R. vs. Sharpe Personal Account
This book is about my child pornography charges under Canadas broad and restrictive laws. It is written from the viewpoint of the defendant, the view from below. It is my perspective and interpretation of what happened, it incorporates my values and ideas and what I see the law meaning for broader social and legal questions.
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
PART THREE: STALKING THE LAW
PART FOUR: THE VOIR DIRE
PART FIVE: RULINGS AND REACTIONS
PART SIX: THE SUPREME COURT & BEYOND
PART SEVEN: THE TRIAL
PART ONE: INTRODUCTION
SWEARING AND PORN
I never saw any porn as a child but there was a girl in my grade two class who would pull down her panties for a nickel and let boys take a look. I only got a dime a week allowance which didnt go far even then, and besides I knew it was bad and it made me feel virtuous not to take her up on the deal. However, I heard a lot of swearing from other boys which was also bad, sometimes very bad. I never swore despite being taunted to do so. The boys who did swear sometimes got nasty spankings at home and strapped in class. I was a good boy then, I was sure I was morally superior to other boys, and I never got spanked or strapped. However I could not see how words could be all that bad, certainly not as bad as a painful strapping which left little boys crying. The punishment seemed unjust, far in excess of the ancient "eye for an eye" rule which I was taught in Sunday school was something that good Christians rejected. Jesus was a hero. And when beginning about grade 3 boys returned to their seats after strappings with smirks on their faces and no tears in their eyes they became heroes too. However despite the schoolyard chant, "Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." swear words and obscenities seemed to have some magic quality. I thought they must be very powerful if adults beat kids for using them. I began thinking obscenities and swear words and mouthing them to myself silently. I admired those boys who had the courage to swear out loud although I dont think I ever swore aloud until I was in junior high. It was liberating.
Adults were using beatings to send the message that swearing was wrong. My immature mind consistently failed to receive the intended message. The message I received was that adults were unfair and cruel. I saw punishment for swearing, my prototype of a "victimless crime", as revenge. It was beating someone for an insult or because you didnt like what they say. I was a very scared kid and fear often guided my words and acts. I didnt believe in hitting. I tried to be a pacifist. I even tried not fighting back but it didnt work.
Forbidden words and challenging authority held a fascination for me as a child. I became clever with words and, as they say nowadays, I pushed envelopes. I was a smart alec albeit a cautious one. I would see how far I could go with teachers by deliberately but plausibly misinterpreting their words to make them look foolish or by asking them questions which I suspected they could not answer or which would lead them into contradictions. I was careful to do this in a seemingly naive way which made it difficult for teachers to do much about it in front of the class. Rarely did I get my comeuppance and it earned me some status amongst my peers. I had heard about dirty pictures but there was no Playboy or Penthouse then, just Vargas pin-up girls in scanty swimwear. It wasnt until high school that I managed to look at my first real porn, a rather innocuous French postcard showing a naked lady standing beside a potted palm. By then my staunch moralistic outlook had been eroded by the exigencies of puberty, I was disappointed and felt sure they could do better. Then when I was in my early twenties a buddy on the green chain at the plywood plant let me read his smuggled Olympia Press editions of FANNY HILL and JUSTINE. I was thrilled and inspired to write my first letter to the editor which advocated public hangings and floggings of juvenile delinquents for the benefit of Victorias tourist trade. Todays editors Ive discovered do not appreciate gross satires. I became convinced that censorship was wrong and that people should never be punished for ideas and words. As I say in one of my books, "The taboo against swearing plants the seed of censorship in the mind of the child - Aint that fuckin right?" Kids should learn to swear, and learn when it is appropriate to do so. And kids should have access to porn so that it does not become mystified and the problems that leads to. It is no accident that many rapists and cruel child sex offenders had little exposure to porn as kids.
Zero tolerance embraces hysteria, caters to our most vindictive urges, turns lack of understanding of what is not to be tolerated into a virtue, rewards deception, conspiracy and cunning, and ultimately undermines law. Zero tolerance is the principle of inquisitions, pogroms, and officially sanctioned persecution.
