In her column yesterday, apropos that kiss, Caitlin Johnstone rightly widened the focus from the sexual abuse of children by men whose status, in religious as in secular walks of life, allows them even in the wake of Jimmy Savile to get away with it. While every wing of corporate media ran with the antics of Wet Kisser the 14th …
… none did as Caitlin did. None moved from that vile act of soft coercion to puncture a fairy tale widely bought and sold where the jelly-brain end of lifestyle Buddhism merges seamlessly with the jelly-brain entirety of Sinophobic credulity.
One part of said fairy tale being that, prior to China’s forced annexation of Tibet, this mediaeval theocracy was a place of beaming monks and joyful tillers of the soil – as opposed to one of impoverishment, staggering inequality, technological backwardness, clerical entitlement and spine-chilling punishments.
Another being that the fourteenth incarnation of the Dalai Lama, a child when his country was annexed, is a latter day saint – as opposed to a well paid CIA asset, apologist for empire, and not the only member of that club with a penchant for little boys. (See in this regard the stooge who lied for pay to frame Julian.)
Do read Caitlin’s post. I ran it yesterday in its entirety.
Meanwhile I’ll grab the op to narrow the focus once more, with a couple of observations based on personal experience.
First, the audacity of the DL’s act should surprise no one, far less allow it to be read as harmless. As Savile’s predations flagged up loud and clear to anyone paying attention, hiding in plain sight – a sure sign of the perp’s sense of untouchability – is a recurring aspect of paedophilia.
In 1966, when I was thirteen, dad hired a cruiser on the Norfolk Broads. One morning saw me on deck in swimming trunks. An elderly bloke swam up and suggested – with my father not only present but encouraging – that I swim with him. It would have been impolite and disrespectful not to comply, right? A minute later we were out of sight of the boat, in a gloomy spot where willows trailed the water; he up to his waist, me to my chest. From behind he pulled me into an embrace and proceeded to rub his front against my back and buttocks. Nothing more.
I made no protest – we don’t, do we? Shortly after he returned me to our boat, exchanged a few pleasantries with dad, then swam off as one without a care in the world. What a fine chap, dad will have observed. I said nothing of course. Now, fifty-seven years on, is the first time I’ve told this story. They count on that, don’t they?
Second, that holiday afloat was time out from my main place of residence at Spurgeons Homes for Children in Birchington, on the Thanet coast. From September ’63 to December ’65 – mum having taken her own life in April ’63 – my houseparent was a man in his early sixties, name of Benjamin Skardon. He was married – we called her “miss” to his “sir” – but what of it? Not once did I see “sir” throw “miss” a word or look of affection, far less touch her.
He also presented to the world as a jovial soul, loveable “Uncle Ben”, but what of that too? So did Jimmy and, like Jimmy, this devout Christian had a job which not only conferred access but placed him, in those halcyon days, above suspicion.
We think of paedophilia as defined by gross acts – buggery, enforced fellatio, genital groping at the very least. But either Ben’s tastes didn’t run in those directions, or he was careful. His abuse of me and countless other prepubescent boys – before he retired (reluctantly) and I was placed with another houseparent, one I loathed and feared but was no paedophile – took forms which in those days could be passed off as innocent.
One being bare bottom spankings, frequent and scheduled in advance, of whose redemptive quality he made a big play. Once you’d dropped trousers and pants, bent over his knee (he seated on the edge of a bath) and had your whacks, all was not only forgiven but forgotten.
The other was wash inspections. Every evening Ben would be in the bathroom, ringed by naked boys. In turn we would stand before him as he turned our heads from side to side and gripped each arm in turn. Next – we all knew the drill – we’d turn our backs to him, bend over and place hands on the floor to offer each foot in turn. He’d lift it to put us in a half wheelbarrow stance, then go through the grotesque charade of inspecting the leg’s full length for cleanliness.
And here’s the thing. The consequences of such acts worked in his favour. They were bizarre and we all knew it, but they were also deeply embarrassing. As with the Norfolk swimmer, none of us breathed a word of what was happening on a nightly basis. Indeed, it is only recently that I’ve acknowledge it as sexual abuse. And then only because a pal of many decades standing, a man whose entire career has been spent working with sexual offenders and knows their ways inside out, assured me that these spankings and ‘cleanliness checks’ would have been followed by him retreating to a place – the staff bathroom, say – where he could masturbate.
Why am telling you all this? Believe me, I’d rather be doing my day job of exposing ruling class devilry. But I see a need to make two points. One, unless you’ve experienced it yourself – and many of you will have – don’t assume you Know what child sexual abuse looks like. Two, don’t for a moment suppose the behaviour of the 14th Dalai Lama can be dismissed as cringeworthy but innocent.
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