Men - Does it bother you that everybody assumes you're a child molester?

This is a spinoff from the thread here, which is a spinoff from the terrifying thread where norinew’s little girl was sexually assaulted by neighborhood teenagers. The thread this comes from is mainly about teenagers, but there’s a remark or two in there about not trusting any male whatsoever with one’s female children.

I hear this sort of thing a lot and frankly it makes me furious and sad. Men, do you feel that if you spend too much time with children, particularly female children, that there’s a huge stigma on you? Because it seems that way from where I stand. Women are allowed to “like children” - know the neighborhood kids’ names, say hey to them. Hell, women at least in the past invited kids into their homes for lemonade and pie, at least out in the country where I lived. If a man with no children (like those women) or grown children invited a little girl into his house for lemonade and pie now we’d burn him at the stake. If a man stops to watch kids playing at the playground he gets the evil eye from the assembled mothers until he moves on.

Isn’t that insane? How the hell are you supposed to learn to be a dad if nobody lets you near kids? I asked my boyfriend if he felt that assumption existed, and he said yeah - that in the back of his head he’s always surprised that the woman who’s mentored him since college, who has sent tons of jobs his way, who has traveled on trips with him and such, isn’t afraid to leave him alone with her daughters. In other words, he’s grown to expect people to expect him to be a child molester!

There’s somebody in that thread who says she won’t let her daughter spend unsupervised time with any males but her dad or brother. WTF? Because god knows when you see a three year old child, the normal and most common reaction is to molest her? How did we get here? Isn’t it better to raise your kids to be assertive and honest like norinew’s daughter than to raise them to live in fear of all men? Don’t you think men internalize this sort of thing? What kind of dad is that going to produce?
I guess my question is, do all the guys feel that attitude exists, and how do you feel about it? Do you think it makes any sense at all? Do you think it’s an overreaction from the days when nobody suspected Uncle Al of diddling his nieces and will correct itself to a normal medium eventually? A product of the culture of fear where crime is down but awareness of crime thousands of miles away is up? A breakdown of the community?

By the way - when I was in library school I met several men who would have liked to be in children’s librarianship but were concerned about “what people might think”. Good job, America.

This guy does, and hates it.

It’s the one and only reason I will not change my baby granddaughter’s diaper. Seriously. I’m not even comfortable being left alone with her. “Good job, America” indeed.

Are you serious? That makes me sad and depressed.

Seriously, it’s bad enough that we get all those “Daddy can’t deal with the baby 'cause Mommy went to our sale!” ads - does our culture have to actively go out and handicap men in the child raising process?

Of course it bothers me. It’s especially bad because I’m kind of teddy-bearish and generally friendly-looking. (Big guy, beard, blue eyes, smile a lot when I’m talking to people.) Toddlers periodically just come up and grin at me or whatever, so all of a sudden I’m waiting for a table at a restaurant and a parent who can’t keep an eye on her kid thinks I’m a molester because her kid came up and started talking to me. Even if I’m not talking back or acknowledging the kid at all. God forbid I smile at an infant… I’ve just stopped doing that.

Similar things happened when I refereed wrestling tournaments. I was around 18-20 years old. Little sisters around 8-12 used to come and hang out at my mat. I have no idea why, except that, again, I’m nonthreatening. I’d give them little tasks to keep them busy, like running bout sheets over to the pairing room or making sure all the tables had coffee and snacks. A bunch of parents decided I was a skeeve because of this.

It’s not surprising that the education system is presently crying for the lack of good male teachers; they say that children need male role models, too. Too bad there’s this double-standard that says males cannot be trusted with children.

I think the problem reaches farther than men and children: the freedom to choose one’s position and occupation enables all kinds of people with peculiar mental programming to be near the source of their obsessions. Pedophiles are drawn to being coaches and priests; ephebophiles become high-school teachers. How many times recently have we seen the anti-prostitution crusader be caught in the brothel? How many times have we seen the anti-gay crusader come out of the closet?

The irony of these few cases is so memorable it’s hard not to draw larger conclusions about teachers and coaches and priests and politicians, even though the bad apples are vastly in the minority.

It’s a shame. Yeah, I feel like women wouldn’t trust me around their children. Unfortunately, I can also understand why. C’est la vie.

I was standing in line at a store one day and this mother/little girl were in front of me. Between us was an elderly woman. The little girl was a total sweetheart, and she wanted something her mom wouldn’t get her—a candy bar or something (mom probably couldn’t afford it). Once the mother finished paying etc., she was gathering up her bags, and the elderly woman took the item and said, “I’d like to get this for her, if that’s okay.” The mother consented, the girl got what she wanted. I thought, ‘Candy from a stranger? I’d never be able to get away with that.’

