Tag Archive | Sexual Abuse

Stephen Fry may just be right

$$-AAA-001FryWords taken out of context?

I have to admit to deeply liking Stephen Fry. Erudite, educated, highly intelligent, extremely funny, a brilliant actor, comedian, presenter and orator, a biting sarcasm, and very outspoken about things he is passionate and cares very deeply about, including LGBT+ rights and atheism, what is there not to like?

He has now come out with a statement however which one can only hope are ill-chosen words. It certainly seems like that. But if not, then he perhaps needs to take a good long look at himself. Speaking on censorship and online attitudes, Stephen Fry appeared to tell rape and child sexual abuse victims to “just grow up”.

“There are many great plays which contain rapes, and the word rape now is even considered a rape,” Fry stated on US chat show, The Rubin Report.

“They’re terrible things and they have to be thought about, clearly, but if you say you can’t watch this play, you can’t watch Titus Andronicus, or you can’t read it in a Shakespeare class, or you can’t read Macbeth because it’s got children being killed in it, it might trigger something when you were young that upset you once, because uncle touched you in a nasty place, well I’m sorry.

“It’s a great shame and we’re all very sorry that your uncle touched you in that nasty place – you get some of my sympathy – but your self pity gets none of my sympathy because self pity is the ugliest emotion in humanity.

“Get rid of it, because no one’s going to like you if you feel sorry for yourself. The irony is we’ll feel sorry for you, if you stop feeling sorry for yourself. Just grow up.”

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, but nonetheless I am going to attempt to be charitable and give Stephen Fry the benefit of the doubt. I think I can see what he is trying to say, just that on this occasion he did not express his views as clearly as he should have.

I think what Stephen is trying to say is that rape and abuse survivors, and I count myself in this, cannot expect the world to fit itself around them. Plays, films, shows, other media and even everyday things will indeed spark of memories, but we survivors cannot expect that to change just to fit us.

Fry, who quit Twitter earlier this year, calling it a “stalking ground for the sanctimoniously self-righteous”, is referring to is that scourge of the internet which is now finding it’s way into mainstream society, the SJW – Social Justice Warrior. There are people sitting at their computers just ready to be offended by the slightest thing and to speak out against it, whether it is something which affects them or not – nine times out of ten it does not.

The SJW culture reminds me of the 1980s and my days of running with the hard-left, ‘alternative’ crowd. Every day was a verbal minefield, where I had to watch every word I was saying, because there was always some arsehole just waiting to be ‘offended’ – usually on behalf of others – and ready with accusations of racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, misogyny, or any other “ism” or bigotry they chose to dream up. And trust me dears, make them up they did. I was once accused of being “speciesist” for believing that human life outweighs animal life – guilty as charged. At times, purely to fuck with the minds of such people, I would deliberately come out with things like “That separates the men from the boys.” or “I wouldn’t want to be blackballed.” (a Freemasonry reference, and nothing at all to do with race).

SJWs are ever ready to don the shining armour and jump on the white charger to fight for others. Worse still are those precious little snowflakes who are all too ready to let others do their fighting for them; these are the self-pitying. And when they are not doing that, then they are expecting the world to change and make accommodation for them.

George Bernard Shaw once said “There are two types of men in this world; the reasonable man, who adapts the himself to fit the world, and the unreasonable man, who adapts the world to fit him. Therefore all progress counts upon the unreasonable man.”. Now, I am first to agree with that; one need only look at world history to see that on a great many occasions it has been the unreasonable, the radical, the progressive, the eccentric, the oddballs and the complete nutters who have advanced and enhanced the world for the common good (I don’t have enough money to be eccentric – I’m just plain barmy). But there are limits to that. When society bans something because a minority may be offended or may feel uncomfortable, that same society takes it away from the majority, which unfairly deprives their enjoyment. Oh, and of course, Shaw would immediately be castigated by SJWs and radical feminists for his “sexist” statement, which refers only to “men”.

How far do we take this? I am old enough (as much as I hate to admit it) to recall actually seeing Disney’s Song of the South. It’s never shown nowadays, because it was deeply racist. That’s fine – Africans are not a minority. But then, as Stephen Fry says, do we ban Titus Andronicus because of rape? Do we ban Macbeth because of child murder? How about The Merchant of Venice, which could be seen as being deeply anti-Semitic? How about Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist for exactly the same reason due to his portrayal of Fagin? Some have called for Scotland to have a new unofficial national anthem claiming that the present one, Flower of Scotland, which speaks of the army of Robert the Bruce routing the invading forces of Edward II of England is anti-English. I personally think it’s a dirge, but guess what, it’s never going to change (there is also something deeply satisfying about watching Princess Anne, Patron of the Scottish Rugby Union, singing along to Flower of Scotland with the rest of the fans). Hey, here’s an idea; as a republican and an atheist, I find the present British national anthem, God Save the Queen, offensive – let’s ban it.

Stephen Fry himself, presenting the wonderful TV show, QI, once mimicked Scots accents. As a Scot was I at all offended by this Englishman of minor gentry parodying my people? Not a bit of it. Rather I almost peed myself laughing at him because it was so damned good. He gets away with that for three reasons: one, every word he said was true; two, he was so damned accurate at it; three, he is Stephen Fry.

