In one of the interminable threads that devolved into endless discussions of pedophilia a couple of months ago, I raised an academic question about whether those who were commenting could come up with a reason why pedophilia was "wrong" without relying on a Judeo-Christian cultural context. The history, I argued, was that in Greece and to a lesser extent in Rome, pedophilia in some forms was culturally acceptable; only those pesky Christians managed to radically change the culture.
For me it was just an academic speculation, but apparently I was much closer than I had ever considered possible.
In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”
Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.
Child welfare experts responded to Dawkins’ remarks with outrage — and concern over their effect on survivors of abuse.
I'm just curious what people think? Even in the midst of the groping, fondling, and raping of kids, and hiding/covering up of the crimes which occurred among clergy of my faith, it was exceptionally rare that anyone actually tried to condone it as being harmless.
Yes THANK YOU kOrsan...Now it makes a little more sense where he's coming from. While I still don't agree with a hierarchy approach to sexual abuse in the way he's suggesting that his experience was less than those who've had truly traumatic experiences therefore he should overlook the incident as "mild" and ultimately not worth crying over....I no longer feel a sense of betrayal by a man who I've regarded as brilliant and who I have respect for. The article they wrote about him took it out of context and twisted it in an unfair way perhaps. I looked for the actual interview to watch but it is not posted yet...
That being said, I'm sorry, a pedophile, is a pedophile, is a pedophile....is a pedophile. I don't care if he gropes a little boy once or raped a thousand, the mentality, illness, and power/control issues are the same for them all. I believe that we shouldn't shrug it off, and I believe that making statements that minimize the effects on a person's psyche is inappropriate and NOT logical, because it condones an act that is unacceptable. His point of view may be well respected and hold truth in the sense that a victim's perception isn't always life long agony, but to say there were no lasting effects is WRONG. If there were no lasting effects the pedophile who groped him wouldn't have ended his own life, and his victims wouldn't have been talking about "the event" years later.
Different people deal in different ways. Andy Andrist for example is a comedian I like a lot who was molested as a child, and now it's part of his comedy routine.
"One problem with being molested by your paraplegic uncle is that often times you have to finish yourself. And because he's handicapped you don't know if it's rape or if you're just being helpful."
But I don't think people should tell each other how to feel about things like rape, especially when it's children, be it in a positive or negative way. Too many times when something bad happens to somebody the people around them focus on it too much, even if unintentionally, to the point where the person feels worse about it then they would have. And another thing that pisses me off is the cheapening of these concepts nowadays. Take the word "rape" for example which has itself been raped by feminists abusing it in every context. "Oh he was looking at me, he eye-raped me!" Some dumbass girl gets drunk and fucks a bunch of dudes, next day she remembers and regrets it and calls it rape. The problem is that if you start crying "rape!" every time some bozo ogles at you, then real rape victims lose their credibility.
And the same goes for child molestation and pedophilia. For instance so many people nowadays wrongly use the word pedophile to refer to men who are attracted to teens.
She was 17? You're a pedophile! I don't care if she was gonna turn 18 in just 2 days.You're a dirty pedophile!!
This nonsense is pushed especially by middle aged women who want to shame men for being attracted to younger women because they can't compete on the sexual market anymore and need to level the playing field. But because of nonsense like that, again, legitimate pedophilia gains credibility. When someone's called a pedophile nowadays it's almost ambiguous, and doesn't have to same impact.
"Did you know our neighbor is a pedophile?"
-"What'd he do, fuck that slutty 16 year old next door? Lucky!"
"No he fucked her 7 year old sister."
Oh well. Now to lighten the mood a little, here's one of Doug Stanhope's hilarious bits on child molestation.
It's not a hierarchy, it's degrees of severity. There's a reason why there are charges for manslaughter, 2nd degree murder, and 1st degree murder, because the punishment has to fit the crime. You can't burn someone at the steak for feeling up one little kid, no matter how bad it pisses you off. The situation is different however if the child was physically harmed, or even killed.
In any case, they should still be punished, but if you give the maximum punishment for the minimal offense, then that makes you a bigger monster than the perpetrator. Just a different kind of monster.
Once upon a time, being an atheist was grounds for punishment, anywhere from losing an eye, to death in the most horrible ways. In my own case, Homosexuals were experimented on by the Nazis, and killed all over the place just for being what we are.
And I know something of mental trauma. Nine years ago I was a psychotically depressed teen with suicidal tendencies. I prayed to god to make the urges that told me to hurt myself and others go away. These urges were so strong that to me they were voices, able to converse, but without sound, so not quite a hallucination. When I finally had the epiphany that there is no god, the voices shrank in size, and I was able to overcome them with a simple force of will. The world was put into perspective. I went from being a tiny, helpless little boy in a world that was trying to kill me, to an average size boy, in a world that was at best indifferent to him, and who had a few tiny and powerless mice trying to kill him. They were then very easily dealt with, and here I am today, un-medicated, and with a self image that's twelve feet tall and bulletproof.
