Hypocrisy in our Attitudes towards Sexuality and Abuse.

Saturday 1414  – 22nd June 2013

If you are new to my blog take a look at my About page here

.

I am going to make a lot of generalisations in this post so be prepared for that. There will also be some language of a sexual nature so please be warned of that too.

Why do we sexualise girls younger and ever younger ? Who is driving this?

I personally knew a woman who used to buy her 14-year-old daughter a glossy magazine which was supposedly aimed at 18 year olds.. ( yeah right as if they don’t know it’s being bought by girls very much younger.!  )

The magazine was full of such articles as “How to give your boyfriend the best blow-job he’s ever had” and “How to please your man in bed” .   Yes you did read me right this was the 14 yr old’s mother. What was she thinking? Or was she thinking at all? When I asked her she said “Oh it’s all harmless stuff”

Is it?

At the time I used to see this girl and her magazines a lot and continued to be disturbed by the nature of the articles many of which were weighted towards the woman (girl) doing what the man (boy) wanted to give him a good time and by the girl’s attitude towards this.

Now I am happy to give a man a good time so don’t get me wrong on that one 😉 but as a woman who believes in equality between men and women I don’t think we should still be encouraging girls to see it as their role to please men

A couple of the most recent front pages contained these words “5 Super hot sex fantasies”  “Better sex is 5 minutes away”  and “The new sex position that works every single time ” . What is a 14-year-old going to think  and feel when she reads this?  Pressure, pressure, pressure I would say.

Some years ago I worked in the same office as the Independent Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, a team dedicated to offering crisis support and information to survivors of domestic abuse. One of the senior workers used to go into schools to educate teenagers about domestic abuse; the groups were all boy and all girl groups. Part of this consisted of giving them a little quiz to do to check their attitudes to things such as – was it alright to slap someone or be slapped if they/you did something the other person didn’t like. I remember her being very down about the numbers of both boys and girls who thought this was okay and even expected. 

Some Body Shop research carried out in 2007 as part of their Stop Violence in the Home campaign found this 

“The research showed that 1 in 5 teens (21%) believe it’s ok to tell a boyfriend or girlfriend what to do, with the figure rising to more than one in four (27%) in young men. A further 1 in 10 teens think saying sorry makes it ok after they’ve hurt or forced a partner to do something. A worrying statistic considering that on average, a woman will be assaulted by her partner or ex-partner 35 times before reporting it to the police.*

In our society today we are accepting of advertising which uses sex to sell anything and everything, we seem to want our girl children to grow up as quickly as possible, buying them make up and sexy clothing, even as young as 9 or 10. 

Add in to this the fact that many people buy their young children televisions and computers for their bedrooms and give in to them spending more and more time separate from their families, even allowing them to bring meals up to their rooms. Less and less family time and more alone unsupervised time.

Then as a society we seem to put our hands up in horror at the rate of underage pregnancy and abortion in the under 16’s. 

The reason I have been thinking about this is because of the recent case of the British teacher who was having a relationship with his barely 15-year-old student and was found guilty of child abduction and having sex with a child and has been jailed for 5 1/2 yrs.

For the reasoning behind this sentence read the judges full summing up here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-23005747 

I am suggesting we need to start treating our children like children again and allowing them to be childlike and joyous; discovering life, which includes the beauty of sex, in a more natural and supportive environment if we don’t want them to think they have to engage in sexual activity before they are emotionally and physically ready to do so.

Do we teach our children enough about valuing and respecting themselves? Their bodies?  About personal responsibility?  Do we empower them in this regard? Arm them with the tools to avoid abusive relationships?  

A further point, Jeremy Forrest has been banned from future unsupervised access to children, either through work or through volunteering, for having sex with an adolescent, this is actually called Ephebophilia not paedophilia,  but another teacher Geoffrey Bettley, a former Religious Education teacher, has not been banned from working with children. 

On his computer were 143 images of children – assessed at the lowest, level one, involving nudity and/or erotic posing – alongside a further 46 images at level three which had apparently not been opened. He was cautioned by the police and placed on the Sex Offender Register for two years.  He has not been banned – I quote :-

“The National College of Teaching and Leadership professional conduct panel found that Bettley was “guilty of conduct that may bring the profession into disrepute”.

However, they ruled that the child abuse images were at the lower end of seriousness and that Bettley, who had “shown remorse and victim empathy”, did not pose a risk and therefore could continue to teach.”

Although this caution will show up on future CRB checks, so it’s highly unlikely he will ever teach again, I am absolutely aghast at this decision.

Talk about double standards! Does this seem right to you?  I would have thought the potential for harm was even higher in this case although I acknowledge that I do not know the full details in either of these cases.

Right that’s enough for this week..Saturday girl signing off.. see you next week

.

Comments always welcome, I love to know what you are thinking.

Links

http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-violence-press-information.asp?section=0001000100150001&itemid=881&itemTitle=The+Body+Shop+survey+shows+that+teen+attitudes+are+a+time+bomb+to+domestic+violence

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/10100387/Teacher-who-had-indecent-pictures-of-children-allowed-to-stay-in-profession.html.

