Thursday, 19 May 2011

Mrs. Dorries, MP, Sex Abuse and Teen Pregnancies... -

A courageous Survivor blogs about some repugnant comments made by a Tory MP, Nadine Dorries, about child sex abuse, whilst promoting her particular 'Abstinence' campaign, on TV, a campaign designed to reduce teen pregnancies (part of her stated concern is the impact teen pregnancies have on girls in terms of education, job and life prospects). She comprehensively rebutts Mrs, Dorries comments about children saying "No!" to adult sex abusers.

The show, The Vanessa Show on Channel 5, can be viewed here, Mrs. Dorries speaks at about 19 minutes into the show. Hopefully it will be youtubed for posterity by some enterprising youtube-er.

The blogger, Vanessa, invited her respondents to write to Mrs. Dorries. So I did.

The Letter : copied to her party leader..

Mrs. Dorries,

I watched the Vanessa Show in which you spoke eloquently about your ideas concerning sex education, and teenage pregnancy. Your concern comes across.

However, I think you have not done the depth of research in this matter, that your position as a Public Servant, paid for by the taxpayers, demands.

Eloquence is not enough when it comes to the welfare and safety of children.

You have a duty of care, Mrs. Dorries, that is both legally mandated and morally implicit.

That duty of care is to the welfare of all those affected by the work you do.

Thus it includes all living Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it includes all those children who are today being abused, and all those who will be abused in the future, because the policies you promote will affect many, many people, and because you made some comments about sexual abuse that I must address.

That duty of care demands that you transcend your 'opinions' and deal explicitly with the facts, the material evidence.

Those who have Survived sexual assaults in their childhoods form a very large part of that dataset. Have you spoken to Survivors on this matter? Are those conversations a matter of record?

Regarding your comments which I have transcribed from the program which were as follows :

"from some of the evidence I have heard, that if a stronger 'just say no' message was given to children in school, that there might be an impact on sex abuse, because a lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don't realise, until later that that was a wrong thing to do ... because" .. and you continue to speak of sex being so common in Society, in marketing etc etc and do not return to this matter of 'saying no will impact sex abuse', to the moment the child in jeopardy is in, and you talk instead of the over-sexualisation of our children,  as a societal phenomenon and of how that is linked to teenage pregnancy, a point that is unproven.

I note that you made a number of comments throughout the piece that it is the girls whose futures are most impacted by falling pregnant. That suggests that teenage pregnancy is key to your position. Your primary concern.

You have used 'sex abuse' as a means to an end. To bolster your particular campaign.

That is disingenuous and it is also manipulative. How dare you behave in such fashion?

What evidence to you have to support your contention?

How do you link your campaign, which is ostensibly about telling young girls that they should say NO, as part of their conscious abstinence practice, (which I partly support : sexual activity must to be consensual, well informed, safe and fun for all concerned, and that includes saying no...) to these comments?

As a child, age 8, I was sexually assaulted. By a priest. I didn't understand what was happening, so I could not say 'no'. It was simply put just weird behaviour I did not understand, yet the abuser was in a such position of Authority in relation to me, the child that I acquiesced. He had all the power. ALL abusers do. They are adept at manipulating the situation. Check the facts. Ask Survivors.

Many Survivors have in fact said 'no!', and that has then been ignored by their abuser. This is common. Abusers do not give up easily. Some children say no and are intimidated, manipulated and even beaten by their abusers. There's this question of Authority again.

How does a child, or a young teen say 'no!' and back it up, to an advancing abuser when  all the real Power in the situation lies with the ADULT abuser?  When all their young lives they are taught to respond to Authority with obedience?

The other panellist mentioned the fact that many parents are embarrassed to speak of sexuality to their children, and that her organisation has programs to help parents get over that embarrassment, so that flows of communication between children and parents are more open?

What are you doing to address this really important communication gap, one which abusers are known to exploit?

And what then of children in 'care', in fostering, who might not have the kind of trusting relationship that nurturant parenting ought foster, where the child has no-one to turn to, where we know that sexual abuse is relatively common?

Mrs Dorries, I have to say that 'might have an impact' is far too vague a term to use, for someone in your position, with the responsibility you have, of a duty of care to those whom you serve.

Perhaps you don't see it that way. Perhaps it is others you serve, (ideology) or your own opinions you serve. Only you can answer that. But I tell you this, your comments do not serve Survivors or children who are in jeopardy today, tomorrow and in in the future.

You see, Mrs. Dorries, the roots of abusive behaviour are known, they are well described, and documented.. The dynamics of abuse have been studied for some time, the witness of many Survivors is a part of that dataset.

At the root is a lack of empathy. At the root are a range of situations and societal expressions of power, where societal messages that lack empathy are transmitted by thought and by deed, where the power disparity that exists between a child and an adult is abused by the adult, to meet the adults perceived needs, where the child's natural nurturant needs are not met. Part of that lack of empathy you have ably demonstrated in the comments you have made, quoted above.

Of course I do NOT hold you responsible for the abuse that others do. Nor do I seek to link you to it in any way.

If you are serious about preventing abuse, (which is another matter altogether than the one you are so exercised about, that of teenage pregnancy) then you must study this material.

You must dig deep, Mrs. Dorries, and you must, above all, speak to Survivors...

Here's some research that would be a good place to start. I offer this to you with respect and with the hope that you reflect on my comments. - Eminent Psychologist whose work or intergenerational abuse cycles across whole Societies, has helped many, many people recover from their trauma, has helped people break the cycles of abuse and prevented further abuse from occurring. - the latest findings in Science, on the natural development of children from in utero, through birth, infancy and childhood, which describes in great detail, the natural expectations that all children embody, that are intrinsic, inherent and that if not met, lead to pathology. - Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence

If you don't, then I, as a Survivor, must assume that you are more concerned with imposing your personal opinion and world view, through the power invested in you as an MP, than you are with the material evidence, the facts of the matter, and that is, in my view, utterly immoral, profoundly repugnant and I am sure that it absolutely disqualifies you from office.

I look forwards to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

I will copy this email to your party leader, and publish it on my own outlets.

Yours Sincerely... etc

Kindest regards


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