Her comments spark discussion on where to draw the line in the name of safety.
Kasey Edwards, a Melbourne, Australia, mother of two, has a very strong and non-negotiable stance on which men can watch her children—their father and their teacher. That’s it.
Though her policy is stricter than most, her rationale is familiar. Knowing that the vast majority of sex offenders are male, she wants to minimize the risk of predatory behavior by keeping men away from her unsupervised children. That includes her own father.
She’s aware of the wholesale generalization she’s making, but rather than finding it objectionable, she believes it’s practical, saying to the Daily Mail, “I don't want to think of anyone in my family, or any friend, and question whether or not they could be a potential sex offender. But if we just have a blanket rule, then we're safe.” She wrote an essay explaining her position in the The Sydney Morning Herald..
Unsurprisingly, Edwards’ stance has garnered criticism stemming from a number of different viewpoints, ranging from stereotyping to undermining a mother’s own ability and obligation to judge character to the effect it will have on her children’s development.
Her comment below, “All men are sexual predators to me until proven otherwise,” won’t do much to quell the allegations of stereotyping along gender lines.
With all the fanfare over her thoughts and beliefs, her husband’s silence on the matter is deafening. She says in the Daily Mail piece that “she and her husband decided on the rule when she had a daughter eight years ago.”
Many commenters are quick to point out that if this policy is just an exercise in playing the numbers, then the father is among the most likely to sexually abuse the children, with fathers thought to be the abuser in 15 percent of cases.
Few seem to offer full-fledged support of Edwards’ policy, but it is opening up a spirited conversation on where parents draw the lines on their kids’ safety and what it’s like to be a man in the world of childcare.
Kasey Edwards acknowledges her policy verges on draconian and wishes circumstances were such that she could be more tolerant but—they’re not. “Would I prefer to be a more chilled-out parent? Absolutely. Will I change my family policy? Unfortunately no. Child sexual abuse is so prevalent that I won't back down on my no-male-babysitters policy.”