I try to be a free thinker and think the unthinkable, question the unquestionable and have the courage to say what I believe. Its not easy. I do not believe in taboos or absolute prohibitions. Taboos result in automatic, often involuntary reactions to certain words, ideas, symbols and objects. A century ago respectable women were expected to faint on hearing certain indecencies and no doubt some did. Some witch doctors perfected curse making to the point where the victim would die as a result. Blushing is a minor example of a physiological reaction to psychological stimulation. Creating taboos, making things unthinkable is what zero tolerance policies are about. Zero tolerance demands gut reactions and blind compliance not reasoned response. For kids it may be the "yucky" factor. Zero tolerance feeds superstition and hysteria. It means thinking with the blood not the brain. With zero tolerance there are no distinctions so you dont have to think or use your judgement. For some thats the nice thing about it.
I also believe in saying unsaid things, if only because no one else is. I was inspired in this in my youth by Colin Cameron, a CCF M.P. In a speech in the early 50s he said that if he in Parliament could support unpopular ideas, then any citizen was freer to support the same or similarly unpopular ideas. I try to use this principle as a poetic ethic but it sometimes offends others sensibilities. One should be free to say anything one might think. Censorship, self or otherwise, should be regarded as something to be challenged. One thing my case has done is to free me from constraints. Although I am a Canadian, and try to be a responsible citizen, I am not, or at least no longer, beholden to some community striving for respectability and all that implies for being honest and candid. My case has also given me the opportunity to speak out through this book and say things that no one else can outside of very limited and largely private audiences. And unlike academics and most others I dont have to worry about rocking the boat because Ive already been tossed overboard. Because of my situation I feel I have a responsibility to consider and defend the perspective of the pornographer and consumer, although I certainly dont usually think of myself that way. Its a valuable point of view but one seldom expressed. Who else in Canada could or dare? We are a reticent freedom fearing people. Pornography with willing participants records celebrations of sexuality. This is also why I chose to defend the generic pedophile rather than my own particular niche in the scheme of things.
I stumbled into the situation Im in. I was careless. I am not a paranoid person but the lack of precaution has led me into the hell I have been through with the charges I face. A more paranoid or simply cautious person would have avoided all the trouble I have had to deal with. It is almost a truism that its the stupid offenders who get caught. Im a case in point. Yet I have no strong regrets that I have lived my life as I have. I have lent money foolishly, I have extended trust unnecessarily, I have been ripped off many times, but to have been much more suspicious and cautious in my life would have denied me of some of the most satisfying and richest experiences of my life. The experience despite its stress and disappointments has given me satisfaction, confidence and wisdom.
I am repeatedly asked just where I stand on the question of child pornography. First I believe that pornography generally is a valuable form of expression for some people, including a growing number of women. The feminist focus on pornography has promoted the product amongst women and women have dominated the serious debate. So far the anti-male/sex feminists have been dominant, and boys are treated as little women - more victims. But there are pro-sex & porn feminists who love men, other women and sometimes "minors", who are exploring paths of empowerment and understanding. People, mainly males value their porn. The demands of modern life, prolonged education, both parents working, competitive stress and political correctness all favour more reliance on masturbation. Porn is about the right to masturbate, it helps inspire sexual fantasy. These fantasies serve needs that often cannot be met, or not appropriately obtained in reality. The other concerns about porn are fearful speculation. These speculations and theories however create a fearful context that is unhealthy. Pornography is not something that people should feel ashamed about.
