Would you let a 13yo boy babysit? - Page 4 - Mothering Forums
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#91 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:08 PM
 
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I did not unsub and I would ask that all mothers here listen deeply to their hearts and souls and DO WHAT IS RIGHT by your child. NOt what is pc.
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#92 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I just wanted to clarify that I don't see this as "protecting boys' feelings" vs. "protecting girls." I have two little boys, and my concern at this point is not hurting their feelings, but keeping them safe, as boys are molested as well. Which is obviously why I had to think twice about hiring a male babysitter. Of course, to be fair, I have never left them with anyone other than family or a very trusted friend, male or female. So for me this I guess this comes down to an issue of trust in general, whether it be male or female, with a little extra concern when the person is male. (And to get back to my OP, the fact that he is only 13 concerns me as well.)

Dh is definitely less likely to trust a male caregiver. And like a pp mentioned, he has no issues with someone not being trusting of him just because he is male. He gets why that is, and knows it's not anything personal.

However, the subtle messages we give our children on both sides of this issue really bug me: boys are dangerous and cannot be trusted, and girls are victims in need of protection. I feel like these can be self fulfilling prophecies.
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#93 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:12 PM
 
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Just to clarify, I would have the same issues with a male caregiver if/when I have a male child. Unfortunately men in this culture frequently perp against those who are vulnerable.
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#94 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
A little off topic, but I can I ask why you didn't tell her? I am very curious about this. It's a big discussion dh and I after reading the Gift of Fear. He talks about having the kind of relationship with your child that lets your child feel safe telling you the truth, but we were both still so afraid that our children wouldn't tell us.
If you have ever been molested, you would understand why she said no. People often think and say, why did you not say something, or why did it take you so long to tell someone, not a easy question to answer unless you have been molested.
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#95 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:17 PM
 
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I haven't read the other posts (in a hurry), but I wanted to say I let a 13 yr old watch my children when they were younger.
I was in a unique situation, with a child in a wheelchair and his twin sister (not in a wheelchair), and could not find anyone to watch them when I needed to work on weekends, because my boy was in a wheelchair.

I knew the 13 yr old(s) who watched my children, well. It was actually 2 - 13 yr olds, but they watch them every other weekend, switching off. These kids used to hang out at my house when their parents were off doing whatever, leaving the kids home alone at late hours. I took them in so they would have somewhere to go with adult supervision, and we became fast friends. I'm still best friends with one of them who is now 24 yrs old.

ANyway, they did a superb job watching my young ones, and my daughter still has fond memories of being read to by them.
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#96 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:18 PM
 
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Actually, if we're talking statistics, it's very likely you will get into a car accident tomorrow, far more likely than your child being molested or kidnapped.


I completely agree with this. That's what I meant when I said instinctual fear vs. hysterical fear.
Insn't the statistic 1 in 4 for girls being molested in their childhoods??

I was molested by a 12 year old male babysitter when I was 5. I would NOT let a teen boy babysit my child.

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#97 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:19 PM
 
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gender would not be an issue for me. it woudl be age and maturity.
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#98 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:22 PM
 
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I did/do use a 13 year old neighbor (and his 15 year old sister) and my son LOVES it. HE plays soccer and baseball and basketball with them, where his sister usually plays more with our daughters. At 13, he's more of "mothers helper" in that I don't leave them for long periods of time, and our kids are VERY verbal about who they like/don't like in sitters.

I did read Gavin de Becker, and honestly, in my gut, I trust this family. I do have a son, and don't want him to feel like ALL men are abusers. A good friend of mine was abused by a female sitter, so I tend to go more on my gut rather than on the sex of the sitter.
Thank G-d for this statement! man, some of these posts are scaring me for the future of my 3 sons.
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#99 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:32 PM
 
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I've used 13 year olds as babysitters, but they have been all girls. I think that at that age, girls are more mature than boys are. I have used older boy sitters, they were about 16/17 years old. I was completely comfortable with it and they did a great job.
i think that is generally true, BUT not always the case. I would have NEVER left my baby with my 13 stepdaughter. she was not mature enough. I babysat when i was 11+ and was a pretty good babysitter....but i have met many boys that are much more mature at 13 than my stepdaughter.
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#100 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post

