[cut for sexual assault triggers]
What’s really cheesing me off today is the fucking annoying media reaction to the child “sex attacks” in a Queensland primary school. Yes, I’m just as horrified as everyone else that grade one boys forcibly took off a girl’s knickers and performed “sex acts” on her (which haven’t been described).
What is specifically pissing me off me about the media reaction is the “Oh, this never happened before the internet” remarks. “Early sexualisation of children!”, they shout, “Is NEW and is causing these NEW things that NEVER happened before! They must be imitating things they saw on the internetz! And, oh my, primary school sexual attacks are VERY, VERY RARE!”
Well, if Dr Carr-Gregg, child psychologist, has never come across such a thing in 20 years of practice, I can only say it is because the children in his care aren’t telling him everything.
Child-on-child sexual assaults and indecent assaults and harassment are not only not rare, they’re downright commonplace, unless I went to bizarro-world schools. (The schools I’m particularly recalling were a public primary school in an upper-class area, and a high-end Catholic primary school. Happily for me at the time, I was in an all-girls’-school by the time I got my period.)
There were routine routine bra-strap snappings and related taunts, in later primary school. But this crap sure wasn’t absent in early primary school, either. Gangs of boys would run up and grab a girl’s around the hem, lift the skirts, and spin her around and around while jeering various taunts at her. If a girl had new breast buds, they would punch her as hard as possible in the chest so that they could enjoy her pain and mortification. I remember another gang of boys who had a girl with cerebral palsy up against the back fence with her knickers off, doing who knows what to her. Hands up dresses and unwelcome touching happened all the time. And then there is whatever else I can’t remember. I haven’t combed my memory too closely.
We just didn’t tell anyone, and the teachers didn’t see, because the boys were smarter than that. And if we did tell someone? “Boys will be boys.” (Which a commenter has actually said in the Courier Mail comments thread about this incident.) You must have encouraged them somehow, (you dirty little bitch). Shall we call your parents in?”
That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.
Addit 21 Sep @2150:
Whew, now that I have that analysis-free blurt off my chest: What I think is going on here is a complete retconning of the Seventies (and thereabouts) to suit what is essentially a conservative agenda. The message is a straightforward When-I-Were-A-Lad one: “This sort of thing never happened in the Good Old Days; I blame new-fangled technologies and customs!” The proposed solution, of course, is to return to the Good Old Days as much as possible, to resist social change, for there be dragons.
The progressive agenda, on the other hand, demands a critical, reality-based account of history. It demands that we recognise that there was no golden age of chivalry. There was no time when men and boys respected women and girls, when the societally dominant protected the oppressed, when benevolence reigned. There was no time when harassment was very rare and child sexual assault didn’t exist; there was no sudden, sharp, recent decline into child sexualisation with a corresponding spike in attacks and assaults and disrespect and kids all over the lawn. This shit has gone on FOREVER, and the only way it’s ever going to stop is if we move forward, not backward.