As for depictions of children I see nothing wrong in photography that portrays the sexual nature of children and youth. I do not believe that the protection of children means denying their nature. They do however need protection from assaults on their integrity, the invasion of their privacy and the fury of the morally righteous. Respect, empathy and informed ethics rather than moral proscriptions should guide peoples behaviour. Protection of children should begin with the needs and capabilities of children. They need to be informed and empowered and protected from assaults. As with anyone else the surreptitious recording of childrens private acts and behaviour is an invasion of their privacy. Publication of material created as a private endeavour can be a devastating invasion of privacy. Exploiting childrens naiveté by recording them in situations that expose them to possible adverse consequences is fraud. These are all acts, and along with force and coercion they are clearly criminal and warrant prosecution. In terms of what is defined as pornography, privacy is a major consideration. The problem that many people have with defending the privacy of others is that, unavoidably, they must defend it without regard to or even knowledge of the content of that privacy. Privacy is indivisible. Unlike defending freedom of expression it is not possible to defend some content but not other. As with adults the privacy of children may also contain things they want kept private. And privacy, including keeping secrets if they want to, is as important for them and their integrity as anyone else. In terms of expression in some situations this can apply to both the photographer and the subject or model. Boy soldiers showing off their Kalashniknovs and boys showing off their erections have something in common. Both may be proud and want their picture taken. With boys not supposed to be either violent or sexual, many question the appropriateness of depictions of them displaying either guns or penises. Do we judge the boys? Under what conditions do we judge the photographer?
The use that a person may make of something they possess should only be of public interest when it leads to or threatens assaults on others. Unless there are real concerns specific to a particular case I support no legislative restrictions on what porn or other expressive material that people can possess and share privately with others. This possession is not an act and I would include recreational drugs, hate propaganda and whatever else may interest people. This is a question of privacy and conscience. All such prohibitions deny or limit peoples opportunity for self identity, self expression and self exploration. They are attempts at thought control at a very intimate level backed by the immense resources of the criminal justice system. This is quite different from advertizing, evangelizing, and state and corporate propaganda which also try to direct our thinking. While the intended purpose of prohibiting possession is to prevent "undesirable" behaviour and results, the connections are speculative and often at odds with reality as measured. In terms of pornography any prohibitions should be limited to making and distributing material that involves coercion or abuse in its production which in many cases would arguably depict a crime in itself. An extreme but rare example of child pornography would be the Bernardo tapes. However, prohibitions should include any photographic depictions of invasive or clearly age inappropriate sexual activity or which involve assaults on a persons privacy.
THE PRICE OF LAWS
People tend to think that the law is cost free beyond the costs of enforcement which is seen as saving money in the long run. They fail to understand that the more people that are criminalized the more crime you will have. We tend to think that the high number of young, especially Black Americans in jail is a result of high crime rates. The opposite is more likely to be true. When prison and other correctional procedures become part of common experiences of many youth communities, just like high school is for others, people attitudes change and crime is normalized. Most late adolescent and adult crime is spawned by the criminal justice system. The massive and lengthy incarceration of young American men, and to lesser extent Canadians, will have an enormous impact down the road. In some American urban areas at any time over half the young Black males are under some form of legal duress; awaiting trial, often in custody, in jail, on supervised release or probation. Many go through what we call inhuman experiences. The scale of their involvement far exceeds that of the Viet Nam War and the impact on American values and culture is likely to be no less. While it may inspire a few brilliant novels here and there it will mainly augment a resentful and growing underclass.
In Canada if we were to look into it objectively we would find that a significant proportion of our lower welfare class, the people discouraged from any energetic participation in the economy are there as a result of our drug law enforcement. The actual drugs may not have helped these people but the disruption to personal lives, families and jobs inflicted on them through charges, trials, incarceration, stigmatization, criminal records and travel restrictions have done more harm in the long run. The underground economy, illicit activities and the squalor of welfare existence become more attractive. It may be all very "just" in the sense that Thomas Jefferson has been described as a "just slave owner". Only the inflation fighting, family wrecking monetary policies of the Bank of Canada have done more to bolster our underclass. This is becoming recognized. While I do not believe that the numbers are substantial yet, ill considered, not just poorly drafted, child sex and pornography laws can easily can ruin many lives unnecessarily and drive men to the margins of society. Stigmatization is likely to be particularly acute. In the United States the correctional population of various sex offenders is becoming an important contribution to the criminal justice industry.
