Thursday, 24 March 2016

Toxic Feminists 1 - Andrea Dworkin

It is undoubtedly the case that throughout British history until recently women have been denied equal rights. Until the late 19th century any property they owned could be passed to their husband upon marriage, and their grounds for divorce were narrower than for men. After divorce, custody of the children was routinely given to the father. In the early 20th century women continued to be denied the vote, despite a massive campaign of civil disobedience by the suffragette movement, and that remained the case until after the First World War. As late as the 1950s they received less pay than men for doing exactly the same work in the Civil Service, and were then required to resign on marriage. During the early 1970s they still faced discrimination when applying for a mortgage, and could be refused service in restaurants late in the evening. They faced open discrimination in many jobs. So there were plenty of injustices which the feminist movement of those times could legitimately agitate and protest against.

Once all these objectives had been achieved it might have been assumed that feminism would gradually die out as women were granted equal rights and equality of opportunity. But the reverse appears to have happened, feminists continued to be vocal, and although the shrillness ebbed and flowed, it never went away, and currently stands at a very high level. So if all their legitimate grievances have been met why are feminists still so dissatisfied? There appear to be two main causes, a perceived lack of equality of outcome in employment, and a hostility to male sexuality. Both, but particularly the latter, are imbued with a strong streak of misandry.

One leading figure within the feminist movement was Andrea Dworkin, who specialised in aggressive sexual politics. Dworkin was born into a Jewish American family shortly after the last war. During the mid 1960s she became involved in protests against the Vietnam war, and spent some time in a women's prison where she claimed to have been subject to brutal and invasive treatment. After graduating she moved to the Netherlands and married one of the leaders of a group of left wing anarchists she became involved with. The marriage lasted only a few years with Dworkin claiming that her husband regularly beat and assaulted her. After many trials and tribulations she returned to the USA and became involved in left wing campaigns. She soon established a name for herself as a radical feminist organiser, focussing on violence against women and abortion rights.

By the early 1980s she had become one of the most widely recognised feminists after the publication of her book Pornography: Men Possessing Women. This was an uncompromising work, where any insights (there are some, particularly in relation to the male propensity to violence) she may have uncovered on this controversial subject, were drowned out and nullified by her seething hatred of all aspects of masculinity, together with a total contempt for femininity and expressions of female beauty. Dworkin argued that pornography was motivated by an assertion of male power and hatred towards women. She claimed that it dehumanises women and leads to violence against them, both in its production and in the social consequences of its consumption, by encouraging the domination, humiliation and abuse of women. Dworkin's tone throughout is one of furious anger against men, to the point of appearing almost deranged in her stridency. In one respect though she is clearly right, the worst pornography involving violence and humiliation degrades those who appear in it and the men who consume it.

With the publication in 1987 of her book Intercourse Dworkin went even further in attacking male sexuality, arguing that heterosexual intercourse is a central part of men's subordination of women who, she claims, experience it as a form of occupation. She uses inflammatory language in comparing this 'occupation' to occupied countries, dominated races, imprisoned dissidents, colonized cultures and atrocities ranging from Auschwitz to the Gulag. Much of the book is given over to an impenetrable stream of consciousness gibberish, planting in the reader's mind the pervasiveness of male bestiality and the degree of self hatred in women, meekly surrendering to, and powerless against, the rampant demands of the insatiable male.

We have too many so-called 'hate crimes' in this country, but strangely they never seem to cover the kind of delusional bile from malignant feminists such as this. But this kind of garbage does not come out of a vacuum completely. Something must have provoked it, and it appears to be the casual violence engaged in by some men against women, which although deeply shameful, clearly pre-dates the kind of pornography she rails against. But the sins of the relatively few can never justify the senseless venom spewed out by the likes of Dworkin that targets at all men and their sexuality indiscriminately.

No self respecting man should ever have to tolerate the vicious denunciations that were the hallmark of Dworkin's rage and that of her followers. Her vile ranting demeaned feminism, and the brave women who sought equal rights for their sex in an often hostile world. Her agenda to demonise men as predatory, and women as helpless and vulnerable, has been uncritically absorbed by too many in the once progressive wing of politics, who previously espoused the cause of sexual freedom against conservative puritanism and religious repression. Andrea Dworkin died in 2005 and needless to say is still lauded and revered by many in the madhouse that is the radical left of politics.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Greville Janner - would a prosecution have been justified?

For the past few years there has been extensive media speculation as to whether the former MP and peer Lord Greville Janner engaged in sexual activity with children, and whether the establishment ' closed ranks' to protect him from investigation. In 2013 Leicestershire police opened Operation Enamel to investigate allegations against Janner from former care home residents, and a file on their conclusions was sent to the CPS.

