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.
I just can't get over your thinking that young people some how need to be instructed in sex at all. Dirty old men controlling tribes and exploiting children are no different to dirty old men controlling cults. No excuse no difference.
"Where's your cultural relativism?"
This question makes me feel dumb - what does it mean?
Cultural Relativism is an important term in anthropological and social studies. As is often the case, wikipedia provides a usable summary, for a start.
Dirty old men controlling tribes and exploiting children are no different to dirty old men controlling cults. No excuse no difference.
Here is an excerpt from that article: "The critical function of cultural relativism is widely understood; philosopher John Cook observed that "It is aimed at getting people to admit that although it may seem to them that their moral principles are self-evidently true, and hence seem to be grounds for passing judgement on other peoples, in fact, the self-evidence of these principles is a kind of illusion". Although Cook is misconstruing cultural relativism to be identical to moral relativism, his point still applies to the broader understanding of the term. Relativism does not mean that one's views are false, but it does mean that it is false to claim that one's views are self-evident."
In any case, the more specific point here is that among cultures, what's considered acceptable vs unacceptable behavior also affects purported "victims" in a different, culture context, and different level of psychological "damage". How one feels about how they fit or not into their own, native culture is one of the most important measures of self-esteem, in any human culture. It's true, basic fucking needs no instruction. But socio-sexual protocols and practices in different cultures can still vary immensely, right down to their emotional effects in children and adults.
By the way, perhaps you and I agree about the harm generally caused by over-bearing paternalism and male aggression. I wish the world could see that as a species-wide problem that needs to be worked on, if we want to keep advancing as a civilization.
It's true, basic fucking needs no instruction.
Yes, but how to feel about it is very culture-bound. I see you basically agree with me.
I'm not sure what kind of double speak you're trying to pull off but it's my understanding and belief that any sex between two human beings, irregardless of age, is necessarily mutual in consent. It's preposterous for an adult to put a young pubescent in a situation where they feel obligated to participate in a sexual activity. The problem is not the physical interaction so much but one of potential mental anguish. It's asking too much out of a very young mind to comprehend the psychology of sex.
There's no double-speak going on. You're reacting like someone who grew up in the West to practices in cultures whose values are different from ours.
There is really no middle ground between feeling that our culture and our values are right and everything else is wrong because we say so, and cultural relativism.
I repeat, sex between two individuals should be always be consensual. Irregardless of culture, it is a despicable action to involve a young child in sexual activity with an adult. An example of this is the Middle East where very young girls, as young as eleven years old in some cases, are released to an absolute stranger for wedlock. Cannibalism and child sexual abuse are wrong anywhere on this planet as far as I am concerned. Call me old fashioned I guess.
Thanks for another opportunity to ridicule your view.
In a tribe where adults only live to age 35, a fifteen year old is considered an almost adult who is then brought into adulthood through tribal ceremonies. They will have adult responsibilities (making them also abusers by applying America's child labor laws in addition to our sexual mores, I assume).
I'm sorry you can't see the ridiculousness of applying 21st century law to the hard necessities of life of, for example, a stone age culture. It's too bad everyone can't live in 21st century America, isn't it. Let's make everyone toe our line and live by our laws because what we believe is universal truth, right?
Even here in the US, while one is able to give legal consent at 18 in many US states, did you know it's 15 in Connecticut and 14 in South Carolina, provided the teen's sexual partner is no more than 6 years older?
Age of consent is arbitrary and subject to local legislation everywhere be it here in Ohio, down in South Carolina, or somewhere 1500 miles up the Amazon.
The alternative to it being arbitrary and legislated isn't one you'll like: God tells us what the age of consent is, giving it some sort of cross-cultural universality.
In cultures where there's none of the real or vestigial Christian guilt about sex, it apparently doesn't damage the youngsters. However, Belle Rose is researching this. Let's wait till she returns with the evidence she seems sure will prove me wrong and that sex with people who would be too young in our culture causes psychiatric damage.
BTW, let's be clear. I'm against sex by adults with teens in the US and feel that 18 is a reasonable age of consent, but not because it's universally wrong (some sort of fact of Nature) but because of our local attitudes toward sex and the baggage, much of it related to Christianity. It makes sense here; it may not in some other culture.
