Wednesday, 11 April 2012
THE BFMS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST
On the 13th January 2011 I made the following Freedom of Information request to the Charity Commission for England and Wales:
From: Barbara Richards
13 January 2011
Dear Charity Commission for England and Wales,
I am very concerned about the BFMS Registered Charity No: 1040683
Please can you provide me with the details of the people who
applied for this organisation to recieve charitable status, and who
granted it, plus the dates?
This is the reply I recieved on 31st January 2011
From: RTN Registration Applications
Charity Commission for England and Wales
31 January 2011
Dear Ms. Richards
Thank you for your email of 13 January 2011 (copy below), concerning the
British False Memory Society (Registered Charity No: 1040683).
You have requested details of the people who applied for this organisation
to receive charitable status, and who granted it, plus the dates.
The organisation was registered by the Charity Commission on 9 September
The entry on the register of charities is available on our website
(www.charitycommission.gov.uk). This provides the name and address of
the current correspondent for the charity.
I am unable to provide details of the names of the individuals involved
with the original application. This information is exempt under section
40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act. This provides that information
is exempt where it is personal information relating to a third party.
Disclosure of this information would contravene the principles of the
Data Protection Act 1998.
If you are unhappy with our response to your Freedom of Information
request, have a complaint or wish to request a review of our Freedom of
Information decision, you should write to: Charity Commission Direct by
email to [Charity Commission request email] or by post to P.O. Box
1227, LIVERPOOL, L69 3UG. Please state what it is you are dissatisfied
with, which will assist us when we review our response.
If you request a Decision Review, you will be notified of our final
decision. Please note that we will accept requests for a Decision Review
up to a maximum of 3 months after the original decision. The 3 months will
be calculated from the date on which you receive written notification of
the original decision. You will be deemed to have received written
notification on the day after the letter enclosing the decision was sent,
or the same day, if the decision was sent by email.
If after this you remain unhappy with the decision, you may apply directly
to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO
cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our complaints
procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner***s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.
As I suffer from PTSD (because of the awful things that happened to me in local authority "care", and in the secret family courts), I don't always manage to do follow ups very quickly. Anyway, I did follow this FOI request up eventually, and this is what I wrote:
From: Barbara Richards
22 February 2012
Dear RTN Registration Applications,
I am not happy with this decision. I would have replied before but
struggle with PTSD on account of being a survivor of child abuse
and persecution of authorities desperate to cover up the Pindown
child abuse scandal.
Ralph Underwager was one of the men who set up the British False
Memory Society, and he expressed strong endorsement for paedophilia
in a sex magazine interview called Paidika. The BFMS has been
involved in the discrediting of police institutional child abuse
investigations, and lobbied Parliament to try to limit police
powers to conduct investigations of abuse, therefore I think it is
in the public interest to be given disclosure on who set up this
I had this reply:
From: Litigation & Review
Charity Commission for England and Wales
2 March 2012
Dear Ms Richards
Review of the Commission's response to your request for information under
the Freedom of Information Act 2000
Thank you for your email which we received on 22 February 2012 in which
you asked the Commission to review its decision not to supply some or all
of the information you requested under the Freedom of Information Act
2000. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding to your
The review will be conducted by a Commission lawyer, Louise Platt, who
will consider your request for information afresh. The review will
consider whether our original response was correct in the circumstances
and whether there are any factors that enable us to release the
information you have requested, either in full or in part. Further
information about our decision review service can be found on our website
using the following link:
The section about Freedom of Information Decision Reviews can be found on
page 17 onwards.
We aim to complete reviews of Freedom of Information decisions within 20
working days, unless there are exceptional circumstances. In this case,
we aim to complete our review and issue a response to you by 22 March
2012. However, we will contact you again if this timescale is likely to
I trust you will find the attached information helpful, but if you have
any questions about the review, please do contact me.
Litigation & Review Support Officer
Charity Commission Direct
PO Box 1227, Liverpool, L69 3UG
Then, much to my amazement, I had an annotation from the Director of the BFMS, Madeline Greenhalgh:
Madeline Greenhalgh left an annotation (14 March 2012)
I would like to personally reassure you that Ralph Underwager did not have any part whatsoever in the setting up or running of the BFMS. As far as I know he lived and worked in America and never in the UK.
We were made aware of the statements to which you refer when they were made back in 1993 and do not condone or agree with his comments. We have a disclaimer on our website to reiterate that point. (www.bfms.org.uk)
We have not lobbied Parliament to limit police powers to conduct investigations of abuse nor had any involvement in discrediting of police institutional child abuse investigations. We acknowledge and abhor the fact that there are many genuine cases of child abuse that require the application of the criminal law.
I replied to Madeline Greenhaigh thus:
Barbara Richards left an annotation (14 March 2012)
Dear Madeline Greenhalgh,
You have not personally reassured me of anything.
Ralph Underwager was certainly involved in the BFMS, and the BFMS has tried to distance itself from Ralph Underwager, since he made those disgraceful comments for that Dutch sex magazine. I can well understand why the BFMS would want to do that.
Whilst he was alive Ralph Underwager repeatedly advised his followers to be bold, and they have certainly heeded his advice.
It is dreadful for child abuse victims to have to put up with being persecuted, plotted against and called disgraceful names by devotees of False Memory Syndrome. False Memory Syndrome has to be one of the cruelest methods of psychological torture ever invented.
Members of the BFMS have certainly been lobbying Parliament to prevent the UK police from doing their duty in investigating the Pindown child abuse, and the evidence for that is in Hansard.
I prefer to wait for the charity commission to give their answer on this matter than take your response as the truth Madeline Greenhalgh.
On 22 March 2012 I then recieved this reply from the Legal Services Division of the Charity Commission for England and Wales. Louise Platt:
From: Platt, Louise
Charity Commission for England and Wales
22 March 2012
Dear Ms Richards
I am writing further to my colleague Ann Marshalsea’s letter of 2 March.
I am one of the Commission’s legal advisors and I am conducting a review
of the Commission’s response to your request under the Freedom of
Information Act 2000 (“FOIA”) dated 13 January.
In carrying out this review I am considering whether several exemptions
apply including exemptions such as s.40(2) (disclosure of personal
information) and s.38 (health and safety) which requires that the public
interest in disclosure or withholding be considered. I have not yet
concluded this consideration. The Commission's Final Decision processes
and FOIA oblige the Commission to respond to requests promptly and I have
aimed to do this in this case and within 20 working days, however, this
has not been achievable. Both our FDT process and FOIA allow the
Commission to extend the timescale for making the decision by a reasonable
period in order to allow proper consideration, and in this case I estimate
that I will be able to complete this consideration by 30 March. If it
becomes apparent that I will be unable to meet this deadline I will let
you know promptly.
