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.
What is a child is subject to local definition. In some cultures where lives are relatively short, adulthood comes sooner. Rights are always only of two types: legislated or imaginary. Only a God could institute objective and unlegislated rights. Legislated rights reflect the values of those who propound them. Correct me, but chances are great that a lot of tribes weren't part of the deliberations.
And yet, the human brain is only fully developed at age 25.
My mother was fucked up. She was from an old European culture that married their children off too early. Someone had sex with my mother before she was mature enough to understand what was happening to her. It prevented her from raising these children properly. It caused her deep psychological damage.
And it seems that, as a result, you can't approach these matters logically and with an open mind.
I feel most of the damage of incest and child sexual abuse is due to the aftermath of "Don't tell anyone or (something bad will happen)" and "A terrible thing has happened to you from which you'll probably never recover" and "Now you're damaged goods" and a whole plethora of guilt, shame, blame, and negativity.
But what about a culture where that machinery of damage simply isn't present? A culture that's never been exposed to notions like the importance of purity and virginity, for example.
Not understanding something doesn't per se cause life-lasting psychological damage or none of us would be halfway well-adjusted. We encounter things from our very earliest perception till the day we die that we don't and maybe will never understand.
You don't understand me, I guess, so I apologize for the psychological damage I'm causing you.
At least in those other cultures, like the Hawai'ian one described in that short quote, it's ceremonial, so it's not really something they don't, can't, or will never understand.
Your whole approach makes assumptions based on our Western beliefs, such as that these practices are a chance for elders to grab some nookie with attractive youths. Well, how do you know that in that culture youth is prized in the way it is in ours? Given that such cultures typically revere elders, the opposite is easily the case and it is the youth who are the lucky ones.
Anyway, back to cultural relativity. It is usually fallacious to apply our values to a wildly different culture and assume that what something would mean in their culture is what it would mean in ours, .
"And it seems that, as a result, you can't approach these matters logically and with an open mind.
feel most of the damage of incest and child sexual abuse is due to the aftermath of "Don't tell anyone or (something bad will happen)" and "A terrible thing has happened to you from which you'll probably never recover" and "Now you're damaged goods" and a whole plethora of guilt, shame, blame, and negativity."
Unseen - What you've said there is wrong -
My personal experience trumps your open mind - sorry.
Anecdotal evidence is meaningless.
Hi Pope Paul
In regards to culteral relativism.
I have to use my mother as an example again.
My mother accepted that what happened to her was part of her culture too. She loved her culture. She didnt complain about it and accepted that it was just "the way they did things". My mother was happy to repeat the early arranged marriage process with her own children too. My mother was unaware that she had a serious psychological condition. My mother was not able to raise her children correctly but she knew no better. The only thing that culture did for her was have her believe that being mad was normal. After all - all the other women in the village were mad too.
I've started to do some research on these old European patriarcle cultures and Ive had a good look at the women who come from these areas. All of the women seem to be afflicted with the Medusa Complex (stone faces).... And they dont know it.
"the Medusa Complex (stone faces)" - sounds frightening.
Think of Jacinta Saldanha. The British nurse in the royal prank DJ fiasco
Its the face of 'too much too soon"
and Im sure your familiar with this famous photo of the blue eyed girl that everyone in the western world views as a beautiful picture.. But all I see in her is trauma and horror.
The Medusa Complex - Too much too soon.
@Simon - When/If Belle accepts me into her PTSD group I will post an article about it.
"I feel most of the damage of incest and child sexual abuse is due to the aftermath of "Don't tell anyone or (something bad will happen)"
Oh Yeah - well watch this.
Angela, most of the abusers in our culture, which stands in the shadow of Christianity, rely on terror, which of course causes damage. And after that damage is done, the even worse damage occurs because it is ongoing and llifelong.
I'm not sure what Melvin has to do with my statements about tribes in other cultures, where it involves no shame or guilt and is done in a social context and not as a dirty little secret.
You seem time and again to bring up points that have us talking across purposes. I don't know why.
'I'm not sure what Melvin has to do with my statements about tribes in other cultures, where it involves no shame or guilt and is done in a social context and not as a dirty little secret'.
Do you think that its shame and guilt that caused those girls to develope those retarted features?
And since incest taboo is hard wired into a lot of tribes - I'd like to know which ones your talking about.
"You seem time and again to bring up points that have us talking across purposes. I don't know why."
Yeah - I know i do that - sorry.