Creating victims, real and imaginary

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How do you turn a so-called child victim into a real one? One sure-fire way is to have her locked up for 20 hours in a police cell after she has refused to give evidence against her lover.

That is what Judge Robert Bartfield did earlier this month when a 15-year-old girl would not testify against her 32-year-old boyfriend at Bradford Crown Court in northern England.

After the girl eventually testified under duress, the man was found guilty of sexual activity with a child. A spokesperson for Victim Support rightly said the girl had been treated in a “grotesque and, frankly, degrading manner by those who are supposed to be protecting her”. Even the NSPCC managed to get this one right, saying it was shocking – and, for once, they were not talking about the behaviour of the man on trial.

Judiciary officials have launched an investigation into the case.

It is probably too much to expect, but let’s hope the judge’s barbaric insensitivity will be followed by a change in the law, as happened in California following at least one similar case back in 1983, involving a 12-year-old girl called Amy. Her step-father, a US Air Force doctor, was on trial for alleged sexual contact with her.

Amy did not want to lose the man her mother had married four years earlier. Reportedly, she feared the family would be broken up in the event of a conviction. She was kept in solitary confinement for eight days but bravely remained rock solid in her refusal to testify. The case was abandoned only after she had been brought back to court six times, each time defying the judge’s demand that she give evidence.

The new law, passed the following year, was an amendment to the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1219, to the effect that “no court may imprison or otherwise confine or place in custody the victim of a sexual assault for contempt when the contempt consists of refusing to testify concerning the sexual assault.”

Ten years later the authorities tried to change this law in order to force 13-year-old Jordie Chandler to testify that Michael Jackson had molested him. It didn’t work, and the law fortunately still stands. As I wrote in my book about the superstar’s relationships with boys:

… here were the authorities proposing to force Jordie to testify against his will. Even Michael, with all the insults and humiliation that had been heaped upon him, was never accused of resorting to forcing a child into anything.

Arguably even more shocking than the judge’s tough tactics in the Bradford case was the reaction of at least one feminist commentator, Deborah Orr, in her Guardian column. She supported the judge, on the grounds that his hard line was for the girl’s own good in the long run: just what Jordie’s father said when he betrayed his son’s confidence – which turned out to be a disaster. Feminists rightly used to be angry over men telling women what is for their own good; now they have become the new authoritarians.

Orr then went on to describe a really sinister recent addition to the ever-expanding empire of false victimhood. It goes like this: if the “victim” you aim to “protect” does not feel like a victim, and refuses to be cast as one, then you just change the rules of the game to make sure they cannot escape the victim label you are determined to pin on them.

The “victim” refuses to say they have been sexually assaulted? Very well, in that case you re-brand the man’s crime: it was not sexual assault but “exploiting the victim’s vulnerabilities”. In this scheme of things, if the child had been a willing participant in a sexual act with a grown-up she must have been vulnerable by definition. In other words, she would be deemed automatically to have been unwilling but for her vulnerability to the wicked attractiveness of the adult, who must have been criminally handsome, or outrageously charming, or talented, or famous, or rich, or strong, or protective, or maybe even just a diabolically nice guy. Any or all of these attributes, which might be thought positive qualities in another context, are perversely turned by this dogma into negative ones. They just become tools of “the grooming process”.

The fundamentally anti-sexual agenda behind all this becomes apparent when we see that the vulnerability concept is being applied to adults as well as children. These extremists effectively want to abolish the age of consent. Yes, you did read that right, but don’t rush to crack open the champagne. They are trying to infantilise everyone, making consent more and more difficult at any age. The logical endpoint is no sex at all for anyone, no matter how old they are, rendering an age of consent redundant.

Orr quotes with approval a certain Professor Betsy Stanko, assistant director of planning with the Metropolitan Police. After a decade of research on rape (note that we are talking primarily about adult alleged victims now) she concludes that a way to deal with low conviction rates is effectively to ditch the consent criterion. If the woman consented, so you cannot convict a man, you find ways of finding that consent did not count because the woman was vulnerable. What makes her vulnerable? Being drunk at the time, wearing sexy clothes, being swept off her feet by a tall, dark, handsome stranger, especially if he happened to be rich and famous. Pretty well anything, really, that would show she was up for a roaring good time.