If you think my decision to extend the deadline is wrong you have a right
to appeal to the Information Commissioner at The Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
Legal Services Division
So then I replied thus:
From: Barbara Richards
26 March 2012
Dear Platt, Louise,
Thank you for explaining what you are doing. I do hope you will
base your decision on disclosure of information on the protection
and safety of the children of the UK rather than using legal
loopholes to protect people who may be a danger to children.
On 30 March 2012 Louise Platt again wrote to me, and this is what she said:
From: Louise Platt
Charity Commission for England and Wales
30 March 2012
Dear Ms Richards,
I am writing further to my email of 22 March.
Unfortunately, I am not yet in a position to finally conclude whether the
information you have requested that the Commission holds can be
I appreciate that the information that you have requested relates to
issues that are important to you, and for that reason I want to fully
explore all the legal issues surrounding this disclosure before I complete
this review, to ensure that I can properly consider the legal position and
whether the public interest lies in disclosing this information.
I therefore propose to extend the deadline again, to 27 April. I
appreciate that this is a long extension, but I am on leave for two of
those weeks. However, in light of the work I have already done on this
matter I do not feel that it would be appropriate to hand the matter to
someone else. I will endeavour to complete the review and let you have my
final decision before that date.
As I mentioned in my last email, if you think my decision to extend the
deadline is wrong you have a right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner at The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House,
Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
Telephone: 0303 123 1113
I will contact you again in due course.
Legal Services Division
( Phone: 0151 703 1512
To which I replied thus:
From: Barbara Richards
30 March 2012
Dear Louise Platt,
I feel quite shocked about the delay in providing this information,
because I don't think I have asked for anything unreasonable, and
feel strongly that this information is certainly in the public
interest. I cannot see any reason why this information should be
withheld, or that legal advice should be necessary.
I have just found the following article. I am sad that the Third Sector didn't bother to contact me for my views, which I would have been happy to give them, but happy that they are taking an interest in this FOI request:
Charity Commission will review its refusal to name false memory charity applicant
Charity Commission will review its refusal to name false memory charity applicant
By Kaye Wiggins, Third Sector Online, 19 March 2012
The commission says it did not comply with the original request from a member of the public because it would breach the Data Protection Act
A Charity Commission lawyer will review the regulator’s decision not to release the name of a person linked to the British False Memory Society, a charity that raises awareness of cases in which adults "falsely remember" having been sexually abused as children.
The BFMS, which was registered as a charity in 1994, says on its website that it abhors genuine cases of child abuse, but believes that "a number of people, usually during psychotherapy or counselling, are recovering ‘memories’ of having been sexually abused in childhood, even though those accused deny such abuse and there is no corroborating evidence".
It says the charity "aims to raise public awareness of the inherent dangers of false memory".
In January, Barbara Richards, a member of the public who said she had survived child abuse, asked the regulator to release the name of the person who applied to register the BFMS as a charity. She claimed in a letter to the commission that the charity had been founded by Ralph Underwager, whom she accused of appearing to support paedophilia in a magazine interview in the 1990s.
Madeline Greenhalgh, director of the BFMS, told Third Sector that Underwager did not found the charity but that it was founded by Roger Scotford. She said, however, that she could not give the name of the person who applied to register the charity, who was a trustee.
"That individual is now deceased and therefore I cannot ask him if he is prepared to be named," she said. "It is not appropriate for me to name him."
Greenhalgh said Underwager founded the US-based False Memory Syndrome Foundation, which has no formal links to BFMS. She said Underwager, who died in 2003, resigned from the False Memory Syndrome Foundation after carrying out what she called an "awful interview".
In its response to Richards’ request, the Charity Commission confirmed the date of registration but said it could not give the name of the applicant because doing so "would contravene the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998". It said the details of a current correspondent for the charity were available on the commission’s website.
However, the regulator has now appointed a member of its legal team, Louise Platt, to assess its decision not to publish the name, after Richards complained about the decision.
I have also found this article from NPQ (Non Profit Quarterly). It seems that my FOI request has caused quite a commotion.
U.K. Charity Commission to Review Confidentiality Rules
U.K. Charity Commission to Review Confidentiality Rules
Written by rick cohen Created on Friday, 23 March 2012 11:36 .
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March 19, 2012; Source: Third Sector
Confidentiality regarding aspects of the nonprofit sector is an issue in the U.K. as well as in the U.S. This past January, the U.K.’s Charity Commission refused to reveal the name of the person who registered the British False Memory Society (BFMS) as a charity. The BFMS basically argues that there are a number of cases of adults who have falsely remembered incidents of sexual abuse they believe they suffered as children. The person who made the request of the Commission was a woman who survived child abuse and who alleged that the founder of BFMS was one Ralph Underwager, who she says gave an interview in a magazine in the 1990s expressing support for pedophilia.
BFMS Director Madeline Greenhalgh said that Underwager didn’t form them, but he did create the U.S.-based False Memory Syndrome Foundation, a completely separate organization. The Charity Commission has argued that BFMS was not required to reveal the name of its founder or incorporator under the terms of the Data Protection Act of 1998, and because the man has since died, they cannot ask him for permission to release his name voluntarily.
The Charity Commission’s attorneys are going to review the non-disclosure decision to see if an error was made in this case, though the Third Sector article doesn’t identify what the lawyers might be examining. It would seem that, in this instance, the British system may have confidentiality rules that go beyond what applies to U.S. nonprofits.—Rick Cohen
FROM THE CHARITY COMMISSIONS OWN WEBSITE, SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN
"4. The child protection policy
This is a statement of intent that demonstrates a commitment to safeguard children involved with a charity from harm. The essential inclusions for a child protection policy are outlined below:
the welfare of the child is paramount;
all children without exception have the right to protection from abuse regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexuality or beliefs;
the policy is approved and endorsed by the board of trustees;
who the policy applies to (i.e. all trustees, staff and volunteers);
children and parents are informed of the policy and procedures as appropriate;
all concerns, and allegations of abuse will be taken seriously by trustees, staff and volunteers and responded to appropriately - this may require a referral to children's services and in emergencies, the Police;
a commitment to safe recruitment, selection and vetting;
reference to principles, legislation and guidance that underpin the policy;
arrangements for policy and procedures review;
reference to all associated policies and procedures which promote children's safety and welfare e.g. with regards to: health and safety, anti-bullying, protection of children online, and photography"
This is what Richard Webster wrote on his website in 2002:
Shieldfield: how did it happen?
THE SHIELDFIELD CASE, in which two Newcastle nursery nurses, falsely accused of horrendous sexual crimes, were finally vindicated in a libel trial after a nine-year ordeal, has already been extensively documented on this website. However, the full story of Shieldfield had, until recently, hardly begun to be told.
That situation, which has doubtless already led many people to discount Shieldfield as a terrible aberration, has now changed. A month or so ago, quietly and without fanfare, a very significant publication was distributed to a relatively small number of subscribers. It contains two substantial articles, both of which probe the roots of Shieldfield. These articles, because of the nature of the analysis which they present, ought to be compulsory reading for every director of social services, every child protection worker, every family court judge and every politician, police officer, lawyer and journalist with a professional interest in allegations of sexual abuse and the manner in which they are investigated.
