Sunday, June 24, 2007

Men avoiding accusations

Glenn Sacks writes:
If dad goes for a walk with his daughter and holds her hand, apparently Virginia Department of Health officials wants you to pick up the phone and destroy his life by reporting him as a possible sexual abuser.

From Campaign advocates recognizing, reporting suspected abuse (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 6/21/07):
For years, campaigns to stop child sexual crimes have focused on encouraging children to speak up about abuse.

State health officials are trying a new tactic. The latest push, at least in Hampton Roads, is to educate adults on how to spot - and stop - sexual offenders. ...

Billboards and posters show an adult hand holding a child's hand, with the words: 'It doesn't feel right when I see them together.'

A national help line number is listed, and through it callers can get advice about what to do.

Rebecca Odor, who directs the sexual and domestic violence prevention division for the state Department of Health, said officials hope to reach people who might feel uncomfortable reporting a relative or acquaintance to law enforcers.
I do hope that people feel uncomfortable about reporting a hand-holding relative to the police.

Meanwhile, another blogger reports:
"We have a serious challenge facing our organization," said Mr. Kobara, President and CEO, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Inland Empire. "For every 10 people inquiring about becoming a 'Big Brother' or 'Sister', only three are men.

Actual participation by men may well be even less, otherwise it would have been mentioned instead of the irrelevant stat about inquiries. In any event, that's well below the national rate for all types of volunteering. During 2006, 42% of all adult volunteers were male.

The article sets out a number of possible reasons men don’t volunteer at BB-BS in greater numbers – but the fact that the rate at BB-BS is less than the overall average for volunteer-based organizations moves me to throw out an undiscussed possibility: men are afraid of having their lives destroyed by a false accusation, and fear the BB-BS will protect itself by throwing its resources behind the accuser.
I don't understand how the BBBSA operates. It supposedly checks out each mentor to make sure his (or her) motives are pure. For the sake of nondiscrimination, it allow homosexual mentors and doesn't tell the parents. But men only mentor boys, and women only mentor girls. So sex discrimination is okay but sexual preference discrimination is not, I guess. Maybe a lot of men are turned off by the whole organization, and don't want their scrutiny.

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