However, the subtle messages we give our children on both sides of this issue really bug me: boys are dangerous and cannot be trusted, and girls are victims in need of protection. I feel like these can be self fulfilling prophecies.
Yep.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#101 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:40 PM
 
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I understand that mamas of boys feel protective. It's interesting though that so many here are taking the position that it is as or more important that their boys not be assumed about based on their gender, than it is that my child not be sexually assaulted.

That to me is the mark of a misogynist culture.
im not taking the position that its more important. my position is simply that no one should be judged on gender alone (or, well...WE here wouldnt be able to vote, etc.).

Its important to me to keep my children SAFE. that is #1 priority. after that, I consider it important to shape their world view..and in my case, that means defending their rights as HUMAN BEINGS to be judged based on their abilities, etc. and not on their gender.

and just a disclaimer here: I dont allow my 16 yo to babysit his 1 yo brother b/c he is not mature enough. Not based on his gender.


Just wanted to clarify my position....i certainly do not consider child safety second to any consideration.
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#102 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:47 PM
 
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We use male babysitters (even 13 year olds), male camp counsellors, etc. There have been no incidences that I am aware of with my daughters or son. Of course, I believe it happens, and I can't deny reality even though I am the mother of a son, wife to dh, 2 brothers, etc.

On the other hand, we have witnessed 2 boys who were accused of molestation, who we believe are innocent. We don't know for sure, of course. As a result though, my dh (national director of a religious youth group) makes it a point to NEVER be alone with a girl, in the office, at home, or in the car. Sometimes it can't be helped (driving home a babysitter or something), but he tries to avoid it, and takes along my dd when he is giving her friend a lift home, or whatever. Dd1 had a friend who used to have peepee accidents (they were maybe 4) and dh, if he was alone in the house with the girls, would not help her wash up (just gave her clean clothes and sent her to try to manage the best she could in the bathroom), just in case. It is just too easy to have one's reputation and career ruined over a misunderstanding or intentionally false accusation.
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#103 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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#104 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 03:54 PM
 
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I have a 3 year old daughter. My daughter, my baby. The child in this world I am chosen to guide and protect. Beautiful new soul, shining and radiant and vulnerable and lovely. You mamas know how it is.

How could I be asked to not use my life experiences and the information I have, to protect her in this way? Because people don't want their boys judged? It just does not compute, I feel that I would be failing in my duty if, knowing what I do, I did not take extra steps to guard my child against this very present danger.

This is theory, vs. my girl. I pick my girlie every single time.
I almost hesitate to ask this because I don't want to be offensive or insensitive in any way but what would you do if you have a son? By all means you cannot act like you haven't had the life experiences that you have but if you have a son, I think you would find that the same Mama bear instinct that has you wanting to protect your dd is what makes the Mamas of boys want to protect them.

I have a son and a daughter so I have to be aware of both sides, just like I want to make sure nothing happens to my daughter, its also important to me that society does not judge my son by virtue of his gender and in our case, race because he is biracial.

My beautiful son refuses to do so many things now because society sees him as a potential this or that and its wrong. (he's out skateboarding he gets stopped, in a store he gets followed around, women clutch their purses, erc)

What can we do so that boys are not judged? It feels so disheartening to me that on a site like this that so many Mamas would judge boys like this. I recognize that for the vast majority of posters many have young kids so its hard to understand how it feels that someone would look at your baby (they are still yoiur baby even when they grow up) and assume the worse based off no solid evidence.

By all means if someone's instinct is sending off alarms about a specific person that is one thing but to just blanketedly judge just feels wrong. Its not about being PC at all, how can we raise them to be kind, gentle and loving but then when they get to a certain age, tell them sorry this is the deal and it since you are a boy society says ABC.

