Uncommon Sense Edition 3
Uncommon Sense Magazine:
A quarterly digest of subversive minor-adult sexuality.
Edition 3, 1 Sep, 2009. PDF Version
- Editorials - Child Erotica and Morality, by Stephen James.
- State of the movement - Melsheimer Requests, Academia.
- News Digest - All around the Anglophones.
- Letters to the Editor - B4U-Act and Richard Kramer.
- On the forums - BC and GC.
- This 3½ months in anti-pedophilia - Not much happened.
- Links and recommended reading - UK criticises America, and a strident law editorial.
Happy reading. - The Editors.
Child Erotica and Morality
By Stephen James
Few aspects of the ‘pedophilia controversy’ seem more inflammatory than the issue of child pornography. And, like all the others, it is very much in need of less emotion and more rational thinking.
First, the issue of terminology. I use the term ‘child erotica’ instead of ‘child pornography’ precisely because I want to reduce that inflammatory effect. The former is a neutral term, unlike the condemnatory ‘pornography’. By child erotica I mean any depiction of children which involves their sexuality either suggestively or explicitly for the purpose of sexual arousal. The term can of course encompass written as well as visual erotica, but I am primarily concerned here with the latter, as the written form is nowhere near as controversial (except perhaps in Canada). I intend the word ‘child’ to be understood in a broad sense so as to include any person whose participation in erotica violates strong legal or social norms because of her young age.
My subject is the morality of child erotica in today’s society. One could equally well write about child erotica in an ideal society in which people, especially children, are freer than they are now. But that is not what I am concerned with here. I am concerned with the morality of child erotica in the society that we actually live in—the Western world in 2009. Because conditions in this situation are so different from what most of my readers would recognise as ideal, the answers I give are very different to the answers I would give to the question asked in relation to the ideal society. This should be borne in mind if my remarks and my language seem unduly conservative.
I should also make a brief remark about the term ‘morality.’ Some consider morality itself to be a rather dated notion, unscientific and subjective. Because of this, they may argue that morality should be kept out of this debate altogether and that we should instead attempt an objective and scientifically informed assessment of the consequences of alternative options. In substance I do not disagree with such people. It is just that I use the term ‘morality’ to refer to a way of thinking and behaving that is answerable to precisely such an objective critique, rather than discarding the use of the term. I certainly do not mean to endorse the concern with (often prudish) ‘morals’ that this word may suggest to some people.
There are two major questions that need to be addressed. The first concerns the effects of child erotica on sex offending, in particular: does its use make offending more likely? The second is about its effect on the child participants: does it humiliate, degrade or otherwise harm them to a degree that justifies its proscription?
The answer to the first question might appear obvious. Surely, it will be said, permitting adults to view sexually explicit representations of children is likely to cause them to want to commit child sex offences, at least in the case of those adults who, by their nature, are disposed towards such actions in the first place (‘pedophiles’). This would include previously ‘latent’ pedophiles who, when exposed to such material, may become aware, perhaps for the first time, of their own desires and possibly also receive an impression of the ‘sexual availability’ of children that would seem to facilitate and even justify the realisation of those desires. As far as the already active pedophile is concerned, viewing child erotica could be expected to increase the likelihood of further offending, by arousing the desires that often lead to such behaviour.
But in reality, things are not as simple as this. While there must certainly be a tendency for the act of viewing child erotica to lead to sex offences there must also be a tendency in the opposite direction. For child erotica can be, and presumably often is, used to release and thus temporarily dissipate, sexual desire (at least in the case of males). During the period in which the subject’s desire has thus been virtually eliminated, he is clearly in no danger of offending. The crucial question is: what is the net tendency: an increase or reduction in offending? One study showed an overall tendency for offences to decrease when subjects were exposed to written child erotica but I am not aware of any systematic large-scale studies that really enable us to answer this question for child erotica in general. At present we can only guess. If someone were to suggest that child erotica should, under supervision, be made available to offenders who appeared genuinely intent on changing their behaviour, I do not see that there would be a strong argument against this. It would not be convincing to argue that it would be ‘too risky’, since even to say this would be to overlook the ‘risks’ involved in not exposing offenders to child erotica (possible extra offences caused by their inability to release their desires). Obviously such a measure would not require any new child erotica to be produced--already existent material would be quite adequate.
I now turn to the second question concerning the harm allegedly done by child erotica to the children involved. The possible sources of harm are as follows:
- Harm caused directly by their involvement in the sexual or sexually suggestive acts.
- Harm caused by the possible discovery of the child’s involvement in the production of the erotic material, particularly if its circulation leads to their identification and to consequent anxiety, humiliation or worse.
