Kids are mostly sexually solicited online by classmates, peers, teens


This mirrors the sharks/mosquitos apparent-danger paradox. Likewise, most people are injured in car crashes near their homes.

It’s a shame that headlines don’t reflect reality, but that’s because headlines by nature seek out the rare and ignore the mundane.


I know a person that was taken advantage of by another girl her age when she was young.

Because it was another kid, nobody in her family believed her but it truly messed her up. Almost thirty years later it still comes up in counseling.

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… and then they grow up and work in middle management or HR where their daddy issues or anxiety disorders run completely amok. When the middle managers are bonding with stories about their abusive childhoods, it’s Game Over.

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My theory is that more than protecting children, people get a thrill from hunting the bad guy. Even if kids are mostly victimizedby peers, that’s not going to change people’s desire to ensnare the devient. Looking for adolescent abusers just isn’t as much fun, and adults feel weird about confronting kids with anything having to do with sex. Like looking for your keys under the streetlamp, it’s not about actually getting results, but staying comfortable.


I very much agree. My ex-wife wouldn’t allow my son to walk a half-mile to school, because predators. Today he’s not allowed to take public transportation to school, although many of his classmates do; instead his mommy drives him every day… despite he’s a full-grown teen with years of martial arts. All that protection handles her fears nicely, but she’s training him to be somebody who drives a quarter-mile to buy milk.

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Whenever you face a problem that can’t really be solved anyway, you might as well focus on “doing something about it” and racking up karma for undirected effort. See also the war on [terror|drugs].

Then there is also the issue that the real dangers can be so unpleasant. Like people in general, kids are most likely to be harmed by those close to them, but who wants to think about that? Surely preparing them for more comfortable dangers instead has to count for something.


Right, but it still pays to be cautious. At least, let’s keep teaching kids to be cautious around adults, even ones they know.

Because when kids are harmed by adults, it can be pretty disturbing. People in my neck of the midwest used to bitch and moan about people being “pussies” about it. Then this happened.

I knew her. Her body was found close to my grandpa’s house.

On a similar note, I think the campaign to do away with telling women to learn to defend themselves, and replace it with “just teach men to not fucking rape” has to be one of the most naive campaigns I’ve ever heard. We’ve been teaching people “thou shall not kill” for at least 3500 years; how’s that working?

I think you’re strawmanning the actual argument here. I’ve never seen anyone argue that women shouldn’t learn to defend themselves.

I have seen people argue that it’s not women’s moral responsibility to learn to defend themselves but it is men’s moral responsibility not to go around raping women. Which seems about right to me. (Reversing the genders works fine for me too, just sticking with @Shane_Simmons’s gender conventions for now.)

Also, “teach men to rape” is a bit of a slogan and a naive interpretation misses out on what it actually signifies. What it’s really about is not putting up with rapey behavior in your social circle. If a friend or acquaintance is acting rapey, confront him or her and let that person know that behavior is not acceptable. The reason a slogan is needed for this is that it’s much more common for people to apologize for rapey friends and acquaintances and to try to make excuses for their aberrant behavior. Social pressure does affect people’s sense of morality hence: “teach men not to rape.”

If something seems incredibly naive to you one approach is to ask yourself if you’re missing or misunderstanding something about it.

Edit: Also, “thou shalt not kill” seems to be working pretty well if Stephen Pinker’s research has anything to it.


The whole “Stranger Danger” thing in general is bullshit. You’re more likely to get hurt by someone you know. Penn and Teller did a good episode on this.

ETA - it’s frustrating that basically anyone with a penis is treated like a potential rapist/molester when it comes to children. It’s so bad that people are cautious of helping a kid in need because their actions might be misinterpreted. The most innocent of interaction that would seem 100% natural between grandpa and grandkid, is treated as 200% creepy between some old guy and some young kid.

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Now you have.

I’ve seen it put in more incendiary terms, but I’ll leave it there because we’re getting off track, but the notion is that all our efforts are being put on teaching women to defend themselves and to be cautios, and that that’s the wrong approach. I’m not saying it’s a prevalent opinion, but I saw it expressed after, for example, Stubenville. I just…saw people who took it a bit too far, and suggested teaching men to not rape as an alternative to using caution and self defense…

Our rule (with teenage girls, on the south side of Chicago) is walk with friends whenever possible during the day, and never walk alone after dark. In fact, I’ve told them that if they’re in a group of at least 4, they can walk anywhere at any time as long as they stay mindful of the police. And that’s without martial arts training. It’s the lone straggler who gets marked as easy prey. (With the police, too.)


There’s nothing in this article that says women shouldn’t learn to defend themselves if they choose to. What it says is exactly what I said:

Maxwell made the apt point that the onus should not be on women to have to arm themselves but on men not to rape them:

I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there…You’re talking about this as if it’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone you know and trust…If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.

Also an astute observation from the linked article:

The truth is that focusing on ways women can prevent rape will always backfire. Not only because it’s ineffective—what a woman wears or what she drinks has nothing to do with whether or not she’ll be attacked—but because it creates a culture in which women are responsible for men’s actions. Because when you say there are things women can do to prevent someone from raping them—owning a gun, not walking in a certain neighborhood—you are ensuring that rape victims who don’t take these steps will be blamed.

This article is a perfect example of what I described: making the moral argument that the onus is on people not to rape, not for their victims to learn to defend themselves. This does not imply that the victims or potential victims should not so learn, only that they do not have a moral obligation to do so and that the discussion should not involve implicit acceptance of such a moral responsibility on the part of the potential victim.

