Stories about pedophilia are filling news bulletins and none more so than the sordid tale of UK celebrity DJ and charity worker, Jimmy Savile. “Sir Jim”, as he became after his knighthood, was ubiquitous on TV when I was growing up in England in the seventies.

Nabakov's sympathies lay with Lolita's abuser…

Top of the Pops was the forerunner of Countdown in Australia and the favourite show of most adolescents. Savile was born in Leeds and his broad Yorkshire accent was similar to mine. It was a time when it was rare to hear anyone from regional areas on prime-time television.

As part of a publicity drive for his new TV show, Jim’ll Fix It, Savile visited my school in 1975. I didn’t speak to him, but he reminded me of the Pied Piper that day, strutting around with hundreds of followers falling in behind. What I remember most about seeing him on TV is a strange sense of guilty betrayal that I didn’t like him.

Because of that shared tribal background I felt we should have a connection but Jim was never going to fix it for me. He was inexplicably inappropriate with words and gestures and unrelentingly made me feel uncomfortable.

It is the same unease I had recently looking at albums by famous British photographer David Hamilton.

Three volumes by Hamilton have sat virtually unopened on our bookshelves for 30 years and, knowing they are considered classics, my wife and I thought them a good bet to sell.

When I flicked through the pages I didn’t know if we should sell them, or shred them.

They are exclusively of adolescent girls who are never named and never smile. They are objects.

Most of the children have on only a few flimsy clothes and there is a strong sexual element to the content.

Interestingly, the most highly provocative and sexual poses are of girls fully clothed, so it not necessarily the nudity I find offensive, but the evident sexualisation of these kids.

My wife was given the volumes by a boyfriend 35 years ago when they were widely considered sensitive portrayals of innocent, young beauties.

I certainly didn’t object when I first saw them but now, 30 years on and as a father, I find them exploitative and degrading.

When the controversy over the photos of teenagers by Bill Henson erupted a few years back I instinctively sided with the artist.

The hoi polloi don’t necessarily appreciate some forms of artistic expression, I told myself assuredly, and surely this was just another instance.

As soon as I saw at the photos I felt differently. I can’t categorically reject them but I have considered doubts as to their merit and justification.

The argument is that the parents of those juveniles who posed for Henson approved of the artist’s work but that doesn’t take in to account how they or their children might feel 20 years on.

Teenagers flaunting their budding sexuality is a healthy part of adolescent development but any adult taking advantage of their vulnerability is a predator.

There is no situation where a child and an adult have the same or shared responsibilities and the differences are amplified when the adult has guardianship or authority over the child.

One of the greatest works of twentieth century literature tells the story of a middle-aged literature professor and his obsession with a 12-year-old girl.

Humbert Humbert becomes sexually involved with Dolores Haze soon after becoming her stepfather.

His nickname for her is Lolita, which is the name of Vladimir Nabakov’s novel.

Humbert is the narrator and the story is told sympathetically and exclusively from his perspective. There is little insight into how Dolores feels about her situation.

Lolita has been described as “sheer unrestrained pornography” but for me it is nothing of the sort and lacks any sense of eroticism.

It is the memoir of a paedophile gradually awakening to the horrors his actions have inflicted on another human being made even more pertinent that the person is a child in his care.

This is a different interpretation to the critic who wrote Lolita is “not the corruption of an innocent child by a cunning adult, but the exploitation of a weak adult by a corrupt child”.

It is a highly dangerous attitude to hold that children are imitators of sexual advances but it is far more commonplace than we might consider.

What the stories behind the recent headlines tell us is that there are adults mainly men, but not exclusively who will sexually exploit children given unmonitored access.

These people work in government, the church, as teachers, police officers and scout leaders.

They are our neighbours, family members and, yes, even TV stars.

There are no guarantees for a parent to safeguard a child but being thoroughly involved in their lives is an important step.

Our children will inevitably interact with a number of institutions during their journey to adulthood, and we can’t just drop them off at the door.

But we need to go further.

Wherever we encounter it, we need to be more active and vocal about denouncing the sexualisation of children still prevalent across our society.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm Eastern time.

Most commented


Show oldest | newest first

    • bec says:

      06:28am | 23/11/12

      Dude, did you even read Lolita?

      Humbert was ultimately the most unreliable of narrators; Nabokov (yes, spelled that way) didn’t *want* readers to sympathise with him. He was a pathetic, childish, selfish, snivelling man who was nevertheless a masterfully created character because of his ever-spinning rationalisation hamster. If you’ve actually read the book, the girl herself isn’t even acting in a remotely sexual way, nor does she respond to Humbert’s advances with anything resembling enjoyment or happiness. We are supposed to see a pathetic guy throwing himself all over a very normal, pissed-off girl while waxing poetic to make himself feel better. That doesn’t inspire a huge amount of sympathy at all.

