The Concept Of Race As Defined In America’s Society Is Not True

It was ambition, greed and the quest for wealth and power that led to worldwide slavery and our present day concept of race color and racism.

This ambition created an ideology of racial difference between White and Black people based on the word race and the color of our skin. Which has divided America into two societies, one White and one, Black. One living the American Dream, while the other existing in its nightmare.

It was this divisive racial attitude that triggered an American culture and tradition of legalized Slavery, Segregation, Jim Crow Laws, traditional racial discrimination, hatred and disrespect in America and worldwide against Black People that has lasted for over 393 years, to the present day racist attitudes.

We have abolished the evil institution of slavery, Segregation and Jim Crow Laws. We have passed numerous laws making racial discrimination a crime and act of violence against other people because of their race, a hate crime.

But we have not abolished the concept of race from our social consciousness or even investigated whether or not the concept of race is really true. Because we still require our citizens to identify themselves according to race.

The racist attitudes that cause some of us to commit acts of racial discrimination and hate crimes are still alive because we have failed as a society and as individuals to adequately educate ourselves to deal with the truth about the false concept of race based on skin color.

Because of this failure, we have allowed race to become institutionalized in our hearts and minds. As a result, some people are still committing racially motivated hate crimes because of their belief in the false concept of race and the seeds of hatred it has planted in their Souls.

The concept of the word race as it is defined in our society is the social, racial difference between Black and White People based on the color of their skin, and ancestry bloodline.

The word race is a powerful, divisive, psychologically destructive, extremely emotional, hate word whose meaning is sub-human, which is an insult to all people of color. The word race is a killer and has resulted in the senseless death of millions of Human Beings.

It has embedded within its definition, as defined in our society, all of the ugly, mean spirited racial slurs, hatred, fears and social insults associated with being viewed and treated as inferior, Sub-Human, and someone’s personal property.

It has been and still is used by some to encourage hate, divisive hate speeches, fear and division between Black and White People.

It is responsible for all of the racially motivated hate crimes that have ever occurred in America and around the world for the past 400 years because of our persistent belief in race based on the color of our skin.

The color of our skin has nothing to with our race. Or the different skin color of the people we see in society.

But everything to do with nature’s natural environmental changes in our physical appearance because of the geographical regions of the world our ancestors have lived in for thousands of years.

These are culture regional changes rather than a physical or biological indicator of what race we are.

All Human Beings, have the ability to change physically and biologically to their environmental no matter where they live.

God has built genetic characteristics into all Humans that allow our bodies to self-heal and adjust and adapt to the changing environment in which we become inhabitants of for a short or long period of time.

Biologically, scientists have proven over the years through every test imaginable that the small measurable genetic differences between people of different skin colors are due to the environment of the geographical regions in the world where they live, not their race.

Some of us believe that our ancestry bloodline can determine our race, but this is not true. There are about 30 different blood types, but they are common across all of the so-called designated racial categories.

Anyone, no matter what social racial group you may be in, can exchange blood with anyone in the world regardless of culture or their skin color.

The only requirement is that both of us have the same blood type. If either of us were of a different race, we would be of a different species and not Human, and would not find a blood match.

Not only can all Human Beings exchange blood, we can also exchange body parts such as, hearts, kidneys, livers and lunges just to name a few.

Until 1967, before it became legal for Black and White people to marry, it was believed that our bloodline could determine our race.

There was a 1% standard blood test used to determine if you were Black or White. If you were a member of the White Race you had to have 100% White blood. But you only needed 1% of Black blood to be Black.

Therefore, if you are White and had anyone in your family bloodline who was Black, you are Black according to the 1% standard, no matter how White your skin may appear. However, none of this is true.

The actual truth about our blood is that its only power is to sustain the life of our flesh and blood body, it like skin color, has no power to determine race. The blood of man can not defined race because it is the same for all men and women.

Here is what God says about the blood in our flesh and blood bodies.

“And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” Acts 17:26, KJV.

There are no Biblical, biological or scientific evidences to support our belief that the world’s population is divided into two main racial groups, one Black and one White because of skin color.

Nevertheless, our belief in the false concept of race has divided America into an altered reality of two societies according to skin color, one White and privileged living the American Dream, one Black and under privileged living the American Nightmare.

