Sex abuse survivors should be pissed about the Q-Anon myth

I don’t swear in my headlines very often; however, this deserves to be addressed in the spirit of righteous indignation. But before I get too far into this post, I’d like to direct everyone to read conservative pundit Rick Wilson’s excellent take-down of the Q-Anon conspiracy theory and it’s followers. Read it first if you can, and then return to this post. Anyway, to quote Wilson from that piece:

When difficult realities confront people without the intellectual horsepower to understand and accept the truth, some turn to conspiracy theories to paper over the holes in their worldview. No matter how absurd, baroque, and improbable, conspiracies grow on their own like mental kudzu where inconsistencies aren’t signs of illogical conclusions, but of another, deeper layer of some hidden truth, some skein of powerful forces holding the world in its grip.

It’s true that there are a lot of dumb, ignorant people out there who fall for this stuff hook, line and sinker. But that’s what makes propaganda effective, and this is propaganda, cooked up in the filthy, unregulated meth lab that is 4chan by some white supremacist asshole who knew exactly what he was doing: taking the natural next step from the politically profitable Pizzagate episode and building on it by creating an obvious V-like character with an equally short code name and making up an entire backstory and mythos for him.

Whoever concocted this science fiction scenario is ultimately of little concern; what matters is its impact on the culture, and as we are starting to see by those t-shirts worn by many people at recent Trump rallies, it has made some headway into the mainstream. This is not only disturbing, it’s outright offensive to real sexual abuse survivors, of which I am one. Because for every dumb-ass who wholeheartedly believes in this nonsense, there’s another who knows it’s bullshit and happily repeats it anyway, choking it for all of its political momentum, and the fact that sexual abuse has now become such a politicized issue—having been weaponized by the far right in order to tar prominent Democrats with the most hated designation one can have—is a grave insult to actual abuse victims and survivors.

If abuse survivors are not offended by this, they should be. This sort of cavalier treatment of a very serious issue is, in effect, a regression to the days when few would believe you or do anything about it if you worked up the courage to report these crimes to them. It was a cultural coup for survivors to finally make society aware of both the ubiquity and seriousness of sexual abuse. And now, a group of shameless schemers exploiting that hard-won gravitas for political gain is the sort of thing that every real survivor, every person who has genuinely suffered at the hands of molesters, rapists and child pornographers, should be protesting in the streets. For what it does is reinforce the counterargument offered by abusers and abuse apologists that when survivors come forward and accuse someone of this most serious of crimes, they are just making it up for attention or personal advantage of some sort.

Well, that’s exactly what the creators and purveyors of Q-Anon are doing, and it threatens to undo every bit of social good will survivors have slowly engendered over decades and create a ‘boy who cries wolf’-type situation where an actual high-level politician is caught abusing a child and few people believe it happened because it’s someone in the trusted party and/or there have been too many false alarms like Pizzagate and Q-Anon thrown around. We saw this with Roy Moore, where white Republicans essentially dismissed or ignored what were very credible accusations because it didn’t fit with their worldview. This is a dangerous situation to create.

It becomes a very real possibility in that environment for abusers to get away with their crimes simply because they happen to belong to the popular party, are well-liked, succeed at whatever they do, hold all the “correct” beliefs. How many times have we heard the stories of victims whose abusers were successful and well-liked? It’s hard enough for the survivors of such offenders to get others to believe them when they say that the person is not who everyone thinks he or she is.  And now, to throw politics into that already volatile mix, especially in such divisive times, is a slap in the face to bona fide survivors. It displays contempt for them by turning their tragedy into a well-crafted lie designed to bring down political rivals. It neither protects kids from abuse nor honors victims who have already been abused. In fact, it does the opposite by deflecting attention away from the true culprits.

The lie that the political left is attempting to justify sexual abuse of children through acceptance of LGBT folks is almost laughably absurd, but it’s part and parcel of the right’s deflection when it comes to its own corruption and hypocrisy. As I’ve said before, would it be easier to convince society that pedophiles should have civil rights akin to gays and lesbians, or to convince them that sex with kids was justified by tradition and religious beliefs? We don’t have to conjecture too far here, as we have evidence to support this point. The idea of pedophiles getting the exact same rights as those in the LGBT spectrum, including the right to have sex with their preferred partners, has never made the slightest headway in any society, no matter how liberal, in the forty or so years since NAMBLA and PIE were founded. Meanwhile, in many countries, including the United States, child marriage still occurs with semi-regularity on traditional and religious grounds, cults both large and small– e.g. Children of God, the Fundamentalist LDS Church led by Warren Jeffs, David Koresh’s Branch Davidian cult—have leaders who frequently get away with abuse right out in the open, even sanctioned by the followers (to say nothing of how long sexual abuse flourished and went unaddressed in the Catholic Church), and Roy Moore came very close to winning the special election in Alabama last year, only losing because his openly racist rhetoric brought out black Democrat voters in droves, and thank God for that!