And then how far does it go? Ever watched Mel Gibson’s movie of Passion of the Christ? No matter how well made it is – and I will grant Mel Gibson that it is well made – it is brutal in the extreme, and many may be offended by the deeply traumatic scenes of violence in it. But then, rather than the gospels, the movie is based not upon the Bible but rather a medieval play, which attempted to place the killing of Jesus squarely upon the Jews. Also on the Christian faith, what of Jerry Springer, The Opera; an extremely funny stage show which sells out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe every August, and which includes the role of Jesus in a nappy (diaper) saying he is a little gay and hitting a woman, and that of God singing “It ain’t easy being me”, and asking Jerry Springer to help him. It is always, and I mean always, protested when it’s shown, and given that a recent poll showed only 39% of Scots consider themselves religious, should that show be banned for offending a minority?

See how ridiculous it could get? And online that’s exactly the way it is going. There are too many SJWs and others online who have the pitchfork at the door, just ready to grab it and head out for an old-fashioned lynching. They see these issues in black and white, with no room for the many shades of grey (no apologies for what is not a racist reference). They are waiting and wanting to be offended because it makes them feel superior, when in fact their petty victories are empty and meaningless. Worse still, they are actually detrimental to the very people that those who are offended claim to be defending.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I have to live every day with what was done to me, and it can indeed take the slightest thing to kick that off. I hear or read stories of other kids being abused, and suddenly I am right back there. If I read a novel, watch a movie, a show, or a play with that subject matter, then it affects me deeply and can indeed be deeply traumatic. As an adult, I read up about paedophilia in an effort to understand it (there is no understanding it – it is not a mental illness, it is just sick selfishness), and that was bloody hard for me to do. But it was important for me to do so. Just as it is important for me to face news stories, books, movies, and shows in which paedophilia is part of the plot line, because as disturbing as it is, like all society should, I am facing the fact that it happens. If I did not face that fact, I would indeed be self-pitying, and would still be seeking pity, and because of that, I would still be a victim. But I am no longer a victim – I am a survivor.

And this too is important, for all too often the ‘newspeak’ of the internet is to not use the word ‘victim’ at all, but to always use the word ‘survivor’. I could not disagree more. There is a distinct difference between victims and survivors of abuse, any abuse, and only we survivors fully understand the enormity of that distinction. To try and lock things away from us, to protect and shield us, so that we may never see things that may upset us does not help one victim. Keep doing that and the victim will always be the victim.

Certainly, where things are deliberately and intended to be abusive, they need to be challenged and shot down. But the same cannot be said where things are not intended to be directly offensive. Whether you be a rape victim, abused, a racial or ethnic minority, LGBT+, physically or mentally disabled, elderly, young, female, whatever, don’t go looking for your “safe place”, because there are no safe places. And as long as you continue to seek one, as long as you attempt to lock the real world out,  you are continuing to make yourself the victim – you’ll never move on to be a survivor.

That is what I believe Stephen Fry was attempting to say but unfortunately went about it in an asshat way, and could have chosen his words a little better. Ironically, Stephen is now coming under fire for his words, from the very people he was talking about and with exactly the same attitudes he was referring to. And no doubt I shall receive flak for exactly the same.

Of course, I could be very wrong about that. It’s not the first time that Stephen Fry has come out with a highly controversial and asinine comments. On an edition of QI once, whilst supposedly speaking about the larynx, Fry stated “Basically, a good ladyboy can imitate almost anything female, in terms of how they hold their legs and you know…anything like that.” and “A dainty ladyboy can easily fool and often has”. Needless to say, the LGBT+ community was up in arms about Fry’s comments. But hold on, was he actually speaking of transgender people, or merely those who are androgynous? Again, I think it was taken out of context. He did indeed say “ladyboy” and may well have meant just that, s transgender people were never once mentioned. Hands up here how many trans / genderfluid people here identify as a ladyboy? Nope, thought not. He concluded the segment “The truth is, without undressing them or testing their DNA, you can’t be sure what sex someone is. So be careful out there.” Well, ain’t that a fricking truth, and one which all of us who are either transgender or genderfluid are all aware of. But if there are people going to be so upset, perhaps the Edinburgh Fringe should ban another of it’s sell-out shows; The Ladyboys of Bangkok, which is a revue show made up entirely of Thai drag queens (who are all stunningly beautiful, by the way).

Even if he did mean everything he said, guess what peoples? Stephen Fry is a human being, with human failings just like the rest of us. If there’s anyone here who has never said and never does say anything foolish or ill-chosen, then being so bloody perfect and superhuman, you alone have the right to criticise others. But even then, nobody will like you, because you’ll be an arrogant prick  – and a boring bastard no doubt. Also, as intelligent and well educated as Fry is, and a celebrity does not make him superhuman, nor would he ever claim or wish to be. Another disturbing aspect of this is today’s cult of celebrity, where people hang upon every word of the rich, the famous, those in the media, and expect them to be perfect, when they are anything but. Some people need to take the message from the Strangler’s song No More Heroes, which is you shouldn’t have heroes, as being human, they will only let you down.

Fry’s work were indeed ill-chosen and illustrate he has no idea just how traumatic childhood sexual abuse and rape are. I don’t need to “grow up” as Fry puts it, I grew up a long time ago, while I still should have been enjoying my childhood. Do not ask me to recount my childhood because my mind has blocked out most of it – it is lost and gone forever. And no, that’s neither self-pity nor seeking pity; it is merely illustrating just how extremely traumatic it can be. It can indeed take the slightest thing to remind you, to set you off, or put you back into that dark time, and that is not for today, not for tomorrow, it is for your whole life, which is precisely why moving past the victim stage to become a survivor is so important. As long as you let it affect you, your victim is still ruling your life; moving past that removes that power and puts you in control.

But then, if there is anyone who should realise that, it is one gay English actor who happens to be bipolar, and who once had a West End show which received so many poor reviews that he basically spat the dummy, stormed off in a huff, and petulantly locked himself away for weeks.

