Friday, September 19, 2014

Selecting for dangerous or clueless men

With the exception of sexual abuse, most of my posts can be seen as arguing society should be more tolerant of pedophiles and everything to do with pedophiles.

But this one is a little different. In my previous post I argued that men as a class are under suspicion of being molesters whenever they relate to children.

A society sends its messages, both explicit and implicit, that men are being watched when they are with children. They are under suspicion. A child's allegation of abuse, perhaps encouraged or created by a suspicious parent, can have devastating effects on their lives. A great many men get the hint, and strictly limit their activities with children. Fewer men serve as coaches, scout troop leaders, chaperones at kids' events, or classroom volunteers.

What kinds of men won't limit their activities?

One group is surely men who are dedicated to children and willing to take on the added risk. Hats off to them, brave souls. Fathers whose own children are involved are likely to serve as their duty.

A second group is potential child molesters. They want sexual activity with children enough that they are willing to risk suspicion so they can still get what they want. The danger they pose to children is obvious.

A third group is men who would never molest children, but they either don't get that society is viewing them with suspicion, or else they don't care what other people think of them. There is a social ineptitude here, an inability to notice hostile stares or a shrug of indifference if they are detected. Their negative effect on children is more subtle. The men's insensitivity by itself is less than ideal as they relate to the children. Their presence also sends the message that men are by nature insensitive. Among children whose own parents may be less than ideal, they are deficient as role models for boys and models for girls as to what they can expect from men.

I have no studies to cite on this phenomenon. I do not expect it is a huge effect. Maybe there are among these volunteers twice as many potential molesters or insensitive men as there were 30 years ago?

But 'coach' and 'troop leader' and 'chaperone' are defined roles that need filling. Let's consider other cases where relating to children is less structured.

A 25-year-old man sees three 10-year-old boys playing football in a park in a suburban area, with no adult anywhere around, and he debates joining them. Fifty years ago, he would have been far more likely to join in. Today, many such men will just move along, aware of how they might be perceived. So the man who actually does join in is far more likely to be a molester or socially inept. To a certain extent, anti-pedophile hysteria makes stranger danger come true.

A woman once told me of an incident in the mid-1960s where she as a girl of 10 was running on the sidewalk, late for an appointment. A man drove up in a car and asked if she wanted a ride. She took the ride, and was on time instead of late. What are the chances today a man would do that as a favor? It raised eyebrows even then. Today, if she later reported this innocent ride, would the parents and police nonetheless try to track him down as a suspicious person or even a kidnapper? The population of men offering innocent rides surely has dropped dramatically. Although 99% or more of a random set of men chosen for the task would deliver the girl safely without a hint of innuendo, the percentage among those who would actually offer a ride today is much, much less. In a middle-class suburb, under 50% I might guess? Refusing a ride was a good idea then, but it's an even better idea now.

Society has changed in many other ways as well. Overall, child sex abuse is down about 50% in the past 20 years, which might mask these trends. But I suspect this winnowing of honorable men out of the lives of children is real and significant.



9 comments:

  1. I wonder if there is evidence of men being less likely to volunteer for kid related activities. In our community, there doesn't seem to be a shortage of parents willing to volunteer as coaches. I suspect there is a great deal more suspicion of single men volunteering than was true several years ago, but I don't see the same suspicion of parents.

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  2. I'll have to admit that my post is based mostly in intuition. I don't have studies to cite. I think I've read some reports to this effect, but I can't lay my hands on them.

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  3. You omit another very significant class of men who can and do work with children. MAPs who have no intention of looking to capitalise on or exploit their position are not "potential molesters". Such individuals do not fancy every single kid they come into contact with and they invest their time for sound moral and purely benevolent reasons. There is a beauty in just being in the presence of children and having the privilege of being a positive and responsible influence on their lives. Knowing that we can significantly impact a child's life for the better, is ample reward in itself and sublimates any selfish desires. Too much is made of the sexual attraction being the primary motivator or driving force behind kindness, compassion and charity. Any 'affliction' we carry can always be harnessed and used as a force for good, in spite of 'popular' assumptions. It would be just as unreasonable to presume that a heterosexual male aerobics instructor only pursued the occupation in the hope that the opportunity for sex will present itself and it is a narrow view. Sex is not the defining factor in a positive and mutually rewarding relationship. Providing guidance, nurture and mentorship is generous trade off for respect and adulation which is fully merited and untainted in any way and it is not in any way inappropriate either.

    I worked with boys and girls of all ages for years. I am exclusively hebephile, and I never specialised in or 'targeted' my specific AOA, so my motivations stand up to any scrutiny. As for any suspicions of ulterior motives, to hell with them. I can look anyone dead in the eye if ever challenged on my motivation for working with young people. Never once have I even remotely contemplated abusing my position and countless young people have benefited profoundly from knowing me and I am sure many other MAPs have had similar effects on the lives of many YP.

    Finally, I couldn't care less how society perceives this. They are wrong and I will never conform to their distorted views just for the sake of avoiding suspicion or being the subject of 'gossip'. Put simply, I will never allow such things to limit my activities and I will endeavour to give as much of myself for the benefit of children while seeking nothing physical in return. To refrain from doing so out of fear of how I am perceived, would be cowardly and above all, dishonest. My intentions have only ever been true and noble and I'll continue to resist all and every deterrent and do as much good as I possibly can, in spite of whether I'm attracted to kids or not.

    One more thing, I wouldn't hesitate to join in a game of football regardless of who was around. People can take that as they will, but only I know the truth of it. To your reasoning this makes me "far more likely to be a molester" or "clueless"? That seems an ill thought out generalisation to me. I am very self aware; I fully realise how certain things can be perceived, but I simply don't care as I have nothing to hide and I refuse to succumb to spite or ignorance. Those incapable of seeing an innocent and harmless indulgence at face value are the ones with the problem as far as I'm concerned.