Taking these in order, the question of harm directly caused by the activities involved must obviously be considered in relation to some genuine understanding of what these activities typically are. And here popular preconceptions may be in need of correction. Most people appear to be under the impression that almost all child erotica (besides relatively tame nude shots) depicts sexual acts between adults and children. They might be surprised to discover that in fact a great deal (perhaps most) depicts children having consensual sex with each other. That this is a well-kept secret is testimony to the success of a strong propaganda drive supporting popular prejudice against this sort of material. But the truth of the matter is directly relevant to the question of direct harm. Rightly or wrongly, most people appear to believe that having sex with an adult is always harmful to a child. This view, combined with the idea that child erotica typically involves such sexual acts would support the conclusion that child erotica is typically directly harmful to the child participants involved. In contrast, there are not nearly as many people who would maintain that consensual sex between children is typically harmful to those children (though admittedly some would, particularly, perhaps, in the case of homosexual contacts).
However, the discussion of direct harm cannot terminate at this point. Even if sex between children has less potential for harm than sex between children and adults, that potential still exists. Children may feel guilty and ashamed of their involvement (even if they are never recognised in the pictures or films—we have yet to consider that aspect) and this has to be regarded as a significant moral drawback. Additionally, there may in some cases be elements of coercion behind the children’s involvement. Are there likely to be any significant moral gains to outweigh these considerations? It may be that some children enjoy appearing in such photographs or films, that it makes them feel ‘special’ and important and this may be helpful to them if they have low self-esteem. It is hard to weigh these different factors, particularly as different children will react in different ways. So let us turn to the other type of harm identified above, the risk that the child’s involvement in the production of the erotic material is discovered.
The dangers of harm here are very significant. The possible effects are similar to those of the revelation of a child’s involvement in any illicit sexual activity—guilt, humiliation, ridicule and so on--but the risks are greater because of the existence of a physical record from which the child can be identified and her involvement proven beyond doubt. On the other hand, it has to be conceded that the operation of the criminal law is a major factor here. As long as erotic images of children remain in the hands of those who seek access to them for the sake of enjoyment, the risks of humiliating exposure are rather minimal. But (as NAMBLA once argued), when they fall into the hands of police and social services, who will typically seek to identify the subjects (on the pretext of ‘saving’ them) the likelihood of the children’s exposure is much greater—in fact it is virtually certain that their involvement will become known at least to their parents, often with much pain and heartache resulting. One may therefore reasonably ask whether, if the laws banning the production and distribution of this sort of material did not exist, there would still be a significant problem associated with possible exposure.
I shall leave this question open, but will reiterate my earlier point that there seems to be no good reason why existing child erotica should not be supplied in a controlled way to child sex offenders who genuinely want to change their behaviour. It would be comparable to the practice of treating heroin addiction by putting the patient on a course of methadone. I do not mean that having sex with children is really like heroin addiction, but it might be some sort of progress if the public came to see it that way. Of course it seems unlikely that such a measure would be adopted in the near future, given the lack of influence that clear-headed thinking currently has in this area.
State of the movement
The formation of a new social network based on the free Wordpress system has been delayed, as its administrator is otherwise occupied. The project has a long term aim of giving minor-attracted people their own personal spaces on the web, and enhancing communication between them and the wider public.
Michael Melsheimer - a politically active, self-outed Teen Boy Lover continues to make legal requests on the information of charitable US organisations such as Perverted Justice. The purpose of Melsheimer's requests is to review the organisations' initial applications for 501(c)3 status and to uncover any possible inconsistencies as to their charitable activities. It will also be interesting to see if the organisations challenge Melsheimer's right to have the documents, because he is a minor attracted person and a convicted child sex offender.
A Swedish pedophile (it seems) has taken to blogging about his life as a day care worker. Aftonbladet (gutter press) chimed in with a condemnatory editorial, translated here.
PNVD's Norbert de Jonge and Ad van den Berg (see here) have been in interview action - as the Netherlands press and academe maintain an interest in the more controversial aspects of their political party.
Taylor & Francis Group, the new owner of Haworth Press , publisher of Journal of Homosexuality' has reversed the Haworth's original decision to publish a special edition on pederastic relationships, leaving a group of academics without press for the second time.
- "Nearly four years after an academic journal nixed plans to publish a piece about sex between adult and adolescent males of antiquity, the controversy is erupting again. This time, however, it’s not conservative critics yelling the loudest. A group of classicists, now twice thwarted in efforts to publish on the provocative subject, have taken aim at one of the world’s largest publishers, saying Taylor & Francis Group has placed reputational concerns above the legitimate scholarly pursuits it ought to promote.