Now, who was that again?

Oh yes – it was Stephen Fry.

NZ schoolgirls told to cover knees – from teachers

$$-AAA-001In 1955 Vladimir Nabakov wrote his controversial novel Lolita. The novel tells the story of the antihero, Humbert Humbert, having had a sexual encounter at an early age, becomes obsessed with young teenage girls, takes up a career as a school teacher, and marries a woman in order to gain access to her 14-year-old daughter Dolores, aka Lolita, with him he has become madly infatuated. After the mother’s untimely death, Humbert takes Lolita on the road with him, until she goes missing from a hospital, leading to Humbert hunting her down for two years. Very dark in it’s subject matter, the novel tells of Lolita fleeing an abusive partner, ending up pregnant, Humbert killing her abuser and Lolita dying in childbirth.

In the novel it is Humbert who insists that it is Lolita who manipulated and seduced him, when properly interpreted, it is she who is the victim of men unable to control their lusts. Since it’s publication in 1959, “Lolita” has been used as a common term for sexually promiscuous and manipulative teenage girls. And there is a common thread which goes right back to the novel; blaming the victim, which is an all-too-common trait sexual abusers of children.

So as both a feminist and survivor of childhood sexual abuse, when I heard the story of Henderson High School in Auckland, New Zealand, I immediately recognised a culture of blaming a victim, and worse still, became somewhat alarmed at the mention of adult males in the context of the story. This school has dictated to it’s female pupils that skirts must be worn below the knee, to prevent the male pupils becoming distracted. Now, it is not uncommon to hear this; it has happened in schools all over the world, and roundly needs to be criticised as it is the boys who need to stop looking upon the girls as sex objects; there’s the blaming the victim right away. What singles Henderson High out however, is the rather disturbing way they have gone a step further, and stated that this rule is also to prevent male teachers becoming distracted – by girls who could be as young as 13.

Sade Tuttle, a student at the school, states that a group of 40 girls were told by Deputy Head Teacher Cherith Telford after an assembly that the rule to keep skirts below the knee were necessary to “keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff”. And should anyone think that is but one teenage girl trying to stir up shit against her school, then it appears that her story has been corroborated, by no less than the Principal of Henderson High, Mike Purcell, who has stated that rules around school uniforms are “regularly enforced to ensure that all students and teachers can focus on their learning and feel comfortable in the school environment. All families are made aware of them when they enrol students. The rules include a stipulation that the hemline of female students’ skirts must be on the knee, no higher. This rule is in line with most New Zealand schools where uniforms are worn.”

Nobody is for one moment disputing the rules surrounding the length of school uniform skirts in New Zealand. It is the handling of this matter by Henderson High School which seriously needs to be called into question. Ms Tuttle said it best; “The rules themselves aren’t the problem; the problem is when these codes target girls specifically because their bodies are sexual and distracting”, as did another student, who stated that she went to school to be educated – not to be sexualised. A former pupil went further; “How about you stop telling 15 year old girls – that aren’t even legal to have sex – how sexual their knees are and how they need to cover themselves up because its a risk and distracting to male staff,” she posted on Facebook, “How about you don’t hire staff that are going to get aroused by a teenage girls knees?”

One has to ask what prompted Ms Telford and Mr Purcell to word the ruling in this manner? Were there male pupils who had made complaints? And worse still, were there male teachers who voiced their concern? In both cases, it is the boys and men who need to be educated not to look upon the female pupils as sexual objects. But if any adult male has brought the matter up, I would suggest that the professionalism of that teacher immediately needs to be called into question, because frankly, that is setting off a whole load of alarm bells in my head.

I am not for one moment denying that some teenage girls can be little minxes – it happens. Some girls can, do and will push the envelope wherever possible and see how far they can hitch their skirts up. Equally, young teenage girls can and do become infatuated with boys and even male teachers at schools. Just as some young teenage boys can and do become infatuated with girls and female teachers. And yes, they will go out of their way to dress in a way to show off their bodies – and their bulges (oh, hide it, for goodness sake – nobody’s impressed). Human beings are sexual creatures and in the nightmare of puberty, when our hormones completely screw up our minds and we start discovering our sexuality, it is quite common for this to happen. But when this does happen, the onus is always – always – upon the adult to behave like an adult and gently put the child down. And that is never more important than when that adult is a professional entrusted with a duty of care to those children. Anyone who denies that is behaving like Humbert, attempting to shift the blame onto Lolita. And if anyone cares to search the internet for court cases involving paedophilia and hebephilia (sexual attraction to pubescent or post-pubescent teens – Humbert was a hebephile, not a paedophile) then they will find that most defendants attempt this line of blaming the victim.

Some may think I am making quite a jump from school uniforms to actual convictions of child sex abusers. I say prevention is better than cure, and one has to watch out for the warning signs. If any teacher, or any professional entrusted with a duty of care to children, looks upon their charges with any degree of sexuality, that person is not fit for the post they are holding and needs to be removed and investigated. Should anyone think I am overplaying this, then consider that in the 1970s the rather sick Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) – who sought civil ‘rights’ for paedophiles and hebephiles – had a list of suggested careers for paedophiles; top of the list was join the clergy, second was to become a school teacher.

