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.

http://www.salon.com/2013/09/10/richard_dawkins_defends_mild_pedoph...

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.

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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. 

Tags: Dawkins, Richard, pedophilia

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It's called the First Amendment and it still applies.

lol. That's sweet.

To be fair, Mass Murderers don't serve their time, they die in prison, eventually.

Manslaughter gets out in 5-12, I think.

@Angela Evangelia

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.

You need to read more closely. By describing a practice, it doesn't follow that I'm recommending it, although I think you'd have to admit that 2000 miles up the Amazon the entire populace of a people, and not just the teens, are not bombarded with sexual information the way teens in our culture are. They are not sitting there exchanging sex "info" in teen chat rooms, watching porn, etc.

Also, your characterization of dirty old men reveals that you view other cultures through the lens of the West, where even atheists view sex through Christian stereotypes and feel Christianity-generated guilt and shame, though in your case I think we might possibly add feminist stereotypes that view male sexual behavior as almost necessarily predatory. In many non-Western tribes (I avoid the judgmental term "primitive"), the aunts and female elders perform the same function as the uncles and elder men. (It's non-family members who do it because the aversion to incest seems to be virtually universal.)

From  Sexual Behavior in Pre Contact Hawai'i: A Sexological Ethnography:

The time considered “right” to start coitus was not so much based on chronological age as on ability or maturity (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 78). A male doing adult work or holding adult responsibilities was considered to be “old enough.” A young male who could grow taro or catch many fish was considered mature. A female’s first menses usually signaled she was ready for coitus if she had not already experienced it. Kamehameha the Great, who unified all the Hawai‘ian Islands, took his first “wife”, Ka‘ahu-manu, when she was 13 (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 78); he probably was several years older than she (Judd, 1976, p. 71).

As physical signs of maturity appeared. the young Hawai‘ian received more formal sex education. Among commoners, this education was traditionally and usually the responsibility of the tūtū wahine for the females and the tūtū kane (“grandfather”) for the males. Suggs (1966) elaborated on the early sexual experiences of pubertal males with married females in their 30s and 40s in the Marquesas Islands, who “take special pains to be pleasing and patient with them ... a source of enjoyment for many Marquesan women” (p. 61). For young females of the Marquesas Islands, the first coital experience reportedly is earlier than it is for young males before menarche —and occurs unplanned with an adult male (Suggs, 1966, p. 63).

Among ali‘i, an experienced chiefess, usually a blood “aunt,” instructed and trained the young males. Similarly, young females were trained by their “aunt,” by another experienced woman, or by a tutu kane. The training concerned not only what to expect and what to do but also how to increase or maximize pleasure. Less formal but similar training was afforded to commoners. There was practice as well as theory. A young male was taught “timing” and how to please a female in order to help her attain orgasm (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 79). A young female was taught how to touch and caress a male and move her body to please them both. She was taught how to constrict and rhythmically contract her vaginal muscles (Pukui, Haertig, and Lee, 1972, p. 79). Several of the informants who were interviewed remember being so instructed. One adult female told of being instructed on how to get her vagina to “wink.”.

These adult/nonadult sexual interactions were socially approved behaviors. Kamehameha the Great, again can be used as an example. Before he aligned himself with Ka‘ahu-manu, he had an infant, while “still a beardless youth,” by Chiefess Kanekapoli, a wife of Kalaniopu‘u (Judd, 1976, p. 71). The infant was welcome and was accepted without stigma, as was any pregnancy resulting from such unions (Handy and Pukui, 1958, p. 110). For adults not to have given such practical education would have been unthinkable - a dereliction of duty.

@Angela Evangelia  

"Where's your cultural relativism?"

This question makes me feel dumb - what does it mean?

It's "the concept that the importance of a particular cultural idea varies from one society or societal subgroup to another, the view that ethical and moral standards are relative to what a particular society or culture believes to be good/bad, right/wrong." (source)

In your case, you assume some sort of sinister motive behind a practice because that motive would be present in a similar practice in our culture whereas the behavior may have a totally different motive and meaning in another culture having an entirely different frame of reference and value system.

 

Hi Unseen

I've quickly skimmed throught this.

The first impression I get is, bull - fucking - shit on the whole thing. I'm so sick of these white washed stories making child abuse look like good parenting.

"One adult female told of being instructed on how to get her vagina to “wink.”."

So fucking what? How is that useful for the woman? Maybe it'll get her a job in a Thai brothel one day.

Chinese women used to bind their childrens feet to the point of crippling them just because the Chinese men thought that was sexeh. Just because the women carry a lot of this stuff out only goes to show how seriously exploited they are.

 Women everywhere are exploited and tricked by men.

Any culture that believes that their genitals hold magical powers are all mentally fucked up and they're using their magical genitals to exploit their people.

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.

 

 

 

P.S @Unseen

So if cultural acceptance plays a big part in whether a child would be psychologically damaged by having sex too early - then, that would mean that foot binding would not have caused the child any broken bones or trauma from having its feet bound because it was a culturally accepted practice at the time.

Did children from these cultures somehow develope different bones in their feet?

Do children from cultures that promote early sex have a different brain. Are they missing their Amagdala?

So if cultural acceptance plays a big part in whether a child would be psychologically damaged by having sex too early - then, that would mean that foot binding would not have caused the child any broken bones or trauma from having its feet bound because it was a culturally accepted practice at the time.

If you can't see the illogic in that argument, you are almost certainly one of the few. There's no parallelism at all.

I hope it was a rather lame joke on your part. I guess I'll assume it was.

I did some googling on amagdala + child abuse and the discussions seemed to be about prepubescent abuse. The societies I was referring to were having sexual coming of age ceremonies for pubescents at around 14 or 15, which would be awfully young in our culture (though 12 and 13 year olds are having sex with fair regularity nowadays), in a culture where you're "old" if you turn 40, adulthood comes sooner.

Anyway, let's maintain the clinical distinction: pedophilia applies to prepubescents only. Period. As for pubescents, then we are in a legally-defined area called statutory rape, and the age at which that charge can be made varies very widely here in the US, with even that bastion of conservatism Connecticut defining the age of consent to be as low as 14. Personally, 14 seems awfully low even to whatever kind of monster you think I am, but I don't even know how to criticize the practices of another culture.

Most anthropologists are amazed, when studying so-called "primitive" cultures, how mentally healthy and free of neuroses the people are. 

 

"Most anthropologists are amazed, when studying so-called "primitive" cultures, how mentally healthy and free of neuroses the people are." 

Really? Amazed are they?

In the UN Rights of the Child it has one set of rules for all children.

It doesnt have seperate rules for African children or Muslim children or even primitive children.

But Article # 30 in this list is a worry.

http://www.childrensweek.org.au/UN%20poster%20Jan%202008.pdf

I will get back to you about the rest.

 

 

 

 

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.

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