      Clutch your pearls all you want, but calling a classic novel pornography (when the sex scenes comprise perhaps two pages out of two hundred) because its title has become synonymous with deliberately precocious children is a bit lame.

    • Sickemrex says:

      06:56am | 23/11/12

      Dude, did you even read the article? The author also didn’t think Lolita was pornographic and it’s possible you and he place the word “sympathetic” in a different context. The author linked the book to the sexualisation of children via a critic that placed responsibility for the sexual relationship on the child. Maybe I read a different article.

    • Lefty Matt says:

      07:15am | 23/11/12

      Spot on Bec. This piece by Cook is rendolent of shrill, ignorant moralising of a few years ago that surrounded the ridiculous fuss over Bill Hensons work.

    • Anne71 says:

      08:23am | 23/11/12

      “Humbert is the narrator and the story is told sympathetically and exclusively from his perspective. There is little insight into how Dolores feels about her situation.

      Lolita has been described as “sheer unrestrained pornography” but for me it is nothing of the sort and lacks any sense of eroticism.”

      Bec, I’m guessing you only saw the title of this article and perhaps the word “Lolita” in the text, and then went off on your rant. Because I don’t see how anyone could read the above two paragraphs and then put the interpretation you have on them.

    • Haxton Waag says:

      09:37am | 23/11/12

      Bec, you did not read the article very carefully, if at all.

    • Grey says:

      03:25pm | 23/11/12

      The author’s message was confused by the caption to the photo:  “Nabakov’s sympathies lay with Lolita’s abuser…”
      Blame the sub-editor!

    • Mahhrat says:

      06:55am | 23/11/12

      “Teenagers flaunting their budding sexuality is a healthy part of adolescent development but any adult taking advantage of their vulnerability is a predator.”

      I really like this sentence.  There is a difference between kids growing up and discovering themselves and the acts of an adult being part of that.

      There also needs to be a line.  I would consider hot pink, size 0 fishnet pants to be across that line.  Kmart, I’m looking at you.  Even my then 6 yr old thought that was weird.

    • Borderer says:

      09:16am | 23/11/12

      I agree, “Hooker wear” for children, and no I’m not talking about teenagers or even 12 year olds is just wrong. What were their parents thinking when they purchased them?

    • Austin 3:16 says:

      11:53am | 23/11/12

      Mahhrat +1
      Borderer they might have been thinking along the lines of “oh God if I buy her those ridiculous pants then she’ll finally shut up about them” smile

    • Kika says:

      12:10pm | 23/11/12

      That sort of clothing is absolutely abhorrent. I can’t understand why any parent would want their children to wear clothes like that.

    • ByStealth says:

      12:22pm | 23/11/12

      I’m on the same pages as you guys. Society needs to tolerate kids learning to be adults, but at a reasonable pace and at an appropriate stage in their development.

      Not this kiddy beauty pageant crap or denim cutoff shorts for 10yo’s.

    • Worried Adult says:

      12:39pm | 23/11/12

      @Mahrat, I would just take out the predator part in some instances.  I don’t think all paedophiles are predators per se, some operate more as a seducer (but no less dastardly).  After watching the Jimmy Saville story on 4 Corners, I absolutely believe some (most maybe) paedophiles are predators, just not all. 

      A lot of times the paedophile seems to go softly, softly, which is what makes it so different to child rape (overt and obvious).  The softly softly part is the grooming, the little touches here and there until it escalates.  I think this is supported by the number of people who “witnessed” Saville’s behaviour, but at the time did not think too much of it.  So the behaviour is insidious, covert, subtle and difficult to identify.  Is a girl sitting on a man’s knee inherently sensual or sexual?  At what point does contact become sexual?  A mundane gesture can very quickly (too quickly to fathom) slip from acceptable to inappropriate.

      Some of the defence arguments and/or justifications, such as “the child instigated it,” is a load of rubbish.  It MAY be true, but it is the responsibility of the adult to not respond to it and distance him/herself from it.  The power and authority is with the adult and he/she must exert that in the right way and stymie any underage advances.  Sometimes we need to protect children from themselves…“for they know not what they do”.

      At the end of the day, regardless of whether it is a mental illness, or a genetic predisposition, the fact remains behaviours can be changed, and the first place a behaviour can change is within the person him/herself.  It is when the paedophile gives in to temptation and revels in the behaviour that it becomes predatory.