Neatest of all, vulnerability would be demonstrated if the woman had been in a steady relationship with the man. By the Stinko Standard, evidence of such a relationship would count against the man, not for him. What absolutely Orr-some Alice in Wonderland logic!

Bearing in mind the interesting current debate here about feminism, in the comments on Gentle poet Ginsberg doesn’t deserve this, I should perhaps ask fellow heretics whether Deborah Orr is a feminist worth discussing things with, or whether she and her ilk are beyond redemption. I would just throw in the thought that she is married and has children (which in itself surprises me, in view of her seeming anti-sexuality) by the novelist and ubiquitous public intellectual Will Self. I cannot say I have read his books or have any in-depth knowledge of the guy, but he comes across in his articles and broadcasts as intelligent and perceptive.

Maybe we should write to him, in a devious attempt to influence his wife. How about this:

“Sir, your wife is a shrew. It’s time you took her in hand.”

Umm. Maybe not. The Cunning Plan might need a bit more work.

One angle might be to play on his justified sense of grievance over being suspected as a paedophile by a security guard and a police officer when he was in the countryside hiking with his 11-year-old son last year. Justified, as I say, but by Jesus, Mary and all the saints did Self bang on about it! A torrent of indignation poured forth from his keyboard about what was admittedly bound to have been an upsetting experience, although it’s not as though he was arrested or had his reputation trashed in the media. His tale of woe was nevertheless spun into an epic yarn of over two and a half thousand words in the Daily Mail.

As the Mail’s headline put it, “Will Self reveals moment an innocent ramble became a nightmarish tale of modern Britain”. Who knows, having had a slight taste of the nightmare some of us have to put up with every day of the week, maybe the traumatised Self could be tapped as a source of sympathy.

Gentle poet Ginsberg doesn’t deserve this

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Last time, Heretic TOC showed how the past is being pilloried in an orgy of accusations and recriminations. Among the cultural icons suddenly being denounced is the poet Allen Ginsberg – a remarkable twist of fate for his reputation so soon after being lionised as a crusader for freedom in two recent movies, Howl and Kill Your Darlings. But do those delivering the damning judgements really know what they are talking about? In a guest blog today, Eric Tazelaar points out that the younger generation of commentators would not have known those they now so freely castigate – unlike Eric, who knew Ginsberg personally.

THAT 70S SHOW: A DECADE RE-CONCEPTUALIZED (AND REPURPOSED)

I have often wondered, beginning some thirty or more years ago, what long-term effects anti-pedophile hysteria, then just starting to gather real steam, would have upon children as well as their eventual adult selves.

The results now appear unequivocal and much worse than my worst imaginings so long ago.

“Thou shalt not suffer a paedophile to live!” seems not too strong a sentiment to represent prevailing societal opinion.

As is unavoidable – if one lives long enough – one is increasingly struck by the youthfulness of those high-minded idealists who now predominate among our journalistic detractors, most of whom were not yet born when Britain’s future Labour leaders rubbed elbows with Tom O’Carroll and PIE under the NCCL umbrella.

Many have decided that the decade of the 1970s was not only weird but had to have been almost supernaturally so, like the “weird” witches in Macbeth.

For one columnist, Tim Stanley, writing recently for The Daily Telegraph, the 1970s were not just “weird” but positively infested with “evil” villains actively propagating their “perversion” amongst the credulous and unsuspecting young.

“Evil men once exploited the sexual revolution and the Left’s naivety to advance their agenda and invade the mainstream.”

It couldn’t get much more black-and-white than that, now could it?

To Stanley, Allen Ginsberg, a man whom I knew well and whose amorous attentions, when I was eighteen years old, I politely rebuffed, is said to have been one of those “evil” infectious agents.

I was thunderstruck when I read that. Evil? Allen Ginsberg? Allen was possibly the least evil person I ever knew, unlike Andrea Dworkin whose unconcealed hatred for all things male and an unwavering conviction in the innate superiority of women made her, to my mind, a manifestly dangerous influence upon impressionable minds.

Stanley quotes her as having said of Ginsberg: “exceptionally aggressive about… his constant pursuit of under-age boys’’.

