Profiling men as predator

A Wall Street Journal column discusses the prevailing fear among men of being mistaken for a child predator. The columnist relates anecdotes from men who shy away from helping a lost, crying child in public or even holding their own child’s hand because of the way the media has scared everyone into thinking sexual predators are under every bed.

Last month, I wrote about how our culture teaches children to fear men. Hundreds of men responded, many lamenting that they’ve now become fearful of children.

[…] It’s true that men are far more likely than women to be sexual predators. But our society, while declining to profile by race or nationality when it comes to crime and terrorism, has become nonchalant about profiling men. Child advocates are advising parents never to hire male babysitters. Airlines are placing unaccompanied minors with female passengers.

[…] The result of all this hyper-carefulness, however, is that men often feel like untouchables. […] At Houston Intercontinental Airport, businessman Mitch Reifel was having a meal with his 5-year-old daughter when a policeman showed up to question him. A passerby had reported his interactions with the child seemed “suspicious.”

In Skokie, Ill., Steve Frederick says the director of his son’s day-care center called him in to reprimand him for “inappropriately touching the children.” “I was shocked,” he says. “Whatever did she mean?” She was referring to him reading stories with his son and other kids on his lap. A parent had panicked when her child mentioned sitting on a man’s lap.

Imagine how much worse it is for priests.

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