August 24, 2007

If You See Something, Say Something: OK, How About STFU, Virginia?

drop_the_baby_virginia.jpg

I swear, if it weren't for the boiled peanuts and all the Chick-Fil-A's...

The Wall Street Journal reports on a Virginia campaign promoting its sexual abuse hotline "designed to encourage people to trust their instincts about possible abuse," which includes billboards showing a man holding a child's hand.

"TV shows, including the Dateline NBC series 'To Catch a Predator,' hype stories about male abusers," the report says, and John Walsh, the vigilante host of Fox's "America's Most Wanted," who advocates never hiring a male babysitter, is quoted saying, "It's not a witch hunt, it's all about minimizing risks. What dog is more likely to bite and hurt you? A Doberman, not a poodle. Who's more likely to molest a child? A male."

He's right about one thing: it's not a witch hunt, it's dangerously and wilfully inaccurate paranoia. From The Dog Channel:

Dobermans have been given an unfair rap, according to breeders, owners and others who love the breed.

"A lot of the bad dog image that Dobermans have is what the public has seen on TV," says breeder Brandi Canfield.

And here's the first point of the American Veterinary Medicine Association's dog bite prevention campaign [pdf]:
Which dogs bite?
An often-asked question is what breed or breeds of dog are most "dangerous"? This inquiry can be prompted by a serious attack by a specific dog, or it may be the result of media-driven portrayals of a specific breed as "dangerous." Although this is a common concern, singling out 1 or 2 breeds for control can result in a false sense of accomplishment. Doing so ignores the true scope of the problem and will not result in a responsible approach to protecting a community's citizens.
The AVMA also points to research that shows the majority of dog bites, up to 76% in some studies, involve unneutered male dogs, a large portion of which are chained.

So while Virginians are being encouraged to follow their TV-addled instincts and decide, essentially, "poodle or doberman," they're missing the actual causes, and risk factors associated with the problem. Nice.

The Virginia billboards contain the slogan, "It doesn't feel right when I see them together." Which I believe was also the slogan for the state's Racial Integrity Act of 1924, the anti-miscegenation law finally overturned in 1967. Hopefully, for the abused children of Virginia's sake, it won't take the gullible, backwards, TV-addicted asshats running the place 53 years to get a freakin' clue.

Are We Teaching Our Kids To Be Fearful of Men?
[wsj via dt reader and new dad peter]
Stop It Now! [actual] warning signs about sexual abuse [stopitnow.org]
previously and utterly unrelated until now: Dog Disguises for Kid-Threatening Breeds

5 Comments

Ms Rebecca Odor, director of sexual and domestic violence prevention for the state health department, states that 89% of child sex-abuse perpetrators in Virginia are male in this article.
I can't help wondering if she is therefore assuming that 89% of males are child sex-abuse perpetrators.

I personally feel that if I discover a child lost I must assume loco-parentis; as a parent, as an adult, and as a normal human being.

You know, i have been bitten 3 times in my life by dogs... twice by poodles and once by a sheltie. Poodles can be mean little bastards. As can government officials.

And as child protective services follows up on all these false claims, people will be all over their ass for not catching real abuse.

Thanks for a discerning read, and I'm so glad the AVMA added "chained" to their list of reasons dog attack. I agree that the dog's with the worst bite factor are chained, unneutered males, and I myself was attacked by one I'd just gotten off a chain and was fostering in my home. He had been neutered the week before, but it wasn't sufficient time to calm him down.

Karen Delize stated in her book 'Fatal Dog Attacks' that statistically, chained dogs are more prone to biting than free-roaming packs of dogs. Plus, chained dogs so often break free and then someone can be in for a world of hurting. Quite often it's a child, and it can prove deadly. Visit http://www.mothersagainstdogchaining.org for more info on chaining and child attacks.

I fostered a cocker spaniel once who tried to bite my son every single time he saw him. He ended up sitting on top of the refrigerator to avoid the dog! Read more on chained dogs at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org

Actually a poodle is way more likely to bite than a doberman.

I owned a Doberman for 7 yrs before she died.. She never bit or even growled at anyone.. My neighbours poodle was a vicious beast.. Man I hated that thing...


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