To that I say “Bullshit!” Although I was not, at eighteen, “underage” my rejection of his erotic interest in me was immediately accepted and we went on to become friends. Furthermore, I saw him interact many times with actual “underage” boys, none of whom he treated with anything but the greatest of gentleness and respect.

I will add that, of those friendships with boys with which I was familiar, most of whom were children of staff or students at the Buddhist school where he taught, none appeared unwelcome and neither the boys nor their parents showed any evidence of feeling threatened by him. Indeed, he was greatly respected and trusted throughout that community.

Allen behaved exactly as I would wish all people would behave: with the highest regard for the rights and dignity of the individual. One should aspire to be precisely that kind of person.

Clearly, Tim Stanley had never met Allen Ginsberg or Tom O’Carroll. Or Andrea Dworkin, for that matter.

No, Tim Stanley simply possesses the unshakable conviction that every lie, every distortion, every libel uttered about Ginsberg, O’Carroll, PIE or NAMBLA and, for that matter, all paedophiles, rings with an unassailable truth, having been levelled by those with intentions wholly good and pure. To Stanley’s mind, paedophiles and their cause are beyond all redemption and to be utterly destroyed, a process which I see to be well underway.

For Tim Stanley, facing down such irredeemable evil, there is no other side to the story and fact-checking in the interest of those proclaimed as evil simply isn’t required or even seriously considered.

But the state in which child lovers exist today is not the worst of it. An even starker reality which confronts us all is the sad and diminished state in which children and adolescents now find themselves, essentially held captive in what amounts to walled gardens where they are unable to form any contact with others not explicitly authorized or to be exposed to any idea deemed “inappropriate” by any but the most puritanical governess.

They benefit only from the society of other kids within one or two years of age or their families (but often minus Dad) or those adults specifically designated and vetted by the state.

All potentially contaminating ideas and people are carefully filtered-out to prevent their inadvertently contaminating today’s kids who, in their strict isolation, spend less time outdoors in unstructured and unscheduled freedom than ever before.

And, it would seem, when eventually they do grow up, they are often angrier than previous generations of young adults, harbouring resentments and suspicions which might be seen as unavoidable given their isolated and artificial childhoods in which kidnapping and molestation were identified as a continuous peril.

So it should not be surprising that many now also see paedophiles as an underlying source of their own social impoverishment as well as their greatest fear while growing up.

Bogeymen made their childhoods both frightening and constraining and they are, understandably, deeply resentful, even if they are misguided.

So this is where we are now:

• where rebels of genuine courage, many long-dead, are utterly vilified for having spoken that which was so obviously true, while hateful, emotionally unstable, misandrists are lionized for their viciousness and sanctimonious cruelty;
• where children, who have been urged daily – incessantly – not to talk to strangers, grow into adults who resist talking to, or trusting, strangers.

As shocking a reality as it is it should probably not come as a great surprise. The years have spoken and the answer to a question I asked, so many years ago, turns out to be much worse than I then imagined.

THE DAILY MAIL STABLE IS AT IT AGAIN

Back to me again, your usual host. I didn’t need an alarm clock this morning. It was quite alarming enough to wake up to the BBC news on the radio at 7am and hear the sound of my own name in the first item of the bulletin. But mine was just a bit part. The big news – or what The Mail on Sunday is foisting upon the nation as news – turned out to be based on the rabid paper’s latest bid to turn itself from a newspaper into an historical journal.

This new foray back into the 1970s, and into who was supposedly promoting paedophilia at the time, had its crosshairs firmly fixed on a senior judge, Lord Justice Fulford. I’m not going to dwell on this ridiculous story or on the details of my alleged connection with the judge all those years ago when he was a junior barrister. For one thing, I honestly can’t remember the details. All I recall is that Adrian Fulford, as I then knew him, was a courteous, pleasant, thoughtful guy with a serious commitment to civil liberties. I see nothing in that for which he need apologise or express any regrets. High Court judge and the child sex ring (allegedly!) is the place to catch up with these bizarre concoctions if you are so minded.

HERETIC TOC’S FIRST ADVERTISEMENT

Despite having a substantial readership (which probably includes a lot of journalists in the wake of recent publicity), Heretic TOC has not so far been overwhelmed with advertising. We haven’t seen any ads here for prestige cars or designer clothes or fine old whisky, which is a great shame as the money would come in handy. It would seem that for some unknown reason the commercial world isn’t all that keen to have its products associated with children’s sexual self-determination and paedophilia, themes which tend to come up here quite a bit.

