By Sandy . . . “I love this song. (Nice to Be with You, a 1972 song by the band Gallery) I was 13 years old when it came out and in love with this 25-year-old girl that lived up the street. I was just a kid to her, but she was always so nice to me. We would go for ice cream. I can still see her walking down the street. She always wore go-go- boots and miniskirts and those halter tops that tie in the front. The next year I started high school and she moved away. I ran into her years and years later. I was in my twenties and she would have been into her thirties by then. We went for lunch, and I told her that I had the biggest crush on her when I was a kid, and she said, ‘Yeah, I knew you did.’ ”
This is a comment, written some years ago, on a YouTube recording of the song. I had searched for the song to listen to it, a brief trip down memory lane. I never look at comments on You-Tube videos, but something drew my eyes down. My only thought as I read it was, “How sweet,” and then I saw the response that someone had put to the comment.
“It’s awesome that you were able to have a relationship as a kid with an adult that was truly just friendship from the adult. Nowadays the adult would be accused of grooming and would be deemed a sexual predator.”
That brought me up short. Two thoughts were in conflict in my mind: how cynical and how true, and then they melded; it is cynical, and it is absolutely true.
I thought of past conversations I have had with male teachers in which they expressed concern about ever being alone in the classroom with a student, male or female, for an after-school tutoring session or after-school detention. As a somewhat older female teacher, I had not experienced that concern, but for them it was very real. “One accusation,” I remember one of them saying, “and life as I know it would be over.”
One accusation, true or not, would immediately have labeled him a “child molester,” and his life would indeed have been drastically changed, his profession denied him, and his relationships affected, even destroyed. He might well have faced criminal charges and expensive legal fees.
So is the reality of today’s world in which any interest whatsoever on the part of an adult toward a teenager or a child is seen in the worst possible light and then acted on as though that interpretation was the only conceivable one. An adult could not take a young teenager for ice cream, a teacher would not have a student alone in a classroom, unless that adult, that teacher, had a sexual motivation.
How much has been lost by this new, cynical view, formed and nourished by headlines screaming about “grooming,” “predators,” and “the sex offender registry,” and also by new sexual offense laws proposed every legislative session in virtually every state? How many children and teens could have benefitted from establishing relationships with caring adults, adults who would have been mentors, adults who would have enriched their lives, adults whose only motivation was altruism and concern and decency, adults who perhaps remembered their own childhoods and their lack of positive role models and wanted nothing more than to provide that to members of the next generation?
Also lost is trust. Children were taught to trust adults, to turn to them for help when needed. Now they are taught to mistrust and avoid them. They are taught “stranger-danger.” They are taught fear.
Attitudes and laws that genuinely protect children from harm are needed, are good.
Attitudes and laws that cripple normal, human, inter-generational relationships are destructive and evil.
The next time you read an article about a teenage boy or young man going on a shooting spree, killing and injuring others and quite possibly himself, ask yourself: Would this have happened if some adult had reached out to this boy, offering friendship and mentorship and helping him see a better version of himself than the one he would ultimately choose?
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.
22 Thoughts to “The destruction of trust”
American adults now fear children. Somehow, somewhere along the lines of recent U. S. history, American law has sexualized children and criminalized their beauty. Seems since the Supreme Court said child pornography was not protected by the 1st Amendment in Farber in 1987, the federal legislature has passed increasingly draconian laws which, in other areas of jurisprudence, would be unconstitutional. They have robbed children of the benefits of relationships with adults. American children are no longer integrated into normal human society. Shame on those Americans who have criminalized the beauty of youth.
I would agree that child pornography is rightly criminalized and undeserving of any sort of protection. I don’t think you’re suggesting otherwise but just making sure.
Awesome viewpoint!!! Thanks!!!
I kind of feel this article expresses a point of view that is a bit too extreme.
I never felt worried to be alone with one of my students, but now as a person forced to register, I am terrified to be around all people especially anyone under 18.
Prior to knowing what it is to be a person forced to register, I would not share or understand the concern of being alone with a person under 18, or a student. I never felt as if my actions or motivation was in question.
Although others should have questioned why I was always spending personal time with the person I victimized. Maybe times have changed and I am part of the cause, I am sorry for that and I deeply regret committing a crime that forces me register, and have lead me to having the existence I have now. I lost my first born son, and just so much more. I struggle everyday because of the harm I caused his mother her family, my family, my students, and the school I worked for.
And other offenders, including those with a murder charge, get to move on in their life and be a productive citizen if they choose to be. We do not get that 2nd chance, while some commit crime after crime and get 2nd, 3rd etc etc chances and once their sentence is up, other than having a record, they are free to do many things we cannot do. The list is too long to type but all of us already know what they are.
Until a meaningful judge rules the registry to be unconstitutional, we have to keep hen pecking small victories. I just hope I am not 90 years old by time we have our freedom back. One thing politicians on both sides agree on, they do not want to touch us with a ten foot pole.
