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#85473 - 01/20/03 07:57 PM People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
The Sunday Times - Comment

January 19, 2003

Minette Marrin:

People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them


Soundbites are so much better in Latin. A very well-known ancient Roman one came back to me last week as I looked at the front-page pictures of sad, ageing celebrities driven off by the police under suspicion of child porn offences: Homo sum; humani nil a me alienum puto — “I am a man and I think nothing human alien to me.” Except paedophilia, I thought. Paedophilia is incomprehensibly alien.

I believe most of us can imagine committing most serious crimes; certainly I can easily imagine murdering, stealing and even torturing, at least if my children were threatened. I feel some understanding, too, along with revulsion, of men who drunkenly get carried away and assault women.

I don’t feel those things are entirely alien to me, wrong though they are. But I simply cannot begin to understand why men — and it is almost always men — get pleasure from buggering babies and raping toddlers or letting animals abuse little children, or watching it done. That is beyond the pale of humanity.

The difficulty is that it is very important to understand paedophilia, alien though it is, in order to be able to deal with it. Yet my strong impression is that despite lots of research and statistics, nobody really does understand it, or what to do about it.

Experts and research disagree constantly. We are united only in a general hysteria, which leads to absurdities. Not long ago a paediatrician was menaced by an angry mob that did not understand the difference between paediatrician and paedophile. The newsreader Julia Somerville took entirely innocent bathtime family photographs to be developed, only to find herself in trouble with the police (though not for long, fortunately).

A newer hysteria is beginning to develop about what you may or may not see on the internet. I don’t mean visiting child porn sites, which is clearly very wrong; I mean innocently giving clues to the people who watch the internet that you might have paedophile inclinations, for example by using certain phrases. While trying to do some research about paedophilia I was genuinely slightly anxious about typing that word and others like it into my internet search engine, lest I stumbled on an illegal site or became of interest to the watchers. I am sure that all internet traffic is watched by Big Brother, for this and many other reasons.

What matters in all this, beyond hysteria and the feelings of the lynch mob, is to understand what paedophilia is and what can be done about it. Yet there seems to be little agreement among experts about either. For every theory put forward, there is another to the contrary.

Perhaps we can agree that there is a very great difference between types of child abuse. Most schoolchildren know there are a few teachers who are a bit funny, a bit too interested in them. Usually it goes no further. And as a distinguished editor of a famous daily paper once humorously suggested in an editorial, teaching can be so dreadful that only people with a slightly unnatural interest in children would take it on. We have all had a teacher like that; mine was one of the most inspiring people in my life and fostered, among other things, my interest in Latin quotations.

Two old friends of mine, who went to a well-known West Country prep school years ago, told me that one of the best and most interesting masters used to sit on their beds at night and fondle their genitals, briefly, under the sheets; both have told me it caused them no anguish whatsoever, either then or later. Of course it was very wrong, and that man would be in prison today. But his crime was a much lesser offence than those of hardened paedophiles who deliberately violate children, who enjoy it and who help other deviants to do or to watch these things for pleasure.

It seems to me that little is really understood about these alien beings — and there isn’t much agreement either. Nobody seems to have a clear idea of why they are driven to do what they do. Some, possibly many, have personality disorders that are not treatable; some offenders cannot even be persuaded that what they have done is wrong; while others refuse treatment altogether and most are extremely devious and manipulative.

Most experts agree there is no “cure” because paedophilia is not a medical condition and the deviant desire is never going to go away. It can only be controlled — or not, as the case may be. Yet most experts have faith in treatment of some sort. Other experts rage against the “medicalisation” of the condition, oddly enough. But nobody seems to agree what causes it.

There seems to be little agreement and little clear evidence about whether any of this works and stops people assaulting yet more children. In one authoritative review of recent international literature on recidivism, which included material from Britain, it emerged from one study that up to 50% of child sex abusers reoffended, and from another that 61% of all child molesters reoffend. A BBC report on the closing of the only residential treatment centre for paedophiles in England quoted 90% as the general reoffending rate among them. It is actually quite difficult to get the figures for Britain, since sex offences are not broken down in Home Office reports.

If this weren’t depressing enough, in some studies it has emerged that treated sex offenders actually reoffend more than the untreated; some therapies can make things worse. Treatment is abused by cunning offenders who learn the therapeutic lingo of remorse and exploit it to get back on the loose — hence a recent suggestion to use truth tests on offenders.