SEXUAL ATTRACTION TO YOUTH
I prefer the term pederasty for cultural and historical reasons. There is also the term ephebophilia which refers to an attraction towards boys who have entered puberty. While it is a more precise term it is not widely used or understood. I also accept and use the term boylove which is favoured by many pederasts or boylovers. The term pedophilia, originally a clinical term referring to an attraction to prepubescent children of either sex, has become debased and pejorative through popular usage. It is often used as a synonym for child molesters, although this usage is incorrect on two counts in that pedophiles may not engage in sex with children and most people who do are not in fact pedophiles. In the popular media pedophilia may refer to any adult/minor sexual activity particularly if boys are involved. The terms use is awkward to avoid however and I use it frequently. Sexual attraction to boys is distinct from what is called homosexuality although it often overlaps with it. The current "gay" type of homosexuality is often an inverse type of heterosexuality in that it mimics the latter.
The attraction to boys or boylove is a sexual orientation which has traditionally been accommodated in most cultures. It has seldom been an exclusive or formalized category. Extensive ethnographic and historical evidence substantiate this. For example in much of the Muslim world man/boy affairs are tolerated while man/man or "gay" relationships are strongly condemned. Rape, whether of boys or women, as everywhere else is culturally proscribed. Yet today in Canada which prides itself on tolerance, boylovers are not afforded the legal protection provided for other sexual orientations and various other minorities. Boylovers may be called criminals, child molesters, perverts and worse and they have no recourse. They cannot openly defend themselves in public. Simply promoting their ideas and theories supportive of their interests became a crime under the written material provisions of Canadas child pornography laws. Boylovers are victims of popular prejudice fed by the police, media, government and activist groups. Boylove is not a recognized sexual orientation and very few think it should be.
Psychiatric theory, the media and the courts insist on viewing all man/boy relationships as exploitive with the man in the position of power and the boy as a helpless innocent victim. According to legal and therapeutic theories all adult/child sexual activity is based on the father/daughter incest model. All relationships are forced into a predator/victim paradigm. Theory rather than reality defines harm. Where a man is in a position of authority over the boy this is frequently true and can be harmful. Naively and ignorance on the part of the boy can make things worse. One man I met through my case related the story of when he was in a Catholic boarding school. He was not abused by the priests but some were. The other boys had a good idea of what was happening as they were sexually active among themselves. They were jealous of the boys who were invited to the priests rooms because they received more attention and affection and were assigned easier chores. Favouritism is another problem where men abuse their authority over boys.
Most boys who become sexually involved with men outside of the family and custodial institutions are not naive. A review of the major child pornography trials tends to confirm this. Boys have and often use their considerable negotiating powers. Typically in man/boy relationships the sex happens early on, often on the initial encounter. The affection, trust, generosity, meeting parents, helping with education etc. come later. Sex, or the possibility of sex is the boys bait to get the man interested in him and his welfare. Most boys seldom allow men to take sex for granted, partly for reasons of pride and partly because of the power and control it gives them. Sex empowers them. Liaisons with men provides boys with alternatives to uncongenial and often abusive families or dependency upon uncaring official care providers. For marginalized boys sex, and the men who like boys, enable youths to survive and often prosper as the men provide useful social connections and job opportunities not usually available to boys of their humble backgrounds. The broad appeal of youth, including their sexuality to many men can be seen, in a Darwinian sense, as an evolutionary adaptation that contributes to the nurture and survival of humanity and its culture. The "benefactor" in Horatio Algers stories is a literary example.
