Panic over child sexual abuse

Baroness Murphy

I agree with every word of Baroness Lister’s blog on Assisted Dying, I’ll say more next week as we approach the debate. But I don’t want to leave the recent news on child sexual abuse without a comment.  Claims of an establishment cover-up of historical child sex abuse involving public figures, including politicians, have prompted Home Secretary Theresa May to announce two inquiries. One is an overarching inquiry into the way public bodies and other important institutions have handled child sex abuse claims. The other will look at how the Home Office dealt with allegations about powerful figures and paedophilia in the 1980s. Both will almost certainly prove to be expensive, unnecessary exercises in digging up what we all should know by now, that child sexual abuse is endemic, common, involves perpetrators of all classes, credes and ethnicities. Concern and reporting of child-adult sexual activity has increased markedly in the last two decades, although its prevalence has not increased at least since the 1960s. What has changed is the public’s awareness of it and an increased determination to punish the perpetrators in a fashion that borders on hysterical revenge. Child sexual abuse is often profoundly damaging…but not always. Each case is different; society’s uniformly abhorrent response is understandable but unhelpful. Let’s get the problem into perspective.

The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19.7% for females and 7.9% for males, according to a 2009 study published in Clinical Psychology Review that examined 65 studies from 22 countries. Using the available data, the highest prevalence rate of child sexual abuse geographically was found in Africa (34.4%), primarily because of high rates in South Africa; Europe showed the lowest prevalence rate (9.2%); America and Asia had prevalence rates between 10.1% and 23.9%. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, stepfathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of cases. The 7th Earl of Shaftesbury, back in the 1850s, shocked the Victorians by suggesting that frequently reported incest and sexual activity with children in families living in poverty were made worse by overcrowding but he did not doubt that the problem was not confined to the poor. Neither is it confined today to the rich and influential. We are more prepared to discuss it, to look out for it, to be sympathetic to victims and to prosecute offenders than 40 years ago. Leave it there….

5 comments for “Panic over child sexual abuse

  1. MilesJSD
    09/07/2014 at 6:59 pm

    There should be “panic”, too;
    much more so than ever there has been in this UK and worlwide,
    because much larger numbers of child populations are being abused,
    and not just ‘sexually’ either.

    Further with that, I think ‘genital-mutilation’ should be much stronger condemned and proactively-prevented, primarily as GBH ‘grievous bodily harm’;
    and so should forced or coerced penetration be proactively-prevented including by ongoing-for-life ‘generic’ public-education screenings and learning-groups;
    especially both vaginal and anal rape should be stronger opposed than mere non-consenting genital-rough-handling and ‘groping’.
    I submit a contribution, calling for clarification, publicly-up-front, as to the kind, serious-extent, and injuriousness, of different abuses;

    currently for instance between the Savile and Harris cases;

    and I give some experience from between age 8 and 16 as to ‘borderlines’, e.g. between ‘pleasurable sexual play’ initiated carefully and ‘suggestibly’ by a married adult

    but on the other hand of ‘rough-handed interference’ by a different married adult;
    [although each of these might fall under “child sexual abuse” I believe neither has left me ‘scarred’];

    I am firmly of the social and educational mindset that would support both ongoing public Individual Human Development Education and within that two major foci upon (i) personal sensory self-awarenessiong, and
    (ii) all-round ‘Lifeplace’ Holistic Health [as distinct from more specialised Workplace Health]

  2. maude elwes
    10/07/2014 at 12:48 pm

    Baroness, you may want it to go away because it is turning into what you see is a madhouse of revenge. But, it isn’t going to go away. In fact the debate is going to grow and the call for retribution will get louder, as, so many suffered in silence as they were ravaged and silenced, when they were looking for nurture and care. And these sufferers need to be heard. They need to feel this abuse of young children will end, and that they have done what they can to stop it. And with boys it is far greater than sexual abuse, it can destroy his very sense of masculinity and self esteem for a lifetime.

