Crowd Control III: Mixed Messages (2)

“The witch-hunt narrative is a really popular story that goes like this: Lots of people were falsely convicted of child sexual abuse in the 1980s and early 1990s. And they were all victims of a witch-hunt. It just doesn’t happen to line up with the facts when you actually look at the cases themselves in detail. But it’s a really popular narrative — I think it’s absolutely fair to say that’s the conventional wisdom. It’s what most people now think is the uncontested truth, and those cases had no basis in fact. And what 15 years of painstaking trial court research (says) is that that’s not a very fair description of those cases, and in fact many of those cases had substantial evidence of abuse. The witch-hunt narrative is that these were all gross injustices to the defendant. In fact, what it looks like in retrospect is the injustices were much more often to children.”

– Ross E. Cheit, The Witch-Hunt Narrative: Politics, Psychology, and the Sexual Abuse of Children


The already seriously flawed European Justice system was brought into sharp relief with the case of Myriam Delay (now Badaoui) in France, where although abuse did take place, an extended ring of paedophilia was said to have been absent. “The trial had shattered the lives of 18 people accused in the case, with one committing suicide and others losing custody of their children, while sending France into a paroxysm of soul-searching.” [1]

The Outreau abuse trial started in 2000 and lasted until December of 2005 where over 66 adults were accused of raping, sexually abusing and prostituting 45 children between January 1999 and February 2002. By July 2005 videotaped testimony of the children provided “horrific details of abuse” which took place on a poverty stricken council estate “in a chronically deprived community.” [2]

One of the country’s biggest criminal trials, and the largest paedophile trial held in France, the Deputy public prosecutor Herve Lollic told the AFP news agency: “We are certain of not having identified all the victims and it is probable that we have not identified all the aggressors,” which doesn’t inspire the greatest confidence that justice would be done.  Charges were brought against an intra-familial paedophile ring in a poor area of a town in Western France. ‘These were people in difficulty, excluded from normal society, who found each other. And for them, everything was sexualised,’ said one local news journalist.  Another expert at the trial mentioned that ‘these were people who were unable to manage their sexual impulses. And nobody told them these things shouldn’t be done …’ [3]

Many of the accused were said to have been innocent of the crimes, with just four of the 17 men and women originally charged found guilty. What was deemed as evidence was later said to be no more than the imaginings of Myriam Delay  and the wild inventions of other children. As well as crucial evidence that was never heard in court which would have exonerated many of the accused, most of the 13 suspects who continued to plead their innocence were placed in detention in 2001. In the beginning of 2006 President Jacque Chirac called the case of the Outreau 13 “… an unprecedented judicial disaster…” [4]

France has been repeatedly criticised by the European Court of Human Rights and campaign groups for its pre-trial detention that can last up to five years. Many lost their jobs and saw their children taken into care. The case has revealed serious flaws in France’s judicial system, which should never have allowed most of the cases to come to court. This can only benefit those who commit the crimes and serves to feed the idea that much of the organised paedophilia and sexual abuse are children’s fantasies.  It underlines just how difficult it is to obtain prosecutions of high level networks if isolated groupings within society are loaded with incompetence and purposeful obstructions. It remains worrying however, that Miriam Delay on 10th day of her trial, suddenly admitted to fabricating much of the story concerning tales of gang rapes and a child prostitution ring based in her home. After a trial that shattered lives of 18 people accused in case, with one committing suicide and others losing custody of their children it begs the question was it all lies? The answer is no. There were cases of abuse. Delay’s retraction appeared to prove that no “commercial” bartering of “services” was organised.

outreau “The innocent and politicians first!”

After so many cases of abuse coming to light in the last 20 years it could be argued that social workers were trying to cultivate due caution coupled with suitable vigilance. 21 of the 23 families in the case had been monitored by French social workers after the first report in 1999, but the investigation only began in earnest in 2002 which seems more than a little apathetic in light of the severity of the abuse.

The Deputy public prosecutor said “… I fear that these things do not just happen in Angers…” With such painfully slow realisations forming at this late stage it is no wonder that intra-familial abuse and other forms of exploitation continue to rise in society. Where cases of intra-generational abuse occur, how does one penetrate the wall of secrecy set up as a natural course by the victims and perpetrators alike? When these walls are finally broken down, the methods adopted often lead to fatal flaws that see the wrong persons accused and caught up in the ensuing and very slippery shadows, which then causes suspicion and accusations to all, regardless of tangible evidence.