Then there is the fact (generally agreed on) that paedophiles reoffend over a much longer period than other groups. And there is the “dark figure” of sexual offences; many victims do not come forward, for obvious reasons, while interviews with convicted child molesters show that the great majority admit to offences that had never come to light. It is also clear from this survey that predicting the risk of reoffending is both difficult and contentious.

Given all this uncertainty, and given the horror of the crime, I wonder whether it is right to spend so much time and money on people whose chance of reform is so very doubtful.

In the end it hardly matters why these wretched people — and I mean the very worst offenders — are as they are. One day, perhaps, we will know what abnormalities of the brain are responsible for their terrible behaviour. One day there may

be real treatment. Meanwhile there are many other and better candidates for help and encouragement, with a much better prognosis — starting with most other offenders.

I once watched an American documentary about a group of safe ghettoes for convicted paedophiles; they believed they could not change and knew they were likely to be lynched wherever their names came out. So they agreed to live in a locked community, out of harm’s way. This is a harsh solution and it is putting them beyond the pale of civilisation — but I am not sure that it is inhumane.

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#85474 - 01/20/03 09:18 PM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
"Opinion" is what it is.

Whoever the author is, she is entitled to her opinion but please don't take her statements as fact.

She wrote:
"There seems to be little agreement and little clear evidence about whether any of this works and stops people assaulting yet more children. In one authoritative review of recent international literature on recidivism, which included material from Britain, it emerged from one study that up to 50% of child sex abusers reoffended, and from another that 61% of all child molesters reoffend. A BBC report on the closing of the only residential treatment centre for paedophiles in England quoted 90% as the general reoffending rate among them. It is actually quite difficult to get the figures for Britain, since sex offences are not broken down in Home Office reports.

If this weren’t depressing enough, in some studies it has emerged that treated sex offenders actually reoffend more than the untreated; some therapies can make things worse. Treatment is abused by cunning offenders who learn the therapeutic lingo of remorse and exploit it to get back on the loose — hence a recent suggestion to use truth tests on offenders."

The figures are very suspect. In some research I've seen, re-offending includes non-sexual offenses as well as non-offense crimes like failing to report a new address. There are studies that show that sexual abusers in sex offense-specific treatment show lower re-offense rates than non-sexual offenders over 5, 10 and 15 year followup.

I'm not defending sex offenders or even sex offense-specific treatment. Just want people to question "facts" particularly when the writer or speaker is expressing an opinion.

Ken


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#85475 - 01/21/03 12:04 AM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Wuamei Offline
Member

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 2700
Loc: The left turn I should have ta...
It seems as tho statistics can be quoted very factually, but in support of a lot of different "facts." I won't state this opinion as a fact, however, as I don't have any statistics to back it up! ;\)

Opinions are like noses: almost everybody has one,
and they're all different!

Obviously on this topic there are lots of "noses"
and a lot of statistics, but very few facts.

However there are a few: there is a lot of paedophilia going on, there are a lot of paedophiles out there, and something needs to be done to put a stop to the abuse of our children.

No statistics necessary!

Victor

_________________________
"I can't stand pain. It hurts me."
--Daffy Duck

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#85476 - 01/21/03 09:02 PM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
I once watched an American documentary about a group of safe ghettoes for convicted paedophiles; they believed they could not change and knew they were likely to be lynched wherever their names came out. So they agreed to live in a locked community, out of harm’s way. This is a harsh solution and it is putting them beyond the pale of civilisation — but I am not sure that it is inhumane.
This interested me, anyone know anything about it ?

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#85477 - 01/21/03 09:15 PM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
It sounds a little suspect to me, however, I posted the quote on the ATSA (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers) professional listserv and should have a definitive answer for you within a day.