The far right has always used these sorts of black propaganda tactics, but now these tactics are being embraced, or at best ignored, by much of Trump’s base, which comprises about 30% of the US population. That’s still millions of people, a good chunk of them spreading this obvious lie around. The seeds of the Q-Anon fable have been planted and cultivated by people like Alex Jones and Rush Limbaugh for years, with the gradual raising of both the scale and heinousness of Democrats’ supposed crimes, to the point where almost anything will be believed now. But when the dust settles and people come to their senses again—and they will—the resulting knee-jerk reaction will almost certainly be a wholescale devaluing of abuse victims’ credibility and influence on the cultural landscape, especially if the accused is a politician or celebrity, and that will be a condition ripe for exploitation by politicians or celebrities who are, in fact, abusive to minors. They do exist, but they are thankfully rare.

I’ve been saying for awhile that the right loves to beat this particular drum louder than most, whereas in reality few of them are doing so because they care about the welfare of kids in general or about victims of abuse. That has been demonstrated time and time again by the nature of their attacks and the range of their targets, which include not only actual child molesters but MAPs who are committed to never offending, members of the medical and scientific community who are tackling this issue from a therapeutic standpoint rather than a forensic one, and even abuse survivors (some of them still minors) who do not line up with them politically.

All of the hard right’s beliefs about and policies for curtailing sexual abuse are either morally reprehensible, mostly ineffective, or both. These policies, especially the ones that tend toward violence, are neither logical nor compassionate. They have little or nothing to do with protecting kids or providing justice to survivors and almost everything to do with their own tendency towards expedient solutions to complex problems, including eradicating their own deep-seated insecurities. Pizzagate, and now Q-Anon, are just another manifestation of this, a false assurance to the faithful that the Democrats as an entity are thoroughly evil and will meet with the proper justice soon, when Q comes forward with all the hard evidence he’s apparently been hording for just the right moment. And then, somehow, all of Trump’s own crimes and corruption will be vindicated, his extremes and excesses overlooked or revealed to be illusions set up to catch all the sexual predators who supposedly gravitate to the Democrat party, even as in reality it is Republicans who are caught abusing minors at a rate of something like five to one.

Not that it matters. All offenders, no matter where they are on the political spectrum, should be exposed and treated precisely the same. But vulgar myths like Q-Anon are attempts by political partisans to make the issue entirely one-sided, to hide their own abusers while they point the finger at innocents across the aisle. If successful, it would be a win-win for the finger pointers and the real abusers and a net loss for kids and survivors. Let’s make sure that never happens.

 

 

 

Republicans do not care about young people

Last week, on Valentine’s Day, our country dealt with yet another mass shooting, just the latest in a long line of disgruntled Americans, Far Right sympathizers more often than not, who decide to pick up the deadliest firearms they can find and take out a bunch of people. Frequently their target is a school. After the smoke had cleared, seventeen human beings, most of them high school students ranging in age from fourteen to seventeen, lay dead, and several others were injured. These tragedies have become so common now that after a couple of days of media coverage we tend to forget about them and go back to our lives. Many Americans have become numb to these horrendous outbursts of violence, just as the NRA and Republicans have counted on.

These days the Far Right even engages in the most heinous types of black propaganda to discredit the survivors and anyone demanding action. Initially they started labeling these events as false flag operations done by the government as part of an overarching operation to take all guns away. This began mainly under Obama, which fit the Far Right’s false narrative of a hostile Leftist government. Now that Trump, a politician who is friendly to the Far Right, is in office, they can no longer get away with labeling these shootings a government operation so they’ve switched tactics, and mainly that amounts to calling anyone who speaks out as a survivor of these shootings paid actors. This is absurd on its face, as anyone can verify these kids are indeed students of this school and were present at the event. But the people making these accusations count on the fact that most people will not bother, so they keep spreading these lies to sow doubt among the masses, and far too many people buy this line of BS. Because of that, any potential progress to be made on this issue usually grinds to a swift halt, with society freezing up with uncertainty, and those who genuinely care realize they are up against a massive wall and give up again and again.