The publication in question was the Autumn edition of the newsletter of the British False Memory Society. 'The BFMS,' writes director Madeline Greenhalgh, 'makes no apologies for making this issue of the newsletter into a special focus on the Shieldfield libel trial . . . [it] carries articles which take a comprehensive look behind the scenes to reveal strong links between the Shieldfield and Cleveland crises. We uncover the part played by the child welfare agencies which until now has escaped scrutiny.'
After reprinting Margaret Jervis's excellent piece on the libel judgment, which has already been commented on here, the newsletter breaks new ground with an article by Tania Hunter entitled Messages from Shieldfield. At the heart of her analysis of Shieldfield is her assessment of a judicial inquiry which has exercised enormous influence over the development of child-protection policies over the last fouteen years - the 1988 Butler-Sloss inquiry into Cleveland.
It might be said that the real problem with the Cleveland report has arisen as a direct result of its unusual strengths. The report has so many good qualities that, in some quarters at least, it has been treated almost as a sacred scripture which is beyond criticism. The judgment in the Shieldfield libel trial, however, has led Tania Hunter to question it openly . 'The Cleveland inquiry,' she writes, 'despite all its undisputed virtues, had one monumental and largely unrecognised flaw which has had a significant bearing on subsequent events.
'While it acknowledged the part played by doctors, social workers and therapists in the breakdown of child care services in Cleveland, the cause was attributed to the inexperience and the personalities of those involved. Expert witnesses had warned of the dangers of adopting North American therapeutic disclosure techniques, but the inquiry nonetheless concluded that the investigative techniques which had proved so disastrous in Cleveland were safe when used by experts such as Dr Arnon Bentovim and his Great Ormond Street Hospital colleagues.
'Based on this incomplete understanding, and without the benefit of later research into children's suggestibility, the Butler-Sloss inquiry recommended improved training and inter-agency "working together". The unintended outcome has been that the very people responsible for the Cleveland affair have been able to perpetuate their practices and are now established in universities and at the centre of the child protection system as experts, policy advisers and trainers' [italics added].
The view that Shieldfield happened not in spite of the Cleveland report but, in some respects at least, because of it, is a deeply disturbing one. But this view is, I believe, essentially correct. The problem in some respects is simply one of chronology. It is not only that the Cleveland inquiry took place before ground-breaking research into children's suggestibility had been conducted by psychologists such as Stephen Ceci and Maggie Bruck; it is also that the report was published well before any proper scientific assessment of the 'anal dilatation' test had ever been made. The assumption that reflex gaping of the anus in young children indicated sexual abuse lay at the very heart of Cleveland. By the time this 'diagnostic' test was finally discredited by medical research and shown to be without any empirical foundation, the Cleveland report had already been in circulation for some two or three years.
Through no fault of her own Justice Elizabeth Butler-Sloss (now Dame Butler-Sloss) had, in effect, been compelled to produce her report in the dark. She simply did not have the benefit of the very scientific research which would have revealed the true scale of the Cleveland scandal and the real dangers of the child protection ideology and the paediatric zealotry which had led to it. Tania Hunter's eloquent analysis of the unintended consequences of the Cleveland report, and in particular of the role played by untested forms of 'therapy', is disturbing precisely because of the large measure of truth it contains.
The same must be said of the article by Margaret Jervis which accompanies it, The road to Shieldfield (Part 1). (To download a PDF version of entire October BFMS newsletter, click here.)
Having been a close observer of the development of child-protection ideology since her days as a staff journalist working for Social Work Today, Margaret Jervis is unusually well-qualified to piece together the story behind the story of Shieldfield. In its own way, the account she gives of the background to the Shieldfield scandal is just as disturbing - and just as revealing - as that of Tania Hunter.
No doubt the extent to which the 'strategy' followed by child protection campaigners in the north east was consciously planned, and the extent to which it was simply an 'accident of zeal', will be contested. What can scarcely be disputed is that the complex alliance between anxious parents and zealous professionals which eventually came about at Shieldfield was extraordinarily powerful and extraordinarily dangerous.
In their two articles, which complement one another so well, Tania Hunter and Margaret Jervis have shed an immense amount of light on the origins of the entire Shieldfield case. For this reason their articles should be widely read by all those who work in the field of child protection. One of the great tragedies of the current polarised state of the debate, however, is that there will in some quarters be resistance to the insights now made available by the British False Memory Society precisely because of their provenance.
As Margaret Jervis herself notes in the first of her two recent articles, there has been a concerted campaign to blacken the name of the British False Memory Society. The campaign has been conducted over a number of years and Judith Jones and her fellow Newcastle activist Bea Campbell have played prominent parts in it. The effect has been to smear the entire false memory movement with the misjudgments made by a few - especially by the psychologist Ralph Underwager.
It was Underwager (who is also a Lutheran minister), who in 1993 gave a disturbing interview to the Dutch magazine Paidika in which he appeared to endorse paedophilia as part of God's will. His wife, the psychologist Hollida Wakefield, also made remarks which were unhelpful to the cause of those attempting to oppose the tide of false allegations then running strongly not only in the United States but also in much of the English-speaking world.
Although Underwager was immediately asked to resign from the American False Memory Syndrome Foundation Board, his extraordinary and ill-considered words inflicted lasting damage on the movement which he had helped to found. They have been used by some extreme supporters of recovered memory therapy ever since in an attempt to demonise their opponents and to misrepresent them as belonging to a paedophile lobby. (Some insight into the ferocity of the lesser battles that ensued may be gleaned from an American website, run by journalist Moira Johnston, which documents, in its references the Columbia Journalism Review, one of the many clashes there have been in recent years between those who support the idea of 'massive' repression and those who oppose it.)
In fact the British False Memory Society has, like its American counterpart, attracted support from some of the most distinguished psychologists and psychiatrists in the country. The credulous acceptance by some professionals, including some child protection workers, of what amounts to a black propaganda campaign against this valuable organisation, has already done great harm. If the lessons of Shieldfield are now to be learned (and it is essential for everyone that they are) then demonology must now be displaced by facts and evidence - and by genuine debate.
4 December, 2002
© Richard Webster, 2002
For those who have not already seen it, here is the Paidika interview with Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield, as published on the Andrea Dworkin website:
Ralph Underwager and Hollida Wakefield Paidika Interview
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD AND RALPH UNDERWAGER Part I
Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. . . . Paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, "I believe this is in fact part of God's will. --Dr. Ralph Underwager in this interview with Paidika,
a European pro-pedophile publication.