The whole issue goes deeper however, and surrounds the way that girls are sexualised from an early age. I recall once reading an article in one of my mother’s magazines which utterly horrified me. It was written by a mother trying to justify buying her daughter “frothy” undies, because “she just wants to be just like mummy”. There again was an adult acting without any sense of proportion, but then when there are firms and stores which produce and sell ‘sexy’ lingerie for little girls, it is yet one more symptom of the overall sickness. And no, I am not blaming the victim here, merely saying that adults need to act with some sense of propriety. Every little girl likes to make herself look pretty, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. But when that crosses the line from making herself look pretty for her own self esteem, to making herself ‘attractive’ for the attention of males who can’t control themselves, it immediately becomes a problem. No young girl becomes “Lolita” on her own; it is adults who make her so.

Yet society too owes a responsibility to that. The fact is that girls and women, are sexualised, sexually harassed, abused, and raped from tiny babies to the extremely elderly, at all times of day, in all kinds of environments, whether they are attractive or plain – and in whatever they are wearing. Even nuns in habits and Islamic women in full burqah and niqab are not immune from from the unwelcome sexual advances of men. And then of course, one has to ask what does and does not constitute seductive clothing. Well this can cover a great many things, including lingerie, mini skirts, boob tubes, basques, stockings, nurses uniforms, ermm – nun’s habits, and of course – school uniforms. Doubt the latter? Stores and online outlets selling sexual cosplay gear make a fortune out of ‘naughty schoolgirl’ costumes, Britney Spears got a number one on the back of a video of girls in school uniforms, Japanese anime is full of them, and the St Trinian’s movies (old and modern) did indeed sexualise schoolgirls in uniforms, as did The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

So, if school uniforms are already sexualised, if girls are already sexualised, then the Deputy and Principal of Henderson High School have openly discriminated against their female students and are now trying to hide behind the dress code for most New Zealand schools. They are in fact further blaming those who are already victims, when in reality they seriously need to address their own behaviours, as well as those of their male students, and more importantly still, their adult male staff, whom they may well wish to examine more closely, in order to root out any potential ‘Humberts’ – before it’s too late.

Why Edward Heath abuse allegations worry me

Edward Heath

Edward Heath

Unsubstantiated claims could harm many

Sir Edward Heath was Conservative Prime Minister from 1970 to 1974.  Seen by many as a progressive “one nation Tory”, he was fiercely in favour of Britain’s membership of what was then the European Economic Community (EEC) and the man who dismissed Enoch Powell MP from the Conservative Party for his notorious “rivers of blood” speech about immigrants.  He finally fell when he tried to take on the National Union of Mineworkers in a strike over pay.

Heath was also a bachelor, and one of the few British Ministers never to have married.  He was also seldom seen in female company, and this, coupled with unsubstantiated allegations about male friends, led to a great deal of speculation, even voiced in the media that he was gay.  Whether this is true or not, Edward Heath took to the grave with him in 2005.

With investigations continuing into sexual abuse of children by politicians and other high-profile people in the 1970s, allegations have now been levelled against Edward Heath, serious enough that there are now three investigations about his activities.

The first involves brothel madame Myra Forde, whom it has been claimed that, as one of her clients, she knew that Heath had a penchant for little boys and used this to blackmail him into getting a court case against her dropped in 1992.

The second is that Edward Heath was involved in a VIP paedophile ring operating in Westminster in the 1960s, with at least one person alleging he was a “core member”.

The third involves allegations that Heath used his yacht, Morning Cloud, to visit Jersey, a British dependency in the Channel Islands, to visit a home where it is now known children suffered systematic sexual and physical abuse.  It is further alleged that he took children aboard Morning Cloud to abuse them.

These are of course serious allegations, and given that it is now known there was indeed a VIP paedophile ring involving politicians in the 1970s, they deserve to be taken seriously.  The abuse of children in the 1970s was never taken seriously, which resulted in high-profile people such as Liberal MP Cyril Smith and DJ and celebrity Jimmy Saville getting away with molesting children with impunity.  Saville, once knighted for his charity work for children’s hospitals and at one time held up as a national treasure, is now thought to have been one of the most prolific active paedophiles in history, with over 300 cases reported – and people still coming forward.  Things are very different today, and however flimsy the claim, the police take these matters extremely seriously and one wishes them every success in their investigations.

So, as a survivor of sexual abuse and as one who despises Tories, why should this worry me?  Because of the connotations the abuse claims are already kicking up; that because Edward Heath may have been gay, and now child sexual abuse claims are being levelled towards him, people are already putting two and two together and coming up with five.

The internet is now awash with blogs and commentators on them by people stating that Heath’s dubious sexuality means he must have been a paedophile.  Therein lies the danger.  Unsubstantiated claims levelled, while there is an enquiry into VIP paedophile rings, people want to believe that Heath was guilty, and as he never married, and was alleged to be gay, he has already been tried and convicted by many.

Time to get things into perspective.

Firstly, and I cannot reiterate this often enough, the overwhelming vast majority of paedophiles are heterosexual men, many married with families of them own.  A child is – statistically at least – much safer in the hands of a gay man or a lesbian woman than they are in the hands of a heterosexual male.

Some of the investigations are spurious to say the least, with at least one accuser known to be a fantasist, and others based on hearsay.   The investigations apart, one of the more loony accusations that have been levelled against Heath is that he was blackmailed into the UK joining the EEC by people who had proof of him abusing kids.  These claims are made by right-wing Eurosceptics who cannot accept the fact that any Tory PM was pro-European.

There’s no proof that Edward Heath ever sailed to or set foot on Jersey, let alone visited the Haut de la Garenne Children’s Home.  Nonetheless, there is now one woman alleging that she saw 11 boys boarding Morning Cloud, and counted only 10 returning; the inference being that Heath murdered one of the boys – and of course not one of the other 10 ever saw anything and have never spoken about it.