Towards the end of his life Janner suffered from dementia, and after much legal wrangling it was finally decided that he was unfit to stand trial. As an alternative the decision was reached that a 'trial of the facts' could take place to consider all the evidence against him, which would then be put before a jury. However, Lord Janner died in December 2015 before this could take place and all legal proceedings were terminated. His family issued a statement proclaiming that 'he is entirely innocent of any wrongdoing.'

Rumours about Janner first came to public attention during the trial of Frank Beck in 1991. Beck was warden of a Leicester children's home and had been charged with the sexual and physical abuse of children in his care over a thirteen year period. He was found guilty of many of the charges against him and was sentenced to 24 years in prison. During the trial Beck claimed that he had been framed in order to protect the real perpetrator of the crimes, allegedly Greville Janner. Beck protested his innocence up until his death in prison in 1994. Subsequently, concerns were raised about the kind of trawling operation which Leicestershire police mounted in connection with Beck, a model that would be repeated in future care-home investigations.

It has been claimed that the political establishment, in the shape of his fellow MPs, such as Labour’s Keith Vaz, Tory David Ashby and the Lib Dem MP now Lord Carlile, 'closed ranks' to protect Janner. Since he was not only an MP, but also a barrister who campaigned for justice for the victims of the Holocaust, parliamentary colleagues at this time considered it inconceivable that the allegations against him might be true. It was assumed that Beck had made the allegations in an attempt to save his own skin. The possibility that Janner could also have been guilty was something that was never entertained.

Had he been deemed well enough Janner would have faced 22 sex offence charges, alleged to have taken place from 1969 to 1988, involving nine children and young adults then cared for in children’s homes. These ranged from indecent assaults to buggery. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, considered that Janner should have been charged in 1991 and that there were two further missed opportunities in 2002 and 2007, where the evidential test was passed, in which there was a realistic prospect of conviction. Because of these apparent failures the CPS asked Judge Sir Richard Henriques to conduct a review into the decision making and handling by the CPS of all the allegations against Janner in the past. The Henriques report outlines the allegations against Lord Janner in some detail, and helps provide a basis to judge whether or not he was guilty of the crimes levelled against him. With the exception of Complainant 1, on the evidence available, all the accusers included in the Henriques report appear to lack sufficient credibility to warrant a successful prosecution. Indeed, they all appear to be opportunist chancers motivated by compensation claims.

In 1990, during a search of Beck's home, Leicestershire police discovered letters from Janner to a boy known as Complainant 1, who was a former resident at Beck's children's home. These letters dating from 1975 clearly showed a relationship between Janner and Complainant 1. They shared a hotel suite and Complainant 1 stayed at Janner's home when the rest of his family were abroad. In January 1991 Complainant 1 provided a statement to the police alleging sexual misconduct by Janner. Complainant 1 claimed he visited Janner on many occasions, including at hotels, camping trips, houses owned by Janner's friends and Janner's own home. Complainant 1 alleges that Janner initially engaged in cuddling and 'petting' and later moved on to more explicit sexual activity including buggery, the latter activity to which Complainant 1 claimed not to have liked. The relationship between Janner and Complainant 1 appears to have ended by late 1975, and they never came into contact again until the time of Beck's trial. Complainant 1 did however invite Janner to his wedding. Janner responded by sending Complainant 1 a £50 cheque but did not attend the wedding. It is on record that Complainant 1 stole items from Janner on a number of occasions.

Janner was interviewed by police and responded 'no comment' to all questions on the advice of his solicitor. After the Beck trial, he told the House of Commons that there was "not a shred of truth in any of the allegations”, claiming that he and his family had befriended a boy, as had many others at the time, in order to improve his welfare and life prospects but this had soured, with the net result being the false allegations made against him at the Beck trial. The prosecution called the Janner defence by Beck a ‘red herring’ and urged the jury to discount it. The evidence of Complainant 1 at Beck’s trial was considered to be inconsistent.

At that time, there was a mandatory corroboration warning given to juries and other safeguards which no longer apply. The police and CPS concluded a single complainant in an historical case in such circumstances would have had scant chance of success. However, it would appear from the Operation Enamel investigation that more could have been done by the police in 1991 to follow up the allegations made against Janner . Nevertheless, it is clear from the Henriques report that there was no high level cover up, as conspiracy theorists are claiming.

As to the question of Janner's behaviour all the evidence suggests, including additional evidence uncovered by Operation Enamel, that for a period of several months in 1975, Janner and Complainant 1 were in some kind of sexual relationship. The question that needs to be asked is whether Complainant 1 suffered any harm from this relationship. Complainant 1 alleges that he was the victim of buggery by Janner on a number of occasions. He also stated that he was not too troubled by the other forms of sexual activities alleged to have taken place during their relationship.

