• The Kaitlyn Hunt case may poison gay rights advocacy for decades – Edit

    Okay, so Britain has gotten around to sorting out gay marriage, which is good.  However, the Tories are in total revolt, which is less good.  To state my own position, I believe that marriage is very important, very much to be supported, I do believe that it has been under systematic attack, which has had the most terrible effects,  and I also believe, along with Douglas Murray that gay marriage, has absolutely nothing to do with attacking marriage per se.  If anything, it provides a basis for rebuilding its importance. So I am very glad to see that it has gotten done, and we can now move on.

    Now, given the precarious state of things in Britain, stories like this are not helping matters.  When members of UKIP say that there is a direct link between homosexuality and paedophilia, it would be a damn sight easier to combat this sinister nonsense if you did not have lesbian websites like After Ellen defending an eighteen year old raping a fourteen year old.  The argument they are seriously advancing is that one should ask the fourteen year old and listen to her…  I wonder if they are listening to themselves.  It’s a matter of terrible fact that abused children can often say that they love the perpetrator,

    I’ll quote from the FBI’s Lanning Report on child abuse:

    There is another myth that is still with us and is far less likely to be discussed. This is the myth of the child victim as a completely innocent little girl walking down the street minding her own business. It may be more important to dispel this myth than the myth of the evil offender, especially when talking about the sexual exploitation of children and child sex rings. Child victims can be boys as well as girls, and not all victims are little “angels.”
    Society seems to have a problem dealing with any sexual abuse case in which the offender is not completely “bad” or the victim is not completely “good.” Child victims who, for example, simply behave like human beings and respond to the attention and affection of offenders by voluntarily and repeatedly returning to the offender’s home are troubling. It confuses us to see the victims in child pornography giggling or laughing. At professional conferences on child sexual abuse, child prostitution is almost never discussed. It is the form of sexual victimization of children most unlike the stereotype of the innocent girl victim. Child prostitutes, by definition, participate in and often initiate their victimization.
    Furthermore child prostitutes and the participants in child sex rings are frequently boys. One therapist recently told me that a researcher’s data on child molestation were misleading because many of the child victims in question were child prostitutes. This implies that child prostitutes are not “real” child victims. In a survey by the Los Angeles Times, only 37 percent of those responding thought that child prostitution constituted child sexual abuse (Timnik, 1985.) Whether or not it seems fair, when adults and children have sex, the child is always the victim.

    My emphasis.  And it gets to the point.  If you have Attained The Age Of Reason, it’s your responsibility to regulate your conduct around children, not theirs.  If a 14 year old ‘comes on to you’ – which children will sometimes do, when they are playing at being adults –  it is your responsibility to laugh it off, or otherwise avoid it.  To do otherwise is rape.

    Incidentally, please read Lolita on this subject.  Humbert Humbert’s official excuse is that he was seduced by Delores Haze, something Nabokov got spot on.  There really isn’t any justification for this sort of thing.

    Which brings me to something that the 50,000 people+who apparently don’t see a problem here, have not bothered to ask themselves.  Let me be charitable and assume that this is some sort misguided defence of gay rights.  Have they bothered to ask themselves the sort of rhetorical weapon they are handing to homophobes?  Here‘s the Daily Mail’s take on it if you want to get an idea.

    I wish that this were an isolated case.  But according to Douglas Murray, this sort of insanity has happened before.

    in a 1997 letter to the Guardian this same Peter Tatchell wrote that “several of my friends — gay and straight, male and female — had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused…While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.”

    Lovely.

    I support gay rights, gay marriage and gay adoption, and I could give you all the reasons I do so and all the research to back it.  But the Gay Rights movement is going to have to get real about this.  If they persist in defending the indefensible, they will be indefensible against an inevitable backlash.

    UPDATE: Some people get it.

     I’m pissed off that everyone is jumping on the gay bandwagon. As a lesbian, I wanted this to be a gay issue. It’s not. I wanted to support a fellow lesbian. I can’t. They headlines are misleading. Kaitlyn is not being punished for being a lesbian. She’s being punished for having sex with a minor as an adult. Stop complicating it by trying to make it a gay issue. We have enough problems without the rest of the country thinking we want special rights to have sex with children.

    […]

    Kaitlyn Hunt is not lesbian hero. She is not a gay martyr. She’s an 18 year old who made a bad, perhaps uninformed, decision. Getting in trouble for finger f*cking your underage girlfriend in the school bathroom is not a noble cause.