Former Madame Myra Forde has denied any of the allegations.  Through her former solicitor, she has stated “For the avoidance of any doubt, Myra Forde wishes me to make it clear that she had no involvement with Ted Heath of any kind and has no knowledge of any misconduct on his part.”  and of the court case dropped, continued that the prosecution “took what, at the time, seemed a sensible decision that they could not prove their case and offered no evidence”.  Consider also that for the case to be dropped would need Edward Heath to lean upon the Crown prosecutors, when he was not in office, and really had no power.

Finally, and this must be sacrosanct to any allegations, as much as some of us may hate Tories with a vengeance, the rule of law is that the accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Edward Heath can no longer speak for himself, but like any accused his innocence must be presumed until proven otherwise.

I had no love for Edward Heath, as I have no love for any Tories, and I am not for one moment suggesting that he is innocent of the allegations laid against him.  Investigations are already proving that at the least it is strongly likely that he knew of a paedophile ring among MPs, and did nothing to stop that.  But then, he was not alone in that, with Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, and perhaps even Nick Clegg and David Cameron sharing that particular shame.

But to accuse a man who may – or may not – have been gay, and then automatically colour him as a paedophile, on the flimsiest of evidence, is to go down a very dangerous road indeed.  And a road that could lead to members of the LGBTQI community and single cishet men targeted by lynch mobs as potential paedophiles.  It happened once before in the UK in the 1990s, when red top newspapers whipped up public hysteria about paedophiles, and it could all to easily happen again.

Edward Heath was certainly a slimy bastard.  I recall him as Prime Minister, with the nightly power cuts and the oil crisis of 1973, with motorists lining up and even fighting for petrol rations.  He was a hapless Prime Minister and life was dismal under him.  He could have been a child abuser, and he may not have been – that is for the police to investigate and any enquiry, made congnisant with the full facts, to decide; not the public and certainly not conspiracy theorists and keyboard warriors, who however well-meaning, could end up hurting innocent people in the process.

Who is on trial? A suspected paedophile? Or LGBT and BDSM people?

_0Character assassination and trial by media can only ever hurt the innocent

I am somewhat disturbed at a story in Pink News, which concerns a Roman Catholic priest who is defending charges of molesting little boys.  Am I disturbed by the story?  Well, yes naturally, but the abuse of children within the RC Church is now so endemic that one comes to expect it.  What concerns me more is the level of journalism Pink News appears to have sunk to.

“Catholic Priest had huge gay S&M porn collection, court hears”, screams the headline; and my immediate and initial reaction is “So what?”

The story concerns Father Anthony McSweeney (68), who is defending charges that he molested three young boys between 1979 – 1981.  He has admitted buying gay S&M pornography during a visit to Amsterdam’s red light district, which he kept hidden until it was discovered by his housekeeper.

There is no indication of this pornography being of a paedophile nature, and if that is the case, then I completely fail to see what bearing it should have either upon the case, or Father McSweeney’s character for that matter.  I can already hear some of you shouting that he is a priest, he’s supposed to be celibate and an upstanding member of the community.  Yes dears, and first and foremost he is a human being, with the sexual drives and leanings of all human beings.  Oh, and by the way, if he’s tossing off to gay porn, he is still effectively being celibate.

If the prosecution is seeking to convict Father McSweeney, who denies all charges laid against him, then they are using the guilt by character argument.  And as far as the public is concerned, Pink News is merely helping them to do that.

Father McSweeney may be guilty for all I – and you – know, and he may well be innocent.  To attempt to destroy him by his character and by bringing his other sexual pecadilloes into the case however, could very well sway the case against him using an extremely low blow and on a completely false dichotomy.

Consider the case of silent film star Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and his part in the death of starlet Virigina Rappe.  On 9 September 1921 Virginia Rappe attended a party at a hotel suite rented by Roscoe Arbuckle.  That Rappe was a “good time girl” was no secret and it wasn’t long before she disappeared from the scene, as did Arbuckle.  She was found in a bedroom, bleeding profusely from her anus.  Her last words to other girls at the party were “Roscoe Arbuckle did this to me.  Don’t let him get away with it.”  She died soon after from a ruptured bladder and secondary peretonitis.  After three mistrials Arbuckle, accused of killing the girl by either vaginally or anally raping her, was acquitted of all charges.  His defence had been to prove that Virginia Rappe had loose morals, had several previous convictions, including extortion, and that veneral disease and, absurdly, cystitis, were the case of death.  The result was that a man guilty of the brutal rape (Arbuckle was hung like a horse, as well as being obese) of a young girl, walked free, purely because of the girl’s past character.

So it is that if Father McSweeney is tried on his character, because he is gay and has a penchant for sado-masochistic sex, then he is being tried on a false dichotomy which has absolutely no bearing on any paedophilic tendences he may or may not have.

That may have serious repercussions over who and what exactly on trial here.  Is it a priest accused of molesting young boys, is it being gay, or is it the BDSM lifestyle?  Most of my readers will already be painfully aware that the LGBT community in general and gay men in particular are often falsely accused of being perverts who prey upon little boys.  In fact, for those of you who are not aware, the opposite is true.  The overwhelming majority of active paedophiles who prey upon little boys are in fact heterosexual men. As case studies and statistics have proven, children are in fact much safer in the company of gay men.

Likewise, one would be hard-pushed to find anyone in the BDSM lifestyle who is sexually attracted to children.  BDSM is built upon trust between two or more consenting adults, who achieve sexual satisfaction through the willing subjection of the body and humiliation of the person.  I am not for one moment saying that there are not gay or sado-masochistic paedophiles; of course they exist, just as there are people with many sexual preferences who are also paedophiles.  No-one however could ever suggest that any child forced into gay or sado-masochistic sex would or could be a willing and / or consensual participant.  Yet by bringing the priest’s pornography collection into the case, it seems to me that the prosecution is immediately trying to make that correlation.