Again I am not trying to offend but as the Mama of a teenage son its hard to sit and be still. Especially because my son was the kid interested in babysitting and actually it was because when my brother was a teenager he used to babysit my brother when I was a single Mama. So in my son's mind until I actually told him that people probably thought it was odd for him to babysit he actually had never even thought it was odd.

Shay

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#105 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:09 PM
 
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Well, it is hard for me to say, as you acknowledge, because I do not have a son.

What I think I will do, is protect my son where he is vulnerable. As I said before I would screen male caregivers of my son in the same way I do for my daughter.

I don't know how I would *address* it with my son as he grows, I cannot fathom that at this point. But I know what my philosophy would be, which is that my son has gender privilege because of his gender, as I and my daughter have race privilege because of our skin. And although I would hope and pray my son would be a person who is trustworthy with young children, I cannot expect that people would offer their children blindly to test out my theory and my belief in my son's trustworthiness, strong and heartfelt as it may be.

Women and children have been harmed at the hands of men, that is the legacy my children of both (any) gender are born into, and it is theirs to change. I would hope my sons will be part of the generation who will change that, who will make it so that mothers like myself do not have to worry for our children's bodily safety in the future.
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#106 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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For me it's not so much as judging boys (I have three of my own) as avoiding the situation altogether. If you are victimized it changes your life and the reality is that it's out there and widespread. My concern is for all the mommas that don't even consider the possibility. That truly boggles my mind.

I have been molested just playing at a friends house however I do let my oldest go to other peoples houses. It does make me uncomfortable but he's at the age where we talk about it.
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#107 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:10 PM
 
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Depending on the kid, I absolutely would. Not every 13-year-old is at the same level of maturity as the next one. His gender should have nothing to do with it. If he's a good, responsible kid then I say go for it! To not allow a male caregiver because of a few bad apples (and in the grand scheme of things there are very, very few) seems foolish to me.
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#108 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post
However, the subtle messages we give our children on both sides of this issue really bug me: boys are dangerous and cannot be trusted, and girls are victims in need of protection. I feel like these can be self fulfilling prophecies.


This whole thread is making me very sad for my sons.
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#109 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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There is no 'prophecy' to fulfill. This is reality. I hardly think mamas sending our children out blindly is going to stop men from molesting girls and boy children. It hasn't so far. Men taking responsibility will stop it, nothing more and nothing less.
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#110 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you have ever been molested, you would understand why she said no. People often think and say, why did you not say something, or why did it take you so long to tell someone, not a easy question to answer unless you have been molested.
Oh, I didn't mean this to come off in a blaming way, not at all. I was curious as to how I can have a relationship with my children that would be more likely to have them tell me if something was happening.

For instance, as awesome and nurturing and attached and protective as my mom was, I'm not sure if I would have told her. She had always been very clear that she would go berserk and kill the person who ever hurt us. So I wonder if someone had molested me, if I would have been hesitant to tell her for fear of her going to jail for murdering them. She sure didn't mean for it to come off that way, she was just expressing her passion for protecting her children.
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#111 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:20 PM
 
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I think it is impossible to not let your past influence your decision in this. Many people here are saying that they, or people they know, were molested by male baby-sitters, so of course that would influence how they feel about this - how could it not?!

In my past I was cheated on by my husband - if I asked 99 other women here if they had been the victim of infidelity and they said no, I would be happy for them, but I would still be less willing to trust again, because of personal experience.
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#112 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is no 'prophecy' to fulfill. This is reality. I hardly think mamas sending our children out blindly is going to stop men from molesting girls and boy children. It hasn't so far. Men taking responsibility will stop it, nothing more and nothing less.
Well, it is a reality, I agree with you there. And I'm certainly not talking about blindly sending your children off with anyone. But I think the subtle messages we send to children absolutely to have an effect. From everything I have read about molestation, perpetrators look for easier victims, children who are less likely to tell, or are scared, or have low self esteem. So a little girl who has somehow picked up the message that she is weak and in need of being protected is probably less likely to trust her instincts and feel proud of herself. (It's so hard to try to make myself clear about this in writing. I wish we could talk face to face!)

