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AIBU to have only just realised that when I was warned about 'strangers' in the 1980s, they were actually talking about paedophiles.

(45 Posts)
ComposHat Tue 23-Jul-13 10:05:27

And I'm 33 and used to be a social work assistant! I don't half feel thick.

My stupidity aside...

What a spectacularly useless and uniformed campaign.

We were never given any idea why we should be wary of 'a stranger' only that we shouldn't take sweets off them (I think I thought the sweets were poisoned and I'd end up like Hansel or Grettel) or that we shouldn't go and see puppies with them (I was petrified of dogs, so wouldn't have gone near, kittens mind you and I'd be off like a shot) and to run away and tell our parents.

Nothing was ever mentioned about family friends or relatives (statistically far more likely to abuse a child than a stranger snatching them from the street) or how we should tell someone if we were touched in a way we didn't like (regardless of who they were).

Meanwhile the real scandal of children being abused by those they knew, including care workers, teachers,ministers of religion and youth leaders went unchecked. These people weren't strangers to their victims, in many cases they were known and trusted by the young person and their parents, yet did them incalculable damage.

I don't like the current hysteria about paedophiles lurking on every corner, but at least today's children, seem to be better informed.

RedHelenB Tue 23-Jul-13 10:27:04

Not sure tbh. I think it sad today that kids of 7,8,9 aren't being allowed out without an adult cos of all the hysteria & telling my kids they could get grabbed by a stranger. It was the norm to be out & about by yourself when I was growing up & it was great to be able to enjoy it & not feel scared.


ComposHat Tue 23-Jul-13 10:33:26

As i say, I agree the whole paedophile hysteria has gone way to far and whatnot, but I think this is balanced by a greater appreciation that a child abuser need not be (and probably isn't) a stranger to a child.

Children also seem a lot more savvy when it comes to knowing what is inappropriate or not.

McSmoke Tue 23-Jul-13 10:34:45

As a child I was more scared of what was happening within my family than the attack of strangers.

YouTheCat Tue 23-Jul-13 10:37:55

I knew, in the 70s. I knew what they meant when they said not to go with strangers.

My friend and I got propositioned in the park. I was 9 and she was 7/8. She was all for going off with him but I told her not to.

I was a little bit feral though.

I can't be doing with any hysteria tbh. Teach kids to be sensible. Not going with strangers is a good message but I do agree about making them aware that it is their body and they can say no to inappropriate touching.

BoysAreLikeDogs Tue 23-Jul-13 10:42:11

Well.yes, the actual reason was never spelled out, we were just told not to talk to strangers etc. I.think there was a Charlie Says about not going to see puppies?

Mind you, this is the era that never referred to cancer, grandmama had a "blockage", we were never expressly told about your body, "down there" was mouthed and gestured to vaguely.

Ipsissima Tue 23-Jul-13 10:42:12

What needs to be understood OP. is that pre the 70's ...nobody talked about the risks. At all. Didn't occur to people to protect their children. (and where abuse was happening, the children were often not believed) The subject just didn't feature on anyone's agenda.
Stranger danger was really the first move by a new generation of parents talking about risks for the first time, with their children. Not keeping secrets followed closely behind.
Now we know, from research, that family and friends are more likely to be at fault we are teaching more appropriately......but it has been a long evolution to reach today's level of openness.

VelvetStrider Tue 23-Jul-13 10:46:15

I don't remember being told anything about abuse by people I knew. Luckily nothing ever happened other than one lecherous old man kissing me a bit too enthusiastically on the neck <boak> but I went to so many clubs and activities and none of the leaders were crb checked. It would have been so easy for children to have been abused and nobody to find out back then.