     

    Incidentally: Islamic fanatics in this country actually do want the right to have sex with 9 year olds.  Meanwhile – I wish I could say I was surprised – Ed Brayton is siding with the perp.  Granted, he is buying the b.s. line that was put forward at the start, but – come on.  Just take a moment to listen to the parents of the victim.  Even with the reporter’s grating style, the parents honesty and pain still comes across.

    According to the affadavit:

     Detective Shepherd] asked Kaitlyn if she knew it was wrong to have sex with [Smith] due to [Smith] being 14 years old. Kaitlyn stated that she did not think about it because [Smith] acted older.

    That’s textbook pedophile rationalisation.  It is flat out of Lolita.

     

    Category: atheism

    Article by: The Prussian

    • Peter Beattie

      May I point out that, except for an appeal to undesirable consequences, your piece doesn’t seem to contain an actual argument for why sex with a minor should automatically be considered rape.

      It may actually be the case that “not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful”, and whether you find that position distasteful or perhaps harmful to the Gay Rights movement is neither here nor there. If you’re serious about the issue, you should be having a serious discussion. Simply dismissing disagreement isn’t exactly helping.

      • ThePrussian

        Sorry, wrong. The defence of innocence is one of the most basic of moral imperatives. By definition a child lacks the knowledge to ‘consent’, by definition it is the adults who must, in reason and justice, shoulder that responsibility. To betray that is to put yourself outside any moral bounds.

        Peter Moritz is quite right; the damage that this can do can wreck a life. @Moritz, full respect for taking on that task of trying to help such victims. I have seen the ghastly effects that even emotional neglect can have. I shudder to think of what this can do.

        @Beattie, your argument really is the argument of all pedophiles – “oh, she was really a woman, you wouldn’t believe how grown up she was”. Or he was. Whatever.

        That is why we have these laws. People can talk themselves into the most appalling positions within thirty seconds, absent an inflexible moral code. And that code needs to be defended by the law. We prosecuted those who violate innocence, not just in vengeance to the violated, but in defence of all those who have yet to be victims.

        • Peter Beattie

          As I say, where you aren’t begging the question, you are lacking even a single argument:

          “the damage that this can do can wreck a life”

          There you are talking about conduct that is factually “unwanted, abusive and harmful”—i.e. assuming that which is at issue. But nobody—certainly not Peter Tatchell, or I—denies that there is plenty of that. What he says, and what I think bears discussion, is that that is not all there is. Why does he say that, and why do I think it should be discussed? Because the current practice can lead to overreactions and, in fact, can also wreck lives. Which I think would be just as wrong.

          A friend of mine, at age 23, got together with a 16-year-old. They were then together for over five years. Under your definition, for about two years he should have been considered a rapist and presumably put in jail. Which would have wrecked at least two lives. Judging him according to an “inflexible moral code” (a.k.a. dogma) without knowing anything about—or indeed allowing any knowledge of—the actual situation is, I am sorry to say, the height of bigotry.

          “your argument really is the argument of all pedophiles”

          You really don’t see the irony in invoking guilt by association, a tactic much loved by the Nazis and all sorts of other thugs?

          And do you really think that Peter Moritz’s “Fuck off, arsehole” is in line with Skeptic Ink’s Discussion Policy?

          • ThePrussian

            In reverse order,

            1. This is my blog. As I said at the outset, I run a pretty open house, and have not yet banned anyone. Short of outright racism there is little that will get you banned here. If you have a problem with that – tough.

            2. Likening someone’s argument to the Nazis is perfectly acceptable if they are, e.g., making the argument that the world’s troubles are caused by Jewish conspiracy. Similarly, likening someone’s arguments to those of the pedophiles is perfectly acceptable if they are, e.g, arguing that sex with a child is okay, because _this_ child is so grown up.

            You seem to be unaware that no person does evil thinking that they do evil. Or at least very few. They always have an excuse why this isn’t murder, that isn’t rape… “he had it coming”, “she was really asking for it”. Or “she was really all grown up…” Peter Tatchell says, in cold print, that an adult having sex with a nine year old boy is acceptable. He should be ashamed of himself.

            This is why I refer to the Lanning report, an official FBI investigation that is based on the reality of child-rape – many abused children do seem to like the attention, or go back to an abuser, and all the rest of it. This is why what the child says doesn’t come into this.

