Sunday, 8 September 2013

"Mild" Paedophilia?


From the above article -

"I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild paedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
"The mention of paedophilia inevitably brings us to the recent run of arrests of old white men accused of child sex abuse, starting with Jimmy Savile. Has the moral zeitgeist been shifting at their expense? “I think we should acknowledge it. That’s one point… But the other point is that because the most notorious cases of paedophilia involve rape and even murder, and because we attach the label ‘paedophilia’ to the same things when they’re just mild touching up, we must beware of lumping all paedophiles into the same bracket.”
So is there a risk of a metaphorical lynching of well-known people as soon as they’re accused? “I think there is a risk of that.”
What about the child sex abuse scandals that have led to anguished soul-searching and multibillion-dollar payouts in various outposts of Christianity? “Same thing,” he says. “Although I’m no friend of the Church, I think they have become victims of our shifting standards and we do need to apply the conventions of the good historian in dealing with cases which are many decades old.”
In the book, Dawkins mentions one occasion when a teacher put a hand down his trousers at a prep school in Salisbury, and four others at Oundle, when he “had to fend off nocturnal visits to my bed from senior boys much larger and stronger than I was”. The Oundle incidents don’t seem to have bothered him"

Now, forgive my ignorance, but what exactly is "mild" paedophilia?

Surely paedophilia is paedophilia, full stop, no?

Of course, there are paedophiles who go the "whole hog", and rape children. There are also paedophiles who don't necessarily physically rape, but abuse in other ways. Similarly there are ones who go online, and download and/or share indecent images of children for their own gratification, and the gratification of other paedophiles. The courts deal with all these crimes as paedophile crimes - as they should - any abuse against children should be taken with equal importance.

So why the differentiation - why the word "mild" - why the comparison between crimes committed today, and ones committed decades ago? Are any other crimes described as "mild"? "Mild robbery, Mild murder? Mild arson? Should such crimes as Dawkins describes - paedophile teachers putting their disgusting mitts down boys pants - be dismissed like this? Should they be taken less seriously purely on the fact that full on rape had not been committed? What do other victims of abuse ("mild paedophilia" in Dawkins words) think - should they shrug this off as only an insignificant crime? What do other victims of child abuse in the past think - should they just forget about it due to the fact it may have occurred 2, 3, 5 decades ago?

Is Dawkins just making excuses for paedophiles? Does he not think that paedophiles, who may engage in "mild paedophilia" could not progress to more full on abuse and rape, if they are seen to get away with their "mild" abuse? What would he feel, if supposing, the teacher had "graduated" from stuffing his grubby fingers down boys pants, to rape? Would there be any regret in not informing TPTB? There is no excuse for paedophilia, either "mild", full on rape, or online IIOC. There is, in the same way, no excuse for it occurring either today, yesterday, or 50 years ago. Period.


  1. Dawkins seems to be saying paedophiles should be sure to "groom" children first before using them for their own sexual gratification, and not just violently rape them staight away.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Ric.

      I feel you mis-quote Richard Dawkins. He could have chosen a clearer title but RD wrote "Child Abuse: a misunderstanding" [of RD's opinion]
      I cut and paste excerpts from your link errrr..... "Child Abuse: a clarification"

      "The standards [reactions] of today are conditioned by our increasing familiarity with the traumatising effect that pedophile abuse can have on children, sometimes scarring them psychologically for life. Today we read, almost daily, of adults whose childhood was blighted by an uncle perhaps, or even a parent, who would day after day, week after week, year after year, sexually abuse a vulnerable child. The child would often have no escape, would not be believed if he/she told the other parent, or told a teacher. In many cases it is only now, when the abused children have reached adulthood, that these stories are coming out. To make light of their stories, even after all these years, might in some cases re-awaken the trauma of not being believed at the time when it was all happening, and when being believed would have meant so much to the child."

      "Only slightly less culpable than the abusers themselves are the institutions that protected them ....."

      "Now, given the terrible, persistent and recurrent traumas suffered by other people when abused as children, week after week, year after year, what should I have said about my own thirty seconds of nastiness back in the 1950s? Should I have lied and said it was the worst thing that ever happened to me?...."

      "That is why I made light of my own bad experience. To excuse paedophilic assaults in general, or to make light of the horrific experiences of others, was a thousand miles from my intention."

      "I cannot know for certain that my companions’ experiences with the same teacher were are brief as mine, and theirs may have been recurrent where mine was not. That’s why I said only “I don’t think he did any of us lasting damage”. We discussed it among ourselves on many occasions, especially after his suicide, and there was indeed general agreement that his gassing himself was far more upsetting than his sexual depredations had been. If I am wrong about any particular individual; if any of my companions really was traumatised by the abuse long after it happened; if, perhaps it happened many times and amounted to more than the single disagreeable but brief fondling that I endured, I apologise"


      Not much there that is objectionable IMO. You could have written 2/3 of that yourself, so are you sure you want to shout him down?

      Paedophilia is an ugly reality that Society must recognise is insidious & ongoing and must risk-manage it until there are systems/technology for re-programming appetites/sexuality
      The language we use is important but too extreme disgust at "mild", I mean "less serious" offending (or even the existence of the perverse appetite) could leave these perversion suffers reasoning over time that they "might as well be hung for a sheep as a loaf of bread"
      Many paedophiles will not be able to resist their urges forever and they must not be too scared to seek help from a doctor or councillor.

      Ironically RD expresses "christian" - I mean HUMAN forgiveness and understanding -and all victims should do their best to be PROUD SURVIVORS even if their experience was unforgivable.

      Richard Dawkins may even turn out to be a significant child protection campaigner - IMO it is not a bad start that he has donated £10,000 towards building the legal case for prosecuting Pope Benedict XVI for his part (when Cardinal Ratzinger) in covering up sexual abuse of children by priests.
      Whatever one says it will offend someone. Perhaps you could bring RD further on board by politely mailing him your views on the use of appropriate language.


  3. Probly meant something like 41mph is Mild Speeding compared to 100mph being Gross Speeding. So, briefly touching a girl in the wrong place, one day before her coming of age is a bit more 'mild' (seeing as it would be legal the next day with consent) than raping toddlers. I assume that's the kind of thing he meant.

  4. could be, he doesn't mention his age when he (and other boys) were groped by his paedophile teacher. Personally I find it repulsive how he could describe any sort of sexual abuse that adults inflict upon children as "mild".

    Are he and his school friends confident that the teacher didn't progress further than groping?

    Would he have it on his conscience If he found out that he had & it could have been stopped?

    Just because he states it "hasn't affected his life", does this send a message to other victims that paedophilia which does not include actual rape, should brush it off as it is merely "mild"?

    Is he going to keep digging himself into a hole?

    1. RE. "Would he have it on his conscience If he found out that he had [progressed further than groping] & it could have been stopped?"

      You have a point but be careful. RD says he was about 11 at the time and you would be retrospectively forcing the responsibility of an adult onto a child.

      He should have told an adult, and we assume that he did not.
      However, telling an adult about another adult was probably a risky business in the 1950's