Springingtiger's Blog


The Presence of Paedophiles

When Ian Brady accused Tony Blair of being a worse criminal than he, many would have agreed with him. However although Brady’s crimes were on a smaller scale, the way in which they were committed makes them more horrific than Blair’s. Perhaps we should be more disturbed by the facility our society provides for megalomaniacs to slaughter millions in illegal wars, but what truly horrifies us is the obvious perversion of a mind like Brady’s. Brady preyed on young people and did sick perverted things to them before murdering them and hiding their bodies. I don’t like labels, but in this case “evil”does not seem inappropriate.

Our society is terribly inconsistent in its attitudes to paedophilia. A celebrity who grooms children for sex, and abuses several children over many years can expect a gaol sentence of a few months; a teacher who has consensual sex with a pupil, who would have been considered sexually an adult on her next birthday, gets five years. Both these cases were of wrong doing, but the sentences were disproportionate, as someone said, had they waited a year and were Jeremy Forrest not a teacher, no one would have cared (I suspect her parents might!). I suppose we should be grateful that at least child abuse is taken seriously now and that there is an increased will to act on it. When I was a child we were warned against strangers. Recent cases show that it is less strangers and more those we know who represent the greatest danger to children, of course the internet has changed the ability of paedophiles to indulge their perversions. We have seen so many cases of abuse by those in authority like priests and teachers, or by those whose celebrity causes people to feel they know them like genial Jimmy Saville, that we are in danger of developing a paranoia around paedophilia when what is required is responsible caution. We should be grateful to the media who have brought to light celebrity child abuse, if people like Hugh Grant get their way their abuses would have remained hidden behind privacy laws preventing their disclosure by the press. Yes the press should show responsible restraint and taste, people should have a right to privacy as long as they are not breaking the law or, in the case of politicians and businessmen acting in a manner which calls into question their judgement or ability to do their job.

What I don’t understand is the logic of paedophilia. Research has shown that people tend to be attracted to partners who resemble themselves or their parents, but surely that cannot apply to paedophilia. One wonders if, perhaps, there is an attraction to innocence. Perhaps the paedophile is trying to recapture a lost innocence, to be a child again in some perverted way. More horrible is the possibility that the paedophile gets pleasure from destroying innocence. The sad thing is that these people have not only stolen the innocence of the children but all our innocence. When my daughter was small my aunt, Doris, came from Ireland to visit us with her husband, Victor. They bought with them a big teddy bear, to which uncle Victor had been chatting on the bus. Aunt Doris complained his habit of talking to strangers could get him in trouble, he replied that it was only the “wee girls” he was talking to, she responded, “That’s worse!” I think there’s something very sad about a society where people are scared to talk to children. I have seen children fall in the supermarket and people watch them, but making no move to help them despite the child’s distress. Who can blame them for not wanting to incur the wrath of a parent in these times when an act of kindness is considered symptomatic of perversion, far better to allow a child to wander into the road than risk ones reputation by restraining them. I don’t know what we need to do to rebalance our world, I wish I did, I wish I understood where we went wrong.

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