It is my belief that the often powerful attraction that many men have for boys is as natural and constructive an orientation as heterosexuality and homosexuality. It serves the survival and nurture of the young, the stability of society and the enrichment of culture. (Much less is known about the sexually charged relationships between women and girls and they are capable of speaking for themselves ) All three (or four) sexual orientations contribute to the survival and welfare of the human race and are part of Natures or Gods plan. I outlined my basic understanding of the role of boylove in my poem Gods Plan [PIPS, Politically Incorrect Poems & Songs]. Many men feel an attraction to adolescent and younger boys. This is often a very intense and powerful feeling. This attraction, this love including its sexual component, serves the nurture, socialization and education of youth. As in other relationships among unrelated individuals sex is a glue which helps bind them. Traditionally boylovers have provided a safety net for boys without resources. The boys may be roamers, street/mall kids and disaffected youth usually lacking skills and direction. The sexual component should be seen positively. A man can satisfy much of a boys curiosity about sex and perhaps some his needs, and hopefully teach him a few things as well. Males dont have sex because they love someone, but are likely to love those they have sex with. With the decline in employment opportunities and apprenticeship for young people boys who feel they cannot live at home, and are unwilling to turn to institutions which claim to serve their needs, have few fewer options than in the past. They may find the material and psychological support they require in a relationship with an older male.
To a great extent the boylove response of men is age triggered as I am sure nature intended. It makes sense. Many, probably most boy or youth lovers are attracted to boys within a certain age range with little sexual interest in those much older or younger. Those who are attracted to prepubertal children are true pedophiles although the term has come to be used loosely and applied to men who like teenage boys although frequently not to men who like young girls. Others, technically ephebophiles, prefer adolescent boys capable of greater sexual response. Many boylovers prefer boys at the peak of their sex drive in their mid teens. Various theories attempt to explain age preferences or what is often called the age of attraction. For some men an attraction to boys is not incompatible with an attraction to women and successful marriages. In some cases "boys" may include young men up to thirty. Age differences between partners, common in heterosexual affairs may be even more pronounced in same sex relationships. As in all relationships with a sexual component personality is a critical factor. Just as straight men are not attracted to all women so boylovers are not attracted to all boys. Man/boy relationships like others usually involve shared non sexual interests with the sexual component usually more important for the man than the boy. Boylovers are frequently criticized for the fact that they often lose interest in the boy when he reaches a certain level of maturity. This is true and some men are cruel when they terminate relationships. However it is also true that many relationships originally based on sexual attraction evolve into long term friendships. This limited age range for sexual attraction is a good thing for boys as they develop rapidly and go through stages with changing interests. It serves to protect boys from long term involvements which may be inappropriate for their development. It would not be healthy if the man in the relationship were to cling to a boy indefinitely. A promiscuous ethic rather than a monogamous one protects each partner from burdensome commitments. Typically boys become more interested in girls in their late teens and they are more likely to end sexual relationships than the man. There is a parallel in mother love. The intense preoccupation and maternal gratification many women experience with infants and young children change as the child grows up. The early kind of love ceases to be appropriate at later stages and we are aware of the kinds of problems children may suffer if this doesnt happen.
Unfortunately many boylovers are sick men, suffering from paranoia, neuroses, feelings of guilt, depression, alcoholism, drug dependency and low self esteem. These are typical afflictions of those who feel they are persecuted. Suicide is not uncommon just as it is in minorities when persecution erupts, as amongst the Jews in Nazi Germany. Such men are often prone to poor judgement and may become emotionally burdensome for the boys they associate with. The strong, frequently hysterical condemnation and heavy legal sanctions they face contributes to this situation and most dangerously can cause men fearing exposure to panic. The difficulties boylovers face in communicating with each other and providing mutual support increase the risk. They may become moral isolates. On the positive side in recent years a number of forums, chat sites and support groups have developed on the Internet. They provide a moral and ethical context. The community they provide to isolated men may substantially reduce their criminal behaviour. How else can we explain the exponential increase in the availability of child pornography without any corresponding increase in sex abuse. The logical alternative is that access to child pornography does not increase harm. If we accept that child pornography may increase risks then why can we not accept that in some cases it reduces risks? Is it not a question of which is greater if we are concerned about it inciting men? Would being caught between righteous beliefs of right and wrong, and genuine protection for real children, be the ultimate dilemma?
