As is now the NSPCC’s custom, How Safe Are Our Children? 2015 was brimful with frightening, press-release-worthy figures. In England and Wales in 2013/14, there were 31,238 allegations of sexual offences against children. This, we were gleefully informed, represents an increase of 38 per cent on the previous year.
But, for the NSPCC, even bad news is never quite bad enough. There may be more allegations of child sexual abuse than ever before, but the NSPCC is insatiable. It always wants more: more allegations, more reporting and more publicity. That is, it wants more people to come forward and tell the police that they have been abused, neglected or maltreated in some way. Because, as it and the rest of the child-protection industry never cease from telling us, whatever is alleged, whatever is reported, is only ever just the ‘tip of the iceberg’, ‘a fraction of the true number of victims’.
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In the video, Pepper goes on to share that he himself has been a victim of sexual harassment. Apparently his fans grab his arse at events, and, when he tells them it makes him feel uncomfortable, they just giggle. Damn those fans.
It is, of course, ridiculous that these videos have been censored and taken offline, but it should come as no surprise. Sam Pepper clearly knew the easily offended would pounce on his innocuous, nonsense video and call for it to be scrubbed out with their cries of sexism. But the victim act always backfires. Pepper, with a statistic in hand, was able to come back and claim he was the awareness-raiser. In any case, both sides were making a pathetic attempt at moralising over a made-up problem. Partner abuse is one thing, but the claim from Pepper and his detractors that a bit of untoward butt-pinching is tantamount to abuse is ridiculous.
Welcome to the era of the permanent paedophile hunt. There’s no let-up. There’s no time to take a breath. Once one hunt for paedos is over, another will take its place, almost instantly. The speed with which the national attention turned from celebrating the slaying of child-assaulting Rolf to demanding the capture of child-assaulting MPs suggests the British obsession with paedophiles is not simply a recurring moral panic, like the ones over crime or youthful misbehaviour that come and go depending on what mood the police or the press are in. Rather, it is a permanent fixture in British political and moral life; an ever-present force; a neverending morality tale in which the characters might change – cloaked Satanists one day, old TV celebrities the next, wicked politicians the day after that – but where the story remains remarkably samey: that is, that dark, twisted forces are seeking to harm our children and thus we must always be vigilant, obsessively so, reorganising society itself in order to keep the monsters at bay and our children safe.
See also Barbara Hewson on ‘Savile: Trawling for Scandal?‘
Is it right that unproven, sometimes hysterical accusations can be made against the deceased? …
…By way of an example, consider the backlash following lurid accusations about Jimmy Savile in ITV’s heavily promoted Exposure documentary on 3 October 2012. By 8 October, his family had his headstone removed from his grave, for fear of vandalism. The hysteria generated by the media continued to escalate. Vandals targeted his holiday home in Scotland. That level of threat certainly sounds serious enough to engage a new Article 8 right, to protect the dead and their families.
Again, headlines like the Daily Express one that said ’ ‘Jimmy Savile was part of Satanic ring: Savile beat and raped a 12-year-old girl during a secret Satanic ritual in a hospital’ could not be more sensational, provocative and extreme.
That story continued: ‘Savile, who died aged 84 in October 2011, is now Britain’s worst sex offender after police revealed he preyed on at least 450 victims aged eight to 47.’
If Savile were alive, one can imagine the libel writ coming the very same day. That Express report omits to mention that Satanic ritual abuse is a myth, which was comprehensively debunked in the early 1990s. It also fails to explain how the police are arbiters of truth in historical sex claims. Savile was Catholic, and such vilification might even be said to evoke older Protestant stereotypes of Catholics as agents of the anti-Christ.
In recent years, the behaviour and operation of the criminal-justice system in relation to issues like domestic violence, sex crimes and child abuse has acquired a morally disoriented and obsessive character. When it comes to engaging with these issues, the police do not so much fight law-breaking and catch criminals as devote resources to uncovering crimes that have not been reported. Perversely, at a time when the police have a dismal clear-up rate of real, reported crimes, they prefer to devote resources to unearthing or constructing crimes that have not been reported. That’s what trawling operations are all about. And, as Nigel Evans discovered, police-trawling operations, designed to encourage individuals to come forward to accuse an individual of a crime, are not confined to big national initiatives such as that of Operation Yewtree.
Warning – A sick bag might be required when reading some of the comments below the article, and sadly, for some of the article itself.
So, yes, the gloating over Labour old (dirty) hands’ involvement with the creepy weirdos from PIE (many of whom are either dead or in prison) is understandable – the posturing post-Savile by the likes of Harman was irritating. But what those on the nominal right don’t seem to grasp is that they’re merely playing the same decadent game. That is, they’ve transformed an era in which politics, society, values and mores were different into a site of evil. This serves a function, of course. In morally groundless times, the transformation of a discrete era into a source of corruption allows politicians and pundits to orient themselves. That is, by attacking the past, by effectively demonising the ‘way we did things back then’, they can present ‘the way we are trying to do things now’ as in some ways morally superior. There are no good old days any more, just bad old days – a case not of golden ageism, but tainted ageism. This is a crusade all right, but it’s not for something; it’s against something. It is the affirmation of the present at the expense of the past and, as many people have found out, all who lived through it.
And now, through Sochi, the Culture Wars in general and the politicisation of gayness specifically have gone global. A West bereft of its old economic clout and lacking serious ideological beliefs now attempts to assert its moral authority in global affairs through tangential cultural issues, and most notably through being gay-friendly. So the UN is forever drawing up lists of non-gay-friendly countries, Washington has threatened to cut off aid to countries that are not gay-friendly, and Russia is today demonised not on the basis of its economic manoeuvring or ideological positioning but because of its attitude to gays. Where once the world was divided between the civilised and the savage, now it’s split between the gay-friendly and the homophobic. Welcome to the era of Queer Imperialism. How long before a Western nation goes so far as to bomb a country that is insufficiently gay-friendly? Don’t laugh. Serious commentators already referred to America’s war on Afghanistan in the early 2000s as one ‘in which gay America can take a proud and central part’ on the basis that it routed the Taliban, who of course were homophobic. Up next on the international stage: Straights Die for the Queer Guy?
The outraged reactions to newspaper reports of a recent debate at the London School of Economics entitled ‘Is Rape Different?’, at which I spoke, proved the point of my talk there about the prevailing ideology of victimisation. This ideology dominates official thinking about rape and sexual abuse to a point where the police actively solicit allegations with the promise, ‘You will be believed’. This militates against the idea that allegations need to be investigated.
The ‘you will be believed’ mantra also fosters an unreal expectation on the part of complainants, and the victim lobby, that their accounts should not be challenged or questioned robustly. The government is now piloting a scheme of ‘pre-trial’ cross-examination, in an attempt to shield complainants from the rigours of a criminal trial, ostensibly so as not to ‘re-traumatise victims’.
This is dangerous, for two reasons. First, it creates an ideal climate in which those who have not been abused can claim that they have been. Second, it ignores the ease with which false memories of abuse can be created, whether by self-persuasion, interaction with victim/survivor groups, or influence by third parties with axes to grind. Those third parties may include therapists, policemen, injury lawyers, campaign groups, and journalists avid for scandal. All these players espouse the ideology of victimisation.