Ken


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#85478 - 01/22/03 01:27 AM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Wifey1 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/03/02
Posts: 380
dont know if i can comment on this here or not but am going to....
is anyone else bothered by the title of her opinion?...
that people so alien perhaps only ghettos can hold them? -- to me this smacks of more DESCRIMINATION than deserved. Having lived in the "ghetto" for the greatest portion of my life it pisses me off that this "opinion" seems to make it ok to dump garbage behaviors in where society wants to keep those who live life struggling to survive daily -- there are real live people with real emotions, strengths, weaknesses and HUMANESS living in "ghettos"...
What makes it okay to throw in a few more of the non wanted behavioral problems? Are people who live in the ghettos less deserving of protection from pedophiles than those who dont? Are people who live in "ghettos" more likely to be desensitized to rotten human behavior so there fore be forced to put up with being placed at risk of offenders?
Yea, its off topic -- finding ways to heal the offenders and protect those who may become victims.
the whole title has bugged the shit out of me all day tho' --

"Two old friends of mine, who went to a well-known West Country prep school years ago, told me that one of the best and most interesting masters used to sit on their beds at night and fondle their genitals, briefly, under the sheets; both have told me it caused them no anguish whatsoever, either then or later.~ I'D LIKE TO KNOW JUST EXACTLY HOW TRUE THAT STATEMENT REALLY IS? NO ANGUISH EITHER THEN OR LATER IS THAT HOW COULD THAT BE REALLY TRUE? UNDER WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES WERE THESE FRIENDS QUESTIONED?~ Of course it was very wrong, and that man would be in prison today. But his crime was a much lesser offence than those of hardened paedophiles who deliberately violate children, who enjoy it and who help other deviants to do or to watch these things for pleasure." ~ A LESSER OFFENCE? ACCORDING TO WHO? BY WHOSE STANDARDS? ARE THOSE 2 FRIENDS WILLING TO COME FORWARD AND STATE THAT PUBLICLY ATTACHING THEIR NAMES?

a locked community? hmmmm is that what a prison is? personally i dont think there is any one cure all for ALL offenders, there are no black and white answers as to how best to deal with offenders, just as in there is not a black and white ansewer and to how we as survivors go thru our healing process or deal with our daily life struggles...
not speaking in pure defense of offenders, just pissed that what I know as MY COMMUNITY "A GHETTO" is yet again disrespected and lumped in as a "less than importance" ....
Wifey1


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#85479 - 01/22/03 01:15 PM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Quote:
one of the best and most interesting masters used to sit on their beds at night and fondle their genitals, briefly, under the sheets; both have told me it caused them no anguish whatsoever, either then or later.
Yeah, this gave me a problem at first. But it might be right.

I know there were a lot more boys than me abused at the school I went to, and even 25 years after the dump closed down there has been no scandal or enquiery about the place. And I have enough local knowledge and contacts to know if there was.
Also the charity I help at is local and I am the only person on the books who went to that school.

So where are they all ?
I know my friend Mick killed himself, but I could list another dozen names at least.
And who knows if they are suffering silently or just accept what happened as part of their growing up. I think some people can, if they're very lucky.
( Although I would question 'lucky' somewhat )

It also raises the questions about 'degrees of abuse' and as anyone who reads the posts here will testify - there are NO degrees of abuse. A drunken fumble can cause as much harm as years of violent rapes.
The amount of trauma isn't index linked !

Possibly her use of "ghetto" is the strict dictionary definition " A quarter where members of a minority reside as a result of social or economic pressure."
If she is refering to a specially created ghetto then that's a hell of a brave move for any Government to try.
But if it's dumping them on a section of the community already suffering then that's unaceptable.

I seem to remember that they have tried this in this country as part of an experiment somewhere - I cant remember exactly - and it didn't take long for them all to find each other and create a network where they were exchanging information. What a surprise eh ??

We jail car thieves for longer, and that makes no sense to me.

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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#85480 - 01/23/03 11:54 AM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Ken Singer, LCSW Offline
Moderator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/24/00
Posts: 5778
Loc: Lambertville, NJ USA
Regarading the "ghetto" for paedophiles....

I posted the question to the ATSA listserv two days ago and nobody seems to have heard of this concept. If the writer can be more specific, I might be able to track down the information. As I said earlier, it sounded a little suspicious.

It is a good idea to take things that lack documentation with a grain of salt. My guess is that the writer is blurring opinion with perhaps wishful thinking. Bottom line is to check out rumors.

Ken


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#85481 - 01/23/03 12:27 PM Re: People so alien that perhaps only ghettoes can hold them
Lloydy Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 04/17/02
Posts: 7071
Loc: England Shropshire
Minette Marrin can be contacted at -

minette.marin@sunday-times.co.uk

Dave

_________________________
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.
Henry David Thoreau

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