EACH to their own when it comes to at-home policy … but this one has left many not-so-easily-outraged, well, outraged.

“Lovely gorgeous men in public that would never hurt a fly can be monsters in private and I am not prepared to take that risk with my children,” author Kasey Edwards recently told The Project.

Like many people, Kasey’s recent opinion piece, where she suggests not hiring a male babysitter or nanny minimises the risk of her daughters being “abused” really did shock me.

What do we do? Not send our children to schools with male teachers? Not send our kids to stores or pools manned by male staff? Not ever, ever leave our children alone with their fathers or older male friends?
Everyone, yes, everyone makes a personal choice, but this one does seem severe and extremely broad.
The assumption that blokes are abusers or bad, and that blokes will potentially harm children is a harsh one indeed.

But to typecast and stereotype the male species as potential abusers is a giant step backward in the gender game. It’s a stand that alienates and no doubt, angers men who repel the notion of child abuse along with the rest of us.

I don’t know Kasey at all, but she sounds like an incredibly thoughtful, loving and caring mother. So please, this is NOT a ‘let’s have a go’ piece about the choice she and her husband have made when it comes to bringing up their children.

The role of any parent is to protect their child from harm’s way. But in regard to this decision, we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

I have known plenty of hardworking families who have had male nannys (OK ‘mannys’) and male babysitters. Here’s looking at you, Billy and George, both of whom were ace at keeping my 9, 10, 11-year-old happily occupied when I had to be out.

Not for one minute did the thought enter my mind that because they were male they may abuse, harm or doing anything untoward to him.

I fear this kind of sexual profiling creates a kind of unnecessary parenthood panic. Sure, there is no denying statistics. In Kasey’s opinion piece, there is a stream of stats.

“According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, the prevalence of child sexual abuse is 1.4-8 per cent for penetrative abuse and 5.7-16 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for boys and 4-12 per cent for penetrative abuse and 13.9-36 per cent for non-penetrative abuse for girls.”

Kasey says that in the the “best case” scenario, one in 20 boys are sexually abused. The worst case is that one in three girls are. And further, the “evidence overwhelmingly indicates that the majority of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by males.”

Sure, there is no question that when you read those figures, and as a parent, they do get you thinking.
But we can’t live our entire lives with “what if”s and “if only”s. We can’t live a life in fear of what may happen by shielding our children from interacting with an entire gender.
Telling that to someone who has lost a child or whose child has been victim of child abuse is difficult. If not, near impossible.

But every single one of us can only do our best to protect our children from harm. I don’t think that by segregating an entire gender, because of what could happen, is the way to go about addressing the horrific incidence of child abuse.

After reading Kasey’s piece I even questioned myself for a minute. But to be totally honest, the thought of my son being harmed, by any of the young men who looked after him when he was younger, never even entered my head.
Was that really dumb and naive on my part? I really don’t think so.

We shouldn’t allow our young children to develop gender prejudices. Or to be fearful of the male species. This kind of alienation can only breed contempt.
While no-one can be 100 per cent sure of the motives of anyone in our lives, gut instincts are usually a driving force.

I just don’t want to teach my son and other kids around me that men are always the baddies.
But as I said before, each to their own in the parenting game.

First seen on news.com.au

Source: Melissa Hoyer