      If any of this sounds like I sympathise with paedophiles, that could not be further from the truth.  The fact remains as adults were are supposed to be Guardians to children: our own and anyone elses.  We must protect them.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      07:03am | 23/11/12

      There’s something a bit “off” with the premise and tone of this article.

      “He was inexplicably inappropriate with words and gestures and unrelentingly made me feel uncomfortable.”

      Unrelentingly eh?  Was he pursuing you?

      It seems you are personalising an issue that you weren’t personally involved in, trying to inject yourself in to the story.  You’re attempting to build a case against someone after the fact.

      Did you go on the record with your suspicions BEFORE these allegations were aired?

      “My wife was given the volumes by a boyfriend 35 years ago when they were widely considered sensitive portrayals of innocent, young beauties.”

      That would be a very generous interpretation.

      Many other (most?) people regarded these books as simply being accessible masturbatory material featuring young girls, being pushed as “art”.

      “I certainly didn’t object when I first saw them but now, 30 years on and as a father, I find them exploitative and degrading.”

      You claim you had bad feelings about some TV show presenter, without evidence to back that up, but you were fine with books of nude children. Didn’t they give you the same misgivings?

    • Tatty_Anne says:

      08:21am | 23/11/12

      Perceptions change.  I remember having a discussion online with an american friend who was quite insistent that Lewis Carrol was a paedophile.  He may well have been but I wasn’t prepared to label the long dead author as such on the basis of retrospecively applying modern interpretation on victorian english mores.

    • TracyH says:

      07:09am | 23/11/12

      He didn’t call it pornography. This article is excellent - I was just thinking I’ll be truly amazed if any commenters could find fault with it- and there’s your comment, bec!

    • Philosopher says:

      09:19am | 23/11/12

      how was it ‘great’? The author professed a bit of shame (no doubt spurred on by his wife) about a coffee-table book of teenage soft porn he used to enjoy; confessed he knew the Saville animal; and made some vague suggestions that we ‘need to go further’ on stopping the sexualisation of children (whatever that means - does this include mothers buying shorts so small they resemble underwear, for their girls under 10?).

      He advanced no thesis in how to distinguish art from erotica from pornography… on the natural risk-taking of teenage girls… and on the nearly insurmountable problem of the internet. So this article was far from great, in my opinion.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      11:13am | 23/11/12


      The words “and unrelentingly made me feel uncomfortable” come to mind when reading this article.

    • TracyH says:

      11:42am | 23/11/12

      Philosopher - I believe the emphasis was on the concept that despite youthful curiosity , there is no excuse to become a predator. Also the very apt point that perspectives do indeed change with age - which would probably be lost on readers in their 20s or 30s.

    • Horse says:

      07:11am | 23/11/12

      Certainly, children should not be sexualised, especially pre-pubertal children.

      Puberty changes the dynamic in a number of ways, where ‘taking advantage’ & ‘promiscuity’ might be a couple of several key aspects to be addressed.

    • Rose says:

      08:26am | 23/11/12

      If an adult enters a relationship with a teenager, the blame rests solely with the adult. Every single adult has the responsibility to walk away from such a situation, regardless of the actions of the teenager. The adult will always be the one ‘taking advantage’. No exceptions!!

    • PsychoHyena says:

      10:54am | 23/11/12

      @Rose, I agree with you where the relationship is maintained, however, based on news articles in the US and Australia where minors have committed rape against adults, I don’t feel blaming the adult for that ‘relationship’ is appropriate.

      The sad fact is that while there are adults who seek and form relationships with minors, the reverse is also true and unless you have been on the receiving end of the hell your life can be put through when you don’t reciprocate someone’s feelings and they happen to be a little off-centre, I don’t think you can lay all the blame on the adult.

      I believe people should really look into what’s happening in a lot of the more recent cases involving teenagers.

      Technically there should be three levels, under x age = criminal; between x and y ages = illegal with both parties receiving counselling; > y = legal. Of course that’s a very basic model and would need modifying to adjust for the various variables.

      Let’s face it there are some situations in this world where you just make a dumb decision at a dumb time, seen enough reports of those cases too.

      Though why an adult would get involved with someone under 18 and have to deal with all the crap that comes with those years I have no idea.

    • Laura says:

      11:13am | 23/11/12

      Like with most things, there’s a grey area here..

      What is considered an ‘adult’? Is it over the age of consent?  What if your daughter is 15 and 11 months, and her boyfriend is 16 and 1 month - is that still statutory rape? Technically yes, but is he ‘taking advantage’ of her?  Would you let that relationship continue, or have him arrested?

      What about a 50yr old in a sexual relationship with a 16 year old? Legally, it’s fine - but morally?