The pedophobia, the moral panic/outrage espoused by police and activist groups and directed against boylovers, victimizes boys too. The worst cases are where boys involved are made to see themselves as victims, often subject to therapy they neither want nor need. Where boys are pressured and crack, or get conned by the seductive arguments of police and therapists, they may feel theyve betrayed others, including other boys. Their self esteem, and values of loyalty and honour are threatened. This can be far more damaging to them psychologically than any harm they may have suffered from sex with men. It is a denial of their moral autonomy. Sometimes boys freak out, occasionally they commit suicide or try. The proverbial pedo will of course be blamed. The harm of exposure extends to boys who were around but not involved sexually but likely knew what was going on. They too may be questioned and embarrassed in front of peers and family. The police want to have strong cases. Where strong mutual attachments were part of the relationship the boy may feel somehow responsible and become depressed. Harsh consequences for the man may aggravate this situation. Occasionally there are reports of boys committing suicide or attempting it after a relationship is exposed. Almost everyone will automatically blame it on the abuse the poor boy suffered at the hands of the man. The more sophisticated common sense understanding of a few decades ago has succumbed to the shrill propaganda of clinicians and so called activists. Former informal solutions emphasizing the needs of the child involved have been superseded by offender centred laws and policies. Children suffer from societys zeal to blame and punish offenders. This harm can be aggravated by the idea that harsh penalties brings closure. This can only make sense where the presumed victim feels truly victimized and revenge is seen as therapeutic. This is not to deny that in the past some serious offenders were able to escape the consequences of their behaviour and offend again.
Moral panic measures do work in some ways. The timid of all varieties can indulge in noble hypocrisies and maintain their liberal standing. Men become scared and more cautious, and have less sexual contact with boys, assuming thats what severe penalties are supposed to do. Scenes are probably more covert, contact more furtive, with less public socialization. Men are also less likely to come on to boys because they fear that boys are more likely to be freaked out during the current moral panic. To that extent, which is all some people seem to care about, the laws work. On the other hand, if having sex with a man was seen by boys as merely naughty, rather than a moral outrage as heavy penalties imply, boys wouldnt be forced to take any such contact so seriously with the danger of traumatization. There is a trade-off. Moral outrage with fewer boys involved sexually with men but with more damaging consequences likely for the them, especially if the police and courts get involved. Or, more boys involved with generally lesser risks and consequences. The nature of man/boy relationships vary as widely as any others, and like others they may be abusive. Those involving mutual respect and affection are much less likely to come to attention of authorities.
A great deal of pedophobia is based on the theory that man/boy sex will turn boys gay, something many ignorant parents fear. This fear is not only misplaced but dangerous. Parental fears have been implicated in boys suicides. At a more common level a few years ago I knew a 17 year old boy who told me his father had worried that he was gay. When he was twelve he was sent to an Edmonton clinic for testosterone hormone therapy in an attempt to make him more masculine and cure him. With his long thick sideburns, a result of the therapy, he was never asked for ID at the gay bar where I would see him with his older lover. Unfortunately sexual orientation is seen as a choice, especially by those in proselytizing churches, similar to the choices involved in what church you attend or what political party you support. Gays are seen as proselytizing youth to recruit them into their lifestyle. Believers in doctrine see their "enemies" as doctrinaire.
THE COST OF PEDOPHOBIA
Pedophobia is rampant in society. Much of the antagonism formerly directed towards gay men generally, now socially and politically inappropriate, has been refocused on youth lovers. This explains why the emphasis in both moral propaganda and law enforcement is directed principally at man/boy relationships rather than man/girl relationships which are probably far more common. Only in the matters of incest and underage prostitution is there much attention paid to relationships involving young girls.
