Monday, 26 November 2012

Mark Solms Continues His Intellectual Journey - Well Done

Sunday 25 November 2012 18.00 GMT

As the Savile scandal shows, ignorance of paedophilia harms efforts to tackle [?] it

"News stories provoke panic but not informed debate. A new charity aims to change that

Gary Glitter was found guilty of abusing two young girls and jailed for three years in Vietnam.

As I write this article, I worry about what you will think of me. Saying anything remotely sympathetic about paedophilia is bound to invite grave suspicions. Even academic interest in the topic is cause for concern; why is he interested in that? The only acceptable attitude to paedophilia seems to be outright condemnation. All you need to know is that it is bad. Very bad.

The Jimmy Savile affair has sharpened attitudes. It has also shown how insidious and pervasive the sexual abuse of children is, and how brazen it can be [has it?]. Apparently child sexual abuse can occur under the noses of television producers, in front of cameras on national television, without anyone noticing. Or did they turn a blind eye? [or did it happen at all?] Sexual crimes against children seem to occur everywhere, even in places considered sanctuaries of family values: children's programmes, Top of the Pops, hospital wards, care homes, churches. It seems that no child is safe from the predatory reach of the paedophile [sic].

Public reaction is hardly surprising: perpetrators must be exposed, vilified, punished, removed from society; everything possible must be done to protect children from them. Those who tolerate them or fail to recognise them are also guilty; heads must roll.

Surely the best way to tackle so serious a scourge – like any other major public health scare – is to commission an expert study of it, so that we can design and implement safeguards based on the best scientific evidence. Yet, as I have said, anyone who takes this approach to paedophilia provokes suspicion. How can they be so objective and neutral and calm? Are they perhaps harbouring perverse tendencies themselves?"

"Monday will see the start of a brave experiment. To try to rectify the current situation a new charity, the Loudoun Trust, has been formed, bringing together specialist academics and practitioners. It will compile a database of reliable information on the causes, mechanisms and meanings of sexual crimes against children, and is committed to making this information accessible. Initiated by friends and associates of the legendary Observer editor, the late David Astor, and formally launched at the House of Lords, the trust believes that the public interest is best served by evidence-based information on this difficult subject."

Mark Solms "is professor in neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society. He is a trustee of the Loudoun Trust." 

28 October 2010 Registered


"Charitable objects


Research, action and accountability on child abuse

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