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(9,204 posts)
12. I'm not sure I like the politicization of child abuse
Thu Feb 16, 2023, 10:05 AM
Feb 2023

It's an interesting article, and there were parts of it where I nodded along. (The child marriage issue is slam dunk alone for broken cultural normalization in some quarters of the Right).

But the author conflates a lot of things. I mean, a lot. He will even admit he's talking about fringe stuff he finds on the internet, but give him a few sentences, and he'll just fold it into the Right as a whole. It's an ultimate "Let's throw everything at the wall, see what sticks, and then just conflate it with the entire Right."

And the reason I dislike this is, I could easily write this same article and start pointing it in the other direction. Very easily, particularly as a gay man who has lived and existed in a world where a lot of ideas have gotten thrown around about things like age of consent for a very, very long time (MAPs, anyone?). Which is what the Right does when they're invoking their groomer rhetoric. When I was a young gay teenager, Peter Tatchell was doing his thing and unloading his ideas into the community in away that had real effects. I had fights and ended friendships in my late teens and early 20s over the stuff. I literally had a shouting match with a friend in his 30s and almost got physically violent with him, because he was talking to 14 year olds online and telling me how he would've wanted adult attention at that age, and it was like, "Are you out of your fucking mind!?"

And that's a reason I dislike the politicization, "The Right are pedophiles, the Left are groomers!" It's because once you get that tribal bug in there, people will ignore abuses on their own side super, super easily. I take child abuse too seriously to play that game. There was a report not too long ago about sexual abuse in Chicago Public Schools. I posted it here, because it was one of the craziest things I read in a while. And it wasn't a right-wing hit piece. It was a report by the CPS's own inspector general.

Sank like an absolute stone. No one - literally no one - cared. If it had been about the Catholic Church, people probably would've cared. You'd have seen the report everywhere. We ignore problems unless it's the "other side" doing it.

Child abuse is a human problem. If it becomes a political problem, a partisan problem, a tribal problem, then what happens in our own midst - what we're most likely to see and encounter and puts us in a position to act - can go unnoticed, unremarked upon, and unaddressed because there grows incentive to not highlight it out of narrative interest.

This isn't to say the author doesn't highlight some shit. The purity/virginity stuff has always creeped me way the hell out. The child marriage shit should not be happening in this country. Just full stop on some of the items he mentions that are absolutely firmly ensconced in places like the Christian Right.

But I really, really find the "It's not us, it's the other side," stuff distasteful on these topics. The Right is writing these exact same articles but using other examples. I mean, that is all Libs of TikTok practically is. Highlight every violation you can find on the other side.

If we can't make child sexual abuse nonpartisan and keep it that way, one wonders what issue we could actually unite on and call out universally. And if we turn an issue as serious as that as a tit for tat battle, a lot of kids are going to go ignored in the wreckage of our political slap fights.

I think this article could've been written in a much different way to a much different purpose. And it's unfortunate so much gets ignored unless it's specifically written in this way, because it's overtly appealing to partisanship instead of humanity.

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