Sunday 11 August 2013

Eddie Shah's Conceit

Given Eddie Shah's anti-union history, I'm quite pleased to see him drag his own name through the mud. But his comments that basically amount to "sometimes, underage girls are gagging for it" still, unfortunately, has wide currency.

Let's get some things out the way. Since Freud, if not before, childhood sexuality has been acknowledged in medicine and psychology as a fact. Ask anyone and most people will have had a good idea about what their sexuality was from a young age. Ask again and a good proportion will have had some form of sexual experience prior to the age of consent - usually with someone of roughly the same age. It exists and it's something all of us have to navigate. But what the existence of adolescent sexuality does not excuse is the opportunist and abusive sexual behaviour of adults who take advantage of that.

What I find objectionable about Shah's comments is the underlying assumption that (heterosexual) men cannot control themselves and how, with this in mind, young girls who might appear sexually available are so much fair game. There's a yawning empathy deficit at work, an inability to recognise that having sex with a young girl - even if she consents - is abuse, regardless of circumstance. Well, that's not strictly true. He does empathise, albeit with the man who has taken advantage of the situation he finds himself in.

Of course, human sexuality is a malleable thing. Some countries get by with lower ages of consent. Some with higher. And, apparently in the case of that bastion of libertarian permissiveness - the ex-East Germany - there was no age of consent at all. If people want to debate lowering or raising the age they are free to do so. Even though it's all very arbitrary I'm not entirely sure what changing it would achieve, except to take a set of sexually predatory men (and women) out of legal contention.

But because of the Jimmy Savile scandal and other high profile cases, attitudes toward sexual abuse and exploitation of women and girls generally are hardening up. It may be widespread, but Shah's views, those "sincerely-held" apologias for abuse are, I hope, on their way out.


Gary Elsby said...

I don't think you ever get this subject Phil, but he has a valid point.

The law changed from 'not knowing' to 'we don't care if you didn't know'.

This makes the older person more guilty but it doesn't mean it is reasonably fair.

Schoolgirls (going on 25) who run away with Teacher to France know exactly what they are doing.

Pledging never to speak to Mum (the grass) for the rest of her life puts the top hat on it.

Sure, Teacher should have known better and even more sure, we all know whose engine was running.

To think that some younger people are not 'sexual predators' is to suggest that some children don't have more sex than their parents.

They do, so get over it.

By the way, Shah is a lot of things apart from being totally innocent of any crimes against a child.

Anonymous said...

I knew a girl at school who was attracted to older men, I think this does actually exist and some men are attracted back. I don't think either part is evil, just humans being human.

However, things like the age of consent are issues that have to be arrived at collectively and society agrees on it. This society sets the age at 16, and I am happy to say in this case the law is the law.

But I don't accept that it is blanket abuse. And I believe we are creating victims where none really exist.

Not that I doubt some people have used the vulnerability of young people to take advantage, e.g. care home scandal. But this problem goes beyond sexual abuse, as sickening as that is.

Dagmar said...

The age of consent in the GDR was (from the 1st July 1989) was 16, for hetero- and homosexual activities. From 1968 until then homosexual activities (gay, or lesbian) between over 18 year olds and under 18 year olds were illegal (this law was overturned by the GDRs supreme court in 1988 as homophobic and therefore anti-socialist). Pre-1968 this law only applied to male homosexuality, when it was re-written on a gender-neutral basis.

I have no idea where the idea that "East Germany had no age of consent" might have come from. Maybe the author of this piece has been hanging around Andy Newman too much and his folklore stories of free love behind the Berlin Wall? Seriously, I am intrieged to discover where this strange piece of misinformation came from.

Phil said...

If you read the article carefully Gary you will see that it talks about childhood and adolescent sexuality. Under 16s do have sexual desires. Where you and I differ, it would appear, is that you take this into mitgation for older men who are "seduced" by it. I don't.

Phil said...

No Dagmar, it's not because of what Andy said. It was something that cropped up from time to time in old age of consent debates on the UK Left Network about 10 or so years ago. I'm happy to be corrected.

Gary Elsby said...

There is a fine line Phil of 'knowing' of underage and couldn't care less, while on the other hand, 'not knowing' and falling into the trap of underage sex.

The law changed where the older person could be found not guilty of underage sex if proof could be applied that the alleged criminal genuinely did not know.

Today, everyone is guilty regardless.

You argue the case that the current set up is fool-proof and all criminals are fools.
Age being the determining factor regardless of the 'sexual predator'.

The very thought that underage girls (or boys) don't want sex with an older man (or woman) is quite a silly stance to take because that is exactly what is going on all over the world.

