“Could You Lift Me on to the Swing?”
A little voice next to me asked “could you lift me on to the swing?” I looked down and saw a young girl, probably just older than Max. She had struggled for a while and after a heroic effort she’d got fed up. I looked around for Mum, Dad, Grandparent or Nanny and ended up catching the eye of the Dad occupying the swing next to me. He offered a wry smile and said “I wouldn’t if I were you”.
The wry smile was there to suggest that he might be joking but I knew exactly what he was getting at. He has convinced himself or been convinced that contact with a minor somehow leaves you open to charges or insinuations of something altogether more sinister. The same thought had initially entered my head before I told it to sod off.
I picked her up and plonked her in the swing and even gave a couple of good pushes until her Mum came over and thanked me. “You’re a braver man than me” the Dad followed up with. Of course there are deviant people out there who commit unthinkable crimes but it’s a shame that there is a situation where the first thing to flash into both of our heads when that girl made a perfectly reasonable request was one of apprehension.
I didn’t put that thought there and nobody starts out life thinking like that but it’s there and that’s a shame. I’m not sure if it’s a new phenomenon and I don’t know if women encounter it to? Have you experienced anything similar? I hope you are all reading this thinking that it all sounds utterly ridiculous because frankly it is utterly ridiculous.
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