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Old 06-20-2009, 09:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We took our girls to our local waterpark this afternoon, and dh went to use the restroom. He had to use the one and only stall in the men's room, and a little boy came in who apparently needed to use the stall, too, so he just stood outside the stall waiting for dh to come out (the stall door was closed, of course).

And of course the boy's mom was waiting outside, periodically calling in to ask her son if he was okay -- which dh understood perfectly. He and our older dd have gone on a couple of outings together where she needed to use a public restroom, but he felt she was too old for him to take her with him into the men's room so, like this mom, he'd waited outside the door --

And he'd also told her before she went in that if anyone tried to bother her, to yell for him really loud, and I'm sure if she'd taken a long time, he would've been calling in to ask if she was okay, just like this little boy's mom was doing ...

And the child was answering back that he was fine, so what the mother did when dh came out of the restroom is just inexcusable. Dh comes out (he was the only other person in the restroom, okay?), and this mom yells in there loudly, "Are you OKAY? Did somebody TOUCH you?!"

And the little boy called back "No" (as in no, nobody touched me), which of course was a good thing. But her loudly shouting this was so humiliating to my dh. There were all these people sitting in the picnic area outside the restroom, who looked up and stared at him when the mom said this.

It made him so uncomfortable he wanted to leave the park right away. Which was okay as it had started raining and we would've gone soon anyway.

Anyhow, I'm not trying to make a huge deal over what happened -- but this incident has really driven home to me how weird some people are about suspecting "all" men of being child molesters.

I mean, seriously, if you feel you can't trust your child to know whether or not he's okay in a public restroom -- I mean, if you actually think your child is mixed up enough that he'd be saying, "Yeah, mom, I'm okay," while some strange man was molesting him -- then, seriously, you need to still be taking him into the ladies' room with you. Right?

That's what I'd do if I couldn't trust my child. I mean, dh said the boy looked to be about 8, so I can imagine a boy that age would be embarrassed to have to go to the ladies room -- and of course I think most 8yo's are capable of "knowing" whether they're okay or not.

But since this mother apparently felt a need to get more specific and loudly ask if her son had been "touched" -- maybe he just can't be trusted in the restroom alone, right? Or if SHE'S the one with the prob, maybe she just needs to go with him into the men's room and humiliate herself, rather than humiliating her son by dragging him to the ladies room.

Whether she decides to humiliate herself or her son or both of them -- either of these scenarios would be better than sending him on his own to the men's room, and then humiliating some innocent man who just happened to need to use the restroom a few minutes before her son needed to.

I know, I need to let it go -- but I just thought I'd get the word out to any moms out there who may be paranoid like this mom: This is seriously NOT COOL. Men are going to have to use the restroom, they are people too. You need to find some way to protect your child, that both you and he are comfortable with. And not treat men like criminals for needing to use the restroom.

Okay, vent over. Thanks for listening!

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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Yes I hear you on this! I was raised that way- "all men are just out to get ya" type thing. I was also molested so for a long time I did feel that way But I do believe you are right- I see that mentality a lot and I even still catch myself eying men in that way.

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Old 06-20-2009, 09:22 PM
 
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Oh your poor dh! How embarrassing for him. The mother was obviously worried but she had such poor choice of words

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Old 06-20-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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Weird. If I was that worried about DS I would ask someone to escort him or I would make sure the women's restroom was empty and let him go there. Unless he has special medical needs, an 8yo probably isn't going to wet his pants right on the spot.

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Old 06-20-2009, 09:32 PM
 
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That woman sounds a little nutty. The fact that she probably has some issues of her own doesn't excuse how rude she was to your dh... the (awesome) man in my life is quite sensitive and would be very hurt and offended if someone treated him that way. What an embarrassing situation... sheesh, I'm sorry for your dh, op

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Old 06-20-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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Men feel it all too- this "people are watching and suspecting". My dh took my 4 yr old son to our local playground and was helping him on the monkey bars. A few girls came along (he guessed they were about 8) in bikinis and shorts from playing in the sprinklers. One asked dh to help her on the monkey bars too. My dh was kind of terrified to touch her to help her (she asked him "Help me a little too?" because obviously he was helping my son and they were having a good time and she wanted to join in and needed a hand). He kind of pretended like it was not a big deal (a little help from a Daddy playing on the monkey bars *shouldn't* be) but he said he was terrified someone was going to "think something" or she was going to "say something" and he moved away from the monkey bars after out of the fear that a little girl was going to ask him for a boost on the jungle gym. What a world we live in! I'm not sure which is worse. That people that really do "touch" kids or that we all spend so much emotional energy every day in public spaces living in fear of them or being accused of it.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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Ummm...just deriving this from my own childhood here (which was a long time ago), but isn't eight old enough to go to the restroom without parental supervision? I guess that is what I find the most creepy about this story.