Eddie Shah has been cleared of everything, lets be clear on that.
Your opening remarks on Trade Unionism is regretful and has no bearing at all on being judged by a court of his peers.

The new rule is 'only celebrities have sex with underage people' and it ruined their whole lives, even 60 years on.

Dagmar said...

Thanks for clearing it up. The suggestion about Cde Newman was meant as a joke (though maybe you didn't realise).

The source for my info is the German-language Wikipedia:
(which mentions the age of consent in the GDR in general, not just regarding homosexuality,despite the title of the section).

The UK Left Network, eh?

Phil said...

Gary, again you have not read the post properly. Of course underage boys and girls want to have sex and sometimes want it with older people. The point is I do not accept that as an excuse on the part of someone who abuses the age difference and breaks the law.

But the second thing you cannot grasp is that abuse of this nature takes place between a youngster and someone *known* to them. Blokes getting done for inadvertently sleeping with 15 year olds after a night out are very few and far between. The bulk of the cases involve men and women who *know* they are abusing someone under the age of 16, and it is utterly unacceptable that "they were asking for it" be considered as a defence.

Gary Elsby said...

Phil, I have read the whole blog plus the links and have done so once more.

"Young girls cannot give consent" apparently this is a put down to Eddie Shah.

What crap.

Underage girls do give consent and have done so always. They give consent to the same age group and older.

A 'sexual predator' aged 13 was given the tag for a reason that is undisclosed.

Girls becoming 'groupies' was a common known thing but today the class of 2013 has a differing opinion.
Whatever eh?

Research 'pin down' the Staffs County Council scandal.

We all know that underage sex is illegal, as it is the law.
Not knowing anything is also illegal.

Of course, the 15 years old girl that kidnapped her teacher and flew to France wanted nothing.
No rape conviction, btw.

He knew, I knew, you knew and we all knew.

You say it is, but then again, you always get this issue wrong (according to your blog statements.)

Is the law the law?

Phil said...

It's a pity that your ability to read isn't matched by an ability to understand.

The law is as it is. It holds that under 16s cannot consent to sex. In my opinion, some are quite capable of doing so, others not. But it's not an issue that greatly exercises me. Though I will note it does seem to be men of a certain age who are keenest to have this debate rather than underage boys and girls themselves. If you want to defend men who are getting done for having inappropriate relationships, that's fine by me. Perhaps I'll copy your cutting edge leaflet design and ensure it goes out on party literature.

Gary Elsby said...

Phil, I think you must be playing mind games.
Everyone knows it is against the law to have sexual contact with a person under the age of consent.

Not everyone gets found guilty of rape. Not all young people are innocent either, they know exactly what they are doing even if it is an illegal act.
Only someone stupid believes otherwise.

The law is now changed and a DJ, who may have had sex with someone who looked or said they were of an appropriate age is now a guilty person.
Not that long ago he could have walked free.

The very thought that young people don't have sex with older people is a wrong one and I'm glad it is you that is wrong and not me.

I agree though that it is grown ups who bring this issue to the fore and not young people expressing their views to teacher, mum and dad or the police.
I'd encourage them to do so.

You have completely misunderstood Eddie Shah and I'll bet you misunderstand him on every other issue also.

catherine buca said...

Gary - there are 2 possible explanations for your replies to this blog post:

1) you are displaying your usual inability to comprehend words on a page, along with your interminable resentment and obsessive stalkerish behaviour towards the author;

2) you are an apologist for the abuse of young girls, and you prefer to place blame with the weakest in a situation rather than expecting the one with the power in a situation to exercise it with responsibility.

Take your pick. Or maybe it's both.

Gary Elsby said...

The only word that I feel deserves a reply is the word 'resentment'.
I have no idea why you use such a word, but then again, you have a ever increasing record of wild eyed outbursts that make no sense to me whatsoever.
I do remember someone in Conservative Home calling me a stalker though.
Quite true on the face of it.

Personally Cathy, I think it is you who is the nutjob here.
Eddie was found not guilty by everyone in Court and even the Judge let walk away free.

I know....I think him guilty...I know.

A Judge on the other hand (no relation to the one above) also called a 13 years old girl a 'predator' (he's a naughty boy).

Now, Cath, you may wish to go around with your head out of the news and what makes the news, but I feel it is part of a responsible society not to.

For the record (and your small vindictive mind) I believe that all men who abuse young girls (and women) should be locked up.

The blog Phil put up is of a completely different subject matter of which requires further investigation.

Cathy, please do not ever serve on a jury where open minds are required, please.
Your services would be more suited to Egypt I think.