Dr. Ralph Underwager earned his masters of Divinity from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, and his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, and has been, since 1974, Director of the Institute for Psychological Therapies in Northfield, Minnesota. Besides being a staff psychologist in a clinic, Dr. Underwager has also been a pastor at Lutheran churches in Iowa and Minnesota. He is a member of the National Council for Children's Rights, the American Psychological Association, the Lutheran Academy for Scholarship, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Sex, among others.
Hollida Wakefield received her M.A., from the University of Maryland, where she also completed the course work for her Ph.D. She has worked as an elementary school teacher, a college psychology instructor, and since 1976 as a staff psychologist at the Institute of Psychological Therapies. Her memberships include the National Council for Children's Rights, the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and the American College of Forensic Psychology. She and Dr. Underwager are married.
Ms. Wakefield and Dr. Underwager are the publishers of the journal, "Issues in Child Abuse Accusations." They co-edited the volumes: "Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse" and "The Real World of Child Interrogations." They have written numerous articles on the interrogation of children, the role of the psychologist in assessing child abuse cases, the evaluation of child witnesses, and the manipulation of the child abuse system. They regularly appear as expert witnesses and give training sessions to jurists, psychologists, and laymen.
This interview was conducted in Amsterdam in June 1991 by "Paidika," Editor-in-Chief, Joseph Geraci.
PAIDIKA: Could you describe your views on paedophilia, from your prospective as psychologists in the U. S.?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: Our main idea about paedophilia is that it's learned behavior. We don't think it's inborn, genetic, or hormonal. Like homosexuality, we believe it's learned at a young age and that the person has the subjective reality that they've always been this way.
There's an absence of anything in the research to show that paedophilia is anything other than learned. Such things as sexual orientation are an interaction. There may well be more of a propensity among some people to be affected by learning of various types. At the American Psychological Association's 1989 annual conference, we went to a presentation on homosexuality. The research was reviewed and the bottom line was that nothing biological had been established.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: We've been heavily involved in dealing with issues of child sexual abuse for a number of years. We've also been involved for a number of years in providing therapy for a variety of sexual dysfunctions, dysphorias, and paraphilias.
To our knowledge, there has not been any convincing research that suggests there is a hormonal component, a hormonal involvement to sexual orientation. There's also nothing we know of that suggests there's a genetic component. As psychologists, we're more persuaded that behavior patterns are learned, rather than influenced by genes. We're also aware that the Minnesota twins studies are demonstrating a significant genetic component to some behavior, though I don't think they have come up with any data about paedophilia.
PAIDIKA: Is heterosexuality for you also learned behavior?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: Yes.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Yes.
PAIDIKA: What do you mean when you say sexual orientation is learned behavior; where do you go from there?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: It means that a person has more freedom. There is an element of choice for someone not happy with whatever their sexual life is. They can learn to improve it. If it's a sexual dysfunction, somebody who's a premature ejaculator or impotent for example, they can learn something different. If a homosexual did not want to be homosexual, really wanted to be a heterosexual, there would be techniques that would have a decent chance of allowing that person to change. I'm not saying the person should want to change. I'm only saying that there is an element of choice. A person can determine their own sexual direction, and there are many behavioral techniques available that would allow the person to change.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: The theory of learned behavior permits individuals to take personal responsibility for their own behavior. We find it difficult when people try to place the responsibility for their behavior on something else. In the great American game, the blame is placed on bad parents who make bad kids. Explanations for homosexuality and paedophilia center on some kind of parental influence: mothers who are castrating, dominant, controlling, and hostile; fathers who are weak, and insipid. To say that my sexual responses at some level are learned is also to say that I am responsible for them.
Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love.
PAIDIKA: Is choosing paedophilia for you a responsible choice for the individuals?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Certainly it is responsible. What I have been struck by as I have come to know more about and understand people who choose paedophilia is that they let themselves be too much defined by other people. That is usually an essentially negative definition. Paedophiles spend a lot of time and energy defending their choice. I don't think that a paedophile needs to do that. Paedophiles can boldly and courageously affirm what they choose. They can say that what they want is to find the best way to love. I am also a theologian and as a theologian, I believe it is God's will that there be closeness and intimacy, unity of the flesh, between people. A paedophile can say: "This closeness is possible for me within the choices that I've made."
Paedophiles are too defensive. They go around saying, "You people out there are saying that what I choose is bad, that it's no good. You're putting me in prison, you're doing all these terrible things to me. I have to define my love as being in some way or other illicit." What I think is that paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness, they can say, "I believe this is in fact part of God's will." They have the right to make these statements for themselves as personal choices. Now whether or not they can persuade other people they are right is another matter (laughs).
Positive and Negative Views of Paedophilia
PAIDIKA: You've said that paedophiles speaks negatively about themselves; they are defensive; they act negatively. Paedophiles are a disparate group, like any human group, so what kind of individuals are you talking about, and with whom are you having contact?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Well, they are paedophiles I have come to know, to talk with as patients while providing treatment. But my contacts have not been limited to the therapeutic setting. I've also met others in a general context, here in the Netherlands, and in the U. S., and I've read some of the literature.
Let me give you another example. The paedophile literature keeps talking about relationships. Every time I hear the word "relationship" I wince. It's a peculiarly bloodless, essentially Latin word that may have a lot of intellectual or cognitive content, but has little emotion. I think it would be much more honest to use the good old Anglo-Saxon four letter word "love," more honest for paedophiles to say, "I want to love somebody." Not, "I want a relationship." I mean, what the hell's a relationship?
Paedophiles can make the assertion that the pursuit of intimacy and love is what they choose. With boldness they can say, "I believe this is in fact part of God's will.
PAIDIKA: You say that paedophiles should affirm the fact that they believe that paedophilia is a part of "God's will." Are you also saying that for the paedophile to make this claim about "God's will, is also to state what God's will is?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: (laughing) Of course, I'm not privy to God's will. I do believe it is God's will that we have freedom. I believe that God's will is that we have absolute freedom. No conditions, no contingencies. When the blessed apostle Paul says, "All things are lawful for me," he says it not once but four times. "All things are lawful for me." He also adds that not everything works.
PAIDIKA: Hollida, I can see you want to say something. Do you have a different point of view from Ralph's?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: I'd add one qualification to what Ralph has just said about there being no conditions or contingencies to the freedom given us by God. I would add, you have to take the consequences of this freedom. That said, well, I guess I do feel differently about some things. For example, I find it difficult too envision how a paedophile relationship can have the potential of being the type of close, intimate, constantly developing relationship that would be possible in more traditional relationships, whether in heterosexual marriages, or a committed adult homosexual relationship. Speaking only about men and boys at least, what I have seen is that once the young man gets to be a certain age, the paedophile is no longer interested in the young man sexually. These relationships start at around the age of eleven or twelve, and then by sixteen, seventeen, the paedophile is ready for a new one. The old relationship is, if not thrust aside, at least radically changed. It's hard for me to see that is a deep, meaningful relationship, even if I'm using the word Ralph doesn't like. It doesn't have the same bad connotations for me.