According to the word of God The concept race based on our skin color is not true.

Yet, true or not, the false concept of race has created the all too real racial nightmare that has destroyed too many lives and dreams of freedom for Black People and some White people as well, in the World’s greatest nation of freedom and dreams for everyone.

We are still in denial about the truth because we are walking in this world by sight, not by faith where all we can see is the color of each other’s skin and the hate, fear and prejudice it provokes in some of us based on its false premises of racial differences.

To hate another Human Being for any reason is the same as committing spiritual suicide, here is why: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” 1John 3:15, KJV.

The brothers mentioned here are not just your biological Black or White brothers, but are your fellow Human Beings.

The real Human Beings on earth were created in the image and likeness of God, and God is a Spirit. This means we are Spiritual Beings as well, hosted inside of flesh and blood bodies until we have to give them back to the earth upon our death.

Therefore, the pigmentation of our skin or our living together and sharing similar characteristics cannot define who we are racially. Nor can it divide us into racial social categories that do not exist. While we can become multi-culture, we will never be able to become multi-racial.

Slavery Reparations: Past Overdue

The annals of history are stained by an undeniable era of darkness; though the genocide remains unspoken, trivialized and sanitized – Africans and persons of color were the victims of an unimaginable holocaust that spanned 400 years costing between 50 and 100 million lives.

Cities and villages were burned and razed, cultural treasures and technological contributions were ravaged and destroyed; a continent was raped – her youth and potential stolen, her resources exploited, a history was erased and a people denied their purpose and worth.

Born royalty, princes and princesses were stripped of their birthright, and they with their people robbed of God’s priceless gifts of freedom, dreams and aspirations.

With their dignity stripped, their beauty and worth denied, and families cruelly torn apart, a proud people were made outcasts in hostile, foreign lands and reduced to material property to labor and toil by an unenlightened society. Bound in chains, an innocent people were stuffed in squalid ship holes to die of hunger and sickness, to drown in ferocious storms or to survive to live an existence of degradation and hell…[1]

When Union forces captured the South in 1865 and put a formal end to slavery and its cruel and degrading practices, President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) and the federal government focused on restitution and reconstruction. The earliest reparations plan offered each freed slave 40 acres of land and a mule to work this land.

Under the auspices of this plan, General William Sherman (1820-1891) “set aside tracts of land in the sea islands around Charleston, SC”[2] exclusively for freed slaves. Within a short time, about “40,000 freed slaves [had been] settled on 400,000 acres in Georgia and South Carolina.”[3]

However, when President Lincoln was assassinated, his successor, Andrew Johnson (1808-1875), a southerner from North Carolina, rescinded the federal government’s promise and reversed the reparations program. Former slaves were then evicted from their new lands that reverted back to white ownership. Despite Johnson’s opposition, Congressman Thaddeus Stevens (1792-1868) made a feeble attempt in 1867 proposing an unsuccessful bill that again called for distributing land to freed slaves.

Ten years later, when reconstruction ended followed by the passage of repressive, restrictive laws (e.g. Jim Crow) and the formation of white terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in the south, plans to address “the atrocities of slavery” and compensate its victims were forgotten. Afterwards, African-Americans saw little justice, were denied their constitutional rights, and subjected to terrorism (e.g. the entire town of Rosewood, FL was destroyed in January 1923 by white mobs while local officials sworn to uphold the law watched and even participated, leaving up to 80 black men, women, and children dead) and illegal lynching for nearly 100 years until the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s finally liberated them.

By the time Lincoln’s “Emancipation Proclamation” was implemented through force, four million Africans and their descendants had been enslaved in the U.S. and its colonies from 1619 to 1865, which played an integral role in leading to and accelerating America’s rise in becoming the “most prosperous country.” With this fact, the original promise implemented by General Sherman, calculations of the “sum total of the worth of all the Black labor stolen through means of slavery, segregation, and contemporary discrimination” ranging from $5 to $24 trillion, and estimates of the original plots given to and then stolen from freed slaves being valued at about $1.5 million each,[4] the time for slave reparations is past overdue when the concept of “unjust enrichment” is pursued as advocated by Randall Robinson, the author of “The Debt: What America Owes to Blacks.”

