I was barred from joining a local parents’ Facebook group because I am a man. One of the mothers protested the inclusion of fathers in this local group that discussed babysitters, home reno contractors, and couponing.
“You don’t know these men,” she said. “If it is for men too then there has to be a system in place to ensure that they are not predators. If you allow men, they should be referred by a Mom and personally checked out.”
The group was discussing where to find a good place for birthday parties. And look how one member over reacted.
That sort of craziness reached a new level this week when a mother in Australia trolled the web saying she doesn’t want her kids sitting next to men on planes.
Here we go.
“Sure, not all men are paedophiles but offenders are predominantly male,” wrote Tracey Spicer in a long ramble that seemed to not explain much of anything other than her ridiculous bias. “I figure it’s better to be safe than sorry.”
She opened her piece by admitting more than 90% of sexual abuse is committed by someone known to the victim. Extrapolating the logic of Spicer and the Mom in the Facebook group, our children should spend as much time with strangers as possible.
Spicer’s piece then referenced a 2001 case where Northwest Airlines paid a settlement to a family after their 10 yr old daughter was assaulted on a flight.
To that end, Qantas has a formal policy saying “Unaccompanied minors are allocated seats next to adult female customers. Where possible, Qantas aims to seat children near crew areas or next to an empty seat.” How unfortunate, especially when you read the headlines and fear how dangerous women are to children.
Taking that reaction to a 13 yr old incident is much more of a stretch than reading newspapers today and boldly declaring women should never be alone with newborns. Or even their own children. Seriously. They children should be snatched from new mothers at birth and placed in the care of strangers. They’d be safer there. Wouldn’t they?
You’ve read the story of the mom driving her minivan into the ocean. The news is often filled with desperately tragic stories of mothers who take the lives of their own children. If one girl can be assaulted on a plane in 13 yrs and it’s worth action, certainly weekly, or monthly stories of mothers with mental illness taking the lives of their children is worth acting on.
Whit Honea is a wonderful writer who tells a story about a woman he met at a conference who lectured how children should be taught to look for a mommy when they’re lost. She too dismissed men as being trouble and advocated children should never be taught to seek a dad. You can imagine the response. You should read it.
It’s all too familiar and frustrating, really.
I get bad things happen in this world. But you cannot draw lines between radical headlines and connect dots to make bold declarations that dads can’t join Facebook groups and men can’t sit next to kids on a plane. You would never say babies should be taken away from mothers because of risk of infanticide. Would you? These arguments are trying to employ the same nonsensical logic.
Respect people. Be a watchful helicopter mother/father if that’s where you tend, but at the same time take a deep breath and trust. Trust people to be good. Trust people to watch out for each other. Trust your children to look after themselves. Trust strangers. Look for the good in people, the good in the world, and live a life of happiness instead of fear.
My parents sent my 5yr old sister on a cross country flight by herself in 1980. Nothing happened. I’d have no problem flipping my soon to be 7 yr old on a 60 minute flight to see his grandparents, but he won’t be allowed to fly solo until he’s 8. Will I be worried about his seat mate? Only because my son will talk their ear off with random excited child stories for the entire trip.