue like Pavlovian paranoic pups!

Yeah, I'm talking about YOU, American Emotional Eater... "I'm hungry!" No you're not, you're bored/sad/happy/breathing and can't tell that your exhausted stomach will just expand your freakish waistline some more. "I'm scared!" Yeah, of what, exactly? Anything you should be? No, of course not. Better to cram your mind [sic] full of more vapid crap and expand the fat percentage above your chins as well as below.

There is no safer place for a child to be than with me. My paternal and avuncular instincts (yeah, real ones) are on permanent overdrive. There are exactly 2 groups of people to whom I am dangerous, and they would do well to stay well out of reach:
1. Anyone who would intentionally hurt a child.
2. Anyone who would falsely accuse me or impugn my honor.

6:12 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for the Virginia stats--and 50% of the men who were abused said that the police were not helpful? The police need to be educated on how to deal with males who have been sexually assaulted, that is disgraceful. Maybe I should apply for a federal grant to do education programs for the police on males who are abused. Wonder if I'd even hear back about it?

6:13 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger 1charlie2 said...


Gotta' side with you there: MSW's are often scary. Frequently, their certainty knows no bounds. At least in my experience with DSS/DCF/DFY settings.

But I think it less their curriculum than the mindset of many people who eventually gravitate toward a MSW / CSW setting. They are so committed to "fixing" something that they'll make up a problem if none exists. And I think that for the zealots in the profession, it was probably a personality trait before they were even thru their education.

(Yeah, you could say that, based on 20-30 examples I've worked with, I have a really low opinion.)

But the differences between MSW's and Psychs I worked with were marked. The Psychs were typically "Well, it could be ... " or "Often, we see ... " or "We might consider ... " In other words, there was some equivocation, a recognition they could be wrong. Often (not always) the MSW's stated opinion with certainty. Frankly, it was frightening to watch.

As always, YMMV

Peregrine John,

Based on a dim recall of "the Gift of Fear," De Becker was worth a read. From what I can remember, he was talking more about personal choices, rather than setting policy.

He wrote along the lines of "If you feel nervous in a situation, don't wait for it to get out of control. Walk away now." I'm paraphrasing, and I might be wrong in my recall, but I wasn't too put out by what I read.

In fact, I recall agreeing with some of it, simliar to "Don't be so afraid of hurting someone's feelings that you won't say 'no, you may not come into my home to use the phone -- tell me the number you want to call and I will deliver the message.'" Or "if the person you are dating begins to act flaky, STOP SEEING THEM, Don't let your desire to 'be nice' make you put yourself into jeopardy."

But we're not speaking of policy here.

6:30 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Peregrine John said...


Yes, I've heard similar regarding de Becker's work before, though I've not yet read it myself. It sounds interesting, really. It's the bumper sticker reductions of it that cause all the trouble, not the actual, carefully described research. People see that abominable poster and process its message as, "Go with your paranoid, knee-jerk reaction: it's probably right!"

6:41 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger JohnAnnArbor said...

I was about to relate a story relevant to this, when I realized I already had written the story in an earlier post.

I'm really glad I turned down that job. No accusation's worth the $75 or whatever they would have paid me for the day.

6:53 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger holdfast said...

I was a babysitter as a teenager, and I made damn good money too, because as a male, I was allowed to stay out later and could walk myself home (the big $$ was after midnight). I also had a couple of clients say that they felt better with a fairly large male teenager in the house looking after the kids. It probably helped that I did most of my work in the neighbourhood, so the clients had likely met my folks at some point.

7:36 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Cham said...

Americans love pedophiles. Americans like to read about pedophiles, better yet, get the video, streaming media galore. Pedophile pics, pedophile cases, pedophile court. Did the bad man touch the innocent blond boy? Did he rape the little girl? Where is John Walsh when you need him?

We can't get enough. Meanwhile our young are turning into little porkers because Jeffrey Dahlmer waits for them when they walk to school. Our children don't play outside because Son of Sam is in the park. Supervised soccer camp for all!

I wonder how many of these evil child-raping pedophiles even exist. Are we taking the 10 from last year and blowing things out of proportion?

Meanwhile, men AND women don't want anything to do with children that aren't their own, nobody wants the accusations and the liability. If you want statistics, I'll give you statistics. Baltimore City just celebrated its 200th homicide of the year. Do you like that statistic? I'll give you one more...78% of the children born within the confines of Baltimore City are born to single mothers. Is there a relationship between the two numbers? I think so.

You may not think the above has to do with the topic Helen has posted but it does, very much. Men are running, not walking, away from having anything to do with children, and children desperately desperately need fathers and male role models. Otherwise they turn into young people with massive anger management problems.

I have to go now though, it is time for another episode of America's Most Wanted and Lifetime is having another movie marathon.

7:40 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Cowboy said...

I can say that as an educator, I am considered unsafe with either gender of student. In conferences, I have been informed that I must keep my door open. In class, all touching of students is deemed inappropriate--even a handshake or a pat on the shoulder can lead to the charge of "sexualizing" the classroom.

