Speaking of paedophiles …

11 Apr

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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5 Replies to “Speaking of paedophiles …

  1. Everything alive casts a shadow. The Law of life on this planet is ‘eat or be eaten.’ We all have to learn how to kill in order to live. No one is without these darker aspects of our life force. The trouble comes when people deny the truth about themselves and live in a false narrative that they are ‘good’ and others are ‘evil’. The division of the energies of life into ‘good’ and evil’ ejected us from the simple instinctual bliss of the Garden of Eden and now we live in perpetual conflict in relation to our natural life force – until we don’t. Until we turn around and re-embrace and experience the real aliveness of our animal bodies. When we liberate our natural life energy from the false conditioning of religion, spiritual myths, and the many false ideas of how we should behave that are really a conditioning by a culture and society that wants us enslaved and not at all free and self determining, then we are truly free to express our sexuality and also control ourselves. Priests, monks, nuns, religious fundamentalists, and anyone who fondly imagines they are ‘good’ through and through will always have their denied instinctual energies acting out outside their conscious awareness. The Dalai Lama has not the slightest idea that what he did was disgusting and creepy. He believes he was being playful. The awfulness is in the complete denial of his body and its animalness and reveals the terrible evil of religion. Any spirituality which is not about loving life is basically an ignorant delusional escape from our true responsibility which is to love life, all life, while we are alive. And to be dead when we are dead. Sorry to go on but I know how awful religion is – whether christian, muslim, buddhist, jain, or whatever. It is the deeper grammar generating the eco-apocalypse in which so much of life is becoming extinct. I guess we all have our particular focus on our increasingly dystopian world and the global darkness engulfing us. Good luck folks! We’re going to need it.

    • Good points all, Anne. In my day men like Ben Skardon got away with their abuse by being fine and upstanding members of the community – the Baptist community in his case.

      On the denial of our animal nature, I’ve always been drawn to artists who alert us to it. In his way DH Lawrence did that. His contemporary, E M Forster did so with greater nuance. The central lietmotif of Howards End is “Only Connect” (the monk and the beast). And Leonard Cohen spent his very long song-writing career mining that dialectic.

      • I’ve just quoted the wonderful Leonard another post – about the crack in everything being how the light gets in. And yes! Let’s connect the spirit and the flesh – and ‘both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its highest.’ Thanks again.

  2. Our cub pack in South London was led by a disgusting predatory fiddler. Luckily for me and our young gang our skin tones we’re not his favourite. This scheming Akela would ingratiate himself into certain families and these adults always had a rose-tinted view of the beast. His crimes were vile and his ‘affectionate’ handling of my mates was brazen. He was confident of his position in the community. I moved on and one evening several years later the pack celebrated being active for 50 years. After the bunfest, some of us met in a local. With our wet whistles, I found the bottle and asked a couple of the ex-leaders, Baggy, Rikki, etc, about the pervert. Did they know etc? Baggy, with whom I became a good friend told us that they were well aware of his behaviour. He added that they felt that by staying in post that we would have some protection from worse excesses. He also reminded us that the nonce was a lay preacher and retired policeman. Yeah, the community loved him. The 60’s was a great feeding ground. The beast died after a comfortable retirement. The press even did a piece on him numbering his great qualities. I can’t decide whether things have improved or not but my investigations lead me to think not. In fact, they’re worse. You have a great site by the way. Thank you and your posters.

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