            As to the rest of this, I believe that the United Kingdom’s policy of 16 as the age of consent is a reasonable one, though I would intensely disapprove of the situation you describe. The XKCD formula is presented humorously, but it is damn good guide:

            http://xkcd.com/314/

            You can complain about my ‘dogma’ while making a suspiciously ‘dogmatic’ accusation of bigotry – sorry, take another look at the faces at the top of this website. If you want ‘anything goes’ depravity, you are in the wrong place.

            As regards “overreactions”, the failure to draw this line and draw it hard, leads to things such as, e.g, the tolerance of 12 year old child prostitutes in the streets of London. I think a little more ‘overreaction’ here could be tolerated.

            • Peter Beattie

              “If you have a problem with that – tough.”

              That’s what I was asking about: whether Skeptic Ink’s Discussion Policy applied on your blog. If you say it doesn’t, fine. But please try to understand the difference between asking a question and making a point/complaint.

              “Likening someone’s argument to the Nazis is perfectly acceptable if they are, e.g., making the argument that the world’s troubles are caused by Jewish conspiracy.”

              And that argument should be rejected because it was also made by the Nazis or because you can show it to be wrong? One alternative encourages (skeptical) thinking, the other doesn’t. You do see the difference, don’t you?

              “Peter Tatchell says, in cold print, that an adult having sex with a nine year old boy is acceptable.”

              Tatchell wrote that in defence of people who actually studied the phenomenon, who said that there are a non-negligible number of instances where the sexual relations had no harmful effect on any of the people involved. Now, you are either saying that a) there is always a harmful effect, which seems to be contradicted by the evidence; or b) that actual effects should be ignored in favour of an “inflexible moral rule”, which would be dogmatic.

              And your moral outrage about Tatchell’s statement stems from the fact that you implicitly take the act to be rape. Under that assumption, of course you are outraged—but you are also begging the question. Or denying that there even is a question, which comes to the same thing. Without argument, you insist that even seeing a question there is indicative of depravity. Well, yes, I think that is bigoted. And, of course, that judgment is not dogmatic, since I am giving you arguments for it. You can ignore them, but that doesn’t make them disappear.

              “As to the rest of this, I believe that the United Kingdom’s policy of 16
              as the age of consent is a reasonable one, though I would intensely
              disapprove of the situation you describe.”

              You would disapprove. Well, so what? Ditto for the XKCD comic’s creeped-outitude factor. So what that you or I disapprove? Moral questions can have nothing whatsoever to do with what you or I dislike, lest they become totally arbitrary.

              And what am I to make of the fact that you ignored the argument that considering the person in my scenario to be a rapist, and presumably putting him in jail, would have also wrecked lives?

            • ThePrussian

              “That’s what I was asking about: whether Skeptic Ink’s Discussion Policy applied on your blog.”

              Well, fair enough. But if you look at the discussion policy is says “Invectives which demean individuals on the basis of ethnicity, sex, religion, gender identification, appearance, or age will not be tolerated.”

              None of that has happened here. I’m not about to haul Peter Moritz over the coals when he has had to deal with the victims of this kind of thing.

              “And that argument should be rejected because it was also made by the Nazis or because you can show it to be wrong? ” Both. It is demonstrably not the case that a Jewish conspiracy controls the world.

              “Tatchell wrote that in defence of people who actually studied the phenomenon, ” …Well, he _claims_ that that has had no effects. Against that, Peter Moritz here has worked with those children, and I point you to an FBI document that focuses specifically on that.

              Yet even if you could establish _a_ situation where it “had no ill effects” (how ever you could establish that), it would still be rape. Rape is sex without consent; a child isn’t able to give consent by definition.

              “You would disapprove. ”

              No, I am pointing out that there are things morally repulsive that are not and should not be illegal. Nor did I ignore your counter-example; I said that 16 was a reasonable age of consent. Ergo, they should not have been prosecuted. On the other hand, had he done so three years earlier, when he was 20 and she 13, he should have been sent away for a long time.

            • ThePrussian

              And, I will note that I am fine with @facebook-100002474391695:disqus posting here. I haven’t seen anything degenerate into flame wars or the rest of it. I haven’t attacked you in the way that SIN’s policies condemn, what I have said is that the argument that you make is the same as those that pedophiles make. That’s not even a value judgement – that’s just exactly what they do.

