The word paedophilia originates from the Greek words paidos, meaning child, and philia, meaning love. The term is derived from a pseudo-scientific justification for the behaviour of those who would molest, abuse, rape and even kill children to satiate personal desires. It absolves them of responsibility. We need to call a spade a spade: these people are child abusers and rapists.
The Paedophile Information Exchange Lives On
The first scientist to use the concept was the German sexologist and physician Richard Krafft-Ebing. In his monograph Psychopatia Sexualis, published in 1886, he defined pedophilia as a psychosexual perversion, open to cure. Around 1906, his British counterpart Havelock Ellis presented pedophilia as an extreme version of normal masculine sexuality.
In 1974, a group of child sex abusers launched the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE). This group was legal at the time, and sought to promote the rights of ‘paedophiles’. The group harnessed the science of Kraft-Ebing and Ellis and espoused the view that children had the right to indulge in their sexual feelings with adults, and argued the age of consent should be lowered to four years old, or abolished altogether.
This was not some fringe group, hidden away. They had thousands of members, many from senior positions in the media, the security services, politics and other establishment positions.
The members were public and built affiliations with the Gay Liberation Front, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, mental health charity Mind, and even human rights organisation Liberty (previously named The National Council for Civil Liberties). The leaders of PIE shared platforms with Harriet Harman, Patricia Hewitt, and others.
But such conversations still exist in our society.
As Andrew Gilligan reports in the Telegraph today:
“Paedophilic interest is natural and normal for human males,” said the presentation. “At least a sizeable minority of normal males would like to have sex with children … Normal males are aroused by children.”
Some yellowing tract from the Seventies or early Eighties, era of abusive celebrities and the infamous PIE, the Paedophile Information Exchange? No. Anonymous commenters on some underground website? No again.
The statement that paedophilia is “natural and normal” was made not three decades ago but last July. It was made not in private but as one of the central claims of an academic presentation delivered, at the invitation of the organisers, to many of the key experts in the field at a conference held by the University of Cambridge.
It’s Time to Stop
The plight of one particular boy illustrates the nature of abuse meted out at the Elm Guest House, the alleged centre of the Westminster Child Sex Abuse scandal. This has nothing to do with love.
Peter Hatton-Bornshin (pictured above)) and his brother David were put into care after their mother committed suicide in the 1970’s. They were 12 and 13. One day, they were told by senior workers at Grafton Close Children’s Home that they were going ‘a treat’. Their treat was a visit to Elm Guest House.
Peter, his brother and other boys were made to dress up as fairies, encouraged to become drunk, and invited to play a game of hide and seek. The boys were told to hide, and when caught by the adult men, would be sexually abused by their captor. Some of the men who raped, tortured and sexually abused Peter and David have been named as Liberal MP Cyril Smith, Catholic Priest Father Tony McSweeney (who officiated at the wedding of Frank Bruno), and Deputy Manager of Grafton Close Children’s Home John Stingemore (who also supplied the boys).
Peter never got over the abuse he received at the hands of these men. He later complained about his treatment and received compensation from Richmond Council, while the story remained suppressed. He fell into poor mental health, and was treated at Broadmoor. In 1994, just days after his 28th birthday, he killed himself with a fatal drug overdose. His suicide note included the words “I will get those bastards.”
While the allegations are described as ‘historic’, they have remained with those on whom they were perpetrated to this day. Meanwhile, the men involved at the time, such as convicted child abuser and former PIE leader Tom O’Carroll are attending Cambridge debates seeking to legitimize their abuse.
“Wonderful!” he wrote on his blog afterwards. “It was a rare few days when I could feel relatively popular!”
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