How true is this commentary. I know from experience. The system tried to destroy my relationship with my daughter, but I am glad to announce that the system failed. She and her family now live close by, and we have a wonderful relationship. Of course, Florida has a difficult time letting go…for whatever reason…$$$. We have chosen to live a normal life and when competent authority reviewed my situation, I was released from probation eleven years early. I do not let any ‘ten-penny- bureaucrat ruin my future.
Many other countries a relationship between and adult and child is viewed differently. Americans are fearful of the human body and relationships they don’t agree with such as gay adults being together.
I grew up in the closet until I was 52 years old and finally came out to my family in a subtle way. My childhood was horrible because I was taught by society that being gay was a mental health problem. I struggled terribly in my pre-teen and teen years and almost took my life a few times. I had a great set of parents but back in the late 60s and 70s I don’t think coming out would have been a good idea. My father passed when I was 26. My mother passed after I came out. She said she accepted it but to this day I am not so sure. In her conversations she still made it a point to tell me about her friends that had lovely daughters that were interested in meeting me. She pushed that for a while until I finally told her to “give it up mom!!”.
When I was 46 my sister was 33. One day I wanted to come out to her. I said “sis I have something very important I want to tell you about myself”. Her response to me was “bro, you can tell me anything you need to, just please don’t tell me you are gay” – well that shifted the conversation to something totally different. I did not tell her until I came out to my mom. My sister said she felt bad that she said that to me. After I had my legal problems my sister told me that if she is asked if she has siblings she says no to the person. She said I can’t telll them I have a brother. What if they find out you are gay and on the registry. No one she works with even knows she has a brother. She and I had a falling out back in 2016 and we have not spoken since. She made it a point to remind me that I was adopted and she was a bio child so it’s over with in my book.
I was charged with CP but they were actually legal pictures – males 18+. I just could not prove it. My PD told me to take the plea which I still regret to this day. Spent time in state and on the registry.
Before my legal problems I spent time with younger males that I knew but with good intentions. Never strayed. Today, after my legal problems I would not go within 20 feet of one especially if no one else around.
MY neighbors don’t make it so easy for me. Every time someone new moves in across the street or next door some of my neighbors make it a point to alert them to my past status on the registry and then I am shunned. Screw them I say. If they don’t want to get to know me then who cares.
I think you hit the nail on the head, Sandy.
People often say something to the effect that “This generation is different than older generations in a profound way”. — I believe that that lost of trust of adults is a big part of what we keep talking about, but can’t quite put our finger on, with the millenial generation (and younger). They are so radically different from who we were!
They often have no scruples because they didn’t have a community to teach them; instead, they were raised in little bubbles – microcosms – shielded away from community.
One of my relatives use to be a respected leader in the boy scouts. He was never accused of anything, but due to all the things going on with accusations, registries and just the thought that some kid could get mad and accuse you of something because they didn’t get their way, he stepped down from his position.
Having said that, I think like you said, lots of teachers, day care workers and others that work with kids have either quit or make darn sure any time kids are around, they have another adult with them just in case. Unfortunately, every classroom around America cannot have 2 or more adults in a classroom at all times.
Just one accusation because you sent a kid to detention and the child wanted revenge could alter your life forever. I suppose they could put up cameras, but then there is the privacy issues. I took a polygraph test and passed it but was told I was just a good liar or had no conscience.
Re: “I took a polygraph test and passed it but was told I was just a good liar or had no conscience.”
More proof that polygraphy is total nonsense and results are nothing more than the (more often than not, predetermined) OPINION of the polygraphist.
Funny if you fail the polygraph, they use it against you. If you pass they say it is not admissible in court. Well darn, which is it?
This is a really complicated thing to ponder. I remember reading “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” as a teen and thinking how beautiful it was that these two souls had made a connection – never mind one was an adult male and the other a young girl.
On the other hand, for someone teetering on the edge and unable to healthily establish and process appropriate boundaries, would something like that be absorbed as an endorsement of adult-child relationships?
In my opinion, this gets to a much deeper mental health root problem that the U.S. society doesn’t have the interest in tackling. We repeatedly lament all the blatant warning signs that were there when there’s a mass shooting, but don’t change anything. For a person realizing they are uncomfortable with their own fledgling inappropriate sexual thoughts, the ridiculously aggressive mandatory reporting laws in the U.S. have guaranteed they cannot get help. I have come to believe that the proverbial “creepy old man” isn’t a product of genetics as much as the self-fulfilling prophecy we’ve created through these laws.
That is very true about the reporting laws. I watched a documentary recently where it was mentioned that in Germany, there are actually television commercials asking “are you attracted to children?” and offering to help if you call their number…. and they actually do!!! they are very open over there to giving help BEFORE there is a crime to deal with. That’s the way it should be.
Awesome and true. Sad what our world has come to destroying many lives.