From the UK to the US and things are no better. Children are suffering unnecessarily as victims only to become further victims of court ineptitude and cultural and personal bias resulting in families being broken up and effectively destroyed. Meanwhile, the real abusers continue to get away quite literally, with murder.

From a series of life history interviews conducted by Sara Scott Ph.D from the Department of Sociology and Social Work at the University Liverpool, UK, the stories from one particular family detail a history of “violence, cruelty and sexual abuse.” One interviewee responded to a question about her uncle and abuse:

… once I was at boarding school he used to have to pick up us up from the airport and stay overnight and going back to school and things like that; he used to abuse then a fair bit…. My uncle in many ways was like my dad. He’d come across as a very nice bloke, good laugh and a joke. They managed to do what my parents had done, build up and image of everything’s fine, nothing’s wrong… ‘We’re the perfect family.’  My uncle has a daughter and four grandchildren – at least one I know that’s been abused.  I’m almost certain he’s abused his own daughter, he abused my sister, he abused my dad… very much into abusing people.

He abused you dad when he was young?

Yeah, from what I can gather from what my sister’s told me from when he was fairly young until his teens. Quite badly abused my dad, because of the 18 years [between them]. [5]

Scott goes onto emphasize the “ordinary” and “routine” nature of such abuse which existed in these families. Abuse began when the children were infants where it was so much part of their formative years that it became normalized:

[Kate]: Yeah, I can remember what I call normal abuse … which basically didn’t have any cult meaning, it was just my father. That was pretty much a regular occurrence as much as eating my meals actually. I can’t really distinguish particularly … It would happen at home or used to take me for walks in the park … anywhere really … I don’t think it really bothered him at all. […]

[Sinead:] As soon as I saw my mum each day I would get bath. And my mum used to pay particular attention to my private parts. She would wash me quite roughly and insert her fingers inside me. Sometimes my dad would help and he would help, and he would do the same thing. That must of gone on since I was born really. I do remember my dad would quite often insert things inside me, his hand was a favourite. It got to be normal, I just used to relax, it didn’t hurt so much. It was so ordinary, I didn’t think: ‘O, my God, what are they doing?’ That went on till I went to school. [6]

It seems to be true with many cases of intra-familial abuse that emotional cruelty and degradation also featured to a greater or lesser degree. In the case of the above middle class English family such instances included: “….pissing on me when I was in bath and putting my head down the toilet and putting faeces in my mouth. Nice, you know, nice things like that … I hate him.” [7]  Far from being merely a product of a dysfunctional family, incest is carried out most often by parents committing rape upon their own child which tends to cut through the psychoanalysis double-speak of “parents loving too much” [8] or the “failure of family obligations.”

***

If we look to the internet there are ample opportunities for those to find others who are attempting to make incest acceptable along with paedophilia. As with most forms of deviancy of the kind that includes bestiality, sadomasochism and fetishes of all types the internet provides a homogenous and anonymous entry into all manner of fantasy that is attempting to slip from pathology to normalcy.

There are even chat-rooms and websites that are de facto support groups for people engaged in incest. Ideas that advocate a better understanding of consensual sex between “kin”, blur the line yet again between the complexities of father-daughter relationships for example, where perhaps the only way to find a proper relationship is to give in to the adult’s manipulations, sex being the only way to gain “love” and attention. However, our concern here is for the child for whom the idea of consent, when confronted by the father or mother in such cases is a cruel abstraction devoid of any meaning. It can only be a form of parental rape at this stage and must be prosecuted as such.

In the UK, the old offence of incest was replaced with a more modern law that prohibits sexual relations between children under 18 and their blood relations, adoptive parents and siblings, step-parents, foster carers and those in a position of responsibility in the family. The “position of responsibility” covers people such as a friend of the child’s mother, a relative by marriage, such as an uncle, or another adult that lives in the same household. Whereas in New York, US, the penalty for those who molest an unrelated child differs greatly for those who molest children to whom they are related.

One may ask, which is worse: a stranger who rapes a child or the child’s own father committing the crime?

