Scott Brown's Story Reveals America's Greatest Concerns For Child Abuse

Surprise! It isn't brutalization at the hands of parents or family members.

No, it's having been briefly fondled by a camp counselor.

Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts recently revealed that he had been horribly physically and emotionally abused (but not sexually) by several different stepfathers, repeatedly, and over years (presumably, his mother must also bear some responsibility given her failure to protect her son).

He also said that he had been very briefly fondled by a camp counselor when he was ten. Several years later, he claims to have been traumatized by being propositioned by another boy in the woods.

So guess which acts of abuse got the lion's share of coverage by our news media?

You guessed it! ALL of the major media reporting on this story ABC, CBS, Fox, CNN, NBC, Boston Globe, L.A. Times, New York Times- all lead with headlines such as "Sen. Brown Reveals He Was Sexually Abused As A Child"!

Given his own descriptions, his sexual abuse allegations are absolutely trivial compared to his abuse at the hands of his mother's various husbands or boyfriends.

How on earth could anyone (in their right mind) think that being fondled or propositioned had a greater impact on a child than physical and emotional abuse by members of his own family? Apparently, the level of common sense required to grasp this notion is now beyond the capabilities of most people.

This just tells you how far we have come in putting "sexual abuse" well before other forms of abuse in our national consciousness.

Yes, apparently, Americans do honestly believe that a boy having his genitals fondled is far more "heinous" (a word they have fallen in love with) than that same boy being beaten and emotionally tormented by his parents.

Tell me, where's the science behind that?

The answer is that you won't find it because no respected authority on the emotional well-being of children believes it.

And those authorities will also make distinctions between fondling, on one hand, and forcible penetration by violence, on the other hand, even if the government and the media automatically conflates these two very different acts.

Viewers find the combined topics of children and sex to be much more interesting as a news story than child battering. I would dare say they find it titillating; although they will be quick to proclaim their shock and outrage.

As for Senator Brown's motives in pushing America's emotional buttons, we can only speculate upon any public relations benefits he hopes to gain.

It certainly can't hurt his personal narrative or his political career, despite all the "courage" ostensibly required to bare one's soul these days in proclaiming one's childhood traumas.

Indeed, he can now be said to have established his bona fides as a defender of children; a big help in future elections.

I do have to say that I'm glad Scott Brown won that election instead of that hideous creature, Martha Coakley.

In her previous role as prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, she destroyed the lives of innocent people in her very own day care sex abuse witch hunt. It was heartening to see her career advancement, built as it was on the destruction of others, hit an eventual brick wall.

So, it is disturbing, but not at all surprising, that her victor now weaves familiar elements of childhood sexual victimization into his publicized life story.

More disturbing yet is a public which is incapable of identifying the glaring contradictions and deranged imbalances which lie at the heart of a social policy and prejudice.

A simple fact provides the most damning evidence of all: when children are themselves increasingly being accused of child sexual abuse and losing their freedom and their futures as a result, it is becoming clear that society's stated concerns for the well-being of children have very dark and unexamined motivations having little to do with a genuine regard for their welfare.

It is long overdue that we examine the true nature of these motivations and the dubious morality shielding them from public scrutiny.

What You Must Know: "Sexually Violent Predators" need not be violent to be called "Sexually Violent Predators"

You can be branded a "Sexually Violent Predator" by our government without ever committing any actual act of "violence". In every state using the term (as well as by the U.S. Federal government) it can mean having ANY kind of "sexual contact" with someone under the age of 14 or 13 (depends on the State), and even if no force or coercion was employed in the act.

Got that? The mere act of having "sexual contact" with someone under that age is, in the government's definition, "sexual violence". No actual "violence", as most sane people would understand the term, need be employed.

Combine that with the fact that "sexual contact" can consist of just about anything: kissing, touching (even through clothes and even if what is being touched are not genitals) and the government can utterly destroy the lives and reputations of lots more men and, increasingly, women.

The States and the U.S. government, having thus committed their own violence upon the rights of their people - not to mention upon the English language - can easily deploy the term "Sexually Violent Predator" to put away decidedly non-violent offenders, effectively, for the rest of their lives!

So now, when the government wants to put someone away forever, and for what may have once been considered inappropriate behavior, they have just the weapon to do it.

Its a weapon that not only guarantees the permanent incapacitation of the offender, but also the overwhelming support from a pandering press and a paranoid public.

What a great weapon!

"When words lose their meaning, people lose their freedom". -Confucius

Good riddance to the society of suspects

Ed: Is it possible the Brits are regaining a bit of sanity? After several decades of a spirited competition with the U.S. to see who could achieve an Orwellian fantasy soonest, it appears that there is growing concern for the costs it has exacted upon society. It would seem that they are somewhat less prone to having their motives impugned by speaking up against the witch hunt than are those of us in the States, where to decry an emerging police state is still regarded with suspicion.

You don't build a Big Society on the back of mutinous, resentful volunteers, nor in a climate in which all are treated with suspicion

"All men are rapists" was the pernicious slogan of radical feminists in the 1970s. "All adults are paedophiles" has been the governing rule of authority in the past decade. The two assertions are as false as each other and just as damaging, for they fill people with anger, fear and corrosive suspicion.