    • Rose says:

      11:26am | 23/11/12

      Rape has nothing to do with a sexual relationship, it is a criminal act, something done TO some one and never WITH someone, totally unrelated to what I was talking about.
      But no, there is no excuse for an adult having a sexual relationship with a teenager, it is up to the adult to ensure that they do not fall into any ‘trap’. People can justify it because they teenager supposedly made their life hell or whatever, but it really is a case of the adult needing to set clear and definite boundaries from the get go. When you have a clear, immovable position on what behaviour you accept and what you don’t, it becomes very ,much more straightforward to protect oneself from ‘being led astray’.
      I do agree though that I cannot see the attraction in even the idea of pursuing a teenager, all pain and no gain I would have thought!!

    • Debbie says:

      08:23am | 23/11/12

      As a mother of 2 preteen girls I heartily agree with this article. There is a unrelenting tide of clothes, tv, magazines and books aimed at sexualizing our children. It is a constant up hill battle to try and find what I deem to be age appropriate clothes in the shops for them, as most clothes for 8-12 year olds are only really suitable for much older kids if at all. Great article.

    • scott says:

      09:32am | 23/11/12

      Yeah, must be really hard to find a t-shirt with a Barbie print on it!

      If you are struggling to find age-appropriate attire for your kids, you are looking in the wrong stores.

    • Rose says:

      09:35am | 23/11/12

      It’s a shame, it does seem that many kids no longer wear kid’s clothes, they wear stuff that is more like mini-adult clothes. I have a (step) niece who is 10 who wears clothes only suitable for much older teenagers, has her eyebrows waxed and is always dressed in a fully colour co-ordinated outfits. She has facebook and most of the photos of her are posed similar to the way models pose in magazines. It breaks my heart that her perception of the world is going to be so skewed toward appearances and attracting male attention. She lives interstate and there’s little impact that I can have, although I am toying with the idea of inviting her here for a holiday and getting her involved in activities bound to dirty up her clothes and mess her hair up a bit. I think it would be awesome to see her just be a kid, not a porcelain doll.

    • ibast says:

      08:27am | 23/11/12

      I see the sexualisation of children and young teenagers as rank hypocrisy in our society.  Those that believe that a 14 year old model being sexualised in advertising is fine need to have a think about what they are really saying.

      We have chosen an age of consent in our law and any older person touching someone below that age, is labelled a pedophile.  It is not therefore OK to represent people below that age of consent as sexually available.

      When we see images of children below the age of consent being represented sexually, we should as enraged as we would be at pedophiles.  To do otherwise is hypocrisy.

    • Stinky Pete says:

      12:40pm | 23/11/12

      Interestingly I have seen some of these young models and would have put them at at least 18 and being quite supprised they were so young. Their appeal as models comes from their looking older and more sophisticated not looking young and girly.

    • Paul says:

      08:32am | 23/11/12

      I have no idea how anyone can defend that book Lolita… its about a grown man trying to have sex with a 12 year old girl. I don’t care how pathetic they make him out to be, I hate this whole ‘oh but its a classic story,’ or it has ‘excellent character development’  being used to justify the subject matter- the same with the Bill Hensen work saying that ‘its just art.’ I think that anybody who views children as sexual objects should be locked up, there’s no way that pedofilia and a sexual interest in children should be normalized. I have no interest in reading about a predator pursuing a child, or viewing images of young girls in various states of undress…. you have to wonder about people who do. Rather than having kids pose in sexually provocative clothing etc, why not just let kids be kids??

    • Philosopher says:

      09:52am | 23/11/12

      so you admit you have not read Lolita? Well how can you comment on material you have not viewed?

    • Laura says:

      10:21am | 23/11/12

      People defend Lolita because it’s a fictional story, Paul. Should we purge fiction of all questionable subject matter?  Don’t know about you but a world filled with Danielle Steele & Hardy Boys novels doesn’t sound appealing to me..

      ‘You have to wonder about the people that do…’ No you don’t.

      I’ve read Lolita, and I’m not a pedophile, I’ve read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas & I’m not a drug addict, I’ve read American Psycho & I’m not a sociopathic mass murderer… reading something, and doing something is not the same.

    • Jeremy says:

      10:38am | 23/11/12

      The situation is not ‘normalized’ in the novel. It is intentionally uncomfortable and the reader is very aware that the narrator is doing the wrong thing. Why should literature not explore issues that are distasteful? You may read what you will for your own pleasure, but for consistencies sake I hope you never read any sort of crime fiction at all.