20051128© infrakshunghg

Not so, overseas. Sex with a child under the age of 11 is a Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. If, however, the sexually abused child is closely related to the perpetrator, state law ensures significantly more lenient treatment, to the extent that the prosecutor may choose to charge the same acts as incest. The problem being this is not listed as a sex offence, but as an “offense affecting the marital relationship,” It is therefore a Class E felony, whereby even a convicted offender may be granted probation. [9]

Can you imagine how useful a political tool this has become for the high-flying family man with a supercharged career and a penchant for abusing his children as he climbs the ladder to the top? Find the right lawyer, pay the money and rely on incest loopholes to finish the job. Such inconsistencies are not so surprising when we look at some of the definitions of sexual practices in law. In the State of North Carolina orgies are defined as “7 people in a closed room with their feet off of the ground.” Necrophilia (sex with corpses) was not illegal in Iowa until the late 1980s. It is surely little wonder that child abuse and the courts are in such chaos.  Similar eccentric laws exist in many Southern States.  Regardless of the precise statistics of each category there is a high probability that the prevalence of familial abuse and sexual abuse in general is not decreasing, though more overt and unplanned violent crime may well be on the decrease.

If we return to the US, in 1970 the results of one study recorded 86,324 persons arrested for sexual offences. In 1986, 168,579 persons were arrested for sexual offences which are almost double the number. The United States Department of Justice recorded in 1981 and 1989 respectively, that from 1970 to 1979 the rate of increase for sexual offences, other than forcible rape and prostitution was 5 percent. From 1979 to 1988 the rate of increase for these offences was 44.5 percent. [10] Therefore, we can make the tentative observation that the single largest group in our prison population may be those convicted of sexual offences, second only to drug offences. This maybe as much to do with sex-paranoia as puritanical authoritarianism where both are doing battle and squeezing any semblance of objectivity.

It is also worth noting that the high rate of physical and sexual abuse (including rape and violence within the family) will induce post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in children in particular, especially where genital pain is involved. This becomes understandable when we realise that an estimated 61 percent of violent sex offenders in State prisons have a prior conviction history and a further estimate of 1 in 4 imprisoned rape and sexual assault offenders with dominant past histories of violent crime, with 1 in 7 having been previously convicted of a violent sex crime. [11]

With child abusers who have been known to re-offend as late as 20 years following release into the community, this is not a problem that will disappear with sporadic under-funded, community-based supervision and management. This is a problem that goes very deep indeed into all aspects of social systems: economics, politics, and education.


“Society does not believe that women really do sexually abuse children … There’s almost a perception that boys should be happy or grateful, or certainly not experiencing sexual contact with females as abusive.” – Dr Joe Sullivan  [12]


As mentioned previously in discussions of The Female Psychopath female sexual abuse is another taboo the recognition of which still lags behind of male abuse both in reporting and investigations. Women in society are seen as the carers, nurturers and protectors. To accept that some women also abuse, whether sexually or physically is unconsciously resisted which has led to a paucity of research and data, though this is slowly changing. As always, this too creates tensions between child advocates, agencies and feminist groups who fear that it will feed into the already difficult plight of women in society generally, not least the arena of abuse.

There is one theory that suggests that women frequently abuse children physically rather than sexually. This is the most readily available individual, or individuals to whom the abuser can claim to exert control and retain that power normally denied to them, especially within a fragmented and disintegrating home environment where pathologies tend to manifest. [12]  Examples of female sexual abuse fall into distinct categories including: teachers who are involved with adolescent and/or pre-pubescent boys or consider themselves “in love” and/or want to teach them about sex; [13] women who are coerced into offending and who are initially abuse dependent i.e. allows another male to initiate the action but can end up abusing on their own; [14] and abusers who have been sexually abused themselves from a very young age and go on to inflict the same abuse towards their own children. This may not be necessarily aggressive, threatening abuse, rather “a cry for emotional intimacy.” [15]

Pathological narcissism and psychopathy may also play its part where cases are just too extreme to be classed as anything else. The case where a mother feared she would “lose her boyfriend while she recuperated from surgery arranged for her 15-year-old daughter to have sex with him,” is but one example. [16]

Though the above suggests there are important differences between male and female abuse, this type of offending, despite the cultural stereotyping of young boys “enjoying it and wanting it” can be just as detrimental, creating concerns regarding masculinity, deep-seated anger, betrayal, helplessness, negative attitudes towards relationships with the opposite sex and continuing occurrences of self-blame and guilt. In other words, female sexual abuse, like male abuse, has long term psychological effects that can ruin lives.