- The story dates to 2005, when Haworth Press announced amid heavy criticism that its Journal of Homosexuality wouldn’t publish an article or book chapter about sexual relationships between men and boys in antiquity. Critics had learned of a particularly controversial piece in the forthcoming collection, which would argue that such relationships “can benefit the adolescent” in certain circumstances, prompting allegations that the author was advocating child molestation. Those allegations were trumpeted first and loudest by the Web site World Net Daily, whose readers vigorously complained to Haworth.
- Scholars have for decades explored the implications of "pederasty," a common practice in ancient Greece wherein men and adolescents, who were frequently slaves, had sexual relationships. The difference in the journal's piece, however, was that Bruce Rind, a former professor of psychology at Temple University, appeared to suggest such relationships might be healthy -- even in modern times."
The uproar seems to have subsided, as the unpublished authors undoubtedly search for new avenues of publication. Further commentary can be found at Advances in the History of Psychology and Inquisition 21.
Proposed changes to the DSM could have significant implications for the political status of minor-attraction. The DSM-V's paraphilias workgroup, chaired by Ray Blanchard, is set to expand the diagnosis of pedophilia into "pedohebephilic disorder," in effect pathologizing normal attraction to "children under the age of 15." Such a diagnosis could be used to commit sex offenders to permanent, post-sentence "hospitalisation" on recognition of their sexual behaviours with sexually mature youth. On the other hand, the apparent distinction between simple pedophilia and pedohebephilic disorder may be positive. According to Blanchard, "only problematic paraphilias would be called paraphilic disorders." He then "propose[s] to use the verb ascertain when talking about paraphilias and the verb diagnose when talking about paraphilic disorders," and goes on to use the phrase "ascertaining pedophilia" rather than "diagnosing pedophilia." The committee's finalized proposals will soon be published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, along with professional commentary.
Sarah Goode's book (20-page sample) is finally out, after months of collaborative research with members of the BoyChat and GirlChat communities. On viewing the sample, most respondents on our forum agreed that Goode's text was discourse-bound and lacking in philosophical grounding. Some thought that the book may be put to some good use after all.
- "The research might, perhaps, have been a useful endeavor in more capable hands, but Dr Goode was the wrong person to conduct it, lacking the intellectual breadth to contextually situate the results of the research, and finally collapsing under the weight of her discursive entrenchment. [...] she express gratitude for the work of Perverted Justice. [...] One might also remark on the more disingenuous hypocrisy of claiming to give a 'voice' to those who have been silenced, while simultaneously making it clear that what that 'voice' is saying is 'wrong'. What is given with one hand is entirely negated with the other. [...] Fuck her bourgeois 'compassion'. I don't want, or seek, society's 'tolerance' (awarded on the basis that I acknowledge that I'm 'diseased' and submit to treatment for my 'disorder'). We don't need 'the pedophile' to become 'more human'. What we need is the subversion of every essentialist concept ('sex', 'sexuality', 'adult', 'child', etc) that impose a prison of identity that seeks to capture and reterritorialize flows of desire. There are theorists out there who understand this, and who are moving in that direction; let's focus on them and forget Goode...unless she can be broken out from her narrow, petty dogmas, she will do nothing to liberate young people." - Strato.
- "I must admit, I'm a little worried about her stance on the level of child (then coming to a conclusion of what a child is) I can almost guess what she is going to say when she mentions the word 'maturity'." - PiedPiper.
- "Aside from all that is wrong with this treatise, the author and me agree on one point [...] I've said over and over that child sexuality is different than adult sexuality, but it's "sexuality" nonetheless. Here's what I agree with: that adults impose and project many adult-centric perspectives onto childhood and children, pedophiles being no exception". - Crake.
- "[I]t appears that the book is a mixed bag. She does seem to strenuously argue against hatred for pedophiles and show sympathy for young teens realizing they are attracted to young children. But then this is contradicted by her endorsement of PJ, the most well-known pro-hate-pedophiles organizations there is. Here's another thing that's disturbing: In Goode's acknowledgment section, she writes, "In particular, I would like to thank the following individuals specifically for reading and commenting on sections of the book as it progressed:... Judith Reisman,..." For those who don't know, Judith Reisman is well-known among American sexologists as a rabidly homophobic crackpot who has been attacking the Kinsey Institute with all kinds of ridiculous claims." - Richard Kramer.
For a more generous response, see "On the Forums" below.
Criminologist and researcher Philip Birch came to an interesting conclusion during the quarter: "Sex offenders are just like the rest of us". And finally, here is a link to the Endrass study in our Australian Media section - its key finding being that viewing child porn is not a risk factor for future sex offenses.