    • Jeremy says:

      10:39am | 23/11/12

      The situation is not ‘normalized’ in the novel. It is intentionally uncomfortable and the reader is very aware that the narrator is doing the wrong thing. Why should literature not explore issues that are distasteful? You may read what you will for your own pleasure, but for consistencies sake I hope you never read any sort of crime fiction at all.

    • TracyH says:

      12:02pm | 23/11/12

      But Laura- would you say the same thing if a character Lolita was 5 years old? Are there any great works about sex with 7 year olds? I actually don’t know, maybe there are. All I can think of is De Sade. Does this mean that great writers of today just know it’s not art. Perhaps this is one area ofife that can be remain academic because people dint need a great novel to understand it’s sick.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      12:35pm | 23/11/12

      I don’t think there should be censorship with regard to fiction. even if the subject matter is unpalatable. It is a made up world for god’s sake, no adolescent was harmed in its making.  Its the same tired argument that watching a violent game will make you go out and do acts of violence.

      TracyH, most taboo novels actually deal with adolescents - and not 5 year olds - because its a grey zone. A 13 year old girl/boy can themselves write a novel which will leave you uncomfortable.  That’s why teenagers are a nightmare - because they are grown up but also not grown up enough to understand the motivations of the adult world.

      In sum its how you take it. Lolita can be titillation. Or a cautionary tale. Or simply an analysis of the darker recesses of the mind by a brilliant writer.

    • Robin says:

      02:20pm | 23/11/12

      Slightly off the mark, as it is not a predator etc, but you do realise how old Romeo and Juliet were, don’t you?  That is classic, and well written, but do you want your kids to be in the same situation ??  I hope you see the point I am (somewhat vaguely)  trying to make.

    • TracyH says:

      02:41pm | 23/11/12

      Yes Sydneygirl- but Laura mentioned that reading murder books doesn’t make us murders and that goes without saying - but we really don’t have child rape novels not because of legal censorshp - but because writers themselves know it’s not accepted- self regulation, if you like. There are writings available to cater to all sick tastes ( the recent case if the American cop reading and contributing to cannibal fantasy sites springs to mind) but would it EVER be called literature? So yes, wile there’s a grey area, I’d say decent people whom don’t want to contribute to the sexualisarion of children steer well clear out of reason- not by legal censure. This is why Hansen et al are fir the main part not respected- they may have a plethora of fans who’ll defend their ‘art’, but that dies not make it acceptable to the majority.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      02:54pm | 23/11/12

      “but you do realise how old Romeo and Juliet were, don’t you?”

      That is as AdamC has written below, teenagers mucking around, messy but preferable.

      It still happens even if parents don’t like it. Just Puberty Blues.

      Though young folk sometimes have a snarky take on R&J (5 days of romance and both dead!) indicating that they are not all brainless folk who will bed the next boy/girl they think of as R/J.

    • AdamC says:

      08:57am | 23/11/12

      I do not buy any real link bewteen the alleged ‘sexualisation’ of children or adolescents and sexual abuse. (I am not sure how you ‘sexualise’ an adolescent, given that the aolescent stage of life is almost entirely defined by sexuality anyway.)

      In fact, I would argue that it is actively destructive. Think about it. It effectively endorses the ‘miniskirt’ rape defence. In truth, sexual abuse is not simply about sexual attraction, but about betrayals of trust, unwanted sexual demands and acts of vioence.

      Adolescent girls are sexual beings. However, they are not sex objects. We have laws against having sex with minors not because teenagers do not have sexual desires, but to prevent older people from taking advantage of these desires at a time when the teenager may not be emotionally developed enough to consent to sex.

      Sexual abuse actually thrives in sexually repressed communities.

    • Philosophy says:

      09:40am | 23/11/12

      excellent comments. Ten out of ten!

    • bella starkey says:

      10:04am | 23/11/12

      This is probably the best comment I’ve seen on this subject.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      11:15am | 23/11/12

      Spot on.

      I think this is applicable to adolescent boys too, the discussion is more or less often on adolescent girls.

    • AdamC says:

      11:34am | 23/11/12

      I wasn’t really expecting anyone to agree with me. So I got a pleasant surprise!

      SydneyGirl, defiinitely. I mentioned girls only because the author did. When I was a gay teenager, a number of my peers became sexually active at quite a young age. (Many of them were 14 or 15, even 13.) Usually, their partners were adult men at least several years older than them. You have to question the healthiness of those relationships, let alone their legality.

      While messy, I would prefer teens to have their first sexual and intimate relationships among themselves. Society shares tha view by regulating the age of consent.