But something is different with the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High shooting. It is the kids themselves who have taken to the streets in outrage and horror, demanding that those in Washington do something about this ongoing problem instead of continuing to accept this state of affairs as the inevitable status quo. Of course, the Far Right has employed its usual tactics of trying to discredit them, calling them paid actors. These are kids who went to this high school and were there that day when 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student who had been expelled and wasn’t even old enough to purchase alcohol, walked into the school with a military-grade weapon he had bought himself and killed nearly twenty people, including three members of the school staff. This time these tactics aren’t working though, as it’s pretty clear to anyone with half a brain that these students are not fakes. High school students on the whole are not good actors, and if these were actors, then their performances would be considered Oscar-worthy. For example, anyone who can watch 17-year-old Emma Gonzalez’s speech and not be moved by it has, at best, a heart of stone. If that’s acting then Emma is wasting her skills. She needs to be in Hollywood, where she could make big bucks with that talent.

Of course, she’s not an actress. She is a genuine survivor of a real shooting who has become mobilized by this tragedy, as are many other students from this school. These kids are tired of being sacrificed on an altar of blood-soaked cash. They have been pushed to the breaking point, and their cries of pain and rage are finally being taken seriously by everyone. Everyone, that is, but the Far Right. This is no surprise to me. The people who have been harassing and threatening me by-and-large are from the same crowd, and I’ve known for awhile that they don’t really care about kids. Their campaign to silence and destroy MAPs, even those of us who are non-offending, has never really been about kids. It’s about what it’s always been about for their kind: creating a common and highly vulnerable enemy with which to channel their desire for a violent purge that would, if actually implemented, extend much farther than us. They will get their foot in the door by appealing to society’s fears of pedophiles and Islamic terrorists, but given any amount of real power, they would never stop there. You know it and I know it. History bears this out.

Thus, even kids have now become targets of harassment and threats for these people. Outside of their own, their claims of caring about kids have never been true. Sure, they’re anti-abortion, but that isn’t about kids and never was. It’s about increasing their numbers, because most Far Right people are poor, and abortion is mainly an issue for poor young women, who opt to abort instead of raising kids they know they can’t really afford to take care of. And honestly, if you could interrogate Far Right people with absolute certainty as to the truth of their answers, I’ll bet dollars to donuts most of them support abortion for minorities. They just won’t openly admit it. As usual, members of the modern Far Right are generally outright hypocrites on pretty much everything. Oh, they’re against murder . . . except for the people they support murdering. They’re against religious discrimination . . . except for any religion other than Christianity. And they’re against child abuse . . . except when those children are victims of gun violence and are speaking out in favor of gun control. Then all bets are off, and you can harass the hell out of them, threaten them, whatever it takes to shut them up.

This is the reality of the Far Right, and it’s why they can never be trusted to run this country ethically. Their track record is horrendous. They may claim to care about kids, but unless those kids are white and Republican, they don’t actually give a fig about them. If given the power to execute sex offenders and pedophiles, do you think they would stop there? Of course they wouldn’t. It’s not in their nature to be moderate. That’s why they’re the Far Right and not just the Right. Given the ability to do away with anyone they feel is a threat to their belief system, they would take it in a second. Pay attention to what they say to each other, not just what they say to their enemies.

But in terms of what they say to their enemies (which now includes teenagers who have been victims of horrendous mass shootings and have the gall to air their pain on national TV), even there they’ve gotten much bolder. They don’t honestly care about kids and never did. What they care about is putting forward their own political agenda, and they will happily steamroll over anyone who gets in their way, kids included. That’s where we are as a society now. I care about kids, period. I will not throw any of them under the bus for political expediency, not even kids like Nikolas Cruz. As vile as his belief system is and the horrendous actions he took on Valentine’s Day, I still do not support executing him, and I empathize with the losses he experienced. I do not believe he should be killed. I do believe he should be locked up for a very long time, maybe the rest of his natural life. I believe we need to do a better job of not letting kids like Cruz fall through the cracks of our system. I don’t believe Cruz really wanted to kill people. I believe he wanted love and attention he wasn’t getting, and this was simply his way of acting out, like a small child throwing a tantrum. Only, he had access to deadly weapons he should never have had access to.