In August, Newgon.com got hit on like a fourteen year old boy in a gay bar, our most successful ever in terms of unique viewers, over 400 visits a day and growing.
A new French section has been added to the forum. This has been moderately active in its first few days, and will be moderated by Boeotia, who continues to work on translating content from the English NewgonWiki. We don't want to rely on translations, though, and that was one of the motivations behind increasing the accessibility of our site in French. Eventually, one hopes, Newgon.com will have self-sustaining communities in a number of languages.
NewgonWiki itself is still growing, despite the relatively small number of editors. BoyWiki facsimiles have been the staple of the last few weeks editing. We have sought to draw more people into the site by tidying up the front page and programming every page to display an invitation to potential editors.
Flag proposal 2009 continues with further solicitations on bulletin boards. We now have members ready to hold votes on nearly every relevant board.
Readers will also see that PDF versions of Uncommon Sense's back-copies have been made available.
This quarter saw the return of vigilantism to the headlines in both the US and UK. America is unwavering in its love,love,love-hate relationship with sex offender restrictions and what seems to be an interstate competition for bizarre and punitive legal systems. Britain is finding yet more new ways to "think of the innocent children" without mentioning molestation, whilst Canada and Australia remain strongholds for the child savers. Our digest also includes a large number of stories from those territories not yet fully colonised by a CSA orthodoxy.
From the US - Penny pinching, PJ, state-funded violence and extreme pettiness
- "A mob of furious neighbors of an 11-year-old girl raped on her way to school in Philadelphia won't be charged for beating a man wanted for questioning in the case.
- Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said Thursday that no charges will be filed against the group of about a dozen residents of the city's West Kensington section who attacked 26-year-old Jose Carrasquillo.
- Carrasquillo hasn't been charged with rape but was arrested on an unrelated warrant. Ramsey said investigators have forensic evidence and witness identification placing him at the scene of Monday's attack.
- Ramsey said he made the decision not to charge the residents based on the severity of the man's injuries. He also factored in the neighbors' intent and the high level of emotion in the community. But, he added, he doesn't condone violence.
- The crowd pummeled Carrasquillo for several minutes on Tuesday with wooden sticks, their hands and their feet before police arrived to take him into custody. The attack was videotaped.
- Philadelphia Police Lt. Frank Vanore said authorities did the right thing in publicizing their desire to talk to Carrasquillo. He noted he was wanted on a bench warrant and had 17 prior arrests."
- "A dozen neighbors were so outraged by the rape of an 11-year-old girl that they chased a suspect and beat him, holding him until police arrived. Two of them were honored with an $11,500 police union reward even before the beaten man was charged in the girl's assault.
- They roughed up the first man they targeted — not Carrasquillo. Later, in an altercation caught by a store surveillance camera, they found and confronted Carrasquillo, beating him with their hands, feet and what appears on the videotape to be a board or a large stick. Carrasquillo was taken to a hospital in serious condition and was released into police custody two days later."
- "Salt Lake City - Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act - in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.
- The Ogden, Utah, girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her.
- "The only thing that comes close to this is dueling," said Associate Chief Justice Michael Wilkins, noting that two people who take 20 paces and then shoot could each be considered both victim and offender.
- And Chief Justice Christine Durham wondered if the state Legislature had intended the "peculiar consequence" that a child would have the simultaneous status of a protected person and an alleged perpetrator under the law.
- At Tuesday's arguments, Matthew Bates, an assistant Utah attorney general, argued the prosecution of the girl was not unreasonable. He said the statute in question is designed to prevent sex with children who are 13 and younger, even if the other person is in the same age group.
- By passing that law, legislators were sending a message, Bates said: Sex with or among children is unacceptable."
- "With the civil commitment of convicted sex offender William Ploof, New Hampshire has joined the nearly 20 states that have gone down an extremely expensive, marginally useful and legally dubious path.
- Ploof, who has already served his full sentence for his crime, was ordered last week to spend up to five years in a section of the secure psychiatric unit that operates behind the Concord prison’s walls but is separate from it.
- He will ostensibly receive individualized treatment from a range of experts who will endeavor to cure him of what a jury decided was an irresistible compulsion to molest children.
- There are a host of things wrong with the state’s new law. The worst is that it was created to lock people up for what they think, or worse, for what others think they are thinking – not for what they did, but for what they might do. And once committed, studies from other states show, only a small percentage of offenders are ever released."
- If the system functions here as it does everywhere else, if that is, a handful of people are freed and the rest grow old behind bars, the cost will become enormous. Of the 3,600 civilly committed sex offenders locked up as of 2007, only 57 had been released.
