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[personal profile] marnanel
ITN has made a documentary where they put two children in a crowded shopping centre and told them to pretend to be lost. One person helped them; six hundred did not. I gather that part of the reason people didn't stop was that they were worried someone would mistake them for a child molester.

You remember that in the Good Samaritan story, the priest and the Levite passed the injured man by because they were worried society would stigmatise them as ritually unclean if they touched a corpse. And here, people ignore lost children because they're worried society will stigmatise them as dangerous perverts if they talk to stranger children.

(FWIW, I decided a long time ago that I would *always* question unaccompanied children despite any risk of misinterpretation by others.)

Date: 2014-03-24 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] treeowl
Somewhat off-topic: some years ago, I was looking out a restaurant window and saw a man lying across the sidewalk. I didn't think about it too carefully, as there are always some homeless folks about, but it did seem a bit odd. Later, police and EMTs came and took him away—it seems likely he was suffering from alcohol poisoning, as the police dumped out an open bottle of liquor he was carrying. After that, I resolved to do something whenever I thought someone might be in trouble, and I think I've been pretty good about that. Most of the time, that's just calling the police to let them know of a hazard on the highway that could hurt someone; sometimes it's calling in about something that just doesn't look right, like an open garage in the middle of the night; occasionally it's asking someone if they're okay.

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