Social service and mental health professionals are unused to the idea that females can and do abuse children making the detection and of such crimes even more difficult. This means that children remain vulnerable to continuing and undetected abuse of this kind. There are estimates that 5 percent of girls and up to 20 percent of boys that have been abused are perpetrated by women, though the small amount of data available is less than definitive. [17]

With inter-generational physical and sexual abuse being unreported yet prevalent, anti-sexuality set against sexualisation form dominant forms of “edutainment” with a vacuum of appropriate role models and a widening of the gap between the rich and poor. However, with power comes impunity and while society at large battles with its demons, locked into a cycle of self-abuse, we begin to get an idea that all is not well with the authorities and established institutions in the Western world that purport to guide, instruct and look after its populace. Children are not only becoming victims within the family but are also manifesting narcissistic and sociopathic tendencies which have been inflicted upon them.

There can be no greater barometer than by looking at the plight of children under globalisation. There is thus something very wrong indeed in our institutions and social systems if the very core of the family is exhibiting symptoms of emotional decay and psychological disorders to the extent that parents, siblings resort to the abuse, torture and murder. This is further exacerbated by a climate of fear placing pressure on parents who are made to feel hypersensitive and over protective of their own children. Like certain representatives of the climate change industry, the child abuse industry often has some fat pay cheques to offer their employees.

The traditional roles of the father, mother and the family unit in general are deteriorating in the UK and the US.  Similarly, children are desperately in need of enduring role models that nurture and nourish their growth rather than creating unnecessary tensions which are pulling the child’s psyche apart. To say that children globally are receiving mixed messages would be an enormous understatement.

The spectre of the lone paedophile / child molester is given endless mileage and moral panics are whipped up to protect the organised networks of abuse. These are sometimes mirrored in the family and communities at large. The ability to tackle these issues remains diffused at best, due to the active or passive acquiescence of law enforcement and authorities already tied to what is institutional abuse in secret. This situation can only worsen if the core reasons for its presence continue to be brushed under the proverbial carpet. And these reasons are to be found in our present systems which define the very societies themselves. The Rule of Law only goes so far in protecting the innocent, but ensures immunity to those with money, prestige and power on a scale that is unacceptable for so-called democratic nations. Perhaps it has always been so, but the structures upon which our present laws were founded seemed to have all but crumbled away when the courts and custody battles are placed under the microscope.

 


Notes

[1] ‘French paedophile ring case turns into judicial fiasco’ The Guardian, December 2, 2005.
[2] Ibid.
[3] ‘Outrage over innocent 13 jailed in sex abuse scandal’ The Times, January 20, 2006.
[4]  ‘Child abuse gang horrifies France’ By Sarah Shenker, BBC News, July 27, 2005.
[5] p.66; The Politics and Experience of Ritual Abuse: Beyond Disbelief By Sara Scott, 2001, published by Open University Press. | ISBN 0-335-20419-8.
[6] op. cit. Scott (p.67)
[7] Ibid.
[8] Systemic treatment of incest: A therapeutic handbook.T.S Trepper and M. J Barrett, New York: Brunner/Mazel. (1989).
[9] The Incest Loophole’ By Andrew Vachss, The New York Times Op-Ed, November 20, 2005.
[10] U. S. Department of Justice (1981). Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics-1981. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D. C. /U. S. Department of Justice (1989). Sourcebook of criminal justice statistics-1989. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Washington, D. C.
[11] US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, February 1997.
[12] ‘Female paedophiles more prevalent than conviction rates suggest, leading forensic psychologist says’ By David Lewis
28 Apr 2015. ABC News Australia.
[13] ‘Unspeakable Acts’, Trouble and Strife 2 I(Summer), I3 p. I5 by L. Kelly. 1991.
[14] Bridget Mary Nolan, a former Australian teacher was convicted in December 2005 of having sexual intercourse with an underage student at her school. She was sentenced on March 1, 2006 to two years and four months but which led to a suspended sentence after Nolan entered a $1,000, three-year good behaviour bond. The sentencing judge justified his decision not to hand down a jail sentence due to her showing “genuine remorse.” The Australian, January 2006, p. 5./ The Australian. 2 March 2006, p. 3.
[15] A woman told investigators that she was “…coaxed into raping her 6-year-old son when her husband threatened to leave will spend the next 16 years in prison….The woman’s 30-year-old husband was sentenced …to two concurrent life.” published in The Akron Beacon-Journal, October 5, 2002.
[16] ‘Breaking the last taboo: child sexual abuse by female perpetrators’ By Renee Koonin, Australian Social Work journal, Volume 30, No 2. May 1995.
[17]  ‘Police: Teen given to older man for sex.’ Associated Press, August 10, 2006.
[18] A paper: Child Sexual Abuse: New Theory and Research, ‘Women as Perpetrators,’ by D. Finkelhor, and D. Russell New York: Free Press. (1984).

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