- The annual cost of civil commitments in states that have had the law for a while has escalated rapidly and consumes resources needed for other programs.
- Turning back is difficult once a state goes down the civil commitment road, but it’s what New Hampshire should do. Longer sentences for serial offenders and sentences that include in-community treatment programs with heavy monitoring are better, fairer and less expensive options than keeping people locked up after they’ve paid for their crime."
Adult body + child head = CP = Guilty, Businessman finds homes for other sex offenders, Panel passes child porn bill (unusual), Mental health crackdown on civilly committed man's mainstream porn, Jail proposed for simply accessing social networks, FBI Targets Scammers Posing as Minors to Target Would-Be Pedophiles, Court: Hebephilia cannot be used as a basis for civil commitment, 18-year-old retard given straight-100 for fondling, Former Official Criticizes Sex Offender Registry Board, Anatomy of a Child Pornographer (Feature on "Sexting"), Deadline extended for offender registry (USDoJ), Offenders (to) pay cost of ankle bracelet monitoring, A Reluctant Rebellion (US CP sentences), Appeals Court Backs Prison for E-Mail Obscenity, 'Decoy' (v. Erck) ordered to explain missing evidence, CA court: SVP defendant must be competent, (Rebellious) Science article on Erotic Age Orientation, Former ‘Perverted Justice’ Member Arrested for DDoSing Rolling Stone, Court to decide federal sex offender law, 77 arrested in Florida child porn crackdown, Court fines man to stop him appealing (thinly veiled excuse), Experts question links between images, assaults, Miami-Dade sued over evicting SOs under a bridge, Court: Homeless not subject to Megan's Law, Louisiana man guilty photography with bad thoughts, Minors in R.I. can be strippers, Texas Daycare Panic now looks shaky, What Children's Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, Meaning of Life, Alamo convicted, Convicted Sex Offender Data Goes Corporate, Lawsuit: Cops tasered 3 kids, threatened one with sodomy, Child Victims Act Is Derailed After Bruising Fight, Ritual child sex cases: lessons, Michael Jackson had jab to curb sex urges for young boys, Report looks at sexual curiosity in children, Advice to Parents: Don't Panic Kids' Interest in Nudity Is Normal
From the UK - Police State vs Kiddy Orgasms on the NHS
- "There are some unspeakably vile people amongst the thousands of men swept up by Operation Ore, the police's extensive investigation into paedophilia and child pornography. But it is becoming increasingly clear that a substantial portion of those who were convicted of offences such as "incitement to distribute indecent images of children" had committed no crime at all.
- Thirty-five of the accused committed suicide. It's not easy to think of many things that are worse than being convicted of a paedophile offence when you are innocent of that ghastly crime. Once you are stamped as a paedophile and placed on the Sex Offenders Register, you will probably lose your family, for your wife will divorce you, if only to ensure she can keep custody of the children whom you will now be forbidden to care for. You will lose your friends and you will lose your job.
- That's exactly what happened to dozens of men who either pled guilty or were convicted as a result of Operation Ore. The sole evidence against them was that their credit card details and computer passwords were found on the list of subscribers to websites with such repulsive names as "child rape".
- What could be clearer evidence of guilt than that? As their solicitors told them, it did not matter that their computers had been examined and found to be free of child pornography, or that they could produce alibis to show they could not have been at their keyboards when they were supposed to have signed up for the child porn. Judges and juries found the electronic data irrefutable.
- But the electronic data wasn't irrefutable. One simple possibility appears not to have occurred to the police or any of the lawyers assigned to the accused: that they had been the victims of identity theft."
NHS tells school children of their 'right' to 'an orgasm a day', Potentially Dangerous Persons (PDP) policy targeting non-criminals deemed "at risk" of committing a sexual offence, Evil destruction' of a happy family (caring CPS), Two sex offenders killed after attacks by vigilantes, Cops and ISP in paedophile data mix up, British paedos should be castrated ... like us, Fears brushed aside as ContactPoint child database launched, Big Brother database (...) may ruin innocent lives, Home education 'may be cover for abuse', Scotland drops plans to legalise teenage oral sex, Spy on beasts, New sex crime chief's warning for perverts: We're after YOU", Sexualised primary pupils worry Ofsted, Plymouth Nursery CP Scandal (female offender), Ads encourage paedophile checks, EU body urges cross-border laws against sex offenders, British children's authors boycott school readings, The kiddie sex beasts (yes, children targeted by The Sun), Kiddies on TV hysteria, Female sex abuse: The untold story of society's last taboo, NSPCC flagged for publishing bogus statistics, Public schoolgirl: I'm in love with lesbian teacher facing jail over me
From Australia - CP Studies
From Canada - "Sex Tourism", ISPs
Public's apathy enables sexualization of children, New bill could allow police access to Internet service providersFor todays pedophiles its all too easy, Feds want all sex offenders to submit DNA samples, Rename 'child porn' crimes: report, Is pedophilia a product of nature or nurture?