I'm no expert on the way these relationships develop or on what happens to them when the boy turns seventeen, eighteen or twenty. I can't imagine it just stays the same. It poses certain questions for me. Do paedophiles retain a close, intimate relationship with the boy, although the sex ends? Did they then add another boy while keeping the first boy, and then later repeat the pattern and add another and just keep adding new boys until they have a whole harem, ranging in age from let's say twelve to forty? Or perhaps the paedophile doesn't keep the first boy around. Perhaps he disappears out of his life altogether only to be replaced by the next? If that is the way it is, which seems from my observation to be the case, then I don't understand how there can ever be a close, intimate, constantly progressing and developing relationship. Perhaps it is possible. I'm not saying it is not possible, but it does strike me as being a limitation of these relationships.
There's also a second set of questions I have around a completely different matter. The problem, as I would state it, is that in the United States, paedophilia is viewed so negatively that I think the possibility of harming the young man would be very real. I don't know if a positive model is possible in the United States. The climate is such in the United States that it would be very, very difficult for a paedophile, even with the most idealistic of motives and aspirations, to make his relationship actually work in practice.
Even if the boy at some point viewed it as positive, after coming into contact with the way the society as a whole viewed it, the very real danger would be created of making the experience harmful. Relationships and societal attitudes are, of course, two completely different areas. In such a negative climate, I don't know if it would be possible for the relationship to be good for the parties involved when the entire society is so negative.
When I think about paedophiles, these are some of the theoretical difficulties I have with it. In practice, how these relationships turn out is a totally different issue. It might be that the relationships continue to grow but change in form and become positive. They might also develop negatively. As I said these are theoretical problems. For example, if the sex continued, we would have to call that male homosexuality, not paedophilia. If a relationship started when the individuals were respectively twenty-two and twelve, and they stayed together until they were forty-two and thirty-two, we would not define that any longer as a paedophile relationship.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I think that Holly and I agree that sexuality is a smaller part set within a large whole of our humanity: our capacity for love, our ability to approach some form of unity with another person. Sexuality takes place within this larger context, but it is not exhaustive, nor necessary, nor sufficient as a cause unto itself. The necessary and sufficient cause of sexuality for us is the unity, the wholeness, the intimacy.
The history of human behavior surely demonstrates that sexual behavior can become a very volatile, explosive part of intimacy and closeness, such as in jealousy and possessiveness. There is, in other words, a potential for sexuality, even if it is a small part of the whole, to erupt into what can be pervasive, cataclysmic experiences. When the sex ends abruptly and the man has been saying to the boy, "I love you, I care for you. You and I are one in mind, body, spirit," and then suddenly says, "That's all fine, but we ain't gonna do it no more." What happens then?
PAIDIKA: Perhaps a loving friendship continues. I've certainly encountered relationships where it has. Aren't you saying that we should define relationships in terms of love?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I was urging earlier that you make the loving image clearer to the outside world. What appears to the public is not the picture of a loving man but rather the picture of the dirty old man lurking in alleys, waiting for nice innocent young lads to come by, grabbing their genitalia and hustling them off and sort of casting them aside and waiting for the next one.
PAIDIKA: Perhaps the question is, should we only define paedophilia or paedophiles by the worst examples of individual behaviors?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: Well these terrible examples exist. We have to take them in. There are very negative aspects of paedophilia that we see from our experience in the United States. We saw a priest, for example, who started having sex with a child when the boy was nine. He told the child that he loved only him. But, in fact, at the same time, he was also involved with half a dozen other nine-and-ten-year-olds. He had had anal sex with the kid. And then he cast him aside at age fifteen. The boy was totally and hopelessly screwed up, his whole sexuality in confusion. Worse, the story leaked out, so the child was mercilessly teased at school, called a homosexual and gossiped about. There are children who have been abused, raped, and dropped on the side of the road.
I want to be clear though. Nobody has talked to us in the U. S. about their paedophilia who's engaged in an on-going relationship, just individuals who were ordered into therapy. You have to remember, if somebody in the United States talked to us and said, "You know, I'm a paedophile and I have a sexual relationship with this boy and it's good," we would have to call the police and turn him in. We would turn him in too, because we would be in jail if we didn't. So, when we say we've talked to people, we mean individuals sent to us for therapy.
The climate is such in the United States that the discussion would have to be carefully sanitized, completely abstract. There couldn't be any reference whatsoever to somebody who might be in an on-going relationship, because we would have to call the police and say, "That person has been sexual with minors," and if we didn't do that, we would lose our licenses as psychologists, face a fine of $5,000, and six months in jail.
PAIDIKA: There is research and some scientific opinion that demonstrates that more positive examples and personal experiences exist. Theo Sandfort's research, cross-cultural models, the writings of the German sexologist Bomemann. Shouldn't we be putting positive views into the picture in order to come to an understanding?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: We don't know about The Netherlands. Our impression is that it's somewhat easier here than at home.
But your point is that potentially there can be good, healthy, positive relationships between men and boys. It would be difficult to come up with sexual research for that in the United States because it would frankly be suppressed. When I did a review of the literature on boy victims of child sexual abuse, some of the studies show not just negative effects in some of the boys. The authors try to explain this away. Their rationale is that because they didn't find negative things in their study, does not mean there are none. They just haven't shown up yet! If anyone in the United States were to do a study that showed positive outcomes and then wrote it up as a scientific paper, they probably would not succeed in getting it published. It could only be published if they found a way to explain away any positive findings. They would have to make it look like they found something other than what they found. They would be entirely vilified.
PAIDIKA: Doesn't your book, Accusations of Child Sexual Abuse, suggest that all sexual relationships between adults and children in the United States are abusive relationships?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: No. I think we would claim that these sexual relationships, in the U. S., at least, could range from neutral to harmful. We don't envision or hypothesize that they could be positive, but at best neutral.
Part II Underwager/Wakefield Interview
THE AMERICAN SITUATION
PAIDIKA: You are speaking mostly about paedophiles in the U. S. What tack should they take given the societal attitudes? What solutions do you envision for their lives?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: The solution that I'm suggesting is that paedophiles become much more positive. They should directly attack the concept, the image, the picture of the paedophile as an evil, wicked, and reprehensible exploiter of children.
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: The United States is really pretty schizophrenic right now in its attitudes. On the one hand it glorifies sex in things like underwear advertisements, or James Bond movies. On the other hand it's very puritanical. You don't have good sex education in the schools, just these ridiculous prevention programs.
Let me give another example. Video recorders and video cameras are in right now. Couples are making their own pornographic movies. The comparison is on the one hand people running around making their own pornographic movies but on the other hand reacting hysterically to child sexuality issues. There was actually the case of a man who had had the nine-year-old son of a friend spend the night at his house. He kissed him on the neck, patted him on the rear, told him good-night, ad was later sentenced to two years in prison for these acts. They were labeled sexual abuse. The child later told his mother that it made him uncomfortable when the man kissed him on the cheek.