I’m a woman, and it bothers and saddens me. My husband loves little kids, in the same way that I love kittens. He finds them irresistably cute, he’s good with them, and his only fault is that he tends to spoil them. He’d be a great day care provider, or kindergarten teacher. But he has to restrain himself because of a few bad apples.

As a feminist, I’m outraged. We are limiting our men and our children by assuming that all men are pervy kiddy fanciers.

It makes my father very sad. He was an elementary school teacher, then principal, and now that he’s retired if he smiles at a kid in the supermarket, he’s a dirty old man (he was actually told this by said kid’s mother…)

While I was working as a service tech for a heating systems I was told by one principal that I looked like a child molester. A few years later I was referred to, in Family Court, as a would-be child molester, based on my enjoyment of japanese animation. (Which might have been defensible if the lawyer making the accusation had bothered to enter into evidence certain titles from the genre. Of course the titles I’m thinking of were never part of my library.) Of course, no specifics were ever offered, but the accusation was treated seriously enough that I had to sacrifice hours being evaluated by a court-appointed psychologist. And when the custody case was settled before the evaluation was finished I spent the next several years dealing with the law guardian of my housemate’s child who was absolutely convinced that I was a threat to her charge.

All on either looks, clothing, or simple hearsay evidence and faulty logic chains.

So, yeah, it bothers me. A lot.

There are reasons I’d rather spend time with animals than most people.

In addition to screwing over our men (and ourselves as women - Himself once saw me change a diaper and said, “How do you know how to do that?” Nobody gives a boy a baby, evidently, unless it’s a sibling) don’t you think it’s extremely unhealthy to raise our kids, particularly our daughters, to be terrified of men?

I’m not a man, but I live with ZR Test, and we raise my 5 year old daughter together. He loves her dearly and wants to be her dad, but the “all men are child molesters” mentality makes him afraid to do things that wouldn’t be such a big deal for “real” dads.

For example, we have to be careful she doesn’t see him nude (we have a glass shower and a little hall instead of a door to the bathroom), he has to be careful about tickling her, or letting her crawl into bed with him if she’s had a nightmare and I’m not around. What we’re really afraid of is that she’ll say something completely innocent about being in bed with him or something and someone will call CPS.

It nearly happened already. A year ago she was pretending to nap on the couch and complaining that ZR Test was making too much noise. When her bio-dad called she told him ZR Test “bothered her while she was sleeping.” Her bio-dad (an abuser who lost custody because he hit his GF in front of my daughter) still sometimes threatens to call CPS over it when he gets mad at me.

It sucks rocks, and she’ll never be fully “his” because of it, even if he gets to adopt her eventually.

I get the double whammy of being a gay male, so any number of people assume that I want to molest boys because I’m gay and girls because I’m male. It truly does suck.

Oh, by the way, with the diaper thing - we were talking about it later, as in “Does nobody gives a boy a baby because males are insatiable child rapists, or because dolls are for girls?” he said, “Well, you covered up his little pee pee - what does that tell you?” I had to break it to him gently that you cover up a baby boy’s penis when you change him so he doesn’t pee in your face, and then I got a “How do you know these things? Who tells you this? Was there a class?” One assumes the school of hard knocks is quite instructive in this matter. I am not afraid that anybody will think that I am changing a six month old boy’s diaper in a sexual manner because you can see his penis. Clearly the world is very different for me because I’m a woman.

My husband is the same way. He won’t stay alone with my niece. I think it’s terrible.

What the hell happened? I had a teenage boy for a babysitter when I was a kid. No one even considered this an issue back then. I know there were molesters back in the 60s, but parents didn’t become so paranoid as to villianize all males with the “you can’t be too careful” rap. Yes, you CAN be too careful.

No.

Nobody’s ever accused me of being a pervert because I like kids. Some of this paranoia might be two-way.

I had a lot of male babysitters when I was a kid in the 80’s and nobody batted an eye. They were mostly my favorites - I explained in the other thread that the boys always wanted to play games and stuff, and the girls were more likely to yap on the phone like they weren’t supposed to. It was also easier to get boys, because we lived way out in the country and some of the girls were afraid to stay alone.

It’s quite possible that most of the “two-way paranoia” might be of the “once bitten, twice shy” variety - get one child snatched away from your “evil grasp” and it makes you paranoid, RickJay.

I like kids.

I get the constant vibe that I should never be near them.

Some of it may be.

Based on my experience, I’m inclined to believe that most of it is not based on a two-way paranoia.