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Tatchell: Why aren’t schools educating kids against sex abuse? –A response (2)

In which I will discuss, statements, concepts and suggestions proposed by Peter Tatchell (PT) expressed in his article. (From now on, for the sake of brevity, he will be referred to as PT.) These will include-:

•        His assertion that the judicial system does not work.

•        His lack of faith in Childline.

•        His blind faith in the school system. 

•        His bold, untried initiatives to introduce “sexual assertiveness “into the curriculum. 

•        His seeming naivety about the world children inhabit.

•        His curious argument in defence of children’s sexual rights.


Early on in his article, PT laments the fact that our judiciary system, despite having “already strong laws” is still not capable of stemming “the constant stream of sex abuse trials”. That is a shocking indictment, not least of all when the discussion centres around children, as it does here. It’s remarkable that PT does not give a slap on the wrist to this institution (along with others he might have mentioned) that is wanting in their protection of children One that is funded by the taxpayer, and which should be accountable to them. If it is so lacklustre then why doesn’t he propose a hue and cry? PT goes on to state that “Telling them to phone Childline is not good enough” Surely that is like telling someone who is suicidal that phoning the Samaritans is not much of an option? One would hope that the staff at Childline would have a superior safeguarding certificate to many teachers, who often do not progress to level 3 and who have no training in the methods of the perpetrator. Childline should offer the expertise that a teacher does not possess. The primary job of a teacher is to educate, not to offer services beyond their field of knowledge. So why is PT so dismissive of Childline and yet, so trusting of teachers? Personally, I would be inclined to question the former about the result that you get when you put “sex toys Childline” into a search engine. But that is another story.

According to information which can be found on the dashboard of the Truth Project, Independent Inquiry into child sexual abuse June 2016-2021, 12% of child sexual abuse happens in a school setting, as seen  under the heading  “teaching or educational staff”. This compares favourably to the 47% which happens at the hands of a family member but is nevertheless a concerning percentage. We are not comparing like with like because we know institutional abuse (including abuse at school) is massively unreported and unrecorded- often seen as “historical” when scandals come to light. Furthermore, since an abuser in the home has far more opportunity to offend than does a teacher in the constraints of a school setting, we can only imagine how much this figure would increase if reporting was accurate and it were easier to offend there. 

PT’s solution is to introduce a novel element to the school curriculum, one for which he provides no research or track record. He says, “It is therefore astonishing that young people are not being advised about the warning signs of grooming and given sexual assertiveness training to knock back predators”. He eventually goes on to mention that this would “empower teens to rebuff pressure from abusers, whether they are older or of similar ages.” This idea is not completely new, since the NSPCC has provided a programme for young children named Pantosaurus, which many parents felt was adequate and useful in its approach. In the beginning It promoted a simple, clear warning for young children regarding areas of their body that should not be touched. This was without the need to learn biological names for body parts or the need to understand the workings of the sexual act, however by now these elements have been introduced in the latest version. Both of these elements are gold dust in the hands of a predator. The first element is a golden key to a child’s genitalia without having to guess a thousand times like the princess in Rumpelstilskin, and the second produces a child who is knowledgeable about the sexual act. Bingo!   The research in the ICSA report cited, shows that that 79% of sexual abuse occurs between the ages of 0-11 as compared with 20% between the ages of 12-15. However, PT chooses to concentrate on the older bracket as shown by his use of the word “teens”. PT reasons that our society is at blame for the under-reporting of sexual abuse since it is riddled with “prudery and puritanism” which deters the victim from disclosing. Apparently, we are living in a culture of shame which “tends to regard sex as something sordid that should be kept hidden and private”. It is at this point where PT discloses his own ignorance of the world our children inhabit.

We begin to question whether the image of a monk in a humble council flat, surrounded by heaps of papers, could be the real deal. Despite his sociology degree, could he be so isolated that he has no whiff of the current trend to sexualise children? Has he never heard of Hanna Montana or Ariana Grande, two influential US stars that progressed from virginal purity to harlot over the course of their career and who brought many young girls on the ride with them? Has he never watched the likes of Madonna, Lady Gaga , Sam Smith, Lil Nass X, or any of the other foot soldiers involved in the cultural wars against our children? On the right is just one image that he should be aware of—the adult iteration of Hannah Montana known as Miley Cyrus. She is not coy about indoctrinating children it seems. However, life in his monk-like cell has not allowed PT to keep up with such societal trends. One must assume that he is unaware of programmes like Naked Attraction and Love Island and that he has never seen any pop videos that include simulated copulation, even with the Devil ,featuring the likes of Sam Smith and Lil Nass X.