Given this schizophrenia and these hysterical attitudes about childhood sexuality, it's going to be difficult for paedophiles to appear more positive, to start saying they're not exploiters of children, that they love children, the sexual part included, even if it's a minor part. If they made such statements, they would be arrested.
What we see going on in the United States is the most vitriolic and virulent anti-sexuality I know of in our history. It may take people being arrested. Revolutionaries have always risked arrest.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I was in the courtroom for the case that Holly just cited and I actually heard the prosecution say, "No man should ever be permitted to claim as an excuse that he was just being affectionate when a child says they were uncomfortable." I don't know; I don't think we can just label these attitudes "hysteria." Perhaps "madness" is better, or "pathology." What we see going on in the United States is the most vitriolic and virulent anti-sexuality I know of in our history. It may take people being arrested. Revolutionaries have always risked arrest.
PAIDIKA: In your book, you said that there was "a matter of national interest and a focus of federal interest in child abuse in 1974, but then in 1984, it seemed to suddenly shift and become more hysterical." What reasons do you see for the outbreak of a child abuse hysteria, or pathology, in the mid-80's America?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: I think that what we meant in that passage was that we had personally been observing a steady progression of awareness about actual child abuse up to around that period, 1984. We had routinely been dealing with sex offenders and cases of incest. Around the mid-80's, we began to see cases of false accusations to a degree we had not seen before. it was the rise of this incidence of false accusations that led us to use the term "hysteria."
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Child abuse around that time became more a matter of attention and discussion. There had been child abuse before but the earlier focus was on rehabilitation and treatment. In the early 80's, this focus shifted to prosecution. As more federal money became available, child protection teams and child molestation units were set up in every county in the United States. As this structure was put into place, the emphasis changed to prosecution. This is where it is now, and as a consequence, there is very little interest in treatment, rehabilitation, or healing. The emphasis is: punish the bastards, put them in jail, hang them up by their toes, or other appurtenances, get rid of them.
PAIDIKA: You seen to be saying that the shift to prosecution, and the sexual hysteria, are connected. Could you clarify how such a shift might make a country pathological about sex?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I believe these shifts happen when the social contract in a given country or culture breaks down. What is happening in the United States is that the populace no longer has the sense that the country knows what it is about. During the Second World War, when I was about fourteen years old, it was a great time to live in America. We stood together. Everybody knew and understood what we were all about, what we were doing in the world. Beginning in the 60's and through the 70's into the 80's that confidence disappeared. We became fractionalized into smaller and smaller groups, each group fighting for its own to the point where we have now evolved a political system of special interest groups. There's no longer consensus politics in America.
The result of the breakdown of the social contract is that people do not have sufficient ego to handle or tolerate the ambiguity in their society. They don't have the inner resources. What they must do, then, is find something outside of themselves, something external, to give them shape and identity. Sex throughout history has played a specific role. It has allowed people both to define themselves and to locate an enemy. A sexual minority becomes a scapegoat. Whenever there has been social upheaval, whenever the social contract has disappeared, there has always been violent anti-sexuality outbursts.
The breakdown of the social contract and anti-sexuality outbursts are interconnected because there is in times of social instability, a need to say that someone else is evil, wicked. The blame for everything gets put on the so-called deviants, while the true American remains at home, pure, probably mortifying the flesh, crucifying the body, being a good citizen. The citizen becomes the knight riding off into the sunset victorious, leaving behind him a trail of battered and beaten people that they have judged bad. And the citizen feels justified.
In a society in turmoil, people can't tolerate anything that is different from whatever the myth of that society is. The society holds on to the myth, the belief. The myth is what they must believe. There's not enough strength in the society to deal with the facts.
PAIDIKA: Why is sex the focus of the hysteria in that situation, why not something else?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Sex has always been the penultimate answer to the ultimate question, which is unity and wholeness. In theological terms, sex has been the way that human beings have tried to avoid dealing with the mystery of the Trinity, the mystery of Unity. Sex is penultimate. This is why the root cause of sexual dysfunction is always some form of genitalization of sexuality. Sexuality has become, in the dysfunction, limited to genital tissue. It is not unified.
PAIDIKA: Would you say that the sexual hysteria is a kind of mystical or religious dysfunction?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Yes, I would.
PAIDIKA: Your scenario for the child sexuality hysteria is the breakdown of the social contract and a religious/mystical dysfunction. Do you recognize other causes than these?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I would add radical feminism, which includes a pretty hefty dose of anti-males. I think in a very real way, these women may be jealous that males are able to love each other, be comrades, friends, be close, intimate, work cooperatively, function in groups. The point where men may say that maleness can include the intimacy and closeness of sex may make women jealous. This would hold true for male bonding, and paedophile sex too. The woman is jealous of the connection. She says, "Wait a minute, we're not going to let you do that!"
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: I would disagree with that one hundred percent. That women are jealous because men have close bonds with one another doesn't seem to me to make sense. The common wisdom, whether one agrees with it or not, is that a man is handicapped in a divorce more than a woman, because the woman has female friends she can talk to. Women are socialized for relationships more than men. For women to become close and intimate is easier than for a man. Men can't express feelings. These are the common beliefs. And, after all, some of the most hostile, enraged people about sexual abuse are males. Jim Peters of the National Center for the Prosecution of Child Abuse, for example.
I think the radical feminist opposition to paedophilia comes out of the general perception of men as aggressive and dominating. They use sex to dominate the weak. The weak would be women and children. That the opposition comes out of women's jealousy because men can have meaningful paedophile relationships, and they wish they could, I don't agree with it.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Certainly some men aid and abet the hysteria. They are opportunists. They have opportunistic rage. What I am proposing is that there is an aspect to femaleness that is hardly ever discussed. I believe that women also are violent, cruel, and hostile. Possibly more so than men. The radical feminists only express that side of femaleness against paedophilia.
Among certain Indian tribes, the people who did the torture were the women. A sociologist in Milwaukee who studied the records of domestic violence found that women are much more violent in domestic disputes than men, and paedophilia can be thought to be a domestic matter. My argument is that the radical feminist position arises more from women's nature than from a politics. That has been overlooked.
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: Well, I wouldn't agree with this point of view at all. All statistics, history too, show that violent crimes are committed more by men than by women. Violence, cruelty, hostility have been much more male domains. THE QUESTIONING OF CHILDREN
PAIDIKA: The main purpose of your book, it seems to me, is to devise a method for determining the facts when there is an allegation of child abuse. This has sometimes put you in opposition to the official system. How much have your methods been adopted at this point, and how much are they being opposed?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: Our main effort has been to develop methods that avoid suggestive questioning, that lead the child on. It's becoming increasingly apparent that what we are proposing is the right way to go. what we have suggested, other people are also suggesting. There is a developing consensus that this is the way to do it.