8:57 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Panday said...

We're also teaching our children to be contemptful of men.

On any given day, one can see a dozen television commercials in which the (usually white) male is portrayed as a hapless oaf, only to be rescued by a woman or someone of color.

9:04 PM, August 24, 2007  
Blogger Steve said...

It's interesting the way crime statistics are being used - when the proportions of arrests or prison population for a particular race is higher than the general population, this is taken as evidence of an injustice (as opposed to the proper course of identifying a specific person wrongly accused or imprisoned). But when the statistics are higher for men, that's taken as proof that men are, in fact, evil - in effect, the persecution is justified. In fact, genders and races aren't guilty or innocent - that's a term that only applies to individual people.

12:38 AM, August 25, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

Just some thoughts:

- Dadvocate & Dr. Helen, I'm shocked that the rate was 50%, I would have guessed 10%.

- In our culture a Karla Homolka, with multiple sex-slayings on her record, is automatically the preferred person over the most satined man we have. That is both stupid and dangerous.

- Turning such things as contempt for & fear of men around will take a lot of time. I wonder how bad it will get before it starts getting better? Legislation making it illegal for a man to be in the presence of children ... will it go that far? Maybe. Obviously that would cause multiple killings of children by women AND more blame and shame dumped onto innocent men.

- What is the effect on our boys of teaching fear & contempt for men? Not good! That's for sure, but how bad is it? How many male suicides are triggered/caused by this hate? How many drunks & druggies do we create every year because of this? How many child molesters do we create because of this? How much of our heavy-porn problem is created by this hate?

4:59 AM, August 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's just one more part of the ongoing campaign to cut men and fathers completely out the family, making them nothing more than sperm donors then an ATM machine, funding feral mothers with their monthly child support check and/or alimony, financing the mother's life as an official whore.

And then guess what? Your son or daughter is now going to be exposed to whom? That's right, mommy's new BOYFRIENDS, and statisically, these men are 95% of the 'molesters' in the home- molesting YOUR children. In our new culture of women as feral cats, they are actually facilitating and even helping to create molesters. And then there is the whole other issue of false accusations by a child because the father reprimanded the stepchild.

And that leads to the No. 1 rule for intelligent men today: Do not, under any circumstances, date any single woman with children... ever. It's like walking into a snake pit and just hoping you won't get bitten- it's stupid. In fact, I never even look at children anymore. I can't even tell you the last time I even talked to one- & actually this whole hyper paranoia relieves me of any and all societal responsibility to children, which is actually kind of nice- but then you do see how horrible women are with their children today and you can see why mothers are responsible for the 70% of the VIOLENCE murder commited against children (why isn't society screaming about that?- does this imply that beating or killing children is OK, just as long as their not molested?)

Women scream bloody murder everyday when I tell that I counsel every man I meet to never date single mothers- how it is so 'unfair.' You want fair? Then make false accusations of anything (for that matter) a FELONY, then we can start talking about fair. Anyone who would make a false accusation of a sex crime is just as sick as a molester or rapist.

10:20 AM, August 25, 2007  
Blogger Yamantaka said...

"89% of child sex-abuse perpetrators in Virginia are male."

Surely, this can be taken to mean that 89% of males are child sex-abuse perpetrators?

10:23 AM, August 25, 2007  
Blogger Bruce Hayden said...

We really do have a problem here. As a kid, I baby sat a lot. And it turned out to be quite helpful when I became a parent myself - I knew how to change diapers, hold babies, and keep kids occupied. Not any more.

I think that Reality2007 makes a really good point. I have seen the single mother problem, and, indeed, for other reasons ran a couple times away from otherwise very nice women (I refused to get involved when they had teenagers, not because of the potential for liability,, but rather that I was unlikely to be able to impose the discipline needed by that age).

2:26 PM, August 25, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Go rent the movie "Undercover Blues" if you want to see a man with a stroller that one needs to watch out for. One of my favorite movies. Truly funny.

12:15 PM, August 27, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

HERE is some info that would correct any "DIS-INFORMATION" and it all comes from reliable and accepted sources.

Statistics on Father’s, Mothers & Children - Information from USA

Fathers lose contact with their children after a divorce but most do not realize the reason why. According to a Redbook survey even in intact homes, only 11% of mothers value their husband's input when it comes to handling problems with their kids. Teachers & doctors rated 45%, and close friends & relatives rated %16.

From the book FATHERS: WHO NEEDS THEM? By Karl Zinsmeister we find this

37.9% of fathers have no access/visitation rights.
(Source: p.6, col.II, para. 6, lines 4 & 5, Census Bureau P-60, #173, Sept 1991.)

"40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the non-custodial father's visitation on at least one occasion, to punish the ex-spouse."
(Source: p. 449, col. II, lines 3-6, (citing Fulton)
"The former spouse (mother) was the greatest obstacle to having more frequent contact with the children."
(Source: Increasing our understanding of fathers who have infrequent contact with their children, James Dudley, Family Relations, Vol. 4, p. 281, July 1991.)

