• (Talking about the movement to deny the prevalence and effects of adult sexual exploitation of children)So what does this movement consist of? Who are the movers and shakers? Well molesters are in it, of course. There are web pages telling them how to defend themselves against accusations, to retain confidence about their ‘loving and natural’ feelings for children, with advice on what lawyers to approach, how to complain, how to harass those helping their children. Then there’s the Men’s Movements, their web pages throbbing with excitement if they find ‘proof’ of conspiracy between feminists, divorcing wives and therapists to victimise men, fathers and husbands.Then there are journalists. A few have been vitally important in the US and Britain in establishing the fightback, using their power and influence to distort the work of child protection professionals and campaign against children’s testimony. Then there are other journalists who dance in and out of the debates waggling their columns behind them, rarely observing basic journalistic manners, but who use this debate to service something else – a crack at the welfare state, standards, feminism, ‘touchy, feely, post-Diana victimhood’. Then there is the academic voice, landing in the middle of court cases or inquiries, offering ‘rational authority’. Then there is the government. During the entire period of discovery and denial, not one Cabinet minister made a statement about the prevalence of sexual abuse or the harm it caused.Finally there are the ‘retractors’. For this movement to take off, it had to have ‘human interest’ victims – the accused – and then a happy ending – the ‘retractors’. We are aware that those ‘retractors’ whose parents trail them to newspapers, television studios and conferences are struggling. Lest we forget, they recanted under palpable pressure

    Beatrix Campbell
  • The asylum, and later the national health service, warehoused thousands of patients made mad by the intrusions of a sexual predator. But these institutions had been dominated by the discredited Freudian fantasy that sexual abuse doesn’t happen - that it is our illicit desires that drive us crazy. A century ago, Freud recoiled from his own theory of the sexual seduction of children and projected the problem back into the patient. He claimed in his Aetiology of Hysteria that clients, typically women, were describing their fantasies, not facts, not ‘real events’. P3

    Beatrix Campbell
  • The survivor movements were also challenging the notion of a dysfunctional family as the cause and culture of abuse, rather than being one of the many places where abuse nested. This notion, which in the 1990s and early 1980s was the dominant understanding of professionals characterised the sex abuser as a pathetic person who had been denied sex and warmth by his wife, who in turn denied warmth to her daughters. Out of this dysfunctional triad grew the far-too-cosy incest dyad. Simply diagnosed, relying on the signs: alcoholic father, cold distant mother, provocative daughter. Simply resolved, because everyone would want to stop, to return to the functioning family where mum and dad had sex and daughter concentrated on her exams. Professionals really believed for a while that sex offenders would want to stop what they were doing. They thought if abuse were decriminalised, abusers would seek help. The survivors knew different. P5

    Beatrix Campbell
  • Another preoccupation fed into this dynamic relationship between discovery and denial: does sexual abuse actually matter? Should it, in fact, be allowed? After all, it was only in the 19070s that the Paedophile Information Exchange had argued for adults’ right to have sex with children – or rather by a slippery sleight of word, PIE inverted the imperative by arguing that children should have the right to have sex with adults. This group had been disbanded after the imprisonment of Tom O’Carroll, its leader, with some of its activists bunkered in Holland’s paedophile enclaves, only to re-appear over the parapets in the sex crime controversies of the 1990s. How recent it was, then, that paedophilia was fielded as one of the liberation movements, how many of those on the left and right of the political firmament, were – and still are – persuaded that sex with children is merely another case for individual freedom?Few people in Britain at the turn of the century publicly defend adults’ rights to sex with children. But some do, and they are to be found nesting in the coalition crusading against evidence of sexual suffering. They have learned from the 1970s, masked their intentions and diverted attention on to ‘the system’. Others may not have come out for paedophilia but they are apparently content to enter into political alliances with those who have. We believe that this makes their critique of survivors and their allies unreliable. Others genuinely believe in false memories, but may not be aware of the credentials of some of their advisors

    Beatrix Campbell
  • The themes that exercised the minds of survivor movements and their allies within the health and welfare professions generated a political project: how to revolutionise medical and judicial approaches to injured adults and children, how to raise awareness so that other people didn’t have to suffer the same, and how to understand, and then challenge, offenders who so love what they do to children that they can and must shut their minds to the feelings of children who have put their trust in them. P4

    Beatrix Campbell
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