Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RANT: Don't touch my child ...

Okay. It was time. I have to rant, rave, stump, scream, and unload here. I haven't "raised" a child in the States, but I can pretty much guarantee that people are more respectful about a child's space there than here. (But I'd love everybody's thoughts, similar rants, raves etc.)

I'll paint the scenario: Imagine walking up to an adult you don't know, one with pretty curly hair and big blue eyes. Now grab that adult's cheeks and stroke her hair saying, "Ooooh ... Ooooh. Everybody look at the pretty lady." [Horrible person and her seventeen family members circle lady and loom over her.] "Can we hold you?"

Wouldn't happen.
Unless, of course, you're robbing said lady or want somebody to call security on you for being a total creep.

So why ... WHY ... do people feel entitled to touch children they don't know as if they were store merchandise?
This. Pisses. Me. Off.
It's a violation of a little person's space (Yes, children ARE little people) and a total violation of their human rights because they are small and defenseless.
That, though, is what parents are for -- to fight those battles.

I said to the lady, "Don't touch my daughter."
She was shocked. Appalled. Everybody in the area looked at me as if I were a possessed demon (my face probably had that blotchy purple thing going on that happens when I am infuriated.)
"We're just looking," evil lady said.
"She is not merchandise in a store. Don't touch her."
Crowd disperses and people look at me like the nasty, mean foreigner I probably am.

I'm pretty laid back about cultural differences. But this to me isn't a cultural difference. This goes much deeper than being an overprotective mother.
It's disrespectful. It's dangerous. It teaches kids that their own space doesn't belong to them and from early on ANY adult has a right to enter that space. It's not a big jump to make, especially considering I live in a country in which child abuse "is probably the biggest public health issue" on the table with child-sex tourism in Cartagena (according to a UN study), an ongoing war in which children are recruited to fight, kill, rape and be raped and more.
Moreover, the World Health Organization estimates that 40 million children are abused around the world (one million alone in the USA) before they turn 14 (the majority by a trusted adult).

So my question is this. If a child isn't taught from early on that her space belongs to her and her alone and perfect strangers are allowed to enter that space, how will she know when her space is being violated by somebody she "should" trust?

Yep. I'm raging. And the more I think about this, the more I seethe.
Just. Don't. Touch. My. Child.

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