Accordingly, despite many obstacles, including legal and low support among whites, the slavery reparations movement has been revived and is “gaining momentum.”[5] In 1989, Congressman John Conyers (b. 1929) introduced H.R. 40 “to examine the effects [that slavery and its remnants –] Jim Crow have had on African-Americans since emancipation,”[6] which to date lacks the necessary support required for passage. Next in 2000, based on careful research by Deadria Farmer-Paellmann (b. 1965), an Adjunct Professor of Law at Southern New England School of Law, who discovered evidence that Aetna wrote “policies on the lives of enslaved Africans with slave owners as the beneficiaries,” the company issued an “unprecedented apology” giving birth to the “corporate restitution movement.”[7]

By 2002, nine lawsuits had been filed, the most notable in the federal courthouse in Brooklyn, NY against FleetBoston Financial, CSX (a major railways firm) and Aetna for direct involvement in the slave trade. Currently cases are pending “against 20 companies from the banking, insurance, textile, railroad, and tobacco industries.” At the same time, California and twelve other states have enacted disclosure laws requiring insurance companies doing business within their boundaries to reveal “their role in slavery,” while boycotts are being staged against firms named in the Farmer-Paellmann litigation that are challenging restitution demands.[8]

Despite critics, the case for slavery reparations is convincing and strong:

The disparity between African Americans and Whites ($6000 vs. $88,000 net worth) would have been significantly smaller had President Johnson not rescinded Lincoln’s original promise or if the 1867 Reparations bill would have passed giving freed slaves “an economic foothold before waves of European immigrants poured into the U.S. during the latter decades of the 1800s.[9]

The United States has already given land away in its 230-year history. Approximately 246 million acres of “productive” land was given to about 1.5 million people through the Homestead Act. Ironically out of the 1.5 million beneficiaries that included many white immigrants, there were only 4000 native African Americans.

Internationally, land has also been awarded to compensate victims of injustices. The most notable example is the creation of Israel, which has benefited countless Holocaust (1938-1945) victims and their families.

Precedents also exist for monetary payments to victims of injustices. Since 1952, the German government and corporations (along with those of Austria and Switzerland, to name others) have paid more than $120 billion to fund early Israeli projects and compensate Holocaust survivors. Presently about 120,000 Holocaust survivors (once about 275,000) are still receiving lifetime reparation payments. At the same time, “Japanese-Americans interned during World War II are receiving reparation for their loss of property and liberty during that period” after filing a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act, which “waives the government’s ‘sovereign immunity’ in some situations,”[10] and American Indian tribes have and continue to receive compensation for “lands ceded to the U.S. by them in various treaties.”[11]

Many ask, “Would reparations for slavery be just?”[12] arguing that the practice was originally legal, “[n]ot a single person directly affected by slavery remains alive,”[13] the cost of tracing lineages to slaves would be unbearable, the process next to impossible, “no one alive today owned slaves,” and that “payments based on race alone would be perceived… as a monstrous injustice… setting back race relations”[14] without healing “the ills of the black community.”[15]

Considering that, while every slave and his/her direct family are deceased, African Americans continued to suffer disproportionately from segregation, discrimination, and barbaric attacks into the late 20th century, and at times continue to be the victims of bias (e.g. racial profiling when it comes to jobs, shopping, law enforcement and voting despite equal opportunity and equal protection laws and the 1964 Civil Rights Act), remain disproportionately disenfranchised when it comes to net worth and home ownership and still suffer from a sense of a lack of self-worth versus today’s black immigrants, slavery reparations are not only just but necessary.

Holocaust reparations continue to be paid even though the genocide that murdered more than 7 million, predominantly Jews along with opponents of Adolf Hitler’s (1889-1945) regime and other “non-Aryans” (persons with fair-skin, light hair, and blue eyes), was legal under the democratically elected Third Reich (1933-1945) government. Thus arguments that corporations should not be punished for “legal” acts are baseless. In reality, slavery was as morally repugnant as the Holocaust and “corporations that benefited from staling people, from stealing labor, from forced breeding, from torture, from committing numerous horrendous acts,” in the words of Farmer-Paellmann “should [not] be able to hold onto assets they acquired through such horrendous acts.”[16]