Not many people any more are advocating suggestive or leading questioning. The problem is still that people who say they agree with us still go ahead and do leading questioning anyway. They don't know they're doing it. As you know, the main reason for the acquittals in the Mc Martin case is that the interviews were so terrible that the jurors said, "You can't tell what went on at all because the interviews are so suggestive."
Unfortunately, there are still very few people thinking about what happens to the child if the adults make a mistake. The worst result of bad questioning for the child is that if it is not abused, and is taught through suggestive interviews that she has been abused, that is extremely harmful. It runs the risk of making children psychotic.
Take the Mc Martin case. I think we can assume that nothing happened to them. But now these children who are fourteen, fifteen years old believe that they were subjected to horrible, bizarre, ritualistic abuse. That's now part of their reality. How are these teenagers going to turn out as adults?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Holly and I can demonstrate two basic things. We were the first people to publicly say, "Let's be more cautious, there's a better way to do this, we should be doing it differently." We're finding now that there is a growing concensus joining us. We can be more accurate in making discriminations between real abuse and false abuse.
In August, 1990, when we were at the American Psychological Association convention, the majority of the programs were in the same direction that we have been talking about. There were two or three programs that were still saying, "Children must be believed at all cost, they can't talk about things they haven't experienced." The audiences at those symposia were violently critical of that approach. Four years ago that would never have happened. When you get to the people who are doing the actual taped interviews, though, it is another story.
We're urging caution because of the child, as Holly pointed out. What you do, when you require a child who has not been abused to engage in repeated statements about having been abused, is blur, if not destroy, the capacity of that child to distinguish between reality and unreality. When a child is reinforced by adults to repeat over and over accounts of having been abused, of having been violated in these strange, bizarre ways, children come to believe it. It becomes subjectively real. You end up with, say, a sixteen year old who was never abused but who now has a subjective experience of being abused. The person becomes convinced that all these terribly bizarre things happened. I was led into a tunnel; I was undressed; I was placed on an altar; I was drenched in sacrificial blood; I have observed people cutting the heart out of others and eating it." That is now subjectively real for that child. But, the person who's taught them to believe that is the one who actually abused them. They've distorted their reality. They've made them pathological.
PAIDIKA: Are you describing a distortion of reality that occurs because of ignorance or because of malice and evil?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: I think ignorance is a big part of it. These aren't evil, wicked people who are purposely setting out to make children believe they were abused when they weren't. They see themselves as child advocates, child savers. They're more or less convinced they're doing a good thing. Ignorance is a very large part of it.
We have no experimental verification of this, but our suspicion is that the front-line people are young and have no children of their own. They're not trained in child development. The social workers who do the initial interviews just don't know about what a normal child is like, how suggestible they are, how they behave.
Ignorance leads to a lot of things. ordinary exploratory sex play between children is often misunderstood. It is seen as indicative of a child sexual abuse, and can therefore result in false accusations. Say a parent walks in and a four year old has a three year old's clothes off and they're exploring. The parents becomes upset, angry. "Who taught you this? Where'd you learn how to do that?" If it's a divorce and custody case, they might say, "Did Daddy ever do this?"
You get bizarre things. For example, we consulted in a case of a three year old child who reported that a four year old had poked her in the genitals with a stick. This was in a pre-school. The social services were called, and the first thing they did was go to the four year old's house to see if the four year old was being sexually abused. Their reasoning was that if the four year old poked the three year old in the genitals, he must have been sexually abused, or where would he have learned to do this?
There was also the incident of a ten year old girl and a twelve year old brother who were discovered fooling around with each other. The girl was put in a sexual abuse victims treatment program and the boy was put in a perpetrator's program. Seriously, these things are happening. The underlying feeling is that if you see children being sexual, they must have learned it from some adult who abused them.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: I agree with Holly. Ignorance is a very large part of hysteria. Almost all the people we encounter who are involved in the system of dealing with child sexual abuse allegations, have no knowledge, no sophistication in developmental psychology. At most they have been given, one, maybe two, weekend workshops. You can't make an expert in a weekend. They form something called "multidisciplinary teams," which is one of the favorite ways that abuse is somehow supposed to be controlled. Multidisciplinary teams do not result in any increase in the effectiveness of the decision. What it results in is a pooling of mediocrity and ignorance. of course, the APA code of ethics maintains quite clearly that both ignorance and ineptitude are unethical (laughs).
The dilemma, the reality is that we do savage things to our children; we brutalize them. Children do require the protection of society, and the protection of the law.
We've had a certain concept for a number of years. Simply stated, it is that whenever two or more human beings get together and attempt to accomplish some joint task, one of the first things they do is to set up some rules. Now generally this works. You get the joint task accomplished. Rule-making is rewarded. As you add more than two people and you increase the resources and the complexity of whatever the joint tasks are, rule-making does permit more effective functioning, and that's how making laws get reinforced.
However, there is a finite number of laws in proportion to a given population that work effectively. Any law above this number results in an increment of ineffectiveness. Let's say the number of laws necessary in the U. S. is 13,246. Law number 13,247 would then be over the threshold. Each law you now add divides your society. People now begin to exploit. There is more and more opportunity for malice, evasion of responsibility and so on. The next effect is to begin to destroy that society. However, nobody realizes or understands it so they keep on making laws. You have now reached the point at which there is some form of revolution required to start the process all over again.
PAIDIKA: one of your goals in formulating questions for the child about possible abuse is to avoid distorting the child's reality. In your interrogation methods, do your questions presuppose for the children that they themselves see the sexual relationship as abuse?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: No, no. Not our methods.
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: No. What we would do is get the child to use free recall, to describe what took place. As scientists, our goal would be to get as much information from the child about what happened and what took place as possible. We would see it as somebody else's responsibility to interpret this, or see whether it's legal or illegal.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: We don't tell children things like, "Well, it's all the other person's fault, you were helpless, you were powerless, and you're not responsible." Some people are now saying that this is the best thing to tell children. If you tell them they were powerless, it gives the children more power. We don't do that.
PAEDOPHILIA AND SPIRITUALITY
PAIDIKA: We spoke at the beginning about paedophilia and spirituality. This is not an issue that is very often discussed. Given the opposition to and oppression of paedophilia in American society, how would you describe a spirituality for paedophiles?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: For me, the beginning of spiritual life is in knowing that God is gracious, knowing that it is God's purpose that we have a good life, knowing that it is God's purpose that we be free. The freedom that God intends for us to have is absolute. The only thing that can match absolute killing, and judgments that condemn us, such as St. Paul's, "You have sinned and come short of the glory of God," is the absolute, "You are free." You are free, that is, from all accusation, nothing, no one can accuse you.
The issue is never what is right or wrong. That's mistaken question. Paying attention to what is right and wrong is, I think, a penultimate goal because the issue is not right and wrong but good and evil. That's totally different. Right and wrong has to do with whether or not you hit the mark, whether a given behavior matches a certain standard. If it doesn't, then it's wrong.