"A clear majority (70%) of fathers felt that they had too little time with their children."
(Source: Visitation and the Non custodial Father, Mary Ann Kock & Carol Lowery, Journal of Divorce, Vol. 8, No. 2, p. 54)

Information from multiple sources show:
· 10% of all non-custodial fathers fit the "deadbeat dad" category,
· 90% of the fathers with joint custody paid the support due,
· Fathers with visitation rights pay 79.1%,
· 44.5% of those with NO visitation rights still financially support their children.
(Source: Census Bureau report. Series P-23, No. 173).

In reality, most fathers would give their very life to make things better for their children. Most already give up their rights to be a father by "drifting out of their lives" rather then to have them watch a constant battle between him and his ex...their mother.

Children from fatherless homes account for:
· 63% of youth suicides.
(Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services, Bureau of the Census).
· 71% of pregnant teenagers.
(Source: US Dept. of Health & Human Services)
· 90% of all homeless and runaway children.
· 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless
homes (Source: US Dept. Of Justice, Special Report)
· 85% of all children that exhibit behavioural disorders.
(Source: US Centre for Disease Control).
· 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger.
(Source: Criminal Justice & Behaviour, Vol. 14, p. 403-26).
· 71% of all high school dropouts.
(Source: National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools).
· 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centres.
(Source: Rainbows for all God`s Children).
· 85% of all youths sitting in prisons.
(Source: Fulton Co. Georgia jail populations, Texas Dept. of Corrections)

According to the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System’s most current report, Child Maltreatment 2005, of the approximately 899,000 child abuse and neglect victims in 2005.
· The largest percentages of perpetrators were parents (79.4 percent), including birth parents, adoptive parents, and stepparents,
· Other relatives accounted for an additional 6.8 percent,
· Residential staff for 0 .2 percent,
· Day-care providers for 0.6 percent,
· Unmarried partners of parents accounted for 3.8 percent of perpetrators,
· Foster parent accounted for 0.5 percent of perpetrators.

Gender Breakdown:
· 57.8 percent of child abuse and neglect perpetrators were females
· 42.2 percent were males

Likewise the number of children killed by their mothers without the father's involvement is double the number killed by their fathers without the mother's involvement.
Fatalities by Perpetrator Relationship, 2003 Child Maltreatment 2003
· Mother Only 30.5%
· Father Only 18.2%
· Mother & Father 20.4%
· Mother & Other 8.2%
· Father & Other 0.9%
· Non-parental Perpetrator 17.7%
· Unknown or Missing 4.3%

Other Statistics that might help some Researching Information:

Child & Welfare Information Gateway (USA)
* Lots of Reports, Stats & Info. Some International as well.
Child Abuse and Neglect Statistics

Domestic Violence Studies (USA)
© 2002, 2004 Equal Justice Foundation
** Some of the same reports are referred to in Canadian Pubs.

Check out this link. It is related to "Naughty Teachers" who have molested / abused children. Interesting how it minimizes what was done as "Naughty" but then most of the perpetrators are Female Teachers.

1:52 PM, August 27, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is caustic feminism in any way related to one's weight, or ability to break glass just by looking into it? A prejudice that will most likely never go away is one concerning what is always in the eye of the beholder.

That door always has and alway will, swing both ways.

I guess I'm not happy unless I'm sticking my neck out.....way out.

7:52 PM, August 27, 2007  
Blogger tomcal said...

Not just in Virginia, but nationwide, what percentage of convicted felons, FOR ALL CRIMES, are male?

10:02 PM, August 27, 2007  
Blogger Mercurior said...

there was this story, last year about a man who was asked to move his seat, because he was sitting next to some children..

(his own children btw),

At which the stewardess gave a gentle cough. Actually, she said, she was proposing to move me to row 52, and that was because — she lowered her voice — "We have very strict rules".

Eh? I said, by now baffled. "A man cannot sit with children," she said; and then I finally twigged. "But he's our FATHER", chimed the children. "Oh," said the stewardess, and then eyed me narrowly. "These are your children?" "Yes," I said, a bit testily. "Very sorry," she said, and wafted down the aisle — and in that single lunatic exchange you will see just about everything you need to know about our dementedly phobic and risk-averse society. In the institutionalised prejudice of that BA stewardess against an adult male, you see one of the prime causes of this country's tragic under-achievement in schools.**

I mention all this because the same absurd kerfuffle happened this week. Some child was put next to an ancient journalist and his wife on a flight, and the airline (BA again) went into spasm. As the hoo-ha raged, the press turned to the lobby groups, and someone called Pam Hibbert of Barnardo's obliged with the usual bossyboots quote. The ban on sitting children next to adults was "eminently sensible", said this eminently ridiculous figure.

I mean, come off it, folks. How many paedophiles can there be? Are we really saying that any time an adult male finds himself sitting next to someone under 16, he must expect to be hustled from his seat before the suspicious eyes of the entire cabin

4:57 AM, August 28, 2007  

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