Back in 1999, more than 50 years after the end of the Holocaust, Jewish groups seeking at least $20 billion in new reparations called a $3.3 billion offer made by a German delegation representing the country’s government and corporations “disgusting.” They later agreed on a $5.2 billion “Nazi slave [compensation] fund” that was approved by the German Parliament in 2000. However, while these negotiations were being held, “the World Council of Orthodox Jewish Communities filed a[nother] lawsuit in the U.S. against Deutsche Bank, Germany’s second-largest bank, alleging that it funded and profited from Nazi atrocities.”[17]

Based on these two cases alone, the passage of time and existing “legalities” of the prevailing era, are irrelevant when it comes to redressing inhuman acts like the Holocaust and slavery if justice is to be served. “Slavery harmed slaves and thus, indirectly, their descendants.”[18] Furthermore, as there is no statute of limitations when it comes to the Holocaust, it can also be argued that none should exist when it comes to slavery especially since “African Americans were not allowed access to the courts in any meaningful way – even long after the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery was passed [in December 1865].” Also, consistent with California’s legislation that revised existing statutes of limitations to ensure that “certain Holocaust suits would not be time-barred,”[19] legislation can also provide extensions to African Americans so as not to perpetuate past injustices that were every bit as evil as those committed by the Third Reich.

Therefore, arguments that slavery reparations are illogical and “that tax dollars [and corporate holdings] should not be used for [this] compensation”[20] are equally as “disgusting.” Per Dr. Martin Luther King (1929-1968), the only practical route is for “all citizens [to] engage as full participants in a dialogue examining what is the cost of repairing our society to make it equally accessible to everyone”[21] rather than dismissing and denying the need for past due reparations to the African American community.

In addition, the commentary offered during the 1999 Holocaust compensation fight regarding monetary payments is as appropriate to slavery reparations as it was during these negotiations when it was stated, “how to quantify this in financial terms is a difficult question… Money itself cannot bring back the dead, nor can it erase the memory of years of forced labor, but those seeking compensation say it may be the best system there is.”[22] While no amount of money nor steps can redress the sins of slavery, such reparations with a formal national condemnation of and apology for the practice can bring justice and healing, boost the self-esteem of African Americans, reduce current racial net worth and private property ownership gaps, improve standards of life for black Americans, and provide them with new opportunities that might otherwise remain unattainable for generations to come.

Although it may be impossible to give direct compensation to most slave descendants, every effort should be made to locate and compensate those with confirmed direct lineages and to African Americans who had suffered under segregation. In addition, slavery reparations funds should contribute to black foundations, black scholarships, and black community projects aimed at improving infrastructure and standards of life, especially since precedents already exist for the latter. When Germany began Holocaust reparations payments, Bonn “funded about a third of the total investment in Israel’s electrical system… and nearly half the total investment in [Israel’s] railways, [consisting of] diesel engines, cars, tracks, and signaling equipment [along with] equipment for [agriculture, construction, expanding the country’s] water supply, for oil drilling, and for operating the [country’s] copper mines.”[23]

Based on the examples of national corporate and government contributions to Holocaust reparations funds, it is not impractical, nor unfeasible for the governments and corporations of the United States, United Kingdom and other European states that benefited from slavery to make payments to slavery reparations funds. When the United States is considered, many of the named firms that have directly and/or indirectly benefited from slavery have sufficient assets and annual profits while the national government has millions of acres of federal land and holdings to utilize for slavery reparations.

Furthermore, the federal government could add a line underneath the “Presidential Election Campaign” section that reads “Slavery and Civil Rights Reparations – Check here if you, or your spouse if filing jointly, want $3 to go to this fund” on every federal tax return while states, especially those in the south that benefited the most from the slave trade and labor, most of which already have contribution lines for causes ranging from breast cancer research to wildlife, could also add such a line.

In conclusion, the African American community and advocates for justice must stand united and demand slavery reparations as stridently as the Jewish community and advocates for justice have for Holocaust compensation. Both abominations require reparations and redress since they share great similarities – morally repugnant brutal treatment and forced labor considered legal in their respective times under ruling governments that perpetrated and encouraged them, and each has cost millions of lives. As the BBC states in “The long fight for Holocaust compensation” reparations are “particularly pertinent for a generation that has little direct memory of the Holocaust [since these financial payments are] akin to acknowledging the horrors of the past and the responsibility of the present generation for ensuring that it does not happen again” such payments are equally applicable for the past practice of slavery.