On a completely different topic, I met the woman who knitted Compo's hat once. She said it was a challenge to knit the holes into it so it looked old and skanky. He had a scarf too, but you can't really see it much on screen. smile

BeerTricksPotter Tue 23-Jul-13 10:46:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

VelvetStrider Tue 23-Jul-13 10:52:15

The new NSPCC message btw is 'Pants'

Privates are private
Always remember your body belongs to you
No means no
Talk about secrets that upset you
Speak up, someone can help

Our local police officer, PC Finch, designed the original stranger danger signs that you see in all the playparks. Even he didn't mention dangers from people you know when he came to school to talk to us.

Ipsissima Tue 23-Jul-13 10:53:05

Of course people warned their children about the risk

Not in my experience.
Or that of contemporaries with whom this subject has been discussed.
Perhaps the question needs a new thread.

BeerTricksPotter Tue 23-Jul-13 10:54:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ComposHat Tue 23-Jul-13 10:54:56

velvet well I never! I am wildly envious of you, I kust assumed it was a very old hat.

paperclips Tue 23-Jul-13 10:55:44

When my friend's Nan was little, she was out with her friend and approached by a stranger. His Nan knew it was a bad idea, but her friend went, and was never seen again. That would've been around the 1930s. I guess people just didn't talk about it, but I wonder how much news a missing child would have made back then, or how much of a search there would've been. I don't think anybody was ever caught.

Owllady Tue 23-Jul-13 10:58:52

There are some visible 'strange men' about though. We have one at the swimming baths that the children are told to stay away from. Twice he has tried to get into the pool with my sons swimming class and has been asked to leave. I am a bit shock how brazen he is tbh

(and no he has no sen/mental health issues/lds etc - he is completely normal - just brazen)

LastTangoInDevonshire Tue 23-Jul-13 10:59:31

Of course people warned their children about the risk

Of course we were warned - just not to the scaremongering extent that one sees today.

YouTheCat Tue 23-Jul-13 11:03:18

I just always told mine not to go with anyone they didn't know or felt uncomfortable with and that their bodies were not for anyone else to touch. I never scared them, was just honest.

ComposHat Tue 23-Jul-13 11:09:12

I think the point I was trying to make upthread was that it is probably a good thing that the focus of sensible well intentioned advise (ignoring tabloid hysteria) has changed from being fearful or wary of a certain type of person (a stranger) to be worried about, to making children aware that certain forms of physical contact are inappropriate regardless of who is doing it.

Buzzardbird Tue 23-Jul-13 11:09:19

Well, I have just discovered that it is not all 'hysteria' and I for one wish I had been better informed. It is definitely more common than I thought it was last week sad

poshfrock Tue 23-Jul-13 11:11:34

My dad and his sister were flashed at in the park when they were kids in the 1950s. He didn't even bother to tell his parents. He says they probably wouldn't have been believed or it would just have been brushed off. He went to a Catholic school where he was quite seriously physically assaulted by the nuns at the age of 7/8. Again he never reported it because it was just accepted.

As a kid this bloke ( see link) lived in our village and regularly approached me and my friends in the park, the library and outside school. I told my mum but she just shrugged it off and said he was probably "lonely". This was in the early 1980s. People really were very complacent.

Poledra Tue 23-Jul-13 11:15:29

My mate's grandma could remember, when she was a child, a man getting lynched near where she lived because he had been interfering with small children. I haven't tried to verify it, but she remembered it vividly, and swore the local constabulary turned a blind eye...

Poledra Tue 23-Jul-13 11:16:03

Oh, sorry, this would have been in the late 1920s/early 1930s

Dfg15 Tue 23-Jul-13 11:16:48

my mum used to warn us about 'dirty old men' so I was always wary of tramps, or men that looked grubby. so if I'd been approached by a young, clean looking man, well I'd probably have thought he was OK! things are much more open now, and I think that's a good thing

miffybun73 Tue 23-Jul-13 11:18:06

Buzzardbird Hope you are ok.

aquashiv Tue 23-Jul-13 11:18:45

I have a very vague recollection of being told no to take sweets from strangers my early mind things it might have had something to do with drugs. There was no explanation of why.

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