I’m not a monster …

… so why am I made to feel like I am?

Many years ago if I’d seen a child looking lost in a shopping centre or a park I would ask that child if they had lost their mum and then try to help finding them. These days I stand there and look around for a woman, any woman, to ask for help. It shouldn’t have to be that way.

Miranda Devine has written an excellent article titled, Why are all men made to feel like fiends? I encourage you to read her article all the way through and then think about what it means for our communities.

She tackles the difficult issue of paedophilia and how it has tainted the way that society looks at men. These days men are more likely to ignore their first reaction to immediately rescue or protect young children and to find alternatives to helping vulnerable youngsters.

She talks about a man who desperately wanted to help a child in imminent danger but was concerned about the consequences. Thankfully the child was rescued but in another story Devine tells, the outcome wasn’t so happy.

In 100 different ways every day the same scenario is played out, reflecting a profound and largely unspoken shift in the way decent men view small children.

These are just ordinary men, fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, who have been made to feel like criminals around children and obliged to suppress their natural, healthy instinct to protect the most vulnerable members of our society. – News.com.au

I’d like to think that if a child was in immediate danger I would still act, despite the consequences, but would that moment of hesitation lead to tragedy?

Have you experienced this kind of phenomena? Are you a man who has held back rather than jumping in to help? Are you a woman who has wondered about the motives of a stranger?

We need to aware of the dangers around us and protect our children but I think Miranda Devine sums the situation up well in the final lines of her article.

… demonising men won’t prevent child abuse. In the interests of children, we women must force ourselves to reclaim the notion of male innocence.

The male protective instinct, after all, is one of the most crucial safeguards of childhood.- News.com.au

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • I remember my teacher (male, mid forties) helping me after I had a bad accident in the playground in Year 7. He helped me to my feet, put his arm around me, and took me to the school nurse. That was such a comfort to a hurt child. It sickens me that nowadays a simple act of kindness must have ‘ulterior motives’.

    • Thanks for your story Sarah. I always appreciate your thoughtful comments.

      I know that many teachers now feel that they’re in a difficult situation. I’ve even heard that the number of male teachers is decreasing partly due to this issue.

  • As a pastor, I am constantly aware (and cautious) of people’s perception on this. In addition to physical contact, it unfortunately affects how you converse with children/youth and relate to them in general.

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