From Brazil, Bali, Kenya, Jamaica, S. Africa, Sri Lanka, Germany, Italy, Russia, France, New Zealand, India and Ireland - Prostitution, Pedophilic statue, name and shame, G8/CP & NGOs
- "Brazil's Supreme Court has nullified penalties against two men accused of paying children to have sexual intercourse with them.
- "LifeSiteNews.com reports the men, one who is a Brazilian sports celebrity, paid two young girls -- one 12 years old, the other 13 -- to have sex with them. The court ruled it was not a crime. Rick Schatz of the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families believes the court's ruling is wrong.
- "These girls were willing to engage in prostitution; therefore, [said the court,] it's not a crime. And to make the statement that this is the oldest profession around and it's considered to be barely a moral abuse but never a crime," he recalls the ruling.
- Rick Schatz (NCPCF)That is one way of saying a child involved in prostitution is of lesser value than one who is not, Schatz laments. He is concerned the court's ruling is almost a license for abuse and exploitation to be committed without punishment. For example, he says, a pedophile could victimize a girl, claim that she had agreed in exchange for money, and pay no penalty for the crime.
- "The Brazilian court has essentially turned its back on protecting the children of their great nation," Schatz contends. "This is a crime against the children of Brazil, and frankly the court ought to be held accountable for such a terrible decision."
- Even the United Nations has expressed concern about the ruling."
Statue 'incites paedophilia' (Kenya), Law body wants sex offenders' records to be wiped (Eire), Salem comes to Ireland, NGOs best suited to tackle child abuse (India)Sex pests will be named & shamed (RSA), An insight into child porn (Wikileaks, Germany, trans), Blocking access to child porn doesn't help victims, expert says (+ German law to that effect fails to pass), G8 wants tougher fight vs child porn (Rome), The coming age of internet censorship (Wikilinks, France, trans), Authorities Speak Up Against Child Sex Abuse (Russia), Sri Lanka for tough measures against child pornography, Internet filter sparks outrage (NZ), The Jamaican CP bill has passed, Paedophilia a `real threat' for Balinese
Letters to the Editor
Contact us in response to anything in this, or previous copies of Uncommon Sense. Even dissent is welcomed!
- "Dear Editor,
- Thanks for mentioning B4U-ACT's third workshop in your "State of the Movement" section of Uncommon Sense (Edition 2). We'd like to elaborate on your correct statement that B4U-ACT has not taken a public position on de-pathologizing pedophilia. In fact, we haven't taken a stand on many things. That's because we have a fairly narrow focus: promoting dialog among minor-attracted people (pedophiles and hebephiles) and mental health professionals. Members of both groups may disagree on de-pathologization and many other issues.
- One of the few things we do take a public stand on is the humanity and worth of minor-attracted people, and the need to reduce stigma, stereotyping, and demonization of minor-attracted people. (See http://b4uact.org/principles.htm.) We believe this should be the case regardless of whether pedophilia is seen as a disorder. For a publicly-funded organization to take such a stand is a significant accomplishment; we know of no other organization in the world that has done so.
- However, we were pleased when the mental health professionals assembled for our second workshop said that professional language will be more productive if it "does not pathologize the attraction to minors" and that minor-attracted people should "accept themselves, reclaim words, and become involved in changing the discourse." (For details, see http://b4uact.org/workshops.htm and scroll down to "How Do We Talk About It?".)
- We believe that the professional paradigm for understanding the attraction to minors needs to change, for the well-being of both minor-attracted people and society, including children. We also believe that the only way this can happen is to engage in dialog with mental health professionals. We welcome the involvement of more BLs and GLs in this dialog, and would be glad to correspond with any of your readers who are interested.
- Russell Dick, LCSW-C, Chairperson, email@example.com
- Michael Melsheimer, Director of Operations, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Richard Kramer, Program Planner, email@example.com
- B4U-ACT, Inc., P.O. Box 1754 Westminster, Maryland 21158"
Editor's reply: We will accept and respond to any commentary on the positions of B4U-Act.
- "Dear Editor,
- (I'm writing this letter as a private individual, not as a representative of B4U-ACT.)
- First, let me say that I'm impressed with both Uncommon Sense and the newgon website, especially the wealth of research information it contains.
