„Sexual Fascism in Progressive America“

Counterpunch has an interesting article about the scapegoating and shunning of „sex offenders“. Of course, the described tendencies do not only apply to the U.S., but still they have progressed the farthest there.

There is a class of people in America today, numbering two million or more, who have been utterly scapegoated, ostracized, demonized and shunned. There is no longer any defense available for these people. Almost no-one on the left or the right, civil libertarians or ordinary citizens, will defend their rights. They are regularly vilified with the most vicious and hate-filled language — language previously reserved for classes now protected: Jews, Blacks, homosexuals. They are fair game as targets of abuse and vandalism. They are subject to utter public scorn. About 600,000 of them have been rounded up and forced to register — many soon to be monitored for life with electronic bracelets and global positioning devices. Nearly 4000 have been locked up for life, not on criminal charges, but by civil commitment, and those numbers are growing by the day. The remainder are mostly in hiding, desperately afraid of sudden exposure and witch hunts by neighbors, fellow-workers and friends, whom they fear will suddenly see them as monsters beyond redemption. They are a class defined not by specific crimes (though they are accused of many offenses) but by their very being, their desires, their constitution, as allegedly broken human beings. Presidents and Governors call them „despicable,“ „disgusting,“ „incapable of rehabilitation or reform,“ „beyond help.“ […]

Who are these scum? Arab terrorists? Muslim fanatics? No — those evil-doers appear almost benign when compared to this heinous mob. These are the most awful people in the world: SEX OFFENDERS! Worse, many are PEDOPHILES! In fact, these two terms become mingled. Jeb Bush recently alluded to all the sex offenders in Florida as child molesters, though fewer than 1/3 of those incarcerated in that state for „sex crimes“ involved people under 18. Bush went on, „These are a group of people who are the sickest of the sick. They are truly perverts and it’s not curable. Instead of civil detention, we ought to make sure…these pedophiles…are locked up forever.“

Of course among these sex offenders are indeed some criminals who have caused extreme harm: violent rapists of adult women as well as children. A few of them have kidnapped, tortured or murdered their victims. Dr. Fred Berlin of the Johns Hopkins University Sex Disorders Clinic in Baltimore estimates that such crimes account for less than 1/10th of 1% of all sex offenses in America. His studies also show that fewer than 10% of child sex offenders re-offend — though recidivism is usually given as a reason for draconian measures against them. As child abuse experts point out, about 50 children are reported kidnapped and raped or murdered by strangers annually, compared to more than 3,000 children murdered by parents and other family members in non-sexual cases. [….]

The New York Times recently published a sensational story about a teenage boy who went on line to entice more than 15,000 customers to watch his own pornographic images of himself. The Times reporter, acting less like a reporter and more like a crusading cop, coaxed the boy away from his life of debauchery, reminding him he would instantly switch from „victim“ to „perpetrator“ when he passed his 18th birthday. (Actually, those under 18 may be treated as perpetrators, too.) He helped get the boy to the FBI to close in on many of his key customers, whom the Times had further investigated on its own. These customers included police officers, lawyers, ministers, rabbis, social workers — and especially those who work with children and adolescents. [….]

The core demon in the campaign is the recently created category of „pedophile“ (which does not predate the 1960s as a so-called scientific construct). Although defined by the American Psychiatric Association as persons with a dominant sexual desire for pre-pubescent children, the pedophile tag now applies to any person who ever entertained a sexual desire or had a sexual incident, however minor, with anyone under 18. In some circles, the term pedophile is now used to put down any older person who has an affair or shows interest in younger persons — 35-year-olds, for instance, who „prey on“ 20-year olds. By the early 2000s, pedophile had become morphed with the still broader „sex offender,“ with even mainstream media free to refer to the feared and hated class as „pervs“ and „perps“ and „deviants.“ […]

In particular, public wrath is displayed against those who would challenge „age of consent“ laws, which are higher in the United States (now effectively 18 in all states due to Federal statutes) than in most other societies. (Mexico’s age of consent is 12 in most cases; Japan is 13; Spain is now 14 — raised recently; France, 15; and Germany 16 and under 16 with parental consent.) […] it has been increasingly raised until there is today, within UNESCO’s campaign to protect children, a call for a universal age of 21. All sex between persons under 18 and those over 18 (or 21) thus becomes „abuse,“ since there is the myth that underage persons are simply not capable of consent. […]

Adding insult to injury, „children,“ that is persons under 18, may also be labeled sex offenders, required to register and sometimes face life-long monitoring and various forms of shunning and shaming. One teenage boy committed suicide in Oakland County, Michigan in 2004, when faced with 23-years of being on a public registry, which would include public humiliation at his school. He was convicted of sex with a 14-year-old girl, which was conceded to be non-forced, but violated the state’s age of consent laws. Matthew Limon, in Kansas was given 17 years in prison for a consensual blow-job given the week after his 18th birthday to a boy who was almost 15. Limon is also mentally handicapped. Limon’s case was overturned and he was let out of prison after serving more than five years because the U.S.Supreme Court ruled the Kansas law which mandated longer sentences for homosexual acts was unconstitutional. He will still have to register for life as a child sex offender. South Carolina Supreme Court justice Costa M. Pleciones opined from the bench that children as young as nine should be subject to life-time registration for sex offenses. Estimates are that more than thirty-five thousand children and adolescents have been convicted of sex offenses and are required to register. […]

People will hopefully someday recoil when told that a person convicted in Federal court of making a photograph of a 17 year old masturbating would receive a mandatory sentence of life in prison, yet a person convicted of the (non sexual) murder of that teen would face far less. It will seem incredible that the focus was on sexual deviance rather than on the astronomical rate of murder and other real violence, or the growing gap between rich and poor, and the indelible mark of real poverty on so many children. Until such a day of greater sanity, this scapegoating and shunning of all sex offenders and „pedophiles“ will inevitably lead to less freedom and more insecurity for all who might engender the wrath of puritan preachers or stoke the greed of media outlets and pandering politicians. For now, it seems unlikely that even those who traditionally guard our civil liberties or those who traditionally challenge state repression from the left, will dare speak out, lest they, too, be marginalized and shunned.


3 Antworten auf „„Sexual Fascism in Progressive America““


  1. Gravatar Icon 1 alltagstrauma 24. März 2006 um 12:53 Uhr

    Ich dachte, ich helfe dir einfach mal ein bisschen bei deiner „Recherche“.

    http://www.viceland.com/germany/v1n7/htdocs/national.php

    Ich hab auch schon eine passende Überschrift: „Antideutsche Franzosen versalzen Kamelfickern die Suppe“. Wahlweise auch nur: „Antideutsche Franzosen“.

    Ich mach mir eigentlichen nur Sorgen, dass die Front National das in den falschen Hals bekommt und meint es sich irgendwie mit den deutschen Kameraden verscherzt zu haben. Aber was solls, da muss man der Wahrheit wegen drüber stehen. Das sich das ganze auch gegen Juden richtet, sollte man meiner Meinung ebenfalls getrost ignorieren, dass machts nur komplizierter. So long…

  1. 1 Some Foucauldian Reflections on “Pedophilia” // Lysis Pingback am 13. Dezember 2006 um 8:40 Uhr
  2. 2 Locked up in the land of the free | f*cking queers Pingback am 28. Oktober 2007 um 20:14 Uhr
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