Saturday, September 09, 2006

The danger to children is not always from strangers

The danger to children is not always from strangers, I believe, and I try hard to make sure that friends and acquintances appreciate that fact and do not take anything for granted regarding the time they can spend with Baby.

I was very upset with an acquaintance when she stepped over the line today. While I was at work, she came by my house this afternoon and took Baby with her to a church your group. Now I can understand that she meant well and the goal was noble.

“We went to pray for sick children,’ my daughter later explained.

An Auntie I don't know about

But when I arrived at home after work and the nanny (who is new) told me my daughter’s Auntie picked her up and took her to church, I panicked.

As my sister lives out of town, telling me Baby’s Auntie took her to church is no answer at all.

Secondly, I haven’t known the woman long enough for her to take such take Baby to places I haven’t been to, people I don’t know, without my having to seriously consider the issue.

To be fair, she left several SMSes telling me of the plan while I was in a meeting, but I’m terrible with cellphones so I didn’t even think to check. And even if I did see the message, my rule is Baby does not go anywhere without me/close friends/family.

Setting a dangerous precedent

In the world we live in, being told “Mummy won’t mind” is not good enough. How many times have we read accounts of kids being abused by their church pastor/teacher?

She may be a nice, safe lady, but if she sets a precedent ( and it was the first time in 8 years that this happened) what happens the next time another acquitance invites Baby somewhere? Is its fair to place the burden of decision and making sure a situation is safe with an 8 year old girl?

The incident made me think of the story of Tselane and the ogre, another childhood fairytale. In this story, something that is familar is used against the little girl, putting her life in danger.

I think it works very well as a warning to children that the threat does not always come from strangers.

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