Society can't function without trust. Nor can individuals. As the sociologist Niklas Luhmann reminded us: "A complete absence of trust would prevent [one] even getting up in the morning." We generally assume that the commuter standing next to us on the platform won't push us in front of the train, or that the shopkeeper on the corner will give us the right change. A few paranoiacs have acute suspicion as their default, but most of us are more prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to others than we realise.

We might be scared, in the abstract, of a paedophile taking advantage of our child, but do we really think that the nice mother of our son's playmate is going to put her hand down his pants during a school trip? Of course not. So why should it ever have been necessary for her to undergo an expensive and intrusive Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check before she was allowed to give up her free time to help supervise the class on the bus?

It is deeply insulting to treat people as potential paedophiles when, out of sheer goodness, they want to help others. At the moment, anyone who has contact with children, even just helping out with football club or arranging the flowers in a cathedral, has to go through the CRB procedure. It was one of the most ill-thought-out and socially damaging laws that the last government brought in. Now, thankfully, the Coalition's Protection of Freedoms Bill will lift the requirement for all but those with "close or regular" contact, taking more than four million volunteers out of the net.

At the crudest level, it has hurt the very people it was supposed to protect. Adults have been deterred from volunteering, not because they have convictions for kiddy-fiddling but because they don't. The last thing most adults want to do with kiddies is fiddle with them. The assumption that they might even consider it makes them understandably livid. Why should they volunteer if they are going to be treated like dirt?

As a result, activities for children have been closing down all over the country for lack of volunteers. Who suffers? The budding football players and the children struggling with their reading. Real paedophiles can find other ways to ensnare their victims.

Even those volunteers who have obediently undergone their checks are left with a sense of grievance. A government which was asking us all to do more for others (yes, the last one was keen on it too) was at the same time impugning our motives as soon as we answered the call. You don't build a Big Society on the back of mutinous, resentful volunteers.

Nor do you build it in a climate in which we are all encouraged to treat each other with suspicion. The message the CRB checks have been sending is that we can never be too careful. That public-spirited dad who gives up his Saturday mornings for soccer coaching could be another Ian Huntley. But how many men – let alone women – really have sexual designs on children? Very, very few.

The reason child murders and sexual attacks get so much news coverage when they happen is precisely because they are so rare. To treat the innocent 99 per cent of us as potential Ian Huntleys is as grossly disproportionate as putting handcuffs on everyone who enters a bank in case they plan to rob it.

In fact, it's even worse. For this unjustified paranoia is infecting our children. They are growing up to believe that most adults are dangerous and that the world is unsafe for them. Of course they should be warned not to accept sweeties from strangers or to get into a car with someone they don't know, but beyond that, why should we poison their childhood with unnecessary fear? Only a vanishingly small minority of adults want to hurt them; all the rest of us are benign.

The trouble is that many of their parents have become infected too. That makes blameless adults scared of showing kindness to other people's children. Rush to help a child who has grazed his knee near you in the park and the mother is likely to advance on you, scowling. Smile at a cute little toddler and her father may misinterpret your motives. As a result, the paranoia becomes self-reinforcing: children encounter fewer acts of compassion from adults who aren't in their family, so they are even more inclined to view strangers as dangers.

Then, as they grow up, they suddenly become independent and find themselves exposed to far greater perils. A 16-year-old girl is much more likely to be sexually assaulted than a six-year-old one, simply because most men fancy post-pubescent, not pre-pubescent, females. And she is also much more vulnerable: six-year-olds don't walk back from the bus stop on their own or get inadvisedly drunk at a party. These are the risks we should be warning our girls against.

Instead, we are obsessed with paedophilia. Do we really want to live in a society where a teacher can't sit a five-year-old on her knee and give him a cuddle when he's crying? Do we really want to live in a Crucible-like climate in which fingers of suspicion are pointed at wholly innocent people – and by government, this time, not even teenage girls? We were shocked by the anti-Communist hysteria which swept 1950s America, yet we failed to prevent the anti-paedophile hysteria taking root in our own country.

This climate is really bad for adults and children alike. All the international studies show that countries with high levels of social trust tend to have lower crime and happier, more engaged citizens. And the more people engage, the more they come to understand that most strangers are as benevolent as they are. Yet the proportion of Britons agreeing that "most people can be trusted" has halved since the 1950s, and young people are the most mistrustful of all.

It's not a good idea to be completely credulous, but a default position of trust tempered by common sense is all we need to rub along together well. That was how my generation saw adults when we were children. Most of them meant well; a few were sadistic and a few were lecherous. We knew who the sadists and the pervs were, and we kept clear of them. You need to learn to discern; it's a useful skill for adulthood. It's a lot better than relying on a piece of paper, which might anyway clear a paedo who has never been caught by the police.

Thank goodness ministers have at last seen sense. Not much the Government does these days is popular. It can't spend any more and most of its cuts cause pain. But here is one initiative which saves money, reduces bureaucracy and – most importantly – could make a real difference to our lives. It deserves an unqualified cheer.