          • “A friend of mine, at age 23, got together with a 16-year-old. They were
            then together for over five years. Under your definition, for about two
            years he should have been considered a rapist and presumably put in jail”

            This in Canada at least is not considered sexual abuse, the age was 14 but raised to 16 under a conservative Government (afaik). In Germany it was always 16 if i remember correctly. Legally your friends problem would not be child abuse.
            There are also provisions in several laws that take into account the age gap between abused and abuser.

            A “child” for the purpose of the law is anyone below the age of consent. The discussions as to the setting of that age is a different discussion from the impact of sexual contact on children.

            “While the phrase age of consent rarely appears in legal statutes,[1] when used in relation to sexual activity, the age of consent is the minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent

            An age of consent below the age of puberty as in some countries is a different matter than the age of consent for children entering or in puberty.

            As to the impact of child sexual abuse:

            http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/somatic-psychology/201303/trauma-childhood-sexual-abuse

            “The Incest Survivors Resource Network states that “the erotic use of a child, whether physically or emotionally, is sexual exploitation in the
            fullest meaning of the term, even if no bodily contact is ever made.”
            It’s important to notice this clause about “no sexual contact.” Often,
            victims of sexual abuse will try to downplay their experience by saying
            that it “wasn’t that bad.” It’s vital to recognize that abuse comes in
            many shapes, colors and sizes and that all abuse is bad.”

            http://www.pandys.org/articles/oldersurvivorsofchildsexualassault.html
            “As
            the survivor struggles with the tasks of adult life, the legacy of her
            childhood becomes increasingly burdensome. Eventually, often in the
            fourth or fifth decade of life, the defensive structure may begin to
            break down. Often the precipitant is a change in the equilibrium of
            close relationships: The failure of a marriage, the illness or death of
            a parent. The facade can hold no longer, and the underlying
            fragmentation becomes manifest. When and if a breakdown occurs, it can
            take symptomatic forms that mimic virtually every form of psychiatric
            disorder. Survivors fear that they are going insane or will have to die
            (1992 p. 114).”

            http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2600111/
            “There is also evidence that among people diagnosed with schizophrenia or psychotic illnesses there is a higher rate of CSA reported.
            A recent international literature review of studies that involved CSA and psychotic illnesses or schizophrenia found that there were very few articles in this area. The authors concluded that CSA increases the risk of developing psychotic illnesses and raises the importance of “asking about childhood trauma when trying to understand or assist people diagnosed with psychosis or schizophrenia”, and also highlighted the training needs of clinical staff. In summation of this review the authors concluded that CSA is a causal factor for psychotic illness and schizophrenia, in particular for hallucinations.”

            http://www.apa.org/pubs/info/brochures/sex-abuse.aspx?item=3
            There is no universal definition of child sexual
            abuse. However, a central characteristic of any abuse is the dominant position of an adult that allows him or her to force or coerce a child into sexual activity. Child sexual abuse may include fondling a child’s genitals, masturbation, oral-genital contact, digital penetration, and vaginal and anal intercourse. Child sexual abuse is not solely restricted to physical contact; such abuse could include noncontact abuse, such as exposure, voyeurism, and child pornography. Abuse by peers also occurs.

            Accurate statistics on the prevalence of child and adolescent sexual abuse are difficult to collect because of problems of underreporting and the lack of one definition of what constitutes such abuse. However, there is general agreement among mental health and
            child protection professionals that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States.

            The impact of sexual abuse can range from no apparent effects to very severe ones.
            Typically, children who experience the most serious types of abuse—abuse involving family members and high degrees of physical force—exhibit behavior problems ranging from separation anxiety to posttraumatic stress disorder. However, children who are the victims of sexual abuse are also often exposed to a variety of other stressors and difficult circumstances in their lives, including parental substance abuse. The sexual abuse and its aftermath may be only part of the child’s negative experiences and subsequent behaviors. Therefore, correctly diagnosing abuse is often complex. Conclusive physical evidence of sexual abuse is relatively rare in suspected cases. “

    • It may actually be the case that “not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful”,

      This argument seems to be the argument of choice for almost all convicted child sexual abusers potentially and actually (including those of the catholic church).
      Puts you in unsavory neighbourhood.

      Children are considered immature – that is why we call the children, immaturity is part of the definition of “child”. immature children cannot foresee to the full extend the emotional and physical consequences of their actions. Adults it is arguably possess this ability, (except those suffering from mental handicaps but the law takes that into account) and are therefore responsible for their own actions and how those actions influence the well being of the child.