So, even by now, despite his best efforts at promoting Relationships and Sexuality Education as a mandatory subject, he still feels that we are a society of puritans. The same education that informs children aged 9 about anal sex and condom use. One can only wonder what stone he has been under for the past ten years to make him so unaware of the world we live in, and how qualified he is to make valid criticisms of society at large in relation to children. And yet PT claims that “Teenagers who feel at ease talking about sex are more likely to disclose abuse”. If that’s the case, then they’ve never had it so good because the groundwork has been laid for them to do just that. And paedophiles are more easily let off the hook if there is an element of the magic word,” consent”. And a comprehensive understanding of the sexual act could be twisted into a signal of consent.  But, in the words of PT himself, I am behaving as “an adult chauvinist” now.  I am patronising children instead of listening to them. 

PT then goes on to explore the legality of sexual rights for under 16’s. He argues that since sex for under 16’s is criminalised, they have no bodily autonomy, which is exactly what an abuser desires. However, as part of the Outrage! Campaign in 1994, PT was campaigning for the age of consent to be reduced to the age of 14. So where is his line in the sand? How low it becomes in the future will depend on the arguments of people of his ilk who have a public platform that allows them to sideline debate, and on their ability to present children as having sexual rights by making them appear as voiceless victims who deserve better from their elders. And let us remember that PT is allowed to present himself as a very important elder.  Whether he wins the day will be up for conjecture. All we can say for now is that he seems to have gained every bit of ground he set his sights on so far apart from the reduction of the age of sexual consent. No-one would deny that teens have sexual urges, but I doubt many of them get prosecuted for indulging them, despite the law. It would seem that PT is banging on a door which has no house behind it. 

PT excels himself with an ace card when he conflates the awful murder of James Bulger with his argument on behalf of sexual rights for children. This takes a little explaining as you might imagine, so I will gulp and proceed. The two 10-year-old boys who murdered the unfortunate 2-year-old, were deemed to be mature enough in a court to understand right from wrong. I will let PT take over from here.”  But if they’d had sex with each other and said they’d consented, the courts would have ruled that they were too young to understand what is involved in a sexual relationship-and therefore incapable of giving their consent”. I would imagine that if the mother of James Bulger read those words, she would be repulsed at the context. As a grieving mother, which she will always be, to see her son’s name in print in such a bizarre and distastefully explicit image would be a shocking experience. It has to be the height of insensitivity, and that is a lenient way to put it.  It appears obvious that PT dragged this court case by the hair into his dubious and convoluted argument, in order to promote sexual rights for children.” Let them assert their lust! “Says he. And if one such minor becomes pregnant and has recourse to an abortion—is she not then the arbiter of life and death, just like the murderers of James Bulger? Just how grave can the consequences of the sexual act be? This is an area which PT does not enter, but rather, he puts it like this -” But it is not until the age of 16 that the law acknowledges young people’s ability to give sexual consent. The bizarre implication is that a decision to have consenting sex requires greater mental maturity and is more complex and graver than a decision to kill".

I am a true believer in free speech and lament the fact that PT deemed it unsafe to fulfil his engagement at Abergavenny, earlier on this year, due to the dissenters who threatened to be outside the venue. They were not a bunch of right-wing haters, as depicted. They were a cross mix of young to elderly people who wanted a say in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives and who held the family unit dearly as an aspiration for future generations. They were people who would love to have debated PT, but who would never dream of harming him physically. PT has faced far worse battles than the Battle of Abergavenny in his heady past. Fate has landed him quite a few punches to the head in his pursuit of human rights and he claims to have brain damage from some of those blows. If that is the case, then perhaps he needs protecting from himself. Let the Battle of Abergavenny be the first of many! Bring out the “adult chauvinists” Let the debate begin! For the sake of the children. As a postscript, please click on the link below to understand how deeply troubled our world is.


By J. Ginsberg.

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Childline is not safe for children call. It's been captivated by Gender ideologues who promote Gender Identity and Transgenderism.

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