    • NotTheSame says:

      11:51am | 23/11/12

      I disagree with your basic premise, Adam C. Adult women who are aware of the impact of clothing they choose is one story. I agree that the onus is on men to control themselves, absolutely and unequivocally. Most men do, in our society, unless they are driven to dominate and control women via forced sex, ie rape. The same definitely applies to children. Those aroused by underaged kids should do the same. Oops.  Do you see the difficulty here? We’re talking about adults with a perverted sexual urge aimed at youth before we even begin to present children as objects of desire. It may turn some paedophiles off to see per-pubescent children dressed like “hookers”, if they are attracted  to “unspoilt” innocence, but it may equally arouse those who favour the pubescent. Not all paedophiles are alike, but all children are alike in that they are too young to understand and cope with sexuality,  regardless of their feelings, hence our protective laws, as you rightly point out. Our protection should extend to they way we dress them, even if they drive us nuts with their constant whinging to follow the latest fashion trend, available in any cheap chainstore in your neighbourhood.

    • SydneyGirl says:

      12:14pm | 23/11/12

      Ha AdamC, the opposite of a flaming!

      However you do have NotTheSame to balance it out:). 

      NotTheSame I don’t get your point. As AdamC says, adolescents are sexual beings. However, they are not sex objects.  And that pretty much sums it up?

    • NotTheSame says:

      12:53pm | 23/11/12

      My point is, SydneyGirl, is quite simple. Paedophilia is a sexual perversion which targets those who are too young to understand sexuality and the impact of their attire on those who would take advantage of their innocence. Potentially arousing paedophiles who specifically prey on the pubescent does not strike me as a great idea.

      Adult women, on the other hand, who are fully aware of their sexuality may choose to dress how they wish. Most normal adult men with a normal sex urge control themselves.

    • NotTheSame says:

      01:46pm | 23/11/12

      Honestly, in a perfect world everyone- girl, boy, man or woman should be able to walk down the street naked and not be judged, targetted or objectified. However, the sad reality is that this society does not function like that and children need protecting, even though we reinforce ideas of objectification. Adults can make their own decisions.

    • AdamC says:

      02:20pm | 23/11/12

      NotTheSame, but it is fairly well established that one’s attire, etc, has almost no impact on the risk of being sexually assaulted. And, to the extent that it does, surely it is encumbent upon would-be rapists to restrain themselves when they see provocatively-dressed potential victims walking past.

      The idea that adults, especially men, cannot control their sexual desires is rubbish. Of course they can. Furthermore, the notion that it is the responsibility of potential victims, usually women, to not provoke potential attackers by arousing them, is outragreous. Indeed, places where that philsophy is put into practice, such as in many muslim countries that enforce extreme modesty on women, have very high rates of sexual violence.

      So I do not buy any relationship between slutty dressing and sexual violence. (If there were such a connection, we would have among the highest rates of sexual assault in the world, which we do not.)

      Also, given that paedophiles are attracted to children, wouldn’t ‘sexualising’ the children (by making them look older and more developed) reduce their attractiveness to paedophiles? It is just a thought.

    • Philosopher says:

      03:01pm | 23/11/12

      Adam C, are you implying that Australians are among the ‘sluttiest dressers’ in the the world? Have you been to Brazil? We’re practically prudish by comparison.

    • NotTheSame says:

      03:30pm | 23/11/12

      Adam C, have you even read my comments, or are you merely projecting what you think I’ve said, because I’ve agreed with you re attire and older women,  especially about the onus being on men to control themselves and the fact that  most men can. 

      However, men who  specifically  prey on the pubescent (meaning anyone aged between 10-14, in my definition) are not “normal” men. They do not have a normal sexual desire to be attracted to adults. Adult women are too sophisticated for them.  Although I would love to say to these kids, yes, go ahead, dress a exactly as you please, you are not objects,, they have limited understanding of sexual attraction and seduction, although they may have very definite sexual feelings and look to be of age. If they do, most adult men would run a mile as soon as they realise the sexy chick is a child, agreed. However, there are those who would not. Burgeoning sexuality  is highly attractive to some paedophiles. The kids though are too young to cope with the consequences of a sexual encounter. That’s why we have laws protecting them, as we’ve both said.

      I have also already mentioned that SOME paedophiles would be turned off by older loooking children, especially the pre-pubescent dressed to look older.

    • maria says:

      08:58am | 23/11/12

      Wherever we encounter it, we need to be more active and vocal about denouncing the sexualisation of children still prevalent across our society.

      How can we be more active and vocal when the main subject of our education is “TOLERANCE”.

      The dictionary defines that wonderful word as;

      Disinclined to interfere with others’ways or opinions
      put up with…
      permit and ability to endure pain-stress…..