Were I your husband I certainly would have had words with that crazy lady.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:15 AM
 
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I think it's sad that as a whole society we've gotten to this point. BIL won't even bathe his daughters because he's afraid of the stigma that would come along with it.

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:52 AM
 
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I think it's sad that as a whole society we've gotten to this point. BIL won't even bathe his daughters because he's afraid of the stigma that would come along with it.
We have kids at the daycare I work at too. The little girls say daddy never bathes them- only mommy does. I can only imagine why...

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Old 06-21-2009, 01:02 AM
 
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It's too bad there wasn't a family restroom. I don't think I would have felt comfortable sending my DS in there alone either but her comment was just plain weird.

Sorry your DH was embarrassed.

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Old 06-21-2009, 02:45 AM
 
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I agree with you- if that mom didn't trust her son's ability to handle himself in the restroom, or trust that he would be safe from harm while away from her, then she shouldn't have let him use the restroom by himself. Take the boy into the ladies room... or go into the mens room with him... whatever.

But don't try to have it both ways by allowing him to go by himself and then make wild accusations about an innocent bystander without any reason.

I worked at a rape crisis center for 4 years, so I've heard it all and am probably more paranoid than most!! And I would still NEVER say anything like that without a darn good reason.

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Old 06-21-2009, 03:37 AM
 
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I feel bad for your DH, that must have been humiliating.

On the other hand, while graceless, I guess I can understand the mom's reaction (especially if she doesn't have much of a brain-to-mouth editor) if after her son had been in the restroom for an unusual amount of time, an adult man walked out and she wasn't expecting it.

After all, an amusement park/waterpark/chuck-e-cheese bathroom type place is what hits the news when a kid is molested there.

This is an uncomfortable fine line for me, as a mom to sons, a partner to a male co-parent. I do feel a lot of anger and protectiveness when people look at DH like he doesn't belong at the playground or when I hear people talking about ALL boys as potential rapists. On the other hand, we are so bombarded with the message to fear all strange males (and NOT totally without reason, IMO, it's almost primal), while I am disappointed when people act that way, I'm not surprised.

I would fret about my 8 year old son using a public amusement park (I put waterparks in the same category, I'm assuming it's like Wild Waves or soemthing?) restroom too, especially if he was in there for a loooooooong time. I don't think I would have said what she said out loud unless I got a feeling in my gut (so I would know to grab the guy before he got away). And on a purely selfish level, while I would feel bad about being wrong, I'd rather feel bad later than be silent during the wrong time, I guess.
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Old 06-21-2009, 03:46 AM
 
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While I get why the OP's husband was embarrassed by the woman's actions, I don't get why everyone is commenting on the boy's age and his "ability" to use the restroom safety by himself. Of course HE can use the restroom appropriately, but you also never know who else might be in there.

This boy was 8 and was attacked in a Wal Mart restroom:

http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/stori...bb8be.html?npc

This boy was 7 and attaked in a restroom right above a police station:

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pitt.../s_613097.html

This boy was 11 and attacked in the restroom at a park:

http://wgns.wordpress.com/2008/05/27...ntennial-park/

This boy was 15 and attacked in the restroom of a public park:

http://www.cfnews13.com/News/Local/2..._restroom.html

So really, it has nothing to do with the age and ability of the kid or whether they can be "trusted", but the fact that there are sick monsters out there. It sounds like the mom got worried because he was taking so long and just said something out of anxiety without thinking about how it would sound to your DH and the other people standing there.
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Old 06-21-2009, 04:08 AM
 
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It's not so much trusting the 8 year olds ability to protect himself as much as it is trusting an 8 year olds ability to reply truthfully when asked if everything is ok...

Even if she is overly paranoid and thinks that despite being told repeatedly by her son that he was fine, a strange man coming out of the bathroom doesn't automatically mean he's a predator nor does it mean that her son's anything but fine.

I feel for the Op's DH. I doubt I would have handled it so well, I would have probably said something to her that was just as rude...

