Vigilance vital to keeping vile paedophiles at bay

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A group of possibly 10 men, including a garda and a teacher, are being investigated over the abuse and maltreatment of a 14-year-old boy. This horrifying case has only come to light because the boy's mother, in a fit of maternal worry, decided to check her son's mobile phone messages. [...] If this mother had not feared for her son, the abuse and the torment would have continued, and these abusers would remain free to act on their insidious desires. However, there are deeper levels to this complex story. The young lad in question, who was 13 when his contact with these paedophiles began, claims that the sexual relationships he had with them were all consensual. In other words, he is stating that he was not raped, and that, to his mind at least, there was no abuse. While most adults looking on would baulk at such a notion, we must remember that there are also those who would agree with it. [...]

What could cause a young boy from a loving, supportive family, who is still in the school system and doing well, to accede to the dark wishes of men such as these? It is a difficult question, but not one that is impossible to answer. The teens are a time of deep confusion, where physical drives that have not existed for the child before suddenly surface. These are drives that require an adult's level of emotional and intellectual understanding to harness and control, which is precisely why we set legal ages of consent on sexual congress. [...]

Children, particularly teens, will often say that they consented. Some will even state that they enjoyed the experience. But that does not make it right. The impact of such experiences for the long-term development of the individual can be hugely detrimental.

source: Article 'Vigilance vital to keeping vile paedophiles at bay' by Shane Dunphy (child protection worker and lecturer); www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3?ca=36&si=1784418&issue_id=15309&printer=1; 28 February 2007