Spotted this article online tonight, and I think it puts into words a phenomenon that many of us males, especially males who have been open about having been victims of sexual abuse, have seen and experienced. I know, for example, that I am very hesitant to go anywhere with my niece if my wife is not right alongside of me. I don’t have children, and I am highly aware of just how unusual it would be for me to be somewhere and talking to a small child, even my own niece, let alone children I’m not related to. As the article asks:
Can a man talk to a kid in the park anymore without being seen as a pervert?
Personally, I am all for being alert to potential dangers for children, but we really have reached a point where men don’t feel comfortable talking to children in public any more. That’s not a positive thing for kids, or society. Children need positive male role models, they do not need to grow up believing that every male they encounter is a pedophile. It’s absolutely no wonder why so few men go into teaching, or coaching, or other activities that would have them working with children, unless they have their own kid, and their mother, right there involved as well. I even felt a little awkward going to take photos at our firm’s children’s Christmas party last week, even though it was a public event. I felt a need to make sure I didn’t pay too much attention to any of the kids, or take too many pictures of any one particular child, etc. In retrospect, that’s insane that I feel that way, but it’s the reality of my life as a childless 40 year old man. Lord knows, I would never volunteer to coach a baseball team or any other sort of activity. That may not be a big loss to society, or the baseball playing skills of many little kids, but when millions of men do the same thing? It’s a loss.