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Old 06-21-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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OP, I'm sorry this happened to your DH! It must feel awful to have people overhear a stranger loudly asking her child if you molested him.

At the same time, I don't think the woman is "crazy," "nutty," and "weird." She herself may have been a survivor of sexual abuse, since at least 1 in 6 women either have been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

I think it would be great if everyone petitioned to get family restrooms in these businesses that don't currently have them!

I sympathize with the kind and caring men who are tired of men as a whole being perceived as potential abusers. My suggestion for them is to join the activist movement against male violence against women and children. Men need to join together and create activist/educational groups - with and for other men - about deconstructing male privilege, redefining masculinity, and ending patriarchy (which rape and sexual abuse are components of).
Men have incredible power to help stop rape & abuse, and I have such respect for the men who give their time and energy to this work. Google "Men can stop rape" - I can't remember if the UA allows us to post links!
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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I'm so sorry that happened to your husband. That would've really stung mh DH too.

When DD was around 18 months old, me and DH took her to a local pool and we all got ready together in the family change room. DH wasn't quite ready yet, and DD was fussing, so I just took her out to the pool so we wouldn't have to wait for him. WHen he came out to the pool he was really mad at me for not waiting for him. I explained that DD was fussing and it didn't make sense for us to hang around while she had a meltdown. He was afraid to be seen in the family changeroom without a kid - thought surely someone would think he was a pervert.

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Old 06-21-2009, 12:14 PM
 
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:45 PM
 
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I feel bad for men, when my family found out DH coslept with DDs they really freaked. I was so embarrassed and hacked off (but get this, when I told my Dad that my brother had sexually assaulted me it was all kept hush, hush, only him and my mum know, the brother is now dead (I hasten to add, through an accident)).

Anyway, I think men are unfairly labelled, women are just as capable (as seen in England recently with the nursery thing), I just don't think they are caught out as much.
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Old 06-21-2009, 12:52 PM
 
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Given that this forum fairly recently had a long, mulitpage, contentious thread in which several posters declared that all males were potential child molesters, simply by virtue of being male, I certainly don't find this incident surprising.

To accuse someone of molesting your child because he - gasp! - walked out of a men's room is excessively paranoid, IMO. Who else would be walking out of a men's room? Penguins? No of course not. Men use the men's room.

If she was genuinely that concerned, why not just go IN the men's room and check it out? Or why not ask the obvious question "Why is it taking you so long?" Then the kid might have answered "I'm waiting for the stall." Continuing to ask "Are you okay?" is going to elicit a yes/no response.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:01 PM
 
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While I get why the OP's husband was embarrassed by the woman's actions, I don't get why everyone is commenting on the boy's age and his "ability" to use the restroom safety by himself. Of course HE can use the restroom appropriately, but you also never know who else might be in there.
<snip the sad links>
So really, it has nothing to do with the age and ability of the kid or whether they can be "trusted", but the fact that there are sick monsters out there. It sounds like the mom got worried because he was taking so long and just said something out of anxiety without thinking about how it would sound to your DH and the other people standing there.
:

Camra, that's exactly what I was going to post. Churn, as well. I also recently read a post about how eight years old was too old to go in the women's bathroom...with several posts about how uncomfortable mdc moms were with an older boy in the women's bathroom.

Sorry, but that woman didn't know your husband. She made a parenting choice, didn't know he was in there until he walked out, and was reacting the best she knew how. Your husband decided to feel embarrassed, we own our feelings, and as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent".

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Old 06-21-2009, 01:11 PM
 
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This thread really freaks me out. I don't want to raise my kids in a world with this level of fear and paranoia! Seriously...maybe I'm just horomonal because I'm way too pregnant, but I cannot see how this lady's actions were acceptable on any level.

1. Not all men are perverts and to see them as such is an illness.
2. Eight year olds should be able to take care of business on their own!

Yes this lady made a parenting choice, but rudeness based on paranoia should not become mainstream and accepted. Nor should seeing a molestor around every corner. There comes a point where "better safe than sorry" is simply not true.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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Camra, that's exactly what I was going to post. Churn, as well. I also recently read a post about how eight years old was too old to go in the women's bathroom...with several posts about how uncomfortable mdc moms were with an older boy in the women's bathroom.