This was clearly an unequal relationship, Janner was 47 and Complainant 1 was 14. As a barrister and MP Janner was both educated, and a person of importance and influence. In contrast, Complainant 1 appears to have been a troubled individual, probably a petty criminal possessing only limited education and maybe no more than average intelligence. Since they appear to have had little in common, the basis of Janner's friendship can only have been sexual attraction to an adolescent youth. The basis of Complainant 1's acceptance of the relationship with Janner would likely have been because he was showered with gifts and treats by an important public figure, and was probably flattered by all the attention he received.

Complainant 1 waited for over 15 years before he made a complaint to police about Janner's behaviour. During this period Complainant 1 invited Janner to his wedding, which suggests that they remained on good terms. The relationship appears to have ended only when Frank Beck as warden prevented Janner from contacting Complainant 1 at the care home, returning a bicycle Janner had bought for Complainant 1. The evidence uncovered by Operation Enamel, and the earlier inquiries, is that Complainant 1 was willing on repeated occasions to meet up with Janner and engage in sexual activities, albeit reluctantly with regard to the buggery claims. There is no evidence that Janner used force or the threat of violence or blackmail at any time against Complainant 1. Thus it must be concluded that Complainant 1 consented to all the sexual relations that took place with Janner.

In 1975 all homosexual activities with a male under the age of 21 were illegal, although the current age is now 16. However, at that time all of the sexual activities alleged to have taken place between Janner and Complainant 1, with the exception of buggery, would have been legal with a person aged over 14 had they been between persons of the opposite sex, although the current legal age for such activities is now 16. This blog believes that in a civilised society teenagers should have the right to their own sexual autonomy without harassment, intimidation or interference by the state in this private and intimate activity, unless force, violence or blackmail have occurred or been threatened. It also believes that offences should be reported to the police within one week of occurring, or until the accuser reaches the age of 18. It is clear that these requirements have not been met in this case, and since there is no evidence that Complainant 1 suffered any harm from his relationship with Janner, it must be concluded that there would appear to be no justification in bringing Janner to trial over what was essentially a private and consensual relationship, albeit an unequal one. Addendum

Since writing the above some new facts have come to light. It would appear that Complainant 1 has convictions for sexual offences against 'underage boys', and was found to have made a false allegation against the head of his care home. In addition, Lord Janner's daughter has given several TV interviews in which she claims that it would have been impossible for her father to have engaged in any kind of sexual activity with Complainant 1. She claims that Complainant 1 was befriended by her father and treated as one of the family, which contradicts Complainant 1's claim that his visits to the Janner home only took place when the rest of the family were away.

These new revelations must cast some considerable doubt as to whether there was any kind of sexual relation between Janner and Complainant 1. This post may have fallen into the mindset of the child abuse industry that any relationship between an adult and a young teenager is likely to be motivated by a sexual interest. At the time when these offences were alleged to have taken place, platonic caring and nurturing relationships between adults and children were commonplace, and nobody regarded this as anything unusual. It was a time when adults were implicitly trusted, and before the poisonous campaign of the NSPCC and others to destroy these kind of positive and caring adult-young person relationships.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Cleveland scandal - how the paedophile scare grew roots

This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the origins of the Cleveland scandal, which provided the first intimation to a wider public about the continuing scare over paedophiles, that has now come to exert such a grip over our society. Strangely, it did not originate with the usual suspects who keep the issue alive today, namely the hysteria generated by the gutter press, the paranoia promoted by children's charities or the malice targeted against men by feminists. Instead it began as a dispute between medical practitioners in the Teesside town of Middlesbrough.

The genesis of the scandal began when a paediatrician Dr Marietta Higgs attended a medical conference in Leeds in 1986 to learn about what was then being trumpeted as a useful medical technique to identify sexual abuse in children. This technique, known as Reflex Anal Dilation (RAD) was being promoted at the conference by two paediatricians Dr Chris Hobbs and Dr Jane Wynne. Unreported in the national media at the time, these two doctors were placing great strains on Leeds social services by their increasing referrals of children, identified through the RAD technique, as having been sexually abused.

RAD had its origins in the United States and for many years had been used to identify homosexuals. Since, during this period, homosexuals were a persecuted minority with no voice, there was no forum or platform available that was sufficiently influential to question whether or not the RAD technique was an effective method of detecting anal penetration. The assumption made by the advocates at the Leeds conference was that this supposedly tried and tested, medically accepted technique could be reliability transferred from identifying homosexuals, a practice that was now no longer socially acceptable, to identifying child sexual abuse, a subject that was beginning to arouse concern in medical and social services circles. The issue had gained some national prominence with the establishment of the Childline telephone service by TV presenter Esther Rantzen.

Dr Higgs returned from the Leeds conference full of enthusiasm for the RAD technique, armed with what turned out to be a dangerous zeal for putting the test into practice. Shortly afterwards in January 1987 she was appointed as a consultant paediatrician to Middlesbrough General Hospital to form a partnership with the hospital's existing paediatrician Dr Geoffrey Wyatt, who had been working there since 1983 without controversy. Dr Higgs quickly converted Dr Wyatt to the effectiveness of the RAD test and the need for it to be put into practice.

