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breeden
ursulav

Because one can of worms is never enough!

Okay, gang, I'm off to spend an evening canoodling with my significant other, and will not be on the internet.

Please be civilized to each other in the prior post, I beg of you, while I'm not here to bounce. This is one topic where emotions run really high, and I don't want to have to close threads because I think it's an important topic to discuss, and we're all basically on the same side. If the conversation DOES get ugly, it's okay to say "I don't see anything productive coming out of this," and step away.

It's okay to be pissed. Just be polite.

However, before I go, for the purposes of discussion, one thing I've run across in this discussion (and other posts related) that I hardly ever run across is fear vocalized on the part of men that they'll be accused of rape or sexual harassment when they're just tryin' to get lucky as best they can.

Now, my kneejerk reaction is to scoff a bit, I confess--that's a kneejerk, and I make no bones about it--because, well, being female, my fear is that some dude is gonna rape me, then carve me up like a christmas ham in the basement and wear my skin around like a little hat. This is the sort of thing I worry about. My kneejerk, therefore, is something like "Pfff! You think YOU have problems?"

And that may well be unfair. Hell, granted that fear is not a zero-sum game, it's definitely unfair. Everybody has a right to be scared of ill treatment.

But--thing is--every single woman I know, with no exception I can think of, knows somebody who has been sexually assaulted or abused. In fact, with VERY few exceptions, that person is either somebody close to her, or her own self. These aren't stories, this is...y'know...something that we basically just live with. Life sucks, lots of people get hurt, we brazen on through because the only alternative is to curl into fetal position and weep for humanity.

However. It occurs to me that I may be doing men a disservice in general by dismissing this fear just because it seems like women get so much more of the short end of the stick. Suffering, too, is not a zero-sum game. So. I'll ask two questions then:

A) If male, are you afraid of being falsely accused of rape? Is this a Major Fear--i.e. something you worry about every time you're trying to get to know a woman? (Hell, is this something you worry about if you're, say, alone in a parking garage with a female in the next aisle getting into her car?)

B) If either gender, do you personally know anybody who has been falsely accused of rape? (Not friend-of-a-friend stories, but you, yourself, are at least the level of on-line acquaintanceship with them.)

(Okay, two and a half.)

Somebody'll probably suspect that this is a snarky passive-aggressive way to get men to admit that this is a load. It's not. Honestly. I'm genuinely curious. For all I know, a staggering percentage of men really do go into a relationship in mortal terror that they're going to end up with their testicles in a vise. I KNOW what it's like to be female, but I've never yet been male (at least not in this life!) and I honestly don't know what my own response to the discovery that this might genuinely be a widespread problem would be. 


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A) Yes. Add into that the "single guy who works with kid's charities" fear of being accused of some form of child abuse (particularly sexual). I take great pains to prevent a situation that could result in such an accusation (as should everyone) but it's still there at every event and function.

B) Yes.

Oh, gods, I had ONE male employee while running Santa's Castle last Christmas (not because I didn't hire them, but because almost none applied and the others were either illegal aliens or decided at the interview that they didn't want the job after all), and I had to explain to him time and time again that women are terribly prone to freaking out if an unknown male touches their child. He'd worked at a daycare before and had a habit of petting the hair of every baby that came within reach. Nothing scary, he was a wonderful guy, but he had more than one mother yell at him for it. D: It still makes me so sad that men are the subject of such suspicion should they dare to love children.

I used to work in a hotel playcentre, and I had a guest confront me, very angry, over the fact that single men are allowed to use the same pool as families with children. O_o Apparently, in his home country, there are separate facilities for families with children and single adults.

What's even worse is that men are by far not the only parent/sex capable of child abuse. But pedophiles don't generally (cannot remember which of my mother's medical books this came out of, possibly right from the mental disorders reference... we looked it up because we were suspicious that someone was) seek satisfaction from actual sex. The number are different between heterosexual and homosexual pedophiles, but the majority are just touching. Not a behavior you tend to think of as inappropriate from a woman. It's a maternal, nurturing behavior right?

Not sure about prevalence, but I know of two mother's who sexually abused their children, that are very close to me personally (I have never met one of them, but she's the wife of my biological father) and I have no doubt that it's under reported. My mother explained to me when I was 5 where I was only allowed to be touched by her or a doctor when I was sick or having a bath, but I have no idea how often parents actually do that at that young an age or if it happens more often with girls. There was a scare from my first step-father. I was an infant and nothing was ever resolved conclusively, so it may not have happened and if it did I have no recollection at all, but she had a little bit more motivation to discuss something like that than other parents.

I'd have to wonder why the hell someone would make up such a story in the first place.

That being said, one of the organizations I work with is the Boy Scouts of America[1]. They take HUGE pains to train everyone on how to keep the kids safe. From recognizing signs of abuse, to identifying and reporting abusers, to helping the kids after. If someone works with kids, they need to have similar training.

Sadly, many organizations (in particular, Boy Scouts, Church Youth groups, and Schools) are targeted by pedophiles, which means any and all volunteers are at risk for false accusations. And from the flip side, it means that every child is at risk, and reducing or eliminating that risk is priority number one.

And IMHO, one kid out of 10000 getting abused is one too many. Sadly the statistics aren't anywhere near that good, and anything I can do to fix that is a priority for me personally.

[1] Before anyone starts in on "Boy Scouts BAD, they hate teh gays" take a moment to think through the HOWS and WHYS of that stance (which I don't agree with, but understand) from the perspective of your average PARENT. Not pretty, is it?

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