This pedophobia has substantial social costs. It has chilled all non family relations between men and boys. Not just ordinary social relationships but others such as volunteer work and coaching are likely to attract suspicion. It discourages men from working with boys and youths. Men who still pursue these avocations are likely to curtail any informal socialization which leads to less satisfying experiences for both men and boys. Organizations like Big Brothers are unable to find enough volunteers and we see big ads in bus shelters of cute sad boys pleading for an older buddy. The ads themselves which show a man sympathetically regarding a prepubescent boy are enough to scare men off. The proportion of men teaching children especially in the primary and elementary grades is declining leaving children with few male role models. Men are becoming afraid of any physical contact with children, including their own. Studies have shown that a lack of close physical contact with caregivers in childhood correlates with later violent behaviour. An interesting brief item in the press [Globe and Mail July 28th, 1999] reported that "In Britain Scout groups are closing at the rate of four a week, even though an estimated 80,000 boys are waiting to join... The problem is a shortage of adult volunteers." A Scout spokesperson is quoted as saying, "If a man says I want to work with young boys, people jump to one conclusion. This is an issue we are trying to overcome." This is a price of pedophobia. A Vancouver doctor, Dr. Gordon Neufield, wrote an interesting article [VANCOUVER SUN June 2, 1997] where he claims that kids have become "peer oriented" to the exclusion of parents, teachers and adults. He says this correlates with juvenile delinquency and behaviour problems. While he sees it as a recent baby boomer phenomena; absent parent, impersonal day care and TV, the recent increase in pedophobia could also be a factor. He mentions the decline in bonding with teachers and points to the movie, Dead Poets Society, a very positive portrayal of student/teacher bonding.
Pedophobia is helping to create a new generation gap based not on differing values as in the 1960s but on fear. There is very good reason for men to fear and that includes all men who deal with boys at a personal level. Reduced socialization impedes the transfer of values, knowledge and common sense between generations. Elders have less of a moderating influence on the behaviour of the young. This makes for less continuity in society and fewer inhibitions against extreme, often violent, behaviour. Is this one reason for the perceived increase in the viciousness of youth violence? It would be interesting to know how well the boys involved in the recent series of school shootings were integrated socially with non related adults. It may be that incidents like these are more a consequence of pedophobia than any violence in the media. Greater intermingling of youths and adults make for a more stable society. Problems also occur where generation gaps have resulted from aggressive public schooling programs which raise literacy and expectations. In Sinhalese Sri Lanka this contributed to a bloody youth revolt which only ended with the systematic slaughter of tens of thousands of teenagers and young men by the government in 1988-89. (The ongoing murderous ethnic conflict between the independence minded Tamils and the Sinhalese majority which has caught world attention is a separate question.) Familiarity also allows people to see those in other generations as individuals. It reduces the need for both kids and adults to "objectify" each other, sexually or otherwise. Socialization also encourages the development of intimate relations which may also be affectionate and/or sexual. Is this a real problem?
Invasive background checks, mandatory reporting laws and codes of conduct are no more likely to deter potential molesters than other candidates. They offer false security at the expense of the welfare of both men and boys. Advocates and social commentators are fond of using the "If only one child..." argument which neglects the costs of such postures and ignores the sordid history of the child saving movement over the last two centuries whenever it has stepped beyond child perceived abuse. The cost of pedophobia for society as a whole is enormous. It profoundly affects a wide range of intergenerational activities. But what are the benefits? We speak of protecting children and youths but where are the benefits?
It isnt only men desiring sexual contact with boys that suffer, all must be careful to avoid mere suspicions which can impair the quality and satisfaction of their relationships. And all men are potentially vulnerable and open to rip offs and blackmail by kids who threaten to accuse them of improper behaviour. Similarly all boys become open to the stigmatization of suspicion by their peers and others if they have established a close relationship with a man. Even being associated with a man charged with sex crime involving children can cause adult imaginations to run wild. When William Bennest the Burnaby school principal was arrested on child pornography charges a team of trauma counsellors was dispatched to the school. This may have assuaged parental concerns but did it help the children? The kids perhaps wisely provided them with little employment. How many students at the school were subject to suspicion even assuming it is true that none were sexually involved with him? The police stated there was no evidence that he had.