      It would be less stressful to teach from early age what is democracy which
      is a society in which the citizens are sovereign and control the government.

      Direct democracy is the way to check political power. It allows benevolent and enlightened citizens to oppose laws made by evil politicians .....and Makes for better legislation.

    • lower_case_andrew says:

      09:04am | 23/11/12

      “I certainly didn’t object when I first saw them but now, 30 years on and as a father, I find them exploitative and degrading.”

      So what did you end up doing?

      Did you sell these “degrading” works, or did you shred them?

    • Laura says:

      11:04am | 23/11/12

      I’d be interested to know this as well - it would make the article a tad hypocritical if he ended up profiting from the sexualisation of children that he is vehemently denouncing..

      Obviously the only moral thing to do, would be to shred them, right?

    • Rufferto says:

      09:30am | 23/11/12

      The sooner they grow up the sooner they will buy your crap! That’s all its about. No need to work on boys because they don’t consume as much and are wired to want sex anyway.

    • Robert S McCormick says:

      09:35am | 23/11/12

      Craig, what I cannot understand is why all the fuss is being made now? Why was none made when this creepy looking git was alive? It must have been known throughout the BBC & show business as well what he was up to. Or were all the players at the same thing?
      What is the point of raking it all up now? The bastard is dead. He will never, ever be brought to account for his crimes. It is almost ironic that his so-called ‘knighthood’ was bestowed upon him by the one organisation which has throughout the world the worst reputation for harbouring, protecting & covering-up the activities of Paedophiles: The Roman Catholic Church. The hypocrites running this corrupt organisation say it cannot rescind their Star Paedophile’s ‘knighthood’ because he is dead. If the English Monarch (the Head of the Anglican Church) can rescind titles she has bestowed on people there is no reason why the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Jozef Ratsinger, aka Benedict something, can’t do the same.
      So far as the sexualisation of children, particularly girls, reportedly aged between 3 & 7 years old, is concerned who is to blame for that?
      Yes, the producers of those silly magazines are behind it. Yes, the promoters of those obscene, mostly American, Little Girls Beauty Pageants are behind it.
      It is the Parents, particularly the MOTHERS, of those babies who must bear 90% of the blame.
      It is they who put their babies into those magazines.
      It is they who put their babies into those obscene pageants.
      It is they who buy the clothes or the materials to make those sluttish clothes.
      It is they who buy the make-up which they slap on their babies faces to make them look like hookers.
      It is they who pay for those extravagant hairstyles which make their babies look like whores
      It is they who prostitute their babies.
      It is they who are exploiting those babies
      It is they who are solely responsible for that abuse.
      It is they who are responsible if their babies get abducted, raped & murdered.
      If parents don’t want their children sexualised it is their responsibility to see to it that they aren’t.
      No apologies if you parents don’t like the Truth.

    • St. Michael says:

      11:52am | 23/11/12

      “The hypocrites running this corrupt organisation say it cannot rescind their Star Paedophile’s ‘knighthood’ because he is dead. If the English Monarch (the Head of the Anglican Church) can rescind titles she has bestowed on people there is no reason why the head of the Roman Catholic Church, Jozef Ratsinger, aka Benedict something, can’t do the same.”

      First up, the church has said repeatedly that if it knew anything of Savile’s dealings, they would not have given him absolution, much less a bloody knighthood.

      As to why you can’t take the knighthood off him: because he’s already dead, and unlike British honours the Papal honour expires along with the recipient.  He’s not entitled to the Papal title of ‘Sir’ JimmySavile in any event.

      Doing otherwise, as I once said to dear old P. Darvio, would be repeating the hilarity of Pope Formosus circa 800 AD.  Do you really want the Catholic Church to go through the equivalent of digging up the dude’s body, put it on trial, find guilt for want of Savile providing any response to the allegations, and then toss the body into the Tiber?

    • Pattem says:

      01:51pm | 23/11/12

      @St Michael, you wrote: “Do you really want the Catholic Church to go through the equivalent of digging up the dude’s body, put it on trial, find guilt for want of Savile providing any response to the allegations, and then toss the body into the Tiber?”

      If it worked for Pope Formosus, then why not…It just might have to be the Thames instead. smile

    • St. Michael says:

      03:06pm | 23/11/12

      @ Pattem: but then you’d have people like Robert saying the Catholic Church is out of touch! wink  Me, I think post-grave trials could be awesome.  Provided you phrased the questions right, you could get Stalin to admit he murdered forty million of his own people.  Or even get Osama to admit he was a CIA operative.  This one would even have the moist element of a Pope Formosus trial, too, given the SEALS for once fed the fish on that one.)

