Anonymous’ story: TRUST KIDS’ INSTINCTS

When I was 13 or 14 my parents and I moved to a new home and had a party to meet the neighbours. One of the neighbours (a middle-aged Caucasian man with curly white hair named David) introduced himself to my family, and took particular interest in me. He shook my hand and didn’t let go until my mom stepped in and made the situation awkward.

Later I was sitting out on the patio with some of the adults and he came up behind me and put his hands on my shoulders, dug his face into my hair, sniffed, and said “I can tell you just washed your hair, Megan” (which was not my name). As a 19-year-old looking back on the situation now, I cannot believe that the other adults didn’t point out how incredibly inappropriate it was for an adult to smell a strange child’s hair, especially seeing as most of the adults that were present were parents themselves.

Later still he approached me to talk when the other adults had left the room, and got much too close for comfort. He was trying to invite me to come over to his house (by myself) so I could “help him walk his dog” or “work in his garden”, and every time I took a step backward to reclaim my personal space, he would take a step forward until I was backed up against a wall with no where to go.

When I told my parents about David’s behaviour, my mom told me she got an uneasy feeling around him as well, then went online to find out if he was a registered sex offender (he wasn’t as far as we know). My father, on the other hand, said that he was “just being friendly” and that “there couldn’t be anything wrong with him because he has a PhD and works as a professor at a nearby university”. I think that just goes to show how little men have to worry about this kind of stuff. Must be nice.