I'm really looking forward to the taking part in the "One Billion Rising" event tomorrow, 14th February. It's going to be the biggest demonstration in history, where people across the world will be dancing in a show of solidarity with girls and women who have suffered violence and injustice. We're dancing to say "enough is enough". It's going to be ace! I have been practicing the dance steps, I'm bringing my friends, we're geared up.
Searching for "One Billion Rising" on Twitter, I found some unexpected support from one Peter Tatchell, who tweeted "One Billion Rising! Oppose rape & violence against women ". It made my flesh crawl. Keep reading, you'll see why.
For those of you who are not familiar with Mr Tatchell, he introduces himself thus on Twitter: For human rights, democracy, global justice and LGBTI Freedom. He's a well known campaigner and activist. He's got more than 30,000 followers on Twitter. Some might remember him from when he tried to do make a citizens arrest of Robert Mugabe and got beaten up by security guards. To many people, he's a hero. So far, he sounds like a pretty good egg, wouldn't you say?
Thing is, Peter Tatchell has expressed opinions in the past that he's quite keen for us to forget. In his eagerness to protect "freedom of speech" and "civil liberties", he appears to have forgotten about the rights of children not to suffer sexual abuse. Perhaps those rights came into conflict with the rights of adults who enjoy having sex with children. Oops.
Below is an extract from the Daily Mail, 13 September 2010 written by Peter Hitchens. When you've read it, you might forgive me for, or even join me in, saying this: Peter Tatchell, tomorrow, when I dance to express my support for girls and women who have suffered violence and abuse, I don't want you there. I just don't.
Finally, just so that there's no confusion. Peter Tatchell is not condoning paedophilia. He just thinks it's OK for adults to have sex with children as young as 9 years old and that this can bring the children "great joy". Incidentally, Mr Tatchell is also campaigning to lower the age of consent to 14, so as to not "criminalize children". How thoughtful.
For on June 26, 1997, Mr Tatchell wrote a startling letter to the Guardian newspaper. In it, he defended an academic book about ‘Boy-Love’ against what he saw as calls for it to be censored.
When I contacted him on Friday, he emphasised that he is ‘against sex between adults and children’ and that his main purpose in writing the letter had been to defend free speech.
He told me: ‘I was opposing calls for censorship generated by this book. I was not in any way condoning paedophilia.’
Personally, I think he went a bit further than that. He wrote that the book’s arguments were not shocking, but ‘courageous’. He said the book documented ‘examples of societies where consenting inter-generational sex is considered normal’.
He gave an example of a New Guinea tribe where ‘all young boys have sex with older warriors as part of their initiation into manhood’ and allegedly grow up to be ‘happy, well-adjusted husbands and fathers’.
And he concluded: ‘The positive nature of some child-adult sexual relationships is not confined to non-Western cultures. Several of my friends – gay and straight, male and female – had sex with adults from the ages of nine to 13. None feel they were abused. All say it was their conscious choice and gave them great joy.
‘While it may be impossible to condone paedophilia, it is time society acknowledged the truth that not all sex involving children is unwanted, abusive and harmful.’
To read the Daily Mail article in full, please follow the link below
The following article sets out Tatchell's argument in favour of lowering the age of consent to 14, and also includes his original 1997 letter to the Guardian in full (it's the only source of the original letter I've found remaining online):
PS: Before you head over to Wikipedia to read the glowing profile of Peter Tatchell's life and works, note that the profile also states:
|A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject.|
Still keen for more info? Here's a link to an article published by....
(you guessed it) The Guardian in honour of Peter Tatchell's 60th
birthday last year. The article concludes