To attempt to make any such connection has the extremely dangerous potential to demonise both the LGBT community and those in the BDSM lifestyle (sometimes the same people) in both the eyes of the jury in the case, and worse still, the eyes of the public as sexual perverts who are a danger to children.

As we live in a culture of paranoia where parents see a paedophile on every corner (they’d do better to watch their own relatives and friends), such reporting can only serve to exacerbate the suspicion both LGBT are viewed with, at the very time children should be being taught all genders and sexualities are normal and something to be proud of.  To say I am disappointed in Pink News therefore would be an understatement.

The Pink News article can be read here:


Paedophilia: Not Natural, Not Normal, Not Even Sexual


I read only recently of a conference which took place at Cambridge University in July 2014 on paedophilia and hebephilia (sexual arousal from pubescent children and teens aged 11 to 15). So was this some scholarly conference looking into the root causes of sexual abuse of children, treatment of offenders, the effects upon their victims and care given to them? Not a bit of it. This was nothing but a bunch of paedophile apologists who try to claim that their vile practices are natural, normal, and in the case of some, beneficial and the ‘rights’ of children.

Amongst those attending was the Tom O’Carroll, who in the 1970s founded the notorious Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). No surprise there. O’Carroll, a former boarding school teacher and Open University lecturer, has often been under investigation by police for his activities. Among other things he distributed was a list of suggested careers for paedophiles. It will surprise few to discover that top of that list was to become a member of the clergy. More sickening was the suggestion of shoe salesman – to enable paedophiles to look up the skirts of little girls. In 1980 O’Carroll published a book, Paedophilia: The Radical Case, in which he argued that children had a “human right” to seek sexual partners and engage in sexual relations. O’Carroll has received several jail sentences for his activities, most of which have been ridiculously short, including 2½ years after being caught in a police sting which proved he had access to 50,000 indecent images of children.

Another attendee at the conference was Ken Plummer, an emeritus professor of Sociology at Essex University. In 2012 Plummer published on his personal blog a chapter from his 1991 book, Male Intergenerational Intimacy. In this chapter he argued,

“As homosexuality has become slightly less open to sustained moral panic, the new pariah of ‘child molester’ has become the latest folk devil… …Many adult paedophiles say that boys actively seek out sex partners … …’childhood’ itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.”

In those few lines alone, Plummer exposes his true nature; the manipulative nature of a paedophile, heavily in denial. He also proves himself to take a wholly unscientific approach to the subject.

Firstly, there is a huge difference between homosexuality and paedophilia. Contrary to the conference attempting to argue that it is “natural and normal” for men, paedophilia is neither. Whilst the “gay gene” is as yet an unproven, scientific research strongly supports the hypothesis that gender and sexuality are decided before birth, and therefore natural and normal. This is not the case with paedophilia, which far from being natural, is a “learned behaviour”, and it is neither normal, nor has much in fact to do with sexuality. Learned behaviours can range from perfectly harmless sexual activities between consenting adults, such as role play or BDSM, to dangerous predatory behaviours, such as stalking, rape, and of course paedophilia.  There is no paedophile gene.

But even then, paedophilia, like other forms of sexual assault, is not even primarily sexually driven. Paedophiles are in fact inadequate individuals, seeking to assert power over those unable to defend themselves. The paedophile, like anyone carrying out any form of abuse over others, be that verbal, written, psychological, physical, or sexual, deep down is a bully, and in the true nature of the bully, a coward.

Secondly, to attempt to equate paedophilia with homosexuality is not only a false dichotomy, it is one which is downright dangerous to members of the LGBT community. I take the point that Plummer is not connecting the two. That is not however how the vast majority of the uninformed cisgender / heterosexual population see it. All too often the LGBT community, particularly gay men, are accused of being child abusers. This stigma, fed by some religious communities, particularly among the Christian and Islamic faiths, leads to consequences for gay men ranging from being ostracised by their local community and even family members, to violent attacks and even murder. Discussing this matter with one friend, he stated that it is true that when parents discover that he is gay, they “look askance at their children”.

In fact, not only are the vast majority of gay men not paedophiles, the facts tell us that, statistically at least, children are safer in their company than that of heterosexual males. It has been continually proven that the vast majority of men who carry out sexual assaults are heterosexual, and even married men with families of their own, even those men who prey upon little boys. Indeed, case studies have shown that most men convicted of paedophile assaults upon boys, have expressed horror and disgust at any suggestion of them having sexual contact with other adult males. This only serves to underline the fact that paedophilia is not driven mainly by sexuality but rather by the craving for power over others.

Thirdly, of course paedophiles are going to claim that children sometimes approach them sexually. Paedophiles being extremely manipulative and heavily in denial, this is merely an attempt to shift the blame onto the victim, a common tactic used by a great many of offenders of many crimes, and certainly among sexual offenders, particularly rapists. Consider how often a defendant in a rape case has claimed “She was asking for it”, and how often the defence counsel has attempted to cast aspersions upon the character of the complainant. Sadly, this has too often proved successful and has seen many men guilty of rape walk free from court, but that is changing. We no longer live in the days when Roscoe Arbuckle walked from court a free man after his anal rape and manslaughter of Virginia Rappe, because his counsel showed her to be a “good time girl”. The character of any victim should never even enter the question when considering assaults upon them, and that applies as much to children as it does to adults who have been victims of rape.