We do now have our first ad, though (see sidebar, right). Happily for me, MindGlow Media has decided to make a special promotional offer on my book Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons. Obviously the ad. is limited in space, so on this, the occasion of its launch, I am going to give it a bit of a boost by including below a selection of the more favourable review comments the book has received. Actually, there have been very few non-favourable reviews except for hysterical trashings on Amazon by people who clearly haven’t bothered to read it. So, here goes:

“The most engaging, informed, and generous-hearted book we have on the subject or are likely ever to have. I recommend this book strongly.”
Professor James R Kincaid, University of Southern California

“His vivid and insightful commentary is a joy to read.”
DJ West, Emeritus Professor of Clinical Criminology, Cambridge University

“… a profound cultural critique of received assumptions about childhood innocence, pedophilic ‘power’, and parental goodwill.”
Professor Thomas K Hubbard, University of Texas at Austin

“…the pace of a natural storyteller. This book kept me gripped throughout… a nuanced, thoughtful analysis, backed by thorough research, and at the same time a roaringly good read.”
Vitaly (Amazon)

“A recommended read. Not just another book about ‘Wacko Jacko’. There won’t be anything written quite like it.”
Richard Green, Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles

“…a damned good book! Only the most foolish of people would log onto Amazon and take an ignorant shot at Carl Toms’ work without having read it…”
Desiree Hill, blogger

“It’s been many years since I carried a book with me, anxious to read it over everything else in my life…destined to be a classic in the field of sexuality, along with Krafft-Ebing, Freud, Kinsey, and Masters/Johnson…”
Sally Miller (Synergy Press)

“Congratulations to Mr Toms for having the courage to write the book that had to be written about Michael Jackson, but no one else dared. The irony of this detailed and cogent look into Jackson’s heart and soul is that it is being condemned by those who ought to embrace it: Jackson’s most faithful fans.”
Colton Alexander (Amazon)

“Michael Jackson’s Dangerous Liaisons…is the answer for anyone who still may harbor questions about Jackson’s sexuality. This encyclopedic tome leaves no stone unturned… There is a whole host of references to document all that Toms contends in this book… ”
Caz (Amazon)

“The author’s prose is engaging, humorous and dramatically compelling – this is one exceptionally gifted writer who has produced a most persuasive and compassionate volume…Far from coming over as a crazed partisan for paedophilic rape, Toms manages something which Freud, at his best and most heroic, often achieved – discussing issues which the prevailing moral order insists may only be addressed in tones of compulsory revulsion in calm, neutral and sane language. Sometimes, sanity is scandalous.”
Ben Capel (Philososphere)

“…fascinating, challenging and discomfiting. Anyone wanting to understand Michael Jackson will need to read it. The idea that pedophilic relationships can be harmless or even beneficial to children is disturbing to many people, including me. The lack of scientific evidence supporting my largely visceral reactions against pedophilic relationships has been one of the most surprising discoveries of my hopefully ongoing scientific education…O’Carroll argues against my intuitions and he argues well.”
J Michael Bailey, professor of psychology, Northwestern University

Hard to put down, despite its heft. The style is conversational, engaging, and inviting. It read almost like a mystery story in parts; I couldn’t wait to find out how the next part would be resolved.
Dr Pega Ren, sexologist

…a great and absorbing read…Toms’ exhaustive research paints a far more detailed and nuanced portrait of [Jackson] as well as an intricate tableaux of the world he operated within. I was…astounded by a number of revelations…If you’re interested in Michael Jackson, you have to read this book.
Eric Tazelaar, BoyChat

Paedogate puts the past in the pillory

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You know when a scandal has made it to the news big league when it gets the “gate” tag, like Watergate. Well, the last ten days or so in the UK have given us Paedogate, in which the rabid right wing Daily Mail launched a sustained campaign to expose left wing support for the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE) when I was its Chair back in the 1970s.

