OT in the sense my remarks aren't about the 12 YO boy sitter.rather, my remarks are about the gentle debate that has ensued.
It's great how non-sexist we as a society are moving toward being. I hope folks don't get so attached to these ideals that they kind have blinders on to certain realities. I do understand that it's really unpleasant to accept the statistics... to comprehend the ugliness that is occuring in our midst.
It is wonderful that most people don't have direct knowledge of how real childhood sexual abuse IS, and what havoc it plays on the victims and their families, their whole lives. What I wouldn't give to be one of those people, but, I'm not. I know about it. I know a lot about it, I know a lot of people who've lived it as well, as a function of my education and healing from it, such as I have been able to do.
I have had the full-circle moment in my life when I could be GRATEFUL that I knew it as well as I did, because knowing, recognizing, being prepared to ACT, protected my then 2 year-old dd from being left in the preschool class of a wonderful, well-educated, well-liked young male teacher whose face I later saw on the front page of the city's newspaper. He'd sexually molested DOZENS of his pupils, boys and girls. Now in jail. 29 victims in less than a year, all during school... naptime... other teachers on the other side of a thin wall.
None of their parents apparently saw what I saw, felt what I did; none of his COLLEAGUES or the school director saw--they sang his praises. That and the fact that as a single mom, I loved the idea of my dd having a man for a teacher--you know, since her dad was out of the picture, and the many uncles were not an every day thing, pushed me to really want to think favorably about this teacher.
What I saw was just a little hint... nothing I could/would name at the time: I just couldn't sleep the night before what would have been her first day, and I couldn't take my dd to him. It was a hard sacrifice: I needed that preschool--well, daycare is what it was. But I couldn't accept the idea of this kid (he was about 22) changing my dd's diapers, holding her for naptime. I didn't want to say what I was thinking: what I was thinking was simply that he was a male and I couldn't wrap my head around why he was a preschool teacher, what could make a young man want to do this for his life's work? I had same age nephews and thought, would any of them in a million years choose this as a career? They love kids, but, daycare teacher? That's all I could SAY to myself about it at the time. And I felt really guilty for being so sexist! More than half of my own brothers are outstanding fathers, loving, attentive, natural with kids: and I know other men who were completely trustworthy with kids. It was a real argument in my head.
But, I still trusted my intuition even though my head could only seem to articulate, "I don't get why this guy wants to be a preschool teacher." My intuition, which was causing my stomach to tighten, was picking up that his intentions were not good.
So, yes, don't judge based on gender, but don't turn off your intuition based on not wanting to judge based on gender, because that might be all your head can tell you: "It's because he's a boy/man." If your intuition says "no," don't question yourself about why it's saying no.
Can you imagine what I felt when I saw that face on the front page? I had to be picked up off the floor... my legs were jelly. THAT close. I'd nearly talked myself into taking her in there despite my inner resistance... I nearly did. I so needed that daycare... it was the only one that would work for me so I could take certain classes... .
I'm not saying "be sexist." I'm saying, sexism isn't a part of this discussion. It's intuition, and it may not always speak to you in literal language... it may be in symbols. It may use a sexist symbol to tell you: "Not good."