I also disagree that "men taking resonsibility will stop it, nothing more nothing less." Our society as a whole, women included, refuse to deal with this issue. How many mothers have turned their back when their children come to them and tell them what is happening? How many mothers bring boyfriends into their homes and turn a blind eye towards how it will affect their children? How many of us, men and women, are so uptight about sexuality that we raise children who are ashamed of themselves, and then act in inappropriate ways? Or are so embarassed to talk about it that they don't act when faced with it?

I am by no means and expert in this area, and don't claim to be. But these are just some of the thoughts I have about this.
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#113 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:34 PM
 
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Depending on the kid, I absolutely would. Not every 13-year-old is at the same level of maturity as the next one. His gender should have nothing to do with it. If he's a good, responsible kid then I say go for it! To not allow a male caregiver because of a few bad apples (and in the grand scheme of things there are very, very few) seems foolish to me.
I have to say that I am not foolish for protecting my sons from pedophiles. Do you know how to identify molesters?
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#114 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 04:37 PM
 
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But I think the subtle messages we send to children absolutely to have an effect. From everything I have read about molestation, perpetrators look for easier victims, children who are less likely to tell, or are scared, or have low self esteem. So a little girl who has somehow picked up the message that she is weak and in need of being protected is probably less likely to trust her instincts and feel proud of herself. (It's so hard to try to make myself clear about this in writing. I wish we could talk face to face!)
ITA. Which is why I choose to protect my daughter. I don't need to teach her anything about being weak and in need of protection. I also don't expose her to situations where she could pick up these messages by being molested.

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I also disagree that "men taking resonsibility will stop it, nothing more nothing less." Our society as a whole, women included, refuse to deal with this issue. How many mothers have turned their back when their children come to them and tell them what is happening? How many mothers bring boyfriends into their homes and turn a blind eye towards how it will affect their children? How many of us, men and women, are so uptight about sexuality that we raise children who are ashamed of themselves, and then act in inappropriate ways? Or are so embarassed to talk about it that they don't act when faced with it?
Yes. Or, say they wouldn't necessarily leave their husbands if they found out they were molesting a child? (Remember that thread?! : ) Or, women denying that abuse happens and sending their children out without considering the need to protect them from the reality of it? Or, insisting that their son's right to not be held responsible for the actions of the men who came before them is as or more important than my child's right to be safe?

That said, we are talking here about how women aid and abet men who abuse. Women are not responsible for these men's actions. Men are. I would love to see more men like some of the men I know, and men I hear about here (BelgianSheepdog's dh, for example), who look to prove that they can be trusted before they expect to be trusted, and not the other way around.

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I am by no means and expert in this area, and don't claim to be. But these are just some of the thoughts I have about this.
Same here.
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#115 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 05:49 PM
 
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A little off topic, but I can I ask why you didn't tell her? I am very curious about this. It's a big discussion dh and I after reading the Gift of Fear. He talks about having the kind of relationship with your child that lets your child feel safe telling you the truth, but we were both still so afraid that our children wouldn't tell us.
I'd been abused before - by my grandfather (brain damaged). It started at about age three, and went on until my brother spent the night the same weekend that we did, and told my mom how weird my grandma acted (sleeping on the floor at the edge of the living room while we slept in the living room, for example). Mom found out what was going on, and that was the end of it.

We talked about it as a family, but unfortunately, there wasn't as much knowledge about the ramifications of this kind of thing back then. Mom totally understood that we'd been abused and traumatized...what she didn't understand was that my grandmother's constant refrain of "don't tell your mom - she won't let you come over here anymore" and "it's not his fault" had done serious damage to my self-image on the subject. I believed it was my fault, and I was set-up by that to be victimized again. These predators absolutely do identify kids who have already been victimized, because they know they're already conditioned to keep their mouths shut and blame themselves.