- I wish to respond to your editorial "What Can Be Done?". I agree with the statement that there currently is no movement, but that we can "discreetly influence" "well-regarded political movements" that are consistent with or preliminary to our aims. In fact, I don't even think that adult-minor sexual activity is the fundamental issue that we should be addressing.
- Think about the fact that things were much better for BLs and GLs 35 years ago. But sex with minors was illegal then too. So what's the difference now? The difference is the demonization, dehumanization, and witch-hunting. In the 1970s, professionals, politicans, and the media did not unanimously condemn BLs as animalistic "predators," or lie to the public that we were supremely devious, violent, uncontrollable, unloving and unloveable, or that everything we did was for the purpose of satisfying our twisted lusts, or that any contact we had with children or teenagers destroyed their souls. We were not subject to ideological "cognitive restructuring" treatment (i.e., brainwashing), lifetime civil commitment (i.e., concentration camps), or possible execution. Thirty-five years ago BLs actually had large, real-life meetings and produced print publications. We even had some allies in the gay community and in radical churches. Now we are not even seen as human, and we have no allies to speak of.
- The fundamental issue we need to address is the defense of our humanity. We need to confront the stigmatization, demonization, and stereotyping that exists due simply to our attraction to children or adolescents, regardless of our behavior. To do this, we need to be honest about our sexuality. That's why I'm involved with B4U-ACT, and why, unfortunately, the "well-regarded political movements" listed in your editorial won't quite cut it, even though I agree with their goals. For example, the most successful RSO activist group, ReformSexOffenderLaws.org (RSOL), is opposed to the demonization and stereotyping of all groups, including pedophiles. However, not everybody working for RSOL understands that, and a BL or GL working with RSOL would not be able to be honest about his sexuality. He would be severely constrained in any effort to confront the demonization through RSOL.
- Therefore, while I would support the work of other organizations, I will also do what I can (with B4U-ACT and/or any other future initiative) to fight the demonization and hatred against BLs and GLs, and to build alliances with people outside our community who are open to learning about pedophilia and hebephilia. I hope others will join me.
- Richard Kramer,
Editor's response: We described in our editorial, how certain goals were preliminary to others. One such goal is (re)humanization, and one advocate of (re)humanization is B4U-Act. We also described the broader purposes for which this site exists, which in the eyes of opponents may as well be our eventual aims of working with youth and repealing laws against sexual contacts and other ageist policies. An even broader purpose of this site is to blow apart popular discourses and belief systems pertaining to the body, intimacy, "sex" and desire - all of which are used to constrain and oppress the groups and identities they entrap. So, while this site exists for broader purposes, we are aware that other battles are preliminary to such, and we are willing to have influence in those circles. As you acknowledge, there are good reasons for the entirety of this site to exist.
As for working in association with other movements, there may or may not be reasons to identify oneself as attracted to minors. Your approach seems to assume that one must identify him or herself. Whilst this may be fundamental to an initiative such as B4U-Act, it is not strictly necessary in the wider picture. When identities are used to limit and warp the public perception of individuals and associated groups, why submit to that form of tyranny? If certain aims are preliminary to others (B4U-Act "not taking a position"), why not apply this to personal identities? Indeed, what do we have to lose from this approach, and how much can we gain from discreetly (if required) exposing other groups to once alien identities over the long-term? The presence of demonising attitudes and the failure to challenge flawed and entrenched discourse among others, calls for our involvement and influence as much as it calls for considered opposition.
One example of a willingness to work with and recruit from other groups with different, sometimes opposing principles, seems to have been forgotten here: Why are groups such as B4U-Act and Newgon.com so comfortable with the GL & BL communities? After all, neither Newgon or B4U-Act is identified as a fundamentally GL, BL or pedophile group, and both oppose the gendering of minor-attraction. We would both surely prepare to deflect the "pedophile" slur, and indeed question why it must be a slur. Some members of B4U-Act may oppose the beliefs of participants who were recruited from BoyChat, or vice versa. Some (most) members of Newgon.com would disagree with the general apathy, moderate meta-politics and unwillingness to challenge ageist discourse so often demonstrated by members of the BL and GL communities, yet we do not reject them. We join them, invite them and introduce them to the broader issues.