And yes, there may be times when a child approaches an adult sexually. That however is not a green light for the adult to act upon that, but rather to behave like a responsible adult, and gently rebuff them. Further than that however, if a child is behaving overtly sexual, then that should set off alarm bells in the head of any well-adjusted adult. No child learns overt sexual behaviour naturally, but must have learned it from somewhere else, and that may indicate it is time to get the authorities involved. We have all heard the old jokes about nymphomania, yet not many are aware that it is a recognised psychological disorder, and the cause in most cases is sexual abuse in childhood. I recall reading of one case once, of a little girl who have been molested by both parents from such an early age that she considered sex normal and thought that it happened to every child. So it is that children subjected to sexual abuse and seeking closeness, will confuse sexuality with affection and compassion, and ‘come on’ to an adult. Any paedophile reciprocating the sexual advances in any such scenario is not standing by the “right” of the child to a sexual partner, as the apologists would claim; they are merely taking advantage of the situation to gratify their own perverted urges.

There may also well be a small number of cases where children, having learned a little about sexual matters may think they want sex but they obviously do not and cannot comprehend the reality of what they seek. I particularly liked the analogy one psychologist used for such cases; that of likening it to a kid wanting to drive a car. Many children love cars, which they see as fast and exciting. Yet only a maniac would allow a child to drive a car, and most children even if offered would be horrified or scared to death to even try, or if they did try would very quickly discover that they were in way too deep in a frightening situation, far beyond their control. Exactly the same applies to children making sexual advances. Again, it is cognisant upon the adult to act responsibly when children are in dangerous situations, and protect them from themselves.

Fourthly, the claim that “’childhood’ itself is not a biological given but an historically produced social object.” is unscientific in it’s very basis. One does not have to be a genius at biology to know that prepubescent bodies are not ready for sex. Vaginal or anal penetration can lead prolapse and a host of other physical problems both immediately and which may stay with the victim for the remainder of their lives. Extreme damage caused to girls through sexual assault can result in the inability to bear children once the girl reaches adulthood. Likewise the continued buggery of children can lead to fistula in ano, a particularly nasty and extremely painful small channel that develops between the end of the bowel and the skin near the anus. There is also obviously the dangers of vaginal and anal tearing, the pain and complications that can cause, and the dangers of spreading sexually transmitted diseases through the said tears.

Then there is the psychological construct. It may have escaped Professor Plummer’s notice but most kids are far more interested in playing with toys, turning a cardboard box into a pirate ship, and scanning the horizon for sweet shops, than they are seeking out partners. In other words, they are children, in every way possible, and to therefore claim that childhood is a “historically produced social object” is a nonsense. Going by Plummer’s twisted logic, there should have been no problems with children going down coal mines, up chimneys, working in mills and heavy industry etc. But is precisely because they were children that such terrible practices were ended.

Plummer is not the first paedophile apologist to use this particular argument, and it is deeply seated in the Victorian middle class construct, where children had their childhood stolen from them, were made to dress like adults, and behave not as children but rather as little adults. That of course was in the days when there were no stringent laws governing sexual behaviour. From those days came the saying “Children should be seen but not heard.”, whereas the reality all too often was that children were treated obscene – but not heard. By trying to deny that childhood is indeed a physical and psychological reality, Plummer would therefore seek to return to those days, happily in denial of the damage which was done to millions of children before society took steps to come down heavily upon it.

One of the main thrusts of the conference was that “paedophilia is natural and normal for males”. This is yet one more unscientific claim, for it is not only special pleading for male paedophiles, but it would either completely ignore the incidence of sexual abuse of children by women, or suggest that where it does occur, the female perpetrators alone are deserving of punishment.

Whilst the incidence of female paedophiles is much lesser than that of their male counterparts, it remains very, very real, and none the less damaging to the victims. There are radical feminists who try to claim that female paedophilia does not exist and where it has taken place, there has been a man involved who has been the main perpetrator, and the woman has done his bidding in fear for their life. Many such tried to claim this for Myra Hindley; that she was led on and made afraid by her partner, Ian Brady, as they abducted, sexually molested, tortured and killed five children in the notorious ‘Moors murders’ of 1965. Anyone believing that need only read the transcript of a tape discovered in Brady and Hindley’s house, in which she clearly ordered a little girl to strip naked and derided her as she did so. Again, the paedophile is not driven primarily by sexuality but power.

Of course, another absurdity in this claim is the fact that where couples who abuse children are involved, that the mother will allow her own children to be abused to save herself.  I’ve no doubt there are a minority of such mothers, but would suggest that they are very, very few indeed.  The overwhelming vast majority of mothers would sooner lay down their own lives to protect their children, even undergoing unbearable pain, than allow anyone or anything else to ever harm them in the slightest.

Such claims are also proved false by cases of single women child abusers, where no man is involved. A letter to Forum magazine from a woman named only Mrs JP of Leicester (and who was never traced), and which has since been repeated in many works of sexual psychology, claimed that she was a mother whose husband was often away on business trips. She claimed that as her children sleep naked, she had performed fellatio on her 11 year old son on several occasions, and finally, when he was scared one night she had taken him into her bed and, feigning sleep, had positioned herself so he entered her from behind. That she described the boy often having nightmares has led many psychologists to believe that the writer’s claims were all too real.

A case from the USA recounts that of a 45 year old single woman who expected neighbourhood boys to consider her “mistress without payment”. Her penchant started when she got hooked on heroin and would sleep with up to six boys per night, usually aged between 11 and 15, although younger boys would sometimes be brought along. Although she got herself clean of drugs, and managed to get a job, her habits had not changed and she was eventually convicted of having sex with two boys, one aged 13, the other only 8, after the younger told his parents.