I didn't tell mom about the janitor because grandma had me completely convinced that being sexually abused was something I brought on myself. The janitor, like my grandmother, bought me off with candy...since I accepted the candy, I was accepting what he did - right? How could I, as a self-conscious, pubescent 11/12 year old tell my mom that I was letting a 50+ year old man grope me for candy? (He also used to let me occasionally get the candy without touching me, so I could convince myself that this time I was going to get past him again.)

My mom and I have a good relationship and we discuss just about everything now...but my self-hatred on this subject was too intense to discuss it rationally.

I finally told mom about it when I was about 23 or 24, when we were having a family discussion about the ramifications of what grandpa and grandma had done to me, my sister and my cousins.


Someone on here mentioned that they've known many girls who've been abused, and someone also said, "who's abusing all my friends?". Almost all of my friends - male and female - growing up were kids who had been sexually abused. I've made friends since who weren't. Almost all of my friends growing up - male and female - were the children of alcoholics. I've made friends since who weren't. If you'd asked me at age 21 what percentage of people were abused, I'd have guessed an awfully high number, as those were the people I was drawn to. I really do believe there's a certain kind of damage to the psyche from this kind of thing that attracts us to others who have been on the receiving end of it.

In addition to that factor...there really don't have to be that many men (or women) doing this kind of thing to victimize a lot of kids. How many girls did that janitor molest over the years? My grandfather only molested four...he only had access to four of us after the brain damage occurred. The preschool teacher a previous poster mentioned had 29 known victims. Also, one child will be molested multiple times, by multiple people - while another child is never touched at all. I'm sure my friend, who was raped by her step-father, her brother, an uncle, two cousins and a couple of boyfriends would have trouble believing that there really are men out there who don't do that. But, her perceptions are just as skewed by her experience as the people who still act as though this doesn't happen at all.

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#116 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 05:57 PM
 
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I also don't expose her to situations where she could pick up these messages by being molested.
How? By picking people you trust to watch your kids? That's exactly what I'd do...and I wouldn't exclude a boy. Earlier in this thread, expressing the belief that it's okay for a boy to babysit was accused of being a misogynistic mindset. You, yourself, said that there's a man who you let babysit. How is that any different? You trust one man and four women (if I remember correctly) to watch your dc...what I happen to know four men/boys and one woman whom I trust to watch my dc? It's not about gender - not even for you. It's about a level of trust.

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Yes. Or, say they wouldn't necessarily leave their husbands if they found out they were molesting a child? (Remember that thread?! : ) Or, women denying that abuse happens and sending their children out without considering the need to protect them from the reality of it? Or, insisting that their son's right to not be held responsible for the actions of the men who came before them is as or more important than my child's right to be safe?

That said, we are talking here about how women aid and abet men who abuse. Women are not responsible for these men's actions. Men are.
This is interesting to me. In the case of me, my sister and my cousisn, a woman was absolutely responsible. She knew full well that her husband's brain damage had left him unable to tell what was right and wrong - that he'd become a pedophile. And, she bribed us, threatened us and lied to us to make sure that we'd keep coming over to visit her - to hell with our mental health, to hell with our relationships with our parents...as long as she got her grandparent visits, then everything was just perfect.

She bought the candy used to bribe us, and she administered the bribes. She told us not to tell. She refused to consider having him put in a care facility. He was a brain-damaged cripple who was no longer capable of understanding that what he did was wrong...and she set up all of her female grandchildren as prey. He was not responsible, as he didn't have the mental capacity to be responsible.

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I would love to see more men like some of the men I know, and men I hear about here (BelgianSheepdog's dh, for example), who look to prove that they can be trusted before they expect to be trusted, and not the other way around.
Nobody can prove they can be trusted. That's why it's trust. Anybody can betray our trust, no matter how many times they've earned it or "proved" that they're trustworthy.

Lisa, lucky mama of Kelly (3/93) ribboncesarean.gif, Emma (5/03) ribboncesarean.gif, Evan (7/05) ribboncesarean.gif, & Jenna (6/09) ribboncesarean.gif
Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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#117 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 06:04 PM
 
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Storm Bride - I'm sorry you had to go thru that.

