Pants

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Parents see their children as beautiful. They are glad when neighbours or family compliment them on their looks. It therefore fills us with an animal horror that anyone could see that same beauty as sexual. This operates outside logic, it is primal.
I suspect that it is so deep an abhorrence that there is either an over reaction or no reaction at all. Paedophiles have got away with grooming kids in clear sight, but the natural reaction is to bury the fear and look away.
From personal experience, I know that victims are blamed. It’s not just paranoia. It has been subtly made it clear that if they had been me it never would have happened. Then, one way or another, I am less to them. And I am treated as if I am delicate and prone to hysteria. As if I’ve entered a category they are uncomfortable with.
When it comes out on the headlines on the scale of Jimmy Savile or the Westminster paedophile ring there is an over reaction. Paedophiles are seen as unnatural monsters rather than your neighbours, your family.
You’ve probably met paedophiles who seem like nice, decent folk. Maybe they are. That is if they do not act on their desires and become child abusers.
To my mind the vast majority of paedophiles should be pitied rather than hated, because they have to live with desires they can never act upon. This type deserves our respect.
While I am not generally in favour of changing nature, ancient animal instincts that drive a minority to murder, rape or abuse must be stopped. We have moved on from ancient times and like to pretend that we are better than animals. Yeah, right.
Ironically if child abuse was less of a taboo, my subsequent history would have been less troubled. To illustrate, let me compare rape to non sexual violence. If given a choice, I’d take rape every time. But because violence is less of a taboo it is the easier to get over. It’s the things you can’t talk about that cause the long term trouble. It’s the sense of shame and guilt that emotionally cripple you inside.
Paedophiles exist and will continue to do so for a while longer, so we have to deal with it. We must keep children safe, but don’t make them grow up under the terrifying shadow of a monster out to get them. I actually felt a little queezy seeing the new Pants campaign, but entirely agree with its intention. Just wish we could find less disturbing ways of keeping kids safe.
Not every stranger is a danger. Be more on the look out for friends being a little too friendly. Anyone who seems too good to be true probably is. I am sure that if kids were in an enviroment where they could comfortably share their fears they would. That in itself would have kept me safe. Part of my grooming process exploited the lack of open communication between my parents and I. The paedophile abuser may understand your child better than you do yourself. Yeah, that’s nasty.
So one more controversial point to end on. I don’t believe a single possessor of child porn who has not physically violated a child should be in prison, while others who produce such material walk free. Of course I don’t like knowing that people get kicks from looking at that shit. But let’s not have a witch hunt against the easy to convict. Use those same resources to stop such material from being available and to stop it from being produced.
I’ve seen statistics that suggest that viewing paedophile porn increases the likelihood of going on to physically abuse. That is certainly plausible. Though it is also possible that for many it is an alternative to committing an even worse crime.
But the only point of view that matters is that of the victim. They have every right to prevent people from seeing films or images of crimes being committed against them. But I’m not sure that they expect those who do to go to jail.
As you can see, like my character Button, I’m kind of mixed up on this. I only have vague ideas of answers, but I see so many ways we’re still getting our priorities wrong.

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