So, I’m a MAP and I empathize with kids, even the not so good ones. I mean, sure, Cruz was 19, by law no longer a child, but he strikes me as someone who was fundamentally immature, not someone well on his way to becoming a responsible adult. Legally he was grown up but emotionally he was still a young teen, a kid who never progressed beyond his junior high school bully mentality. The problem is, their are millions of kids like Cruz in America today, and we can’t help them all. Nor can we stop them all from getting hold of assault weapons like the AR-15 he used to shoot up his old school. Not the way things are right now. We need to enact sensible gun legislation.

Gun advocates often bring up cars as an example of how we are hypocritical about the things that kill us, but actually they are the ones being hypocritical. First off, to drive a car you need a license, and training to get that license. That is required of every American who wishes to drive. Then, every single vehicle that goes on the road has to be registered and insured, annually. Before we can even purchase those cars they are subject to multiple safety regulations, and there are certain vehicles we simply cannot buy, at least not for use. Like military tanks. At the very least these have to be decommissioned before they can be owned by civilians. So why not place the exact same regulations on guns? Make certain guns and gun accessories off-limits right off the bat. Then, regulate the crap out of them, just as we do cars. And force owners to buy insurance on them. Given how often they kill people, it makes absolute sense to demand gun owners insure their firearms.

It’s time we stopped relying on Republican politicians and conservatives to do anything about this. They won’t. There’s too much money in it for them. It’s a sad statement on America that we’ve left it to kids to stand up for themselves, and that survivors of school shootings have now become political fodder for gun advocates. Imagine if they did this to survivors of sexual abuse. Imagine if they were saying things like, “These kids are just paid actors for the anti-abuse industry. We should listen to kids who weren’t molested and have them represent the issue of sexual abuse instead.” People would rightly be outraged. Why are these survivors’ suffering and outrage any less relevant than that of sexual abuse survivors? Why is their voice less valid than that of sexual abuse survivors? They’re kids too, and they’re also survivors. Attempting to silence and demean them is no different than attempting to silence and demean abuse survivors. It’s twisted and self-serving. We should be listening to them. They are the ones who will inherit this country. They will become our leaders some day. If we don’t listen to them then they will move on without us, and I can’t say I’d blame them. As adults, it is our job to look out for them, to protect them, and we’ve failed. Miserably. We need to remedy that now.

 

Well, then . . .

Right, so, a lot of things have happened since I last posted anything in my poor neglected blog. I suppose the main one was the release of the (very short) documentary piece about me produced by Barcroft Media. If you haven’t already, you can see it here. It’s only ten-and-a-half minutes of your time, and I really think you should check it out. John and Rauridh did an excellent job on it. And as a result, there have been a multitude of articles spawned by that piece just as there was with the first Salon article. Two were in the Sun alone (here and here). Despite the crummy headlines that were clearly intended to be inflammatory, the articles themselves aren’t too bad, especially the first one. There are several other articles but I won’t link them all as most are just repetitions of the Sun articles or commentary on the video.

Moving on, there was a great piece published in the Irish Times today by a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She recounts a bit of the abuse she suffered, but what really caught my attention was that she identified her abuser as a situational offender rather than a pedophile. This distinction is very important, and I’m glad to see someone other than a MAP or scientific expert point it out. The message is getting through, and perhaps no one needs to understand this distinction more than survivors. In fact, her viewpoint towards pedophiles and child sex offenders is an enlightened one across the board. She understands more than most what is really at stake here. You can read that article here.

Obviously the presidential election has come and gone since I last wrote here. I have to say that I am not without concern over Trump becoming the next POTUS. He has already displayed signs of his willingness to trample on the rights of minorities, and there are few minorities as unpopular as MAPs, even those of us who do not offend. On the other hand, I am also emboldened as I feel now it is more important than ever to make the case for virpeds. Which reminds me: I have another article in the works which I hope to finish it soon. It is a much broader piece than those I wrote for Salon, focusing less on me and more on the issues that pertain to all MAPs. The tone of it is more official than my other articles, but I hope it is still accessible to the average reader.

Finally, I’d like to say that the Virtuous Pedophiles forum itself continues to grow and strengthen. As far as I’m aware, VirPed is the only forum of its kind in the world (in the Anglophone parts of the world, at least) and it was obviously badly needed. My hope is that it is merely the first in a succession of such forums.