You're still not listening, for whatever reason. It has nothing to do with culture or legal age. It is a matter of willingness on the part of the younger participant. If a child is coerced into a sexual act it is wrong. You don't seem to be concerned about their psychological health. Sad.
Or maybe you're not hearing me. The need for consent is US law and maybe something that applies to signatories of the UN, if you believe there's a world government.
In a society with a shorter lifespan, "adulthood" may of necessity be defined in a different way than it is here. What do you propose,that we send a boat 2000 miles up the Amazon and arrest them for child sexual abuse, to be tried where?
While we believe giving informed consent is a major issue, in their world this rite of passage may be understood by the teens and probably is looked forward to as part of becoming an adult member of the community. It may come along with going out and hunting dangerous game with the other adults. (Do you see a child labor infraction there?)
They almost certainly look forward to this rite of passage. They know it's coming and understand what's involved.
Why do we expect informed consent in our society? It's because a child may not understand the potentially dreadful social and psychological implications, but most of those implications are cultural, not natural, and involve secrecy, guilt, and shame, none of which may be present in a society that's radically different from our own.
I'm certainly not saying it would be right here, but only that it's not for us to judge a society that does things differently, especially when they are far better than ours at producing sexually well-adjusted adults than ours tends to be.
Every individual incidence of pedophilia probably carries its own baggage with it; shame, fear and for both sides, worry about getting caught or someone finding out. Furthermore, effects can be devastating and long lasting, even for lifetimes.
The incidences are distinctive from the individuals which are also distinctive of the demographic categories (ages, sexes, occupations, etc). All statistics derive from incidences though which must not be forgotten.
So incidences can certainly range from long lasting effects to mere minor offence with no lifelong problems. I once dated a girl who lived near a wooded running path. Apparently it was quite often frequented by flashers (men exposing their penises). It happened so often, that it became silly to the girls and women that lived along the path. It also happened in a way that made it difficult or pointless to report to the police, because it was remote from a police station (this was before the age of mobile phones). Their solution over time was to laugh and make fun of the flashers, and the problem slowly died out.
So this was a problem that some women could attribute to trauma or assault in individual instances, but as a group of regular occurences became comical to them. Further they handled it in an fashion that eventually dampened it back to a nuisance without ruining anyones lives. I don't know if those flashers just moved to a different location that was less humiliating, or if they went on to more heinous activities. For the woman I was dating, she considered the problem solved and carried no burden in her heart. One could easily imagine that visiting women to the area though were quite put out, and probably avoided the area as much as they could after finding out its issues.
So, without going into the myriad ways all of these things can play out, we, I believe could generally agree that even flashing, a relatively minor offence, could have a full range of responses. At one end could be my friends community solution, and at the other could be catching, holding and marking the offender as a sexual predator for the rest of his life. Both responses could result from a single offence.
You can see that legally this is too wide of a field to deal with, and the focus needs to be on the predator rather than the victim. So back to the OP, Dawkins could have a negligible effect, but it doesn't matter in the end. Pedophiles and other sexual predators should be dealt with according to their crimes, not to their victims response to the crime. IMHO
One of the main criteria for harm MUST be consent. To legislate that a human at the age of 17 years, 11 months is incapable of consenting to ANYTHING in the sexual realm is disgusting. The laws (often) further specify (in essence) that no human of that age could EVER have a sexual thought of their own - much less SEEK sexual contact with someone who may be a month older is equally disgusting. Disgusting Number Three: that someone in the position of the 18-year-old above could actually be thrown in JAIL for consenting to the MUTUAL attraction of someone a month younger. THIS HAPPENS in places like Kansas. Fourth nausea: That the person above, having served his or her time for these absolutely natural acts, must then be placed on a register of sexual offenders for the rest of their natural life, while the mass murderer next door, having served his time, is left alone.
This ALL constitutes MORAL PANIC and it ALL makes me want to puke.
Want to know something TRULY disgusting? If I lived in a jurisdiction within the United States of Freedom, I probably wouldn't have had the courage to post the above.