The aim was clearly to embarrass and undermine three leading figures in the Labour party. It worked. Initially dismissed as old hat because the story had been around for years as vague internet gossip, the Mail’s detailed trawl through publicly accessible archives and their own newspaper cuttings library paid off. At last, the rest of the national media finally sat up and paid attention in a big way. The Labour trio who were under fire, thanks to their work for the National Council of Civil Liberties (NCCL), to which PIE was affiliated, were forced to respond publicly. Harriet Harman, now Deputy Leader of the Labour party, angrily denounced the Mail. She had been an NCCL legal officer. Patricia Hewitt, a former cabinet minister in Tony Blair’s government, had a tougher hand to play because she had been NCCL’s General Secretary and had been closely associated with the organisation’s own very radical policy on the age of consent. She was forced into an apology in which she disowned this policy and also wrote:

“As general secretary then, I take responsibility for the mistakes we made. I got it wrong on PIE and I apologise for having done so. I should have urged the executive committee to take stronger measures to protect NCCL’s integrity from the activities of PIE members and sympathisers and I deeply regret not having done so. In particular…Tom O’Carroll should never have been allowed to join the gay rights sub-committee.”

This did not stop The Sun from running a devastating front page the next day:

Sun-Hewitt-Front-533x680What struck me as most interesting, though, was how the other member of the trio reacted. This was Jack Dromey MP, formerly Treasurer of the Labour party and now a Labour shadow minister. He is also Harriet Harman’s husband. He chaired the NCCL for a while during a decade on its executive committee in the 1970s. After I spoke on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he said:

“It is no surprise that a convicted paedophile, the like of whom I took action against during my time in the NCCL, should choose to smear me.”

Smear him? Moi? I was doing my best to exonerate him and the other two, not smear them. I was clearly reported on the BBC as saying none of the trio supported PIE or paedophilia. I have been a Labour voter all my adult life, albeit with little enthusiasm in its recent, increasingly authoritarian, years. I had no wish whatever to back the Mail’s savage attack agenda, which really has been a smear campaign.

But Dromey insisted no one would believe a “convicted paedophile” like me.

He was wrong. The words were hardly out of Dromey’s mouth when Melanie Phillips, famous as a fiercely conservative commentator on all things moral, appeared as a panellist on BBC 1’s Question Time political TV show. She said:

“The Paedophile Information Exchange gentleman, Mr O’Carroll, has said, perfectly correctly, the problem was not that Harriet Harman supported paedophilia or PIE… the problem was that it was mixed up with the whole gay rights agenda.”

I did not see any “problem” and her use of the word “gentleman” was no doubt intended as ironic. Nevertheless, at least she very sensibly preferred to take my word over that of a politician desperate to wriggle his way out of a tight spot. Indeed, what thinking person wouldn’t, especially those who know that many of my misfortunes, and PIE’s, can be attributed to an abundance of openness and honesty, not a lack of it. PIE never sailed under a false flag: paedophile was in our name, hence giving an unmissable clue to what we were about. Even the judge, when I was tried for conspiracy to corrupt public morals, told the jury “You may feel Mr O’Carroll has come remarkably clean in his evidence, if that is the phrase for a trial such as this.”

I dwell on Dromey’s attack on my integrity not out of personal pique but because it highlights the reflexive assumption of so many people that being minor-attracted means you must be morally deficient in every conceivable way. Question Time provided another striking example of this when Conservative defence minister Anna Soubry said:

“The other thing we now know about paedophiles is how wickedly cunning they are…I don’t like to stereotype but I think we can with paedophiles. The things they do are bad and evil enough in themselves but their wickedness and cunning, the way that they will inveigle their way into the affections of a child or a mother…”

Note that emotive word “inveigle”. Whereas ordinary, decent, folk become friends and win each other’s affections in a presumptively benign way, the paedophile is assumed to be devious and manipulative, with almost superhuman powers of deception – powers hard to reconcile with the claims of researchers who seek to dehumanise us in the opposite direction, writing us off as mentally deficient, with low IQs, implying we are subhuman.

This “inveigling” allegation, or something very like it, was also used in the context of PIE’s relationship with NCCL. PIE did not merely affiliate with the civil liberties body, oh no. We were said to have “infiltrated” it, as though by stealth, and as though we could not possibly be entitled to take part in the democratic process like any other properly constituted democratic body, which we were, putting forward our policies in proposals presented to government, lobbying members of parliament and so forth. We were even bad-mouthed for having tried to forge alliances with other radical groups, as if this were not part and parcel of ordinary political life. It was implied, indeed asserted openly, that we were so “vile” (definitely the adjective of the moment) we should not have been allowed to take part in this process.