    I enjoy the majority of your posts and find some of your views interesting and insightful, but this particular post comes across as a series of personal speculations mixed with rather clumsy generalisations and assumptions.





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  4. Moralist, you could fit easily in this category: "One group is surely men who are dedicated to children and willing to take on the added risk. Hats off to them, brave souls." Just because you're attracted to children doesn't mean you are a potential molester; I understand that.

    Whether your ferocious disregard of society's fears constitutes some shadow of my second category isn't entirely clear to me.

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  5. My indifference stems from my knowledge of their ignorance. Ignorance is no excuse for hatred and I've had my fill of this after a lifetime of lies and victimisation. Unless someone can provide me with a logical justification for their fear which, doesn't amount to the usual stock misconceptions re what it means to be a MAP, then I no other option than to disregard their unfounded fears. I can appreciate the desire to protect children from potential abuse, but the reasoning and logic as to what constitutes a 'threat' is seriously misguided and harmful to both children and adults, MAP or otherwise. It's simply unreasonable to assume that because someone is attracted to children, they present a threat and the fact that MAPs account for a tiny minority of sexual abuse is testament to this. If society is truly committed to protecting children then they should be directing their energy to the most potent threat and MAPs are statistically the least likely to sexually abuse a child. Non MAPs are far more of a threat to the safety of children than we are and I refuse to accept their blaming us for a crime that they are the main perpetrators of. That's completely unacceptable on every level. Personally, it is unthinkable for me to consider any action that could have a detrimental effect on something I worship. I am committed to fully warranting any respect I receive and only for honourable reasons.

    Your third category is another I could potentially fall into in some respects, but I'm not sure how you figure that such individuals can be detrimental to the welfare of children just because they disregard suspicious eyes. Surely that requires an inner strength and real courage of conviction to refuse to compromise your principles and yield to malicious speculation. I feel such individuals should be applauded for refusing to yield to the insanity that currently prevails and I would confront this attitude head on in the most emphatic manner if the issue were ever to arise with truth and dignity on my side, whereas they haven't a leg to stand on.

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  6. The Moralist puts it so well I won't add anything, except to say that I also found your post uncharacteristically ill-conceived, Ethan, and that one doesn't need to be socially inept to stand against society's loathsome preoccupation with it's warped understanding of paedophilia.

    I'd also like to quote some passages from The Moralist's post, emphasizing my heartfelt concurrence.

    The Moralist said: "I can look anyone dead in the eye if ever challenged on my motivation for working with young people. Never once have I even remotely contemplated abusing my position and countless young people have benefited profoundly from knowing me and I am sure many other MAPs have had similar effects on the lives of many YP."

    "I couldn't care less how society perceives this. They are wrong and I will never conform to their distorted views just for the sake of avoiding suspicion or being the subject of 'gossip'. "

    "My indifference stems from my knowledge of their ignorance. Ignorance is no excuse for hatred and I've had my fill of this after a lifetime of lies and victimisation."

    Bloom

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  7. So far no one has suspected my exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent girls. Except for my mum (but that's because I told her - she's trustworthy, I knew she wouldn't hate me for something I hadn't chosen and I was right). I have no intention of abuse. I love seeing my 11-year-old cousin and spending time with her. And everyone in my family is happy because of that relationship. And most importantly, she's happy with me. I don't care what does this stupid society think of that - I know everything's fine.
    Paweł C, celibate pedophile from Poland

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  8. The post is about the men who have left and the forces that have driven them away, not the men who are left. A lot of fine men are left, both minor-attracted and muggle. When it comes to volunteers for established positions, the effect I am describing is a probably pretty small.

    But more generally, I don't see this blog as partisan, pushing the cause of celibate pedophiles as a matter of public relations. I'm following the truth as I see it, and if it sometimes leads to unflattering implications about pedophiles, I'll write about them too.

    If one is inclined to be offended, teleiophiles who fear their social skills are less than polished could have equal cause for complaint.

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  9. I can see what you're getting at Ethan, but I think your analysis is a bit confused and contradictory.

    Personally, I identify with group one: "men who are dedicated to children and willing to take on the added risk", but I also identify somewhat with group three: "would never molest children, but [...] don't care what other people think..". I reject the implication that this implies social ineptitude.

    Philosophically, it's important to me that I live by my own ethical compass and not be ruled by social attitudes, especially toxic ones. I don't agree that an adult showing some indifference to social convention is a bad example for children. Most kids are very alert to these conventions and are unlikely to respond to the example by following suit --they simply learn that some people march to their own beat, which might be a good thing.

    Between groups one and three you've sandwiched group two: the potential molesters. Why does this group come in the middle, and so categorically defined? Is there no ambiguity?

    I think it's fallacious to suggest that child molesting is only done by a select group of men with bad intentions and that good intentions are all it takes to be a good person. Groups one and three need to be equally alert to their conduct and boundaries. They may not seek out kids for the purpose of molesting them, but even muggles need to realise that physical contact with, affection for and admiration of children can be arousing for anybody, not just paedophiles. Its always possible to fall in love and/or respond to unexpected sexual opportunities and sometimes muggles are blindsided by this while men who've lived with paedophilia may be more practiced at managing such feelings.

    I do understand your essential point, that good men are being scared off involvement with kids, but I don't understand the need to cast even more suspicion on those who carry on regardless. Most such men display some combination of courage and indifference to gossip, not one or the other. They deserve support and encouragement.





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