Good and evil only pays attention to outcomes. You can never know the outcomes until you have already acted. Spirituality that attends to the issue of good and evil must always be courageous, bold, operating always with incomplete information. You never know, so you are continually making a responsible choice about which there's always risk. You can only know if something is good subsequent to having acted, and observing the outcome.
As with all human behavior, I would suggest that paedophiles can't say, "I have chosen; I choose; I will act in this fashion. I believe that the outcome will be good. I will pay the price for that act, whatever that price may be."
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: The price might be the difficulty of integrating oneself into one's society.
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Or, going to jail, certainly. As I said before, it may take people being arrested. In a sense, what is, well, I guess I can say this, what is offensive about what I know about paedophiles is their intention to be able to do what they choose without paying the price. "I want to be able to do this, but the society should let me do it without exacting any kind of price from me."
PAIDIKA: Is it reasonable for paedophiles to want and to work for the decriminalization of what they believe is right?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: It's not reasonable if the goal is "I want to do it, and I don't really care what other people tell me. I'm not going to engage in the attempt to communicate or to talk to people." It's like saying to somebody, "Accept me because after all, I'm really the same as you are." That's what tolerance is supposed to be, and that's why tolerance always falls short. It is never to me, acceptable.
I don't think it is honest to tolerate somebody only because they are saying, "At rock bottom, I'm really the same as you." or, conversely to say, I can tolerate you, I can accept you, because you are the same. I think it is much more honest and direct to say, "Yes, we're different. You're black, I'm white, you're smart, I'm not. I'm paedophile, you're heterosexual." Those are real differences, real differences. Paedophiles should point out how different they are, what the difference are.
PAIDIKA: Still isn't it a reasonable wish for paedophiles to want to see paedophile sex decriminalized? It may not be realistic right now in the U. S., but does that make it less legitimate a goal?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: oh yes, sure, sure. I mean Jesus said, "I really don't want to do this. I don't want to go up there onto Calvary." But when it came down to it, he said, "Well, okay, I'm going to walk the steps." As for decriminalization, the question is really if you're not there, how are you going to get there?
PAIDIKA: Any advice?
RALPH UNDERWAGER: Take the risk, the consequences of the risk, and make the claim: this is something good. Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophilia is an acceptable expression of God's will for love and unity among human beings. This is the only way the question is going to be answered, of whether or not it is possible. Does it happen? Can it be good? That's what we don't know yet, the ways in which paedophiles can conduct themselves in loving ways. That's what you need to talk about. You need to get involved in discourse, and to do so while acting. Matthew 11 talks about the wisdom of God, and the way in which God's wisdom, like ours, can only follow after.
Paedophiles need to become more positive and make the claim that paedophiles is an acceptable expression of God's will for love and unity among human beings.
I think the paedophile movement makes a mistake when it seeks to label the church as the instrument of repression, and in a sense, the enemy. I'm certainly aware of the accusation that it's the church that represses sexuality. I don't believe that's the case at all. I believe that the repression of sexuality begins with Greek thought. People who want to deal positively with human sexuality will do best to see the church as an ally, and to elicit from the church the positive responses about sexuality that are there.
PAIDIKA: You spoke about the need for paedophiles to engage in a discourse. What should that be?
HOLLIDA WAKEFIELD: We can't presume to tell them specific behaviors, but in terms of goals, certainly the goal is that the experience be positive, at the very least not negative, for their partner and partner's family. And nurturing. Even if it were a good relationship with the boy, if the boy was not harmed and perhaps even benefited, it it tore the family of the boy apart, that would be negative.
It would be nice if someone could get some kind of big research grant to do a longitudinal study of, let's say, a hundred twelve year old boys in relationships with loving paedophiles. Whoever was doing the study would have to follow that at five year intervals for twenty years. This is impossible in the U. S. right now. We're talking a long time in the future.--END
Now, I just want to add one last observation to all this. I am a survivor of the Staffordshire Pindown child abuse (anyone who doubts it is welcome to contact me and I will show them proof, or they can contact Brian Gerrish who still has some of my paperwork that I stupidly entrusted to him, when I was under the delusion that he actually gave a damn about victims of Pindown child abuse before I realised that he is just another user with a political agenda), anyway, I don't want to be accused (as I was by the Jesus People/Jesus Army as they are now) of being a "Cry Baby" or a P.O.M. (Poor Old Me) again, (as they did to me and to other child abuse survivors who went to them in the hope of finding the peace that passes all understanding, and instead were mocked ridiculed had water chucked at them, had to stand on chairs and shout JESUS IS LORD and forced to eat vinegar drenched coleslaw salad even though it made them heave, as I have had enough of getting stones thrown at me by spiteful and malicious people. I refuse point blank to be ashamed of what happened to me as a child any more, IT WAS NOT MY FAULT I WAS ABUSED AS I WAS A CHILD, and if I cry from time to time about the horrible stuff that happened, thats not my fault either, I don't have "recovered memories", I just never forgot the horrible stuff in the first place, which is probably why I have had such a massive struggle coping.
I thought charity was for helping people who were poor and in distress. Thats what I thought charity was all about. Not paying expensive lawyers to get magnifying glasses out to look for microscopic points of law so that they can go through a loophole to avoid telling a woman who got shut up in a hell hole kids prison (for being a victim of rape) the founder of one of their "charities".
I have been homeless and rock bottom skint in my lifetime. I was so skint at one point that I could not afford anything to eat apart from sliced white bread. I was living at Shallowford House near Norton Bridge at that time, trying to better myself, trying to make myself employable, studying for A level English and History. I had no income but had to pay my rent, I had to make stuffed soft toys to earn my bread, and it was so hard because people wanted to barter me down all the time, I suppose they had no idea how broke I was. The other students never put any money in the shared electric meter, so I had to go to Stafford auction and bid for a couple of parraffin heaters, which I used to warm my room. I have also been so reduced in poverty that I have had to sleep in a telephone box and a public toilet. It is very easy for victims of child abuse to end up on "Skid Row", and it is very hard to find anyone who will give a damn once you end up in the gutter. You don't want to be a burden on other skint people (usually the kindest ones are the poorest) and of the others who offer to "help" you when you are that low want something that you are unable to give in return. I was a very beautiful girl when I was young, I was blessed (or cursed?) with an extremly pretty face, as photographs of me will testify. I don't think I need to explain to anyone what was often expected of me, and I was always disgusted and sickened by the thought of using sex as currency, and felt that I would rather go without than trade what should be freely given, in love.
Where were the charities when I needed them? I dont know. I dont know a single person who has been helped by any charity at all.
What on earth is the Charity Commission doing spending money on a legal advisor to find a way out of simply giving information about this well dodgy "charity"?
Some people may wonder why I am embedding this video onto this thread. If they have been following my blog they will understand the reason this video is relevant here.