I am a care leaver and a campaigner for victims of child abuse. I thought I had better establish my credentials before the accusations of paedophile supporter start flying into my mailbox. The truth is I agree wholeheartedly with Stephen Fry and I applaud him for his bravery in standing up and calling a spade a spade. He may not thank me for this, but he's the little boy with the guts to say 'the Emperor's got no clothes'.
Rooting out elderly men who groped their underage secretaries 40 years ago, does nothing whatsoever to assist the genuine victims of child abuse. Too many of the complaints are scant, trivial and unsubstantiated, yet lives are being ruined because we appear to be in the middle of a witch hunt against society's new enemy. The Paedophile.
Will we learn anything new from it? Not really, perhaps don't give the keys of a high security hospital to a narcissistic psychopath. But in most societies that's a given. Removing the lonely oddbod who looks up girls in knickers in his lonely bedsit, won't save any lives, the chances are, he's terrified of kids*. Making a psychological evaluation of those with power of vulnerable people (its not just kids) would be far more effective and would save thousands more lives.
During one Government purge against the new enemy, 140 kids were taken into care, and 39 men committed suicide (Operation Ore). That wasn't justice, that was barbarity. Kids in care by the way are the most likely to be abused, so how goes it for that 140? Most of those accused were acquitted, but their lives were ruined. Have we ever seen figures of how many children were actually saved?
For whatever reasons the authorities have created a storm about paedophiles in our midst that simply isn't true. I feel as though we are entering an era of 'reds under the beds', but now it seems to be paedos in the pantries.
It is completely false to claim that our children are in constant danger from strangers in parks and on the internet. The majority of children, probably 99%, are abused within their own homes and by people who know them. Stranger danger is so rare, most of us can count on one hand and name the poor mites who were snatched.
If this new band of paedophile hunters genuinely cared about child abuse, they would focus their resources on the abuse that is happening every day within thousands of homes up and down the land, not on inappropriate hanky panky from 40 years ago. If the frontline resources dealing with such tragic cases as Baby P, had anything like the funding given to this new moral crusade how many thousands of real children could be saved? Ones for whom we do have facts, figures and statistics.
This is not about finding those abusing children, it is about feathers in caps. Macho men trying to prove how much testosterone is running through their manly biceps as they smash in the heads of the sexual deviants and show the world what good, clean family values they have. And of course the audience applauds because everyone one wants to string up a paedophile don't they? As the loudhailer yells 'will those who don't, please form an orderly line for the ducking stool'.
I actually feel for the men who are the victims of this latest police purge. Mostly because they cannot speak out, and people cannot be seen to support them. Paedophilia is the most heinous crime any person can be accused of, ergo they are scuppered before they can even begin their defence. For many, the offences they are accused of are so trivial and banal, that the sane among us would dismiss them in an instant. Unfortunately, when a crusade is underway, sanity flies out the window.
My views on paedophiles has changed considerably over the years, mostly because I have taken the time and trouble to study the subject. Unfortunately, open discussion about the issue always begins and ends with hysteria. Those trying to point out the sheer fruitless, and maybe sinister, reasons behind investigating crimes that happened decades ago, will always be shot down and accused of supporting paedophilia. It always ends the discussion, which is probably intentional. Its one of those, 'you are either with us, or against us' issues that make otherwise normal people's boil, to the point where they become totally irrational.
Stephen Fry will no doubt come under heavy fire, but I say bravo to him, those who pointed out the madness of the USA's McCarthy trials were similarly vilified and history proved them dead right.
* I once had care of an elderly disabled man with learning difficulties who had a penchant for school girls in mini skirts, he would probably tick many of 'r u a paedo' boxes, he hung around parks, and he googled kids in knickers. But he was a gentle and harmless soul, and crucifying him would be reminiscent of the hanging of Quasimodo in the Hunchback of Notre Dame. What a cruel world this is, if this is what society wants.