More recent cases included a single mother in Scotland who made her 6 year old daughter suck her breasts while she masturbated, and a single American woman who had seduced a 9 year old neighbourhood boy, who even had his own key to her apartment.

We therefore see that paedophilia does not recognise gender boundaries, and to claim that it does is not only disingenuous, again it is deeply rooted in the denial which is part and parcel of the paedophile mindset. It is actually laughable when one considers it; to even suggest that being of one particular gender, a sexual activity is normal where it is not in another. That does not occur anywhere else in any sexual identity, so why should it pertain to paedophilia? Simply because it does not, because paedophilia is neither natural, nor normal.

In his book Bizarre Sex, renowned sexual psychologist Roy Eskapa affirms that even well-adjusted adults exhibit slight sexual arousal at the sight of naked children, and this is backed up with other studies. The amount of arousal however is so slight as to be imperceptible and most certainly not enough to categorize those tested as paedophiles, nor does this suggest that paedophilia is in any way a natural phenomena. And if the apologists are relying on such findings to support their claims, then they are stretching the point to the limits of incredulity.

Having been molested from the age of four, and anally raped when I was six, my basest reactions to the likes of O’Carroll, Plummer, and their apologist friends, is to have them ‘disappear’ one by one, where they can be beaten to the point of death, when they are pleading to die, only to deny them that death, allow them to recover, then repeat the punishment – and to do that over and over until their bodies can finally take no more. The more intelligent, more human, side of me tells me that I, and we as a society, must never allow ourselves to sink to their level. I am better than them; I am not a bully. Apart from which, where child molesters are caught, I take the same view of that of the famous Nazi hunter, Dr Simon Wiesenthal; that not only must justice be done, it must be seen to be done, openly and held up as an example to others. That is the way a civilized society acts. To do any otherwise is to make ourselves no better than the offenders.

And without for one moment being an apologist for paedophilia, I would opine that there may well be an argument for listening to non-active paedophiles. Whilst many may throw their hands up in horror at this, I would suggest that by doing so, we may very well be able to get them the help they require, and by doing so, we can protect more children from becoming victims. It would certainly be much more helpful than the sensationalist newspaper campaigns which occasionally take place, to ‘out’ paedophiles, which have more to do with increasing readership numbers than justice, and which have in the past led to innocent people being shunned, ostracised and even violently attacked. In one such case a woman doctor had her office burned out, purely because the sign outside read “Paediatrician” – that’s right, someone who actually helps children had her surgery burned out, purely due to a newspaper editor trying to increase sales, mass hysteria and public ignorance.

Offering help to paedophiles is of course a very contentious and controversial issue. Many politicians would be loathe to go near it, for fear of losing their parliamentary seat at the next election. But if it is explained carefully to the electorate that this is a way of protecting children, without just locking people up, out of sight, out of mind (and no, we’re not bringing back the death penalty – ever), at taxpayers expense, then it may well be the only road to go down. It should also be emphasised to the public that many paedophiles are in fact victims of childhood sexual abuse themselves, and are caught in the “cycle of abuse”. Therapy is the only way of breaking that cycle. Heavy-handed methods, public naming, and stirring up lynch mobs can only result in the detrimental effect of driving abusers underground, where they become invisible – and thus much more dangerous to society. Sexual abuse, like all forms of abuse of children, is certainly much more prevalent than many give credence to, and it is way past time all societies brought it out in the open and discussed it, rather than brushing it under the carpet and looking for “quick fixes”, which are not fixes at all.

There are various methods of therapy which could be employed, ranging from aversion therapy, in which the participant is taught to be repelled by their urges, to sexual surrogates, where the participant has contact with another adult, leading up to full sexual intercourse, which teaches that adult sexuality is there to be enjoyed, not to be afraid of.

Neither am I at all naive about paedophiles however. If society is to help them, then they must first admit that they need help, and with some of them, as the aforementioned conference illustrates, that is never going to be easy. As I have said before, and as myself and any other survivor of child sexual abuse can attest to, paedophiles are amongst the most devious and manipulative individuals on the face of this planet, and they are also heavily in denial. Any paedophile who makes a cry for help therefore must not only show they want help, they would have to be prove they are truly contrite and fully admit that they have a problem which they want to be cured of.

And that can only begin by not trying to claim that their urges are in any way natural or normal. Any paedophile who attempts that argument, whatever their gender or sexuality, is deserving of the condemnation of society, and if they are active, the full penalty of law.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, this has been my hardest ever article to write. I was abused at a time where children did not speak about it, and even if they did, they were generally not listened to, ignored, or told they were lying. Do not ask me about my childhood – I have blocked the vast majority of it out, even what should be happy memories, because they are tainted with sadness and fear. In the case of my abuser, he died before I could bring him to book, and I have always felt that death cheated me of justice. It has been a long, hard struggle, but I do see myself as a survivor, which I only achieved by reading widely on the subject. By doing so, I was able to assure myself that I was in no way to blame for what was done to me. Nonetheless, almost 50 years later, I still sometimes wake up crying as the demons haunt my dreams, as they no doubt shall do to the end of my days. That is the reality of paedophilia, of the damage it does, and for anyone to claim that to do that to an innocent child is in any way “natural” or “normal” is not only false and disingenuous, it is absolutely no justification for the life sentence I or any other survivor has been given, and which only we survivors know the full enormity of. Indeed, it is but one more deep and hurtful insult to each and every one of us.

And if anyone is repelled or upset by any part of this article, I make absolutely no apologies. It is frankly too important an issue to be careful about avoiding offending the sensitive nature of others.