Yes, victims may be psychologically damaged at first. But that is NOT permanent. The mind is the ultimate healer, especially in the early years of life. The fact that it's so malleable during that period makes it so much easier to repair. There's no such thing as scared for life, unless you let yourself be scared.
"Once upon a time, being an atheist was grounds for punishment"
It still is - as is being homosexual.
This SAME moral panic took place thirty years ago but then it was directed against homosexuals. Although a study could probably never get funding in such a political climate as this, I wouldn't be surprised if such a study showed that the number of people who might fantasize about someone under the age of consent is greater than the number of homosexuals. This WHOLE SOCIETY idolizes YOUTH. Why? Capitalizing upon the sexualization of youth is GROWING despite the moral panic.
How can people NOT see that stamping out such behaviour is every bit as likely as stamping out homosexuality.
I am really concerned about the way we idolize youth and sexualize children at younger and younger ages. I was in JC Penny's today and saw a shrug for a toddler, curved to accentuate non-existent boobs. Next to it was a more substantial version, but the black lace material neutralized any gains in modesty the extra fabric may have afforded. I honestly don't get how any parent would want their daughter, who hasn't reached puberty, to wear clothes designed to emphasize a woman's cleavage. I mean, WTF?
Well, all is not lost. There are other people who find this troubling--and not just in the, "must cover up daughters to protect purity until marriage, amen"-kind-of-way. I wish I could recall the name of these women I just heard about, but they started a clothing line for girls which aims to fall between "boxy or shapeless" and "form-fitting/too adult." They wanted clothes that their girls would "have room to be girls in." I thought that was awesome!
"twelve feet tall and bulletproof." - sounds good.
"Yes, victims may be psychologically damaged at first. But that is NOT permanent. The mind is the ultimate healer, especially in the early years of life." - you can't write these off so easily. It depends on the severity of the abuse and other circumstances. Some people would need several lifetimes to become healed.
You could say that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church continues to agree with Dawkins to some extent. Why else would certain priests continue to receive frequent and unannounced relocation?
While Mr. Dawkins turned out to be a successful & respected evolutionary biologist ,and who successfully raised his own children, his tendency to mitigate the impact of his personal childhood experiences could very well be a tool for coping with the psychological damage he incurred. The fact that he even remembers the event after all these years tends to indicate that it left a deep impression on him.
It would be difficult to agree with him that his experience was harmless. The confusion he felt then as a child seems to have stayed with him.
This is why it is so very important for all parents to teach their children to never be silent after anyone attempts to interact with them in a manner that leaves them feeling uncomfortable or compromised. It should also be taught that a feeling of guilt on the part of your child is not necessary or correct and they need to talk to you about what happened.
I remember accidentally walking next to a woman in a red dress at an airport, thinking it was my grandmother because she was wearing a red dress too. It was a completely arbitrary mistake that was quickly corrected by looking over my shoulder and realizing I was walking faster than my grandmother and was now a short way ahead of her. This was 18 years ago when I was 7. You'd be amazed at the redundant crap that people remember from their childhood, not because it was somehow traumatic or impressive, but because it just so happened to be remembered.
So I doubt that an intelligent man like Dawkins would be traumatized by a simple feel up, especially to an extent that it's still bothering him today.
In my opinion a LOT of the trauma of victims stems from the "therapist" (I was tempted to put a space in the middle of that word). Like lawyers, they live and thrive on animosity and conflict.
I wonder how many Greeks back in the day suffered a lifetime of mental anguish as a result of the SAME activities which, instead of being demonized, were accepted by their society as natural. My guess is that, unless the sexual activity was accompanied by violence or coercion, none.
What is it with people an their mistrust of doctors? My soon to be husband has very little respect for them, but My experience with most doctors tells me that they do their jobs to the best of their abilities. There are a few lazy ones, and I'd be surprised if many of them weren't greedy, but they tend to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, more often than not. I've seen a few therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists in my time, and the only ones that were bad at their jobs were the few christian counselors that my father sent me to, though that may be the fact that God was one of the things actually causing my depression, so I might be an isolated case.
Firstly "therapist" does NOT mean doctor. Pretty much anyone can call themselves a therapist. In our society, replete as it is with sexual guilt, when a therapist is charged with finding the harm done by early sexual activity, the therapist is not EVER going to declare their client psychologically fit and well. Their JOB is to find (or, failing that, manufacture) mental anxiety and conflict. If none can be found/instilled, they're out of a job.
I've always been amused and fascinated by the idea that the mere addition of a space turns "therapist" into "the rapist."