Brave grandma dies protecting her grandkids from sex offender

Loving grandmother Candy Arthurs perished yesterday after being stabbed by convicted sex offender Kristopher T. Amos during an incident that occurred over a month ago. Amos is believed to have tricked two of Arthurs’ grandchildren into following him into an alley on the premise of searching for a supposedly missing drone, possibly in order to abuse one or both of them. When Arthurs realized what was happening, she confronted Amos, who stabbed her in the chest, killing her. He also stabbed one of the children in the shoulder, though it seems the boy sustained only a minor injury and is expected to fully recover. While it is a sad day for the family of Candy Arthurs, she died a hero and will no doubt be remembered as such by her grandchildren, as well as many others, including me. And hopefully this time Amos stays in prison, where he belongs. You can read more about this incident here.

A sad day in America

My thoughts are with the survivors, friends and family members of those lost in the night club shooting in Orlando this morning. It’s clear that we still have a long way to go in the fight for freedom and tolerance for sexual minorities in this country. I will leave you with a quote from Leigh Hunt:

Whenever evil befalls us, we ought to ask ourselves, after the first suffering, how we can turn it into good.  So shall we take occasion, from one bitter root, to raise perhaps many flowers.

Margaux Fragoso’s endorsement of VirPed

Margaux Fragoso, author of Tiger, Tiger, has recently been in contact with the VirPed community. I’ve spoken with her personally and she is exactly as interesting and delightful as I always imagined she would be. Well, she is officially endorsing VirPed. Here’s what she says:

I am a sexual abuse survivor and author of a bestselling memoir Tiger, Tiger, which has sold in 26 countries, been translated to nineteen languages. Kirkus Reviews called it an “Outstanding Debut of 2011,” and it was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2011. The movie rights were bought by the acclaimed director Hector Babenco. In addition, my work has appeared in the New York Times, NPR, and various literary journals.

My abuse began when I was seven years old, after I met Peter Curran, who was a retiree and collector of exotic animals. Though Peter abused me, he also gave me praise and emotional support that counterbalanced my horrific home life—a viciously critical father and mentally ill mother. When Peter committed suicide in 2001, it emotionally shattered me. I would say that suicide in general is so desperately painful for abuse victims that I’d plead with even known offenders not to take that route. I have read the scientific literature that pedophilia is an orientation, not a choice, and that as long as it is not acted upon, it remains “dormant” so to speak and thereby harms no child. VP is committed to protecting children like the seven-year-old Margaux who could not protect herself and whose family did not protect her. I wish Peter had chosen a Lewis Carroll type relationship with me that involved no acts of sexuality and then I would’ve been spared countless psychological problems and years of therapy. If an organization like this one had been available to Peter perhaps he would have never offended against me and my life would be infinitely improved for it.

Virtuous Pedophiles is an extraordinary website where those struggling with feelings of attraction to children can find support and a community. It is here that they can form positive links with others and resist the impulses to offend against children. This website does a tremendous service to both children and parents by serving as a kind of Alcoholics Anonymous wherein everyone strives to “stay clean” and honorable. I believe that this website will do far more to lower child abuse rates than our current system of punishment, social ostracism, and threats of violent reprisal. I support VP wholeheartedly as an abuse survivor, as a worker with human trafficking victims, as a mother, and as an American citizen. We need more websites like this and so I hope they will thrive and flourish as it serves to protect the most vulnerable and precious members of our society—the children.

Many people have endorsed our organization over the years, but the ones that always move me the most are those from abuse survivors. After my articles came out I heard from many of them, and their stories were always harrowing, but what struck me most about them was the kindness and understanding they offered me, a direct contrast to the shrill and hateful attacks we normally encounter on the internet. And now Fragoso has offered similar words of support for Virtuous Pedophiles, which I find incredibly touching.

Protestant churches are banning abuse victims from working for them

I’ll admit that, for a number of reasons, I’m not particularly fond of organized religion. I consider myself an agnostic with slight transcendental leanings, but I don’t have a problem with other people believing whatever they want as long as their beliefs or practices do not infringe on the rights of others. But let’s be honest: religions have a long history of oppressing others, usually minorities of one sort or another. Well, now some Protestant churches can add sexual abuse victims to the group of minorities they are oppressing, in this case by refusing to hire them as church employees. This traces back to the common misconception that many abuse victims are destined to become abusers themselves. Perhaps there is a slightly elevated risk that sexual abuse victims—particularly male sexual abuse victims—may go on to become abusers, but does it warrant discrimination against victims across the board? I think this is a horrible trend, so let’s hope it’s a short-lived one. You can read a more in-depth article about it at the Daily Beast:

Abused? You Can’t Work at These Churches