Sorry, but that woman didn't know your husband. She made a parenting choice, didn't know he was in there until he walked out, and was reacting the best she knew how. Your husband decided to feel embarrassed, we own our feelings, and as Eleanor Roosevelt said, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent".
I think you may have misread my post. I don't think the woman behaved reasonably at all.

And I don't think the husband "decided" to feel embarrassed. If someone loudly accused me of touching their child inappropriately, I'd be horrified, and it wouldn't be something I'd even have time to "choose" about.

My son is ten and he has used the men's room alone for at least 3 years. If I think he is taking too long I say "why are you taking so long". I don't stand in front of the door accusing everyone who walks out of touching him.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am very sorry to hear about all the children who've been assaulted in public restrooms. And of course I wasn't saying that I wouldn't be concerned if my child had been in there a long time. I'm sure that I'd be calling in to see if he was okay, just as this mom was.

But I guess in my case, by the time a child is old enough to use a public restroom on her own, she's old enough to know if she's okay or not. By this age a child should know about private body parts, and know it's not okay for someone to molest them.

So I guess I'd trust my child's "I'm okay" more than this mom trusted her son's.

I think family bathrooms are a great idea.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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That woman's comment was completely inappropriate. Yes, attacks happen, you don't have to tell me. But loudly asking your child, "Did anyone TOUCH you?" when there's only 1 other person around that she could be talking about is uncalled for. If I had been the OP's husband, that woman and I would have had some words.

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Old 06-21-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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That is awful for your dh
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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I personally feel like ALL public places should have a family bathroom. At one point our state was considering making it a law. Most large stores have one, but a place like a water park or amusement park where families are should definitely have one available to families.

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Old 06-21-2009, 01:29 PM
 
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As a mother of a son and wife of a man, I am HORRIFIED that people not only look at my husband as a potential molest, but at my minor SON as a potential rapist/molester. I think this is a result of too much media reporting of incidents and a way out of control paranoia culture.

Bad things happen. There is very, very little we can do about that except to teach our children to know and feel ownership over their body and all it's parts. To teach them to trust their instincts and not to be afraid to say no to anyone, grown ups or not. That should be our focus, not demonizing men and boys. Viewing all men and boys as abusers is just...wrong and sexist. Thousands of children are molested by women, and do we worry about all the females in our children's lives?

That woman, whether consciously or not, was perpetuating the hysteria. If she needs therapy, she should get it, not just randomly accuse men walking out of the men's washroom of abusing her son (which she did by implication, IMO).
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As far as my husband "deciding" to get embarrassed -- what if the child had impishly-decided to say "Yeah, that man was touching me," just to see how his obviously worked-up mom (and the men in their group) would react?

I'm not saying most children would do such a ghastly thing, and I definitely believe in taking a child seriously if they say they've been molested -- but to be in my dh's shoes, and realize how precariously-balanced your safety is, as well as your reputation and your ability to stay with and raise your own family --

I mean, supposing the kid WAS the sort to see what reaction he could get -- my dh could "decide" all he wanted that he wasn't going to be embarrassed since HE KNEW he hadn't done anything wrong, my husband could "decide" he was just going to go home with us and have a nice life with his wife and his two young daughters -- but would the legal authorities honor dh's "decision" that he wasn't going to let his life get turned upside down by some false accusation --

Or would they proceed with their investigation and go ahead and turn our lives upside down irregardless of our "decision" not to be affected by it?

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Old 06-21-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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I think it's sad that as a whole society we've gotten to this point. BIL won't even bathe his daughters because he's afraid of the stigma that would come along with it.
Are you sure it's not just an excuse not to bathe or change them? My DH used that excuse for years... then we had a son and he still tries to use it. We have been married long enough now that I tell him to suck it up and give them a bath/change diaper once in awhile.

It is sad however that we live in a world where that excuse to not help parent can be seen as legitimate.

To the OP, what that woman did was completely uncalled for. My son is only 2 but I would like to think that I wont have to fear him being molested in the bathroom while I am standing outside door yelling, "Are you OK?" and he answers yes.
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Old 06-21-2009, 01:34 PM
 
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I'm sorry for the OP's DH, and also for the little boy. Surely he was embarrassed by his mom's loud insinuations too -- possibly more so than the grownup man in question!

I'm also a little sorry for the mom who was so fearful that she was behaving in this wildly inappropriate way, although if her fears are that extreme I think maybe she should be seeing a counselor, if she isn't already doing that.
Swandira is offline  
 
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