.

You can find my photography blog Photomania here

.

Advertisements

21 comments on “Hypocrisy in our Attitudes towards Sexuality and Abuse.

  1. The entire issue makes me want to scream, kick parents, kick the advertising community, kick someone. We are failing our children in a horrible way.

    When I said to someone recently the television show Toddlers in Tiarars was sexualizing three-year olds the woman looked at me as if I was insane. She argued it was simply a way to help young girls, to allow them to feel good about themselves, earn funds for college.

    I wept.

    I see girls as young as ten or eleven dressed as if they are trolling for attention, the wrong kind and then we wonder why we have a teen pregnancy problem. Yes, grown men are caught out with teenagers and should know better, but those teen girls are all to often seeking out those grown men, lying about their ages and placing themselves in dangerous positions. I am not talking about the student / teacher relationship where both clearly know the others age, this is a different issue.

  2. mary says:

    I agree with all childhood is robbed from so many girls its just abuse by parents and then someone else gets blamed down the line

  3. scillagrace says:

    I haven’t heard any “level” distinction in child pornography reports here in the States, so I don’t know if that’s something we evaluate. The big picture includes these sex offenders as suffering humans as well. Typically, they were abused as children, too. And it probably has very little to do with sex and everything to do with power. Being “childlike and joyous”, as you so eloquently noted, is about engaging in the wonder of our amazing world without concern over ego and power. But when that is perverted into a struggle for survival against an overpowering person or in competition with others, that changes the whole scene…for generations. Have you ever read “Reviving Ophelia”? Lots of examples of how rocky the path to adulthood has become for girls. So much in this topic, dear Helen. We could talk for hours…

  4. A thought on the two teachers (I do not seek to defend either) – one teacher did it, the other ‘only’ thought about it. One might suggest some corrective action may help the thinker but for the doer it’s already too late.
    We all know what it’s like to be feel isolated, different, unfashionable – we try to protect our children from these things – we support them so they don’t feel that way – it’s a difficult line to decide on (where does dressing up become sexualisation – when ‘princesses’ of today are overtly sexual role models?).
    Social media/texting/email provides a dimension to this too – I find it difficult to understand why children have to know so much about each others business, or even care about it – they seem to care so much about finding what their friends are doing they don’t seem to spend time living for themselves.

    mutter, mutter, mutter,
    😉

    • Helen Cherry says:

      A reply to your 2 teachers comment Stephen.. One teacher did do it but with an adolescent, that is a child past puberty who was womanly in form. As I mentioned could be an Ephebophilia which is someone who is sexually attracted to adolescents typically 15-17 yr olds,

      The second man, clearly a paedophile which means he is sexually attracted to children, had level 3 sexual images involving children on his computer, Level 3 images are of non-penetrative sexual activity between adults and children. That means that someone else “did it” with those children and this man downloaded those photographs so supported that action. They were unopened but for how long do you imagine? Corrective action may be one thing, though there is little evidence to suggest paedophiles can be cured any more than a heterosexual or homosexual can be, but not to ban him ffrom working with children is quite another thing and wholly wrong in my book. I most certainly would NOT have wanted him anywhere near my children.

      The law differentiates between these 2 groups of people and I think that is entirely correct.

      • I have no problem with your assertions – I do think, however, that a person in a possession of power over another, particularly a grown-up over a minor should get everything everything thrown at them, including the kitchen sink. Signs of ‘grooming’ is something we should all watch out for.

      • Helen Cherry says:

        can’t argue with any of that Stephen

  5. Yes, this drives me to distraction as well.

  6. Adrian Lewis says:

    I absolutely agree with you, Helen and Dave, about our children being given less and less time to be children. It makes me very sad.

    Part of the root cause I think is as always money – in the targeting of advertising for items like clothing at younger and younger age groups, so that rather than just being children and enjoying themselves, more and more youngsters have become conscious of their appearance, feeling that they must dress in sharper and often more adult styles, to gain credibility amongst their peers. And so to the large numbers of youngsters now worrying about their appearance, taking razor slim celebrities as their role models, having mental health problems, eating disorders, etc.

    And, as you say, sex is broadcast all around – magazines, the net, TV, clothing styles – it is pushed into kids lives whether they wish for it or not. A few weeks back two young (12? 13?) girls passed me in the street, with one telling the other that a certain boy had a large penis for a 14 year old – maybe bravado of course, but maybe she really does know.

    And to gain street cred, the respect of their peers, kids feel they have to act more savvy and “grown up” – and so booze, fags, sex, drugs.

    And yes, the attitude that men tell women what to do is still very much out there. No names, no pack drill, but people close to us do exactly that – we are shocked and stunned by it.

    I’m not sure I’ve expressed myself well here, but you get my drift. Once again, I feel sadness. Adrian

  7. bananabatman says:

    Wise words Helen. My wife and I also worry about the way children are growing up too soon. We have 3 granddaughters, and although it is nice to see them develop their maturity, I do hope that they enjoy their childhood for the proper (in our eyes) amount of time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s