If someone wants to learn to defend themselves that’s great. I don’t see anything in this article saying otherwise. The article does say that telling women to learn to defend themselves is not necessarily a good working strategy; and I agree! If you want to discuss the reasons why martial arts and guns won’t do anything to prevent the massive majority of rapes we can discuss that too but I think first you need to acknowledge the actual argument being made.


Well, we read a different article, then.

Maxwell made the apt point that the onus should not be on women to have to arm themselves but on men not to rape them:

I don’t think that we should be telling women anything. I think we should be telling men not to rape women and start the conversation there…You’re talking about this as if it’s some faceless, nameless criminal, when a lot of times it’s someone you know and trust…If you train men not to grow up to become rapists, you prevent rape.


I have seen people argue that it’s not women’s moral responsibility to learn to defend themselves but it is men’s moral responsibility not to go around raping women. Which seems about right to me.

Here we agree.

I wonder what percentage of rapists were themselves victims at some point, like, to bring it back to the topic, how many were molested as children? I’ve seen anything from 30% to 70%.

All you had to do was quote the part you were talking about. I read through the article you linked and saw only the moral argument I had indicated (and with which you just agreed).

You’re trying to make a pragmatic argument and I get that, though I do doubt it’s really as pragmatic as you think. One problem is that it’s easy to conflate the two and doing that is almost inevitably a form of victim blaming.

I’m pretty sure talking about sexual assaults in general is still on topic. Falcor will correct me if I get too far out of line, I’m sure.

Dunno, rape and sexual assault, especially when the victim is male, are severely underreported so it’s probably hard to get statistics on it.

Yeah, and I accidentally the whole reason I brought up rape in the first place, which was because it figures in to the case I linked to.

The thing is, this bugs me:

the average predator isn’t a twisted older man trawling for kids; rather, “most children are sexually solicited by their classmates, peers, or young adults just a few years older than they are.”

It’s mostly this one thing, so it isn’t that other thing at all.

But the thing is, I think Dateline NBC pretty much proved that there are creepy old guys trawling for kids; it’s just that they’re more likely to be trawled by their peers.

It’s that sort of thinking I had meant to highlight, and I run into it quite a bit; statistically rapists are known to the victim, so teaching karate to women is a fail. Only three percent of men in America have reported being raped, so talking about it is derailing. Statistically children will be sexually assaulted by someone they know, so we need to stop fussing over creepy strangers in our neighborhoods.

The thing is, I doubt a male rape victim appreciates being told they don’t matter, nor do I assume that Madonna would appreciate being told she’s statistically insignificant, and I especially doubt that Amy Schulz’s parents–if you didn’t read the link, she was lured into a car with a stranger, then brutally raped and stomped to death–is an anomaly and that people shouldn’t really worry about it.

Now, having said that, my own state has made a mockery of keeping track of such things. I don’t even pay attention to the sex offender registry, because I live in an area full of drunks, and there are locals on the list that got there through public urination. The list is useless.

With my own kids: my five-year-old is outside while I’m typing this. Where is she? Not sure, but I’m 99% sure she’s in the yard, because I hear her. Now, if I saw a skeevy car out there–likely, because we have a constant supply of Walter White wannabes that move into rentals on our road–I’ll keep an eye out. I do agree that some parents take it waaaaay too far, but I do teach my kids to be cautious around strangers, and to be cautious about what they’re asked to do, even by people they know.

First of all, I usually try to use gender neutral language when talking about this stuff because rape and sexual assault do happen to men and that does matter. I think it’s pretty unusual for male victims to be told they “don’t matter” in so many words; I’m sure you can find examples if you look hard enough but ascribing such a view to everyone in the “teach men not to rape” camp is a pretty unfair rhetorical tactic.

Putting that aside, if the discussion is about what will eliminate rape and sexual assault entirely then the premise is an absurdity. If the discussion is about what will make a significant impact on incidences of rape and sexual assault then statistics is the way to go.

If you’re giving advice to an individual, on the other hand, it makes a lot more sense to say something like: “You never know what’s going to happen. There aren’t many creepy weirdos hiding in the bushes but there are some so it doesn’t hurt to know how to defend yourself.”

The idea that we can just teach all women self-defense or how to use a handgun and that this would significantly decrease incidences of rape and sexual assault is a non-starter. That’s why when the context of the discussion is how we might significantly decrease incidence of rape and sexual assault in general the self-defense suggestion is rejected out of hand. It’s not that it’s necessarily a bad idea, I don’t think. Just that it’s not a reasonable solution given the problem that’s actually under discussion.

If you want to talk about self-defense as a solution to atypical rapes and sexual assaults which are unlikely to be prevented in any other way then talk about it that way – I suspect fewer people will argue against the idea if it’s framed like that.

It’s not so different from jumping into a discussion of how to prevent airliner disasters saying something like “better training for pilots.” It’s impossible to argue that better training for pilots wouldn’t prevent some disasters but at the same time it’s clear that the person making the suggestion hasn’t made him- or herself familiar with the terms of the discussion. The suggestion just doesn’t engage with the causes of most modern airliner disasters and, as a result, couldn’t possibly prevent a significant number of those disasters.

Bringing it back to the OP, I don’t think boyd is trying to claim that parents shouldn’t be the least bit worried about strangers abducting their children. I do think she is trying to give parents a sense of perspective about the dangers and challenges that their children are more likely to face.


Just a quick side note, but am I the only one that’s disturbed by the fact that “rapey” is a word?

Is it? I was using it as a short-hand.

First google result is urban dictionary so I think we can safely classify it as a slang term.

It doesn’t bother me any more than the fact that rape is a word. It’s one of those words like murder that would be better if you didn’t need it, but that’s not how the world works.