      There is enough (like several ten thousand times enough) evidence out there that abuse of children has dramatic influences on their adult lives, their emotional and physical well being, and if you, Sir, cannot see that, have not followed the reports by children abused by priests, coaches, scout leader, relatives etc, then you are nothing but an utter idiot who it is not worth talking to.

      I have worked wit abused children in an alternate school and had to deal with their messed up emotional state, their total lack of trust, their anger and violence, that I find your comments a slime pit of such vileness that I wish the police would have a look at your behaviour in society, as you and your excuse seems to be a sign of a person I would be weary to have around my children.

      Fuck off, arsehole.

      • Peter Beattie

        “Fuck off, arsehole.”

        I’m sorry, did I miss a meeting? Is this now a subsidiary of Pharyngula, where it’s okay to throw around gratuitous personal insults?

        “This argument seems to be the argument of choice for almost all
        convicted child sexual abusers … . Puts you in unsavory neighbourhood.”

        Firstly, what I said wasn’t an argument but an observation, namely that something may be factually correct.

        Secondly, to then counter that observation with ‘But it’s against the law’ obviously misses the point. I was talking about a factual issue, not a legal one.

        And thirdly, guilt by association? That perfidious tactic is the best you can come up with? (It was also used by the Nazis. See what I did there?)

        “There is enough evidence out there that abuse of children has dramatic influences on their adult lives”

        Which formally begs the question. If you already label it abuse, then yeah, it’s abuse. By definition. My point, however, was to question the definition.

        “if you, Sir, cannot see that, have not followed the reports by children abused by priests, coaches, scout leader, relatives etc, then you are nothing but an utter
        idiot who it is not worth talking to.”

        And now you have finally descended to the level of PZ, who thinks that, when it comes to certain topics that he feels strongly about, anybody who disagrees with him is an asshole and should (be) shut up and shunned. Which is the textbook definition of authoritarianism.

        If someone cannot bear discussions of some topic, there is a simple remedy: stay away from them. The alternative—to try to prevent others from even having the discussion—is dangerously intolerant and as disgraceful on Skeptic Ink as it is on FreeThoughtBlogs.

    • AllYourWorld

      I’m not interested in condoning or condemning any of this, I just see an amazing level of puritanical bureaucracy in the reality that two seventeen year olds can have consensual sex until one turns eighteen and then they must wait for the other to turn eighteen too, or else the seventeen year old is the rape victim of the eighteen year old rapist. That is irrelevant on the question of the legitimation of homosexual relationships by the state; moreover, the legitimacy of the state as an apparatus for arbitration of the consensual relations between people in private, by both punitive and incentive (spousal retirement & insurance benefits) means, is clearly questionable.

      Children are more powerless than any other demographic, and they require protection from abuse. Litigating that protection requires setting arbitrary boundaries, yet probably most of the kids in high-school are engaging in some sexual conduct with other kids in high-school. A special clause defining permissible and impermissible relations between specific age cohorts could resolve some of the uneasiness on that end of this issue. Extending the range of permissibility one or two years in both directions may suit the needs of this era. For example: a sixteen year old wouldn’t be breaking a law to have consensual sex-relations with a fifteen or seventeen year old within one year of their age. Perhaps at ages under 14 the range could be a year instead of two.

      I was sexually active at eleven years old, is that a reason to have a criminal record as a sexual offender? This issue is very touchy, pardon the pun, and I’m not sure of the right answers for every situation, though I’m sure about what I think is wrong conduct; when a child didn’t consent at all it is obviously wrong. Where consent is coerced by any stretch of the word or by the nature of a situation, that is also inappropriate. When the limit of age inhibits legal consent, yet consent without any coercion is reported by those involved, and when they are within a couple years of each other, I’m not certain of a clear moral or ethical argument to condemn them by.

      Anyway, I’m not sure whether condemning an eighteen year old to have a sex offense on her record for the rest of her life is a justifiable reaction. It seems reactionary and extreme. The punishment ought to fit the crime, yet I don’t see punishment beyond the level of the school level as necessary to persuade the “perp” not to play that way with minors again. Overall, these issues are symptomatic of sexually repressive/exploitative patriarchal culture, so there is the elephant in the room, and we each are responsible for making a decision to never even indulge in the idea of exploiting children.

      The people who exploit children in unconscionable ways ought to have every available resource of law enforcement hunting them.

    • Rio Prince

      I read your blogs regularly. Your humoristic way is amusing, continue
      the good work!sell
      agreement llc

    • Jane

      So you are both pro-Objectivism and anti-rape? How does that work?