This orgy of shunning and anathematising has had its opponents though. Brendan O’Neill, in Spiked, came up with a classic defence of civil liberties, backing the stance NCCL took all those years ago in allowing PIE to affiliate. He wrote:

“If civil liberties organisations won’t defend the freedoms of speech and association of unpopular groups, then what is the point of them? Respectable groups don’t find their freedoms curtailed. The Women’s Institute is not prevented from publishing its ideas; Labour Party members aren’t arrested for what they write in private letters. It is only the moral outliers of a society who have their right to propagate their beliefs hammered by the authorities, whether it’s gay pornographers, the hard left, Nazis or self-confessed paedophiles. It is the freedom of speech of these deeply unpopular causes that true civil libertarians must defend, firstly because we recognise that freedom of speech means nothing unless it extends to everyone; and secondly because if we allow the state to define a certain outlook as so foul that it ‘corrupts public morals’ and thus must be extinguished, then we set a very dangerous precedent that might one day reach to us and call into question the acceptability of the views we hold, too.”

Germaine Greer, the now venerable and ancient pioneer of Second Wave feminism in the 1970s, was also strikingly forthright in her support for NCCL on Any Questions?, BBC Radio 4’s equivalent of TV’s Question Time. She defended Harriet Harman and said the press appeared to have forgotten what a civil liberties organisation actually does. She defended PIE’s right to put itself forward just like other groups. Revisiting her own stance in the 1970s, she pointed out that the age of consent issue was not just about paedophiles but about young people’s right to a sexual life, which was why she and others had supported changing the law. Remarkably, others on the panel also defended the NCCL and a straw poll of the studio audience (at the Bath Literature Festival, so perhaps a more sophisticated bunch than your average) revealed nearly unanimous support for Harriet Harman. They thought she should not be obliged to apologise for NCCL’s relationship with PIE.

After the best part of a fortnight in which imprecations such as vile, perverted, depraved, disgusting, etc., have been spat out endlessly over the airwaves against me and other former PIE members with perhaps even more venomous, in-your-face force than comes across in print, I hope I will be forgiven the indulgence of quoting a rare comment that perhaps can be seen as putting me in a slightly better light. It was in a local paper near the Open University, where I was a press officer until 1978 when I was sacked after my role in PIE had become a high-profile embarrassment. The Milton Keynes Citizen quoted a former colleague of mine at the university as saying, “Tom O’Carroll was a bit of a charmer. He was a handsome man and an eloquent talker. I can see how people may have been hooked in to support his cause.”

I’d love to know who that was so I could give them a hug! But, of course, being charming etc. is all part of how demonically cunning we are, isn’t it?!

Finally, it might be an idea to give links to some of the stories that were either particularly effective in giving Paedogate momentum, or strikingly bizarre, or even in a few cases informative and insightful. See below. The links are roughly in chronological order, earliest first.

Now say sorry! Ex-Yard chief calls on Labour trio to admit backing paedophilia was a ‘huge mistake’

The ‘right’ to sleep with children was one ‘civil liberty’ that NCCL supported

‘Harman did not want to rock the boat over links to child sex group’

MP Jack Dromey denies paedophile group ‘smear’

‘Paedogate’ Gets Worse For Harriet Harman As PIE Leader Tom O’Carroll Reveals New Details

Harriet Harman rejects claims from paedophile campaigner Tom O’Carroll

Lobbying by paedophile campaign revealed

Harriet Harman, paedophilia and sexual norms: the past seems like another country

Looking back to the great British paedophile infiltration campaign of the 1970s

How did the pro-paedophile group PIE exist openly for 10 years?

Labour chiefs: It’s OK to have sex with 10-yr-olds

Labour’s paedo problems: no reason to gloat

The NCCL was right to affiliate with PIE

Allen Ginsberg, Camille Paglia and the literary champions of paedophilia

Huge sums of TAXPAYER’S cash ‘handed to vile child-sex pervert group’ by Home Office officials

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Paedogate’ storm has its roots in MK

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