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Equal rights for perverts!

Here’s something that I think is a fundamental – or should be. The law should apply equally to all. The Heresiarch posted something this morning on goat sacrifice – well, it is a Tuesday – and the conversation drifted that way. It’s something I feel strongly about, and another news story today had already irritated me by breaching this principle. If it’s illegal for me to do it, it should be illegal for you. If it’s legal for me to do something, it should be legal for you. Even if you’re a paedophile.Oh yes.

I know, I know, the notion of granting any kind of rights to a paedo seems repellent, but please note, I’m not suggesting special rights, merely some level of equality before the law – I’ll explain. A couple of years late the media have discovered sexting – the cops, in the shape of CEOP (Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and yes, for those following this closely they *are* the cops who work with the IWF) , are naturally eager to grab their share of the bandwagon, and so are merrily warning of the dangers of trusting your BF or GF – wow, really? Still, thankfully the police here aren’t quite as lunatic as many in the US who have been actively prosecuting children for photographing themselves. CEOP’s new-found level of rationality is rare in the child protection industry, but here it exposes a rather nasty double standard. And when the people upholding a double standard are police and prosecutors, I think we need to worry a little.

Here’s the deal – Helen Penn of CEOP is keen to stress the police’s pragmatism, humanity, and awareness of the roller coaster of developing sexuality: “When the police look at this kind of offence, they are going to take it in context.” Good. Fair enough. Well done Helen. But then, it all kinda falls apart: “So if it is two 17-year-olds and they are in a consensual relationship, they will probably not prosecute those people. But it will look at people that sent on these images and hold lots of them for ill intent.”  Eh?

Let’s unpick that. Two 17 year olds take snaps of themselves and each other, swap the images or videos, have a high old time, all consensual, all pleasurable, nobody hurt. But… if an evil ol’ paedo gets hold of these images with “ill intent” – having a wank, “ill intent”? – the police will investigate and prosecute? Why? Why, when they have already accepted that no one has been harmed?  The police have discretion in all matters; Penn had already stated that despite it being a crime – oh yes, a 17 year old posessing or distributing “indecent” images of themself *is* committing a crime in Labour’s Krazy Britain – the cops wouldn’t be interested, because they can see no harm is being done, so why chase after anyone else who comes into posession of the pics?

Now, there’s an argument that this might be an invasion of privacy, perhaps a breach of copyright, even a breach of contract – but is that within CEOP’s remit? It is not. And does one normally get put on a sex offender’s register for breaching copyright? I bet the MPAA would like that, but not so far. No, it is impossible to escape the conclusion that the crime you’d be committing is viewed as a sexual offence; you’d be nicked for looking at consensually produced photos of people *above* the age of consent, where the photos original participants, distributors, and intended recipients would not be viewed as having committed that same offence. AND YET they too would, presumably, have been aroused by both taking, sending, and looking at the photos. What kind of bloody baffling country is it that criminalises fancying somone you’re not in a relationship with?

Maybe a country like Saudi Arabia, the Taliban’s Afghanistan, some other fucked up hell-hole that views sex as the rightful province of lawmakers, and women as property to be covered and hidden away. Interesting to see our that our own sexual ethics are as convoluted and tortured as theirs eh?

Loathe as anyone might be to defend the right of a paedo or near-paedo (neardo?) to wank over pics of teenagers, it’s a fucking lunatic system that punishes them for something that’s tolerated in others. It’s not only lunatic, it’s immoral.

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5 comments to “Equal rights for perverts!”

  1. The other question of the week is the assisted suicide business, of course. There, it is believed (though no one actually knows, because it has never been tested in a court of law) that accompanying someone to Dignitas is a crime under the 1961 Suicide Act. Hence Purdy. The H of L has actually required the DPP to spell out the situations in which the act would be used on the basis of a prosecution – and, crucially, the test to be used is not whether the conduct is unlawful, but whether prosecution would be in the public interest. Legally, some people will be permitted to break the law.

    The sexting question is just one of many in which the law is set deliberately too wide so as to catch people who “ought” to be convicted of something (in the opinion of the authorities). The area of sexuality has many such offences and possible offences. BDSM is a grey area. Under the 2003 Sex Offences Act it’s technically illegal for two under-16s to engage in fondling – officially, it’s so they can charge in situations where one kid is “exploiting” the other (though what’s wrong with sexual assault). But it’s much older than NewLab’s reign of terror, malign though that is. Many ridiculous charges have been brought under the Public Order Act 1986, which makes more or less anything you do in public potentially illegal. And before that there were catch-alls like Breach of the Peace.

    I take the view that if there’s no exploitation involved in taking an image, to make it criminal on the grounds that some paedophile might get turned on by it is very dangerous and wrong. But I’m old-fashioned.

  2. I take the view that if there’s no exploitation involved in taking an image, to make it criminal on the grounds that some paedophile might get turned on by it is very dangerous and wrong.

    Well yes – same for everything: if there’s a criminal offence proposed, I want to see a victim. If there’s no victim there’s no harm, and if there’s no harm then there can be no legitimate law. Seen Rowena Davis’s article on CiF? It is a fine example of hand-wringing vacuity – neatly punctured by someone called MonsieurBoulanger: “I’ve read this article three times now. Is what you’re saying, basically, that we should make sure that laws that currently don’t exist continue to not exist?”

    The other point about the suicide review is that, together with this kerfuffal about organ donation, it reasserts the state’s owndership of our bodies – as does this sexting panic. And no one ever seems to question it.

    Just as with music or dvds etc, what we are being told is that we have a limited set of licences over our own bodies…

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