What does the UK Guardian asking for us to reconsider the crime of pedophilia, and the Life of Pi have in common?

Making up pretty lies to confuse the reality of the crime.

The Guardian insists that the crime of having sex with children isn’t bad and such impulses should just be accepted as part of the spectrum of sexuality, not something that we should be ashamed of.

They remind us that many reports show children aren’t harmed by being raped, so we should just let those who abused them live in society while helping them to restrain their impulses.

Hmm…sounds like the advice of certain pschologists to the Catholic Bishops in the 1980’s, and the advice that experts told physician back then: Reporting the case and taking it to court just harmed the child more than the abuse, which probably didn’t hurt the child, so don’t make a big deal about it, even if the case involved incest.

Heh. Seems like California tried this back in the 1980’s, and it didn’t work very well.

it is shocking to realise how dramatically attitudes to paedophilia have changed in just three decades, it is even more surprising to discover how little agreement there is even now among those who are considered experts on the subject.

A liberal professor of psychology who studied in the late 1970s will see things very differently from someone working in child protection, or with convicted sex offenders. There is, astonishingly, not even a full academic consensus on whether consensual paedophilic relations necessarily cause harm.

Why were such lies believed? Because the predator had his own version of the story, in which he is lovingly helping the boy or girl, or maybe even that the boy or girl wanted sex so he had to go along with their desire.

Those of us who worked with victims know that the problem is that the kids often want affection (which is why fatherless children are so vulnerable) and then, when affection turns into rape, they again are conflicted. The pleasure of sex (sometimes, but not always) and the pleasure of closeness often vie with the idea that they don’t want to say no to what they find horrible. And if they threaten to report it, often the pedophile turns on them and says “well you wanted it”, making the child believe this.

And what happens when they report it? I’ve had women tell of how their moms accused them of stealing their boyfriend or seducing their own father/stepfather, and Newsweek once had an article claiming that counselers should not report such crimes because it would ‘break up the family”.

Similarly, often the male homosexual who preys on young teenagers sees it as part of mentoring a boy, who is gay and needs a role model. He puts a romantic story of love and care of the boy, and then twists the story to say it was okay because the boy was old enough (only those puritanical laws make it wrong) and the relationship was mutual.

You repaint the story to make you the hero, and if that fails, you retell the story saying they seduced you, or retell the story as loving that society condemns because society is so puritanical about sex.

You keep retelling the fake story until people believe you, and make the witness doubt what they saw, and voila, you get away scott free. (which is what happened in Penn State, or  in the Woody Allen incest case, or even in season three of the veddy upright BBC series Downton Abbey, where an older servant attacks a teenaged servant during the night).

In a similar fashion, the Life of Pi claims to be about God, and is an inspiring and beautifully filmed story. If, that is, until the end, when an “alternative” story is revealed.

The agents tell Pi that his story – which includes multiple animal companions and a carnivorous island – is too unbelievable for them to report, so Pi tells them a different version of the story: one that paints a much darker and emotionally disturbing variation of events. After both stories have been shared, Pi leaves it up to the viewer (or reader) to decide which version they “prefer.”

Yes, “prefer”. In other words, the truth doesn’t matter, folks, so let’s just move along.

If the tiger version was a “false memory syndrome”, the boy would have stuck with the story.

If the tiger story was a hallucination, he would have stuck with the story.

If the tiger story was his imaginative way of coping with reality, he would have broken down and started to cry before telling the real story and then admitting it.

But no, he tells a second story in a cool manner, and then says it’s up to you to believe which is true, which in the movie they do.

Huh? Well, I bet the cops, like myself, figure his second story is fake too. We’ve seen and heard too many similar fake stories to believe the first story, and since the man blithely lies about the first story, why should we believe the second one? (So why don’t the cops arrest him? No physical proof of a crime. Lots of criminals and sexual predators get away with stuff because it’s so hard to prove in court).

The movie says, well truth doesn’t matter. Yeah. That fits in with today’s sophisticated mindset. What is truth, asked a jaded sophisticate when confronted with a hayseed carpenter.

The film concludes by asking you which story you believe, after you watched a long romantic story of a tiger.

Of course the audience, even when confronted with the second story, discusses and argues over which one is reality (why believe the horrific story when the pretty one is so much nicer to believe?) and maybe even doesn’t even recognize the manipulation of the film/novel.

So why am I complaining? Well, truth does matter.

Spinning padeophila into a variation of normal loving sexuality ignores that there is a lot of victims out there who are not getting justice: this the cdc survey shows six percent of students, ten percent of boys, and over 20 percent of boys who identify as gay report having intercourse below age 13. True, a few cases might be “consensual”, but I suspect the reality is that there is a lot of sexual abuse of children below age 13 going on that isn’t reported.

It’s always nicer to believe the story of the tiger (it was a loving relationship) or the story of the innocent victim (she seduced me).So the UKGuardian says let’s not be so judgmental about such things. (translation: The BBC can’t afford the lawsuits on the Jimmy Saville abuse coverup). Which story do you believe, the romantic tiger (we were in love) or the reality. One wonders how  many of the teenagers using drugs or with other “bad health habits” are among those who were sexually abused .

Similarly, in the Life of Pi, which story do you believe?

It’s nicer and easier to start a conversation about this, as most of the movie and book reviewers of Pi seem to be doing, and then praise the beauty of the cinematography or debate the question of God than to confront what might be the real story, which isn’t even discussed in the film: That they boy is a manipulative sociopath who was the real killer.

Don’t believe me? Ask your local cop how he would interpret the story.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines. She has treated many cases of sexual abuse when she was in practice.


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