Power and consent

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In this connection, I am struck by the similarity between arguments put forward against intergenerational sexual relations and arguments I've heard put forward by more 'liberal' supporters of apartheid. Interracial marriages don't work, we hear, because the gaps in cultures are too wide, and because of the inherent inequality of the situation. In both cases, the existing social structure uses a circular argument to justify the perpetuation of the status quo, ignoring any other possibilities, and in both cases, one of the groups involved remains notably silent, unconsulted. [...] But if the starting point is the issue of greater inequality, that only means that the struggle to transcend difference becomes more important. This is where male paedophiles, especially, need to prove that they are prepared to give up their socially power, both as adults and as men. [...]

Look at the PIE members who were trailed by private detectives, who had their phones tapped by the police, whose addresses were listed and houses photographed in national newspapers so that their neighbours broke up their homes and formed lynch mobs; who were forced to change names, jobs and identities after show trials; who were jeered at and spat upon by passers-by; whose very existence was a provocation justifying assault in the eyes of the judiciary. The person who publicly embraces the label paedophile is laying himself/herself open to all this. It is a step in a terrifying chasm of loneliness and violence, so big and so dark that only the very strongest feel able to make it. It is surely the greatest single imaginable act of power-stripping to voluntarily adopt a label when in the act of doing so one knows that one is, in all probability, denying oneself the chance of ever fulfilling one's closest emotional needs. [...]

source: 'Power and consent' by Eric Presland; From the book 'The Betrayal of Youth - Radical Perspectives on Childhood Sexuality, Intergenerational Sex, and the Social Oppression of Children and Young People'; Edited by Warren Middleton; CL Publications, London; 1986