Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Don't accept sweets from strangers

Although the publicity over rape has exaggerated and magnified its extent, in recent years this has been overtaken by paranoia over paedophiles and 'child abuse', a wide ranging term of relatively modern origin sometimes confused with the more serious crime traditionally known as child molestation. In the present climate it is difficult to believe that in the 1950s and 1960s children throughout the country could roam their neighbourhoods without any apparent fear or alarm. Children were warned not to talk to, or accept sweets from, strangers. But the threat from 'child molesters' as these deviants were then rightly known, was not an issue that aroused much public concern, although the numbers of men sexually attracted to children would have been about the same then as it is now. By contrast, children today have lost this freedom, replaced instead by a prevailing anxiety over a largely non-existent threat.

Although the liberal establishment, through children’s charities and council social service departments, must take some blame for this climate of fear, their concerns have been fuelled by the tabloid media and some politicians. For many years the availability of 'kiddie-porn' was one of the main planks of Mary Whitehouse’s campaign against permissiveness. But for a long time her concerns fell on deaf ears among the then liberal elite, and the media gave the subject relatively little attention, focussing instead on ridiculing her clean up TV campaign and objections to adult pornography.

A group of paedophiles, encouraged by 'progressive' sexual reform activists in the gay rights’ lobby, formed the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) in the hope that the new climate of sexual toleration would be extended to them. They received some encouragement in this belief when their 'cause' was received with some sympathy at a gay rights conference to which they had been invited. However, this proved to have been a miscalculation since, when their existence came to the attention of the tabloid press, the PIE campaign was vigorously condemned. The publicity generated by this event began the long media focus on 'child abuse', which over the decades would become increasingly shrill and zealous, leading to the current paranoia on the subject.

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