Dating Fear Mongering, Single Mom Edition

Once again, supposed experts shoot their mouths off, using salacious headlines and fear to label & manipulate women; this time the horrible deeds are being done by Robert Siciliano at Single Minded Women.

In the article, Siciliano paints single mothers as easy prey for sexual predators:

…the one under-discussed, over looked and “it can’t happen to me” aspect of being on the dating scene is your personal security, and that of your children. In fact, online dating is one way pedophiles find their next victims (through unsuspecting single mothers looking for love and perhaps a male role model for their children).

While the supposed security expert infuriates me with his depiction of single moms as so eager for love that they’d sacrifice their own children, it’s only going to get worse:

As the saying goes, “water seeks its own level” which means unhealthy, insecure people seek each other out; this often leads to destructive relationships. But what’s worse is insecure people often seek out destructive, unhealthy and sometimes violent people. We’ve all read the story, the single woman or single mom who couldn’t break the cycle of always settling for less, and winds up a statistic.

Healthy, conscious, right minded people don’t settle for less and can sense “bad” from a mile away. They are secure, and often are aware of their personal security as well. When something doesn’t look or seem right, they pay attention to their senses and get themselves out of what may become a dangerous situation. They cut their losses and chalk it up to a learning experience. Others get deeper into destruction.

There is a clear parallel here between what would be considered a healthy potential mate, and a predator that has nothing but bad intentions. The good guy actively pursues what he believes to be his heart and does things to romance his potential mate. The bad guy does the same thing but in the name of personal gain, manipulation and evil. Predators will target anyone who will give them their time and attention. Often a smooth talking good looking guy, who is a predator, may win over the attention of a healthy and conscious woman, but she will soon see there’s something wrong with the guy. Whereas an unhealthy woman who is unsure of her personal security will settle for less and in some cases put her and her children at risk. Sadly, sometimes loneliness trumps consciousness.

Sadly, sometimes it’s media-hungry experts who consciously prey upon the fears & insecurities of the humans they pretend to be helping.

The real “clear parallel” that Siciliano seems to be operating off of is his non-documented notion that single mothers are single parents because they are “unhealthy,” “insecure,” “destructive,” & therefore somehow more likely to put their children at risk.

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s his first bit of helpful (and tainted) advice (page 2):

First make sure you have a healthy strong mind and your self esteem is in order. Read as many self help books as possible, go to weekend empowerment retreats, associate with friends that are goal oriented and have their life in order, shred any baggage you may have and most importantly, “know thyself”; which means to understand oneself is to understand others as well.

Like all self help books are full of sound advice. *snort* Like those with real (not author-imagined) mental health issues are able to trust their way to “health” through a book alone — or trust their friends (doesn’t that “water seeks its own level” business apply to friends too?)

The rest of his advice for dating safely online is fine; rather generic and based on the commonsense advice your friends give you (and not unlike what mom told you in the years before the internet & other tech gadgets), but his message gets lost in the fear-mongering & victim blaming.

If there is any connection (and I’ve not yet ready any study that indicates this) between single moms’ children being at risk from pedophiles and/or sexual predators, I’m willing to bet that this has less to do with the single mother’s poor self esteem than it does with access to the children.

Just as biological dad has access to his own kids, step-dad or mom’s boyfriend is there to watch the kids while she works, runs errands, etc. In both cases (as with uncles, other family members, clergy, etc.), these males are (eventually) trusted to be alone with the children; trust being something the criminal works hard to gain. It’s a matter of single mothers working, meaning a higher rate of absenteeism from home; not something necessarily borne of an “unhealthy” single mom putting her children at risk for the sake of her own loneliness.

Are some pedophiles using dating sites to target victims? Sure they are. Just like rapists are. But targeting victims isn’t new. Before the internet and dating sites, those willing to commit sex crimes against children were trolling parks, volunteering to coach or otherwise be with & supervise children, etc. looking for victims. (I they wanted adult female victims, they knew what they were looking for & did their best to find the situational windows to take advantage of.)

Like Celeste Moyers, the director of the Safer Online Dating Alliance, said two years ago (when Good Morning America covered this “story”), “If someone wants to do harm, that person will find a way to do it.”

“People are caught off guard,” she said. “Even the smartest savviest online dater can be a victim of sexual assault.”

So why is this fact buried in most of the coverage of this issue — and absent from Siciliano’s salacious story?

Because it’s preferred to blame the victim — and the victim’s mother — rather than to hold the victimizing, criminal pedophile responsible.

Shame on Robert Siciliano for playing up & preying on the fears of female single parents, for labeling them “unhealthy” for not being married, for blaming them for somehow increasing the potential victimization of their children.


  1. Processing a well intended advice article as a degradation of single women with kids is unfortunate. That wasn’t the intent. There are plenty of strong single women and plenty of unhealthy ones. The strong ones know who they are and the unhealthy ones don’t, but may see themselves in this article if they continually find themselves in destructive relationships. I’d lay down on train tracks or take a bullet to protect those who need help. To suggest otherwise is to judge unconsciously and make accusations without knowing the soul of the person. My body of work suggests that I have nothing but integrity and concern for others. Robert Siciliano.

  2. Robert, references to my “not knowing the soul” of your person (or any other writing on the internet) aside, I find your article to be full of fear mongering and negative stereotypes. Rather than professing to “take a bullet” or “lay down on train tracks,” for people to protect them, why not lay down the realities: that pedophiles and other criminals are opportunists and that having unsupervised time with children is the opportunity they seek.

    Opportunities like this occur with the children’s own father (including those who reside with the children) — even more so than with clergy, childcare providers, etc. — and any opportunities for time alone with children are more likely to occur when parents work, and in this economy, that’s most of us — regardless of our marital status. It is not, I repeat, not a matter of single mothers and their self-esteem (even if you want to manipulate their vulnerabilities).

    Your article would be far more informative and productive education wise if you stuck with the facts and addressed the realities of pedophilia, incest and sexual assaults in general.

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