I carry an easy going pleasant cheerful attitude with me most of the time and most folks like having me around. Not sure who all know anything about my csc conviction, but so far after 30 years not to many mention anything about it and we all get along just fine. ( But the thought about who knows and what are they thinking about me is always going to be nagging at my mind ) But there are times Children may happen along and sensing my caring nature at times they may want to hug me ( I do not encourage them at all ) and some even stated that they wish I could be their Dad. When that happens I get many mixed emotions. First is serious anxiety to the point of going numb and starting to blackout. The other is Who in the room knows about my situation and is passing sudden judgment as to thinking I’m somehow grooming the child when that is not happening in anyway shape or form. But of course I can’t help but to feel blessed that they see something in me that make them feel safe and want to be part of my life. But The sad part is I have to close that door which I do with caution asap. And I will under no circumstances be alone with anyone under 18. It does negatively impact my life as well as theirs. Another sad point to mention is that many of those children feel safer around me and actually are rather then with their own parents.
When I was 15 1/2 (1969) I took drives education over the summer. My mom and dad both worked, so I thumbed some. It was much more common in those days. One morning a gentleman picked me up in an old pickup truck. He was very nice. Wanted to know who I was, where I was going and why. I told him. I was an hour early and he had stopped right after I got out by the highway. He asked if I had had breakfast, and I told him no. He asked if I wanted to get breakfast with him. I had a couple of bucks, so I said sure. We went to the local store front diner and I thought I was somebody, eating with all the old folks in there. Well, he wouldn’t allow me to pay for mine. I thanked him whole heartedly. He then drove me back to school and dropped me off. I never saw him again. But I will never forget his kindness and generosity.
I will never be able to pay that forward.
Life got over-complicated and the courts got over-lawyered. The People did this, to “other people” not realizing the harm it could do to anyone including themselves. But now you have an entrenched system that is built to survive everything. Politics, pandemics, and people. Those jails (concentration camps) should be the dead giveaway. In 2023 we could have anything technological we can dream of but jails can’t keep their phones working right, or provide decent food.
Because they were made to barely scrape by on crumbs while the jailers (nazis) drive new cars. They bus you into court cuffed to another guy and then put you in decrepit holding cells.
But the police and sherrifs run around in nice Ford Explorers and Dodge Chargers and all got new phones. That shows you what this world became. Everything that it shouldn’t be.
On the topic, trust doesn’t mean anything to people who are taught shallow morals. You have messed up families trying to buy each others affections and trust with the latest iPhones or other things. This material world then is to blame, so many people on the wrong path and easily convinced of the next Covid panic.
No truer words than these in today’s society when boys need fathers and father figures when their father is absent:
“The next time you read an article about a teenage boy or young man going on a shooting spree, killing and injuring others and quite possibly himself, ask yourself: Would this have happened if some adult had reached out to this boy, offering friendship and mentorship and helping him see a better version of himself than the one he would ultimately choose?”
Too many are bound and determined to ruin as many lives as they can because they are unhappy in their own. Well written, Sandy.
In mandatory “treatment” we were expected to clearly ignore any and all contact with a person who may be a minor (under 18). If the possible minor held the door open for us as we enter a business, we were told that we should look away and walk away without a courteous “thank you”. We were expected to ignore a possible minor whenever we might offer to hold the door open for them. This is awkward when the parent of said minor is observing and witnesses the rude behavior we were expected to exhibit. If we ordered at a fast-food counter we were advised to avoid any courtesy as it might be “grooming”. This was always a question on the 6-month polygraphs and often caused the client (i.e. offender) a failure simply because it prompted the internal question “did I speak to a possible minor-age person?”.
I dont even have photos of anything. Not my kids not myself nothing. I have no contact with other people for many yrs at this point. Total social isolation cause im not human anymore. If we are going to be groomed for genocide then maybe they should just stop denying it not like it matters no one will say why are u doing x to us.
I was in prison, sat in groups both in prison and out of prison for the better part of 10 years. Hundreds of child sex offenders have crossed my path and except for a small handful, there was always grooming based on the relationship that the adult made with the child.
I warn my kids explicitly not to hang out alone with adults that aren’t trusted family (and even then…), and I warn my 18+ kids not to hang out alone with anyone under the age of 18 unless it is a family member.
In a post #MeToo world, where state legislators are increasingly doing things like extending statutes of limitations either permanently or temporarily, kids and adults are forbidden to hang out without chaperones, as far as I’m concerned. I mean, just imagine: You are in your 70s, kids are raised, you and the wife are retired, just hanging out on your porch enjoying life… and the cops come and arrest you for something you may not have even done in your 20s. This is kind of the reality we live in now.
…”Attitudes and laws that genuinely protect children from harm are needed, are good.
…..Attitudes and laws that cripple normal, human, inter-generational relationships are destructive and evil…..”
Again, Sandy, thank you for your tireless efforts to Speak and Spread the Truth!
Truth and Science Do Not Lie!