The pair set to work with vigour and during a five month period in the spring and summer of 1987 they identified 121 children from 57 families who, according to the evidence of the RAD test, had been victims of sexual abuse. These children were all removed from their homes and subjected to repeated invasive and intimate examinations by medical staff. They were also subjected to intensive interrogation by social workers led by Cleveland's child protection officer Sue Richardson, a committed supporter of the diagnostic test of the two paediatricians.

As might be expected the large number of children taken into care over a relatively short period caused enormous problems for the hospital, social services and the courts. The parents of the children taken into care began to fight back, setting up a support group and, with the backing of the local newspaper, mounted a campaign with the slogan 'Give us back our children'. A major player then entered the fray, the local MP Stuart Bell, whose lobbying in Parliament and to ministers in support of the parents brought the controversy to the attention of the national media. He became a vocal supporter of the rights of the parents against the paediatricians and social services whom he considered to be fanatics with a vendetta against the institution of the family.

Although the social services and the courts were happy to do the bidding of the two paediatricians, the local police surgeon was becoming concerned about the huge rise in child abuse cases that he was being asked to investigate. As a result of his increasing scepticism of the validity of the RAD test, relations between the Council's social services and the police reached breaking point. Because of this impasse, and the extensive media coverage, the government agreed to the request of Stuart Bell to set up a public inquiry to investigate the whole affair, headed by Judge Elizabeth Butler-Sloss. Drs Higgs and Wyatt were then barred by the health authority from carrying out any further RAD tests. The main conclusions in the report of Judge Butler-Sloss were that the parents criticisms of social workers were justified and that the interviews they carried out did not meet professional standards. During video-recorded sessions, social workers were seen to threaten and attempt to bribe children in order to confirm the social worker's views that they had been abused. Leading questions were asked of the children which would not have been permitted in court. Both the doctors and social workers were criticised for being too ready to accept that abuse had taken place, and for the belief that lack of disclosure by the children was evidence of denial. Nearly 100 of the children were returned to their parents but over 20 remained in local authority care. The media coverage of the scandal was mostly hostile to the paediatricians and social services staff. Most reports concluded that the RAD test was likely to be unreliable, that the paediatricians and social workers uncritically accepted the test as a sure sign of sexual abuse, that the scale of child sexual abuse among the Cleveland families was likely to be very limited in scale, that the vast majority of families were treated harshly and unsympathetically by Cleveland social services and that most of the children were wrongly taken from their homes.

With the benefit of hindsight the Cleveland scandal probably prevented a much greater injustice being perpetrated against British families. Drs Higgs and Wyatt initially only applied the RAD test to children who had already come to the attention of social services. However, carried away by their zeal to track down child abusers by this supposedly foolproof method, they started to extend the test to children brought into the hospital for unrelated ailments. This resulted in a huge spike in referrals to social services and, because of the numbers, allowed innocent parents an opportunity to group together to mount a campaign, which quickly created positive publicity through the local media and the efforts of the MP.

If the two paediatricians had been a little more restrained in their zeal the number of families affected would have been a lot smaller. Thus it is unlikely that a campaign to challenge the diagnoses of the paediatricians would have become established. Given that the courts and social services in Cleveland, and in the earlier Leeds case, all accepted the RAD test as reliable, it would only be a matter of time before the technique would gradually have been implemented throughout the country. In such a scenario, it would take a lot longer before the validity of the RAD test started to be questioned, by which time tens of thousands of children might have wrongly been taken from their families. In such a situation parents would soon become afraid to seek medical treatment for their children if they feared that they might be snatched from them by the authorities. In the Cleveland case the vigilantes made the mistake of targeting families as a source of child abuse. At that time the paedophile hysteria had not yet achieved lift off and the press sympathised with the plight of parents rather than express concern about the risk to children. Dr Higgs continues to believe in the reliability of the RAD technique and has stated that she would act no differently today. Although not known at the time surveys have shown that only a tiny number of paedophiles engage in anal penetration of their victims, preferring alternative methods of molestation. Moreover, two surveys in 2002 and 2011 by the NSPCC revealed that only 0.1% of the children under 18 who participated had been subject to sexual abuse by parents or step-parents. So the RAD test was not only unreliable but also useless in detecting most forms of child molestation.

Children's charities played no part in the Cleveland scandal, but in time they would soon discover that fanning the flames of child abuse paranoia would create a nice little earner for them which could continue indefinitely. The lesson they learned from Cleveland was to tread carefully before implicating families, and instead pursue a strategy of instilling fear in the general populace over the threat from the ever present paedophile lurking behind every corner.