      (P.S.: Apparently a monk did fish Formosus’ convicted corpse out of the Tiber, and trudged it, rather soggily one supposes, back up the Vatican Hill to give it a proper (re)burial.  Formosus was deemed an antipope, but in the last couple hundred years or so he was restored to the line as it was realised the disapproval over his election had more to do with politics than religion.  Or maybe because they just thought he was an awesome swimmer.)

    • Pattem says:

      04:36pm | 23/11/12

      @St. Michael, ha, I can see it now, a sneaky ventriloquist or puppeteer helping the corpses to answer the inquisitional questions.

      The retrial of Formosus sounds interesting; I’ll have to read up on it smile

      BTW, one last thing re an unfinished debate we had some time back in a Piracy article.  I made the point of donating books to a library, but not selling them to a Second Hand Bookseller, and you questioned to logic there.

      Suffice to say that Public Libraries pay annual fees for Public Lending Rights which affords them the privilege of lending under this licence arrangement.  Second Hand Booksellers do not enter into any such licence agreement (no fees forthcoming there), and so are in breach of the standard copyright disclaimer of any book: the right (or lack thereof) to (re)sell of a book.  That’s why you often find the covers ripped off books in stalls and markets - it’s no longer the same book (now that’s logical!).

    • Pattem says:

      04:59pm | 23/11/12

      @St. Michael, so it would seem that the rule of papal infallibility did not apply to Formosus.  He probably found it difficult to swim minus three fingers on his right hand - and the fact he was already dead wouldn’t have helped either.

      Maybe the Sink or Float trial could have been employed (yeah, I know it came later), so that if Formosus sank, he should have been exonerated and perhaps even reinstated as pope - maybe not.

    • Clark says:

      09:50am | 23/11/12

      In alot of cases, when a human, straight male, sees a female who appears to be a fully developed woman, he will be attracted to said female.  That is nature, instinct etc…  What separates us from the aimals and makes us civilised is that this male won’t do anything about this attraction if she is of a very very young age.  Is isn’t our desires but our actions that count.  As long as one’s actions do not hurt anybody, he can desire whatever or whoever they want.

    • Philosopher says:

      10:12am | 23/11/12

      can a man harmlessly ‘desire’ his daughter just so long as he doesn’t act out his wishes? Difficult territory here Clark. At some point even private thoughts are morally reprehensible.

    • Clark says:

      11:11am | 23/11/12

      As a father of a 4 year old daughter, the idea of a man having sexual desire towards his daughter, regardless of age, is sick and repugnant.  But if said man doesn’t act on it, how are we to know what his desires are?  We can’t (and shouldn’t) police what happens in anyone’s mind.  Chances are, if this hypthertical man is having these feelings, he is punshing himself more than we ever could.

    • Bear says:

      11:17am | 23/11/12

      What makes us worse than animals is people DO act it out on sExually undeveloped people. Animals don’t. They may kill them and eat them (oh wait, we do that too) but they don’t rape baby animals.

    • Michael says:

      11:41am | 23/11/12

      It’s not called rape if an animal has sex with another animal without consent Bear because the whole thing is a human construct defined by a human language.

      Animals do “rape” if you use the term rape to define the sexual encounters they have. Dolphins, squid, monkeys and apes, these animals do “rape” or have sex with partners that don’t consent some birds do also.

    • Kika says:

      12:17pm | 23/11/12

      Michael - said animals (bar monkeys) usually do so with fellows of their own sexual maturity.
      Bonobos - our closest living cousin - do regularly which goes to show that those who do act out on these urges have very primitive frontal lobe control on their impulses.

      And why men? Yes there are sick women out there but it’s always men taking advantage of the weak.

    • Jeremy says:

      10:47am | 23/11/12

      I don’t consider Hamilton to be particularly exploitative. He was an artist of his time, and his pictures can be quite beautiful. They are also not only of unsmiling girls. My mother has a book of his and there are girls, boys, smiling, not smiling, all kinds of pictures. Unfortunately, I just don’t think he is a very good artist, so the images don’t portray his intent as someone with more talent. Henson, on the other hand, is one of the greatest living photographers, and captures light in a way few have ever done.

    • Anjuli says:

      12:37pm | 23/11/12

      I am Northerner born in the 30’s never liked Jimmy Saville thought him a creep all those who knew about his liking for very young teenage girls are as guilty as he . The problem was those years women did not have the power they have now ,more is the pity.Parents did not warn their children as they do now ,even so it is still happening some where sometime . I feel really passionate on the subject of abusing children .These cretins do not deserve to live.


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter