“Political correctness gone mad?” Hardly. Try, “Taking Reasonable Precautions for One’s Own Safety.” Just a few days ago I reported on the recent study of male primary school teachers in Canada. Some 13% of them had endured a false allegation of inappropriate touching of a student. As those men doubtless know, that’s the type of thing that can ruin a career, a marriage, a life and get a guy a fair stretch in prison for good measure. So now there’s this (Herald Sun, 10/22/10). It seems that there’s a place north of Sydney, Australia called the Hornsby Aquatic Centre. It’s a facility that teaches people how to swim and probably provides lap swimming for those who do that as regular exercise. Well, it seems that the club has but a single dressing room for men and boys, a situation that’s resulted in complaints. But the complaints don’t seem to be coming from the public generally; they’re coming from the men who use the club and the dressing room.
“Hornsby pool received several complaints last week from members of the public with regards to schoolboys in the male change rooms,” the council spokesman said. “The boys were unsupervised and the members of the public felt very uncomfortable changing in front of the boys.
“One stated that he had an untrue allegation made against him several years ago in a similar environment.”
Notice that it’s not parents or the usual morality police who are complaining; it’s the men who are forced to occupy the dressing room with the boys. Me? I don’t blame them a bit. The fact is that if men are to be charged, separated from their families and sometimes convicted of child abuse, all on little more than allegations, then men deserve protection from false allegations. If that means inconveniencing someone, that’s the price we pay for concluding that men aren’t to be trusted around children. The sane thing of course would be to recognize the fact that men aren’t any more dangerous to children than are women, and possibly less so. The sensible thing would be to admit that gender profiling makes as little sense as racial profiling. The reasonable thing would be to require that allegations of abuse, like all other crimes, be proven beyond a reasonable doubt before the accused can be jailed, fined or deprived of any other rights. But short of the simple, fair and legal approach, the absurd may have to do. And that means admitting that we have set men up for false allegations of abuse and accomodating them. So perhaps we should begin to require things like, in the case of Hornsby Aquatic Centre, separate dressing rooms for boys and men. But why stop there? Why not separate pools as well? We can’t be too careful, right? That approach would surely receive support from misandric factions everywhere. And so what if it means spending untold billions of dollars by private industry and government alike? Isn’t the safety of children worth it? “Political correctness gone mad?” Those aren’t words used by anyone who’s sat in holding cell wondering if all those stories about what happens to child abusers – whether actual or not – in prison are true.