    A part of the problem lies, from my point of view, with the crazy expanding age of childhood. It is unreasonable, from every aspect, to refer to young people as children when they are way passed puberty, as we do now. Young women, in particular, are coming into maturity earlier by the year. The reason being they’re healthier, the added hormones in the food we eat promotes it and the nature of any animal is primarily, to breed. So, pretending that the onset of menstruation doesn’t occur until the age of sixteen and that the individual is classified as a child, is therefore, denial of the worse kind. Especially when these so called children are filled from age five at school with ideas of sexuality way above their ability to comprehend it, not to mention the growing madhouse of pornography.

    A person with a penchant for sex with a child does not include men or boys, of any age, who are attracted to young women with the desire and ability to breed. Goodness me, child brides were considered a trophy in my mothers lifetime. Didn’t Elvis want to have one for arm candy in his heyday? And my mother thought if you were eighteen and not a married female, or, engaged to be, you would be ‘on the shelf’ at twenty. I’m not trying to advocate teen pregnancy, but, the mad suggestion that the male of the species is deviant or a child fiddler when a girl is fourteen is absurd. My cousin began menstruating at eight. As did quite a few of her friends. By the time they were fourteen they were women in the physical sense and rampant to move on with their life in that role. Yes, emotionally immature, but so are we all at any age when that old black magic has you in it’s spell. And the growing desire to keep children as babies has become insanity throughout the Western world of today. One of the main reasons is, once again, working mothers. They want their children to remain needy as they, the mothers, are unfulfilled in the nurturing side of their life and when their baby remains forever childlike they can try and make up for their absence. Yes. pooh pooh it. But it doesn’t change the facts. Pushing four and five year olds around in a baby buggy tells you all you need to know about that.

    Then there is the ultra fashionable blame men for their rampant sexuality, it is their fault we are in the mess we are. And this beat them up fashion is an extension of that feminist view of the world.

    Then there is this study at Cambridge.

    • LordBlagger
      10/07/2014 at 5:19 pm

      Correct Maude. You have to wonder how many Peers were involved.

      As usual, its the cover up that’s going to do them in. With Whips already revealing that they have covered up for MPs.

      Fortescue, a government whip from 1970 to 1973, when Ted Heath was prime minister, says in the documentary (see below, from 23.34 – 25.25): “Anyone with any sense who is in trouble would come to the whips and tell them the truth, ‘I am in a jam – can you help?’ It might be debt, it might be a scandal involving small boys, or any kind of scandal that a member seems likely to be mixed up in.

      “We would do anything we could because we would store up brownie points. That sounds a pretty nasty reason but if we could get a chap out of trouble, he would do what we ask for ever more.”

      Read more:

      So there mates are more important that children.

      Blackmail, bribery, political corruption. If a member of the public was to blackmail an MP into voting a particular way, there would be an outrage. If an MP does it, its fair game.

  3. Emma Reilly
    15/07/2014 at 2:43 am

    Child sexual abuse isn’t always damaging?! Abhorrence of it is unhelpful?! You really are living in the Westminster bubble. I hope you apologise once the whole truth is unearthed and the living perpretators are prosecuted.

  4. MilesJSD
    15/07/2014 at 2:36 pm

    “Bubbles” like the Westminster ones do ‘blind’ or distort one’s clear vision, and Emma has instanced one here;

    but without my appearing to be taking sides, or trying to ‘rescue’ any-one –

    let us re-word that slip-of-the-tongue
    essentially over “some levels of damage due to child sexual abuse are lesser and some horribly greater” thus

    “Whilst some levels of child sexual involvement are very damagingly abusive,
    some more ‘playful’ and ‘consensual’ levels may even be helpfully educative and enjoyable”.

    The noble baroness unfortunately relied upon ‘child sexual abuse’ and by default excluded ‘child-sexual-involvement’ or ‘child sexual play’.
    If so, then here might be a good chance to check through the three Principlesof Good Communication and Honest Argumentation:
    1. Be clear;
    2. Be charitable [recognise any good intention within another’s submission];
    3. Be self-corrigible
    [e.g. “Yes – i meant some sexual involvements of a child are very harmful even criminally so;
    but some may be not very harmful at all:

    so perhaps we should up-front publicly ‘triage’ all alleged cases of ‘abuse’ that way, separating out the ‘damaging’ from the ‘educative’ ?”) .

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