I just want to clarify a couple of things:

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Originally Posted by Storm Bride View Post
I really do believe there's a certain kind of damage to the psyche from this kind of thing that attracts us to others who have been on the receiving end of it.
I'm the one who made the statements you quoted, and I have not myself been sexually abused. So it's not a case of me knowing lots of people who have been because I myself was abused. I was not.

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In addition to that factor...there really don't have to be that many men (or women) doing this kind of thing to victimize a lot of kids.
This is true. But I've seen it brought up in defence of erring on the side of trusting. Statistically, I don't see how this makes a difference. I don't care if my child is abused by someone who has never abused anyone else, or by someone who has had 50 victims. It doesn't matter - she is still abused. Statistically, I need to look at how many girls (and boys, when I have a son) are abused - my daughter's chances of being molested have to do with that figure, and unfortunately that figure is very, very high.
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#118 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 06:10 PM
 
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How? By picking people you trust to watch your kids? That's exactly what I'd do...and I wouldn't exclude a boy.
I have never said I would *exclude* a boy. I said there is an extra set of questions I ask myself about a boy, and I am therefore less comfortable with a boy in general. Individual men, who I trust *after* considering that extra set of questions, are still in.

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Earlier in this thread, expressing the belief that it's okay for a boy to babysit was accused of being a misogynistic mindset.
Quote? That is not what I said. I said that being as or more concerned with men being 'judged' as with women and children being sexually abused is misogynist.

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It's not about gender - not even for you. It's about a level of trust.
It's about a level of trust that incorporates what I know about men and their likelihood stastically to perp.

Quote:
This is interesting to me. In the case of me, my sister and my cousisn, a woman was absolutely responsible. She knew full well that her husband's brain damage had left him unable to tell what was right and wrong - that he'd become a pedophile. And, she bribed us, threatened us and lied to us to make sure that we'd keep coming over to visit her - to hell with our mental health, to hell with our relationships with our parents...as long as she got her grandparent visits, then everything was just perfect.

She bought the candy used to bribe us, and she administered the bribes. She told us not to tell. She refused to consider having him put in a care facility. He was a brain-damaged cripple who was no longer capable of understanding that what he did was wrong...and she set up all of her female grandchildren as prey. He was not responsible, as he didn't have the mental capacity to be responsible.
Ugh. I'm sorry. I said that women do not statistically abuse nearly as much as men do, and I believe that to be true. This woman did not abuse you. She did unfortunately provide conditions for it to happen, which women do in many different ways. Which sucks, and needs to change.

I see minimizing the reality of sexual abuse of children by men also as aiding and abeting. Although not nearly to the degree that you experienced.

Quote:
Nobody can prove they can be trusted. That's why it's trust. Anybody can betray our trust, no matter how many times they've earned it or "proved" that they're trustworthy.
Very true. It is always a risk. I think it needs to be a calculated risk, and for me that calculation includes the statistical reality that heterosexually-identified men are perps more often than anyone else.

Crappy but true.
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#119 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 10:19 PM
 
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Oh, I didn't mean this to come off in a blaming way, not at all. I was curious as to how I can have a relationship with my children that would be more likely to have them tell me if something was happening.

For instance, as awesome and nurturing and attached and protective as my mom was, I'm not sure if I would have told her. She had always been very clear that she would go berserk and kill the person who ever hurt us. So I wonder if someone had molested me, if I would have been hesitant to tell her for fear of her going to jail for murdering them. She sure didn't mean for it to come off that way, she was just expressing her passion for protecting her children.
No, I did not think that, it's just peple have asked me so many times why it took me 6yrs to day something about my my step-dad, and the only thing I can tell them is unless you have been in that situation, I cannot tell you the answer to that, it a very hard thing I find for some people to understand, again unless they have been in that situation.
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#120 of 343 Old 01-14-2007, 10:23 PM
 
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No. Only women, known very well by me and my Dd, watch her. This may mean lost positive experiences, but it also means she's less likely to experience the tragic ones.
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