On the forums
- You're blaming boys for this mess? by Brian
- People believe that they are free. They believe that they are able to resist the iron tentacles of the modern state because they are able to democratically elect people to represent them. The reality is very different. When citizens elect people to represent them, they are electing someone whose main interest is to gain and maintain power; power is the main perk of a politician's job. Rather than representing the people who elected them, politicians seek the enactment of their own power-laden policies, and they can easily achieve their goal if they dress these policies as measures to protect the public from paedophiles or terrorists. The welfare-focused democratic system encourages people to believe that they are free and safe, while allowing the state to slowly increase its control and trample on the established rights of citizens. // The people who suffer most from the effects of left-wing "liberalism" are those who are used as pawns in the process of achieving and maintaining power in such a society. The current pawns in the war against civil rights are paedophiles, muslims and children. In a left-wing "liberal" society, the only "rights" which people have are those which are "provided" by the state. The state prescribes children no rights whatsoever; their right to "protection" is simply a right to be treated as adults wish for them to be treated. That is not a right at all. // Do you remember what it's like to be a child? Children are exploited by politicians (it's ironic that these are the people who claim to fight against "exploitation" of children). They are not allowed the right to vote, which they are deceitfully told is the only way to exercise any kind of power in a democracy. Their rights are not genuinely considered by politicians, because power-hungry politicians know that they cannot vote. To further insult them, they are also the "property" of their parents, having to comply with their parents' every (non-sexual!) demand. // Children are not sometimes obnoxious because of any traits inherent to children or because of a lack of authority in English-speaking societies. Children are aware of the restrictions of the covertly authoritarian nature of modern society, because they are one of the primary victims of it, yet they have even less power to do anything about the injustice of the "protective" cells in which they are incarcerated. What you perceive to be obnoxiousness in boys is probably just disillusionment with the society which has failed them in the pursuit of money, power, and respect from the woolen masses."
- Death bed discussions by Moxy
- former public relations manager, bob jones, describes in detail his experiences with Michael, his "children sidekicks":
- "As the 'Bad' tour moved to St. Louis, a thirteen-year-old boy named Peter joined the entourage. ... One of the oddest things that happened ... Jolie Levin, Jackson's assistant at the time found a bed sheet in the King's hotel bedroom. On it, Michael had drawn a picture of Peter and himself. Also written on the sheet was what amounted to a love note to the boy. ... That sheet was my first tangible clue that Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was up to no good with this young kid. (p. 51)
- The King seemed to favor the blond-haired and young. In my experience with Michael, once a boy turnd fourteen or fifteen years old, he'd begin severing ties. (p. 57)
- Michael and the young boy were hugging and very close on the plane. They held hands and Michael lovingly gazed into the boy's eyes much like a man would gaze into the eyes of a woman he's in love with. He'd kiss him on the cheek, rub his arms, pet him, and inexplicably lick the boy's head. (p. 71)
- Michael and this little boy were, dare I say it, in love. (p. 72)"
- Some thoughts on Sarah's book by Mesmerised
- Firstly, the positives. She comes out strongly against the demonisation of peds, dealing with us as ordinary people. She emphasises clearly that peds should not be judged or condemned for being sexually attracted to children, and distinguishes clearly between the moral neutrality of sexual orientation and the moral responsibility that comes as a result of choices and actions. [...] But I think the most significant 'positive' in the book is the presentation of our own descriptions of what we find attractive in children, the kinds of relationships we desire with children/youths, the things which are most significant to us, fantasies and so forth. She draws positive conclusions from this:
- "...the sense of children as whole people... [Respondents] do not, in general, seem to be focusing on or fetishising certain body parts, as many heterosexual men do with adult women's breasts, buttocks or legs..."
- "...[the] often gentle, yearning nature [of the fantasies described]..."
- "I notice the many references to cuddling, sharing and friendship..."
- "If we compare these ...[with those of non-ped males in Nancy Friday's book Men in Love]... what sets the paedophile responses apart is often the greater emphasis on non-sexual friendship and doing 'everyday' things together..."
This 3½ months in anti-pedophilia
So .. ..... . ... .... ..... . .. ..... . ... .... ... .... . .. ..... . ... .... ..... . ... .... ... .. ..... . .. ..... . ... .... ... .... ..... ... um
So until next time...
Links and recommended reading
- Notes from Another Country - New chapters in this anonymously published EBook - "Personal Reflections on a Modern Witch Hunt".
- Unjust and Ineffective - "America has pioneered the harsh punishment of sex offenders. Does it work?" - A special article from The Economist - a highly respected British Weekly.
- The Devil Amongst Us - accompanying article (UK, 1997) - "Dea Birkett talks to some of society's ultimate lowlifes".
- Stuckle and Ferguson (US law firm, into defending CSA charges) - "The Child Advocacy Center does NOT seek the truth. In child sexual abuse cases, all of the State’s illusionary “evidence” is combined to achieve the self-fulfilling prophecy that the “child savers” had in mind from the beginning".