Pedophobia is divisive. In addition some men with normal heterosexual interests, whove never previously thought about it, may become sexually involved with a boy. The erotic appeal of boys extends far beyond those who could in any way be described as youth lovers. The history of boys in art attests to this. This attractiveness is also in a Darwinian sense part of their survival assets. It compensates boys for their lack of knowledge, skills and brawn and gives them perhaps the only advantage and negotiating power they have. Those men open to or seeking sex with boys may be either responsible or irresponsible, ethical or unethical in pursuing their interests. One exceedingly promiscuous Australian boylover recorded affairs with over 2000 different adolescent boys. Hundreds of contacts are not all that uncommon. While the sex may not have been always welcome it is difficult to believe that all these boys were deterred from reporting their "abuse" because of fear. Perhaps it was a sense of responsibility and honour? Or maybe the sex was no big deal for them? Shouldnt that be the case? Repression, I believe, leads to preoccupation. My own teens would have happier if I hadnt been thinking about sex so much, but I had no one to even talk about it.
Acute pedophobia where the pedo is demonized and what he does made seem horrendous hurts kids. When a counsellor emphasizes to the child that it is not his fault, that he or she is not to blame, implying that someone is, she is also reinforcing the seriousness of whatever happened. "Nobody has the right to touch you where ever." The placement of a child in therapy is demeaning, to do it routinely, as a matter of procedure especially by a professional who is protecting herself from possible accusations that she failed to act appropriately in some situations is irresponsible. As long as responsibility is defined in relation to bureaucratic procedures rather than the welfare of the child, painful situations are bound to arise. It is the conceit of the system that it has a monopoly on good intentions and truth, and that any fundamental critics are opposed to its objectives. The protection of children is held to justify unprecedented limits on freedom of expression and invasions of privacy. The only beneficiaries of pedophobia are therapists and youth services who find the market for their services expanded.
Pedophobia is only one of several youth alienating influences young people face. Anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-drug and anti-violence propaganda, and the political correctness craze are other examples. They should dropped from school curricula with material exploring the meaning of consideration, courtesy, fair play and fighting, and the fundamentals of law, logic and reasoning substituted in their place.
We say children are "innocent" but can adults be "innocent"? And what is it anyway if it doesnt just mean ignorance? Society seems to go through an endless series of hysterias and moral panics. With modern organizational and propaganda techniques, many subsidized and legitimized by well meaning governments these panics are likely to get worse. The current panic about kids and sex started in the 1970s but go they go back at least two centuries to the invention of the anti-masturbation craze that crippled untold thousands of young people.
While this book is about my case it is also about the moral crusade against child pornography. Given the strong emotions and vested interests the subject of child pornography and the "pedophile" are, as others have pointed out, are difficult to discuss rationally even at an academic level. Objective considerations are overridden by fears. It is often a question of who makes a claim, not what is claimed, or what the claim implies about what the claim implies for other things. Increasingly people are led to distrust their own experience and judgement and defer to experts. The experts are often stakeholders in certain selfish interests and beliefs. This has led to a mania of trying to correct problems by a continuous stream of new laws. Legislation and indoctrination are seen as the fix. Old concerns are reinterpreted so that existing laws which may cover the situation are ignored. Crises are manufactured or exploited for political ends.
Common law evolved to deal with real problems. While church law, and state protection law may have been concerned with what people thought, criminal law generally dealt with actions which harmed peoples physical security, integrity or property. Offences clearly related to harm that victims experienced. Under the influence of psychiatrists, therapists, moralists and self serving bureaucrats including the police, conjectural and thought crimes have proliferated, and as these cannot be empirically validated there is no limit on what can be prohibited.
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