In the accurate and eloquent words of Kimberley Jane Wilson, “American slavery was a sin… The principles of liberty, justice and equality didn’t apply to the millions of Africans brought to America against their will. Our history is full of racial ironies. When Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) wrote, ‘All men are created equal,’ he owned 187 slaves. Patrick Henry (1736-1799) owned over 90 slaves when he shouted the famous words, ‘Give me liberty or give me death!’ Union General Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885) fought the Confederacy, but didn’t free his own slaves until Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Even after slavery ended, America – the beacon of freedom to people all over the world – still treated black Americans with indignity and, on occasion, savage cruelty.”[24]

Accordingly the long wait and many denials must end so that accruing damages can be mitigated and healing can begin. Slavery reparations must be made as soon as possible to establish greater unity with improved standards of life for all, including African Americans. Only then can racism, even if predominantly de facto in nature, be extinguished for once and for all.

__________

[1] William Sutherland. The Unspoken Holocaust. The International Who’s Who In Poetry. (The International Library of Poetry. Owings Mills, MD 2004) 3.

[2] Reparations for slavery. Wikipedia. 4 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery

[3] Reparations for slavery. Wikipedia. 4 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery

[4] William Reed. Blacks worth $6k; whites $88k. Insight News. 12 September 2006. 16 September 2006. [http://www.insightnews.com/business.asp?mode=display&articleID=2617]

[5] Making Amends: Debate Continues Over Reparations for U.S. Slavery. NPR. 12 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/racism/010827.reparations.html

[6] William Reed. Blacks worth $6k; whites $88k. Insight News. 12 September 2006. 16 September 2006. [http://www.insightnews.com/business.asp?mode=display&articleID=2617]

[7] Reparations for slavery. Wikipedia. 4 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery

[8] Reparations for slavery. Wikipedia. 4 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery

[9] William Reed. Blacks worth $6k; whites $88k. Insight News. 12 September 2006. 16 September 2006. [http://www.insightnews.com/business.asp?mode=display&articleID=2617]

[10] Anthony J. Sebok. Should Claims Based On African-American Slavery Be Litigated In The Courts? And If So, How? FindLaw. 4 December 2000. 16 September 2006. http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/sebok/20001204.html

[11] Reparations for slavery. Wikipedia. 4 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reparations_for_slavery

[12] Would Reparations for Slavery be Just? The Claremont Institute. 5 May 2002. 12 September 2006. http://www.claremont.org/writings/020505erler.html

[13] Even if Millions Rally on the Mall, Reparations Won’t Heal Black America. Project 21 Press Release. 15 August 2002. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PRReparations802.html

[14] Civil Rights: Should Black Americans Receive Reparations Payments Because of Slavery? The National Center For Public Policy Research. 23 August 2004. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PRReparations802.html

[15] Even if Millions Rally on the Mall, Reparations Won’t Heal Black America. Project 21 Press Release. 15 August 2002. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PRReparations802.html

[16] Peter Viles. Suit seeks billions in slave reparations. CNN.com. 27 March 2002. 16 September 2006. http://archives.cnn.com/2002/LAW/03/26/slavery.reparations

[17] World: Europe Nazi slave offer ‘disgusting.’ BBC News. 7 October 1999. 12 September 2006. [http://nws.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/468248.stm]

[18] Civil Rights: Should Black Americans Receive Reparations Payments Because of Slavery? The National Center For Public Policy Research. 23 August 2004. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PRReparations802.html

[19] Anthony J. Sebok. Should Claims Based On African-American Slavery Be Litigated In The Courts? And If So, How? FindLaw. 4 December 2000. 16 September 2006. http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/sebok/20001204.html

[20] Making Amends: Debate Continues Over Reparations for U.S. Slavery. NPR. 12 September 2006. 16 September 2006. http://www.npr.org/programs/specials/racism/010827.reparations.html

[21] Civil Rights: Should Black Americans Receive Reparations Payments Because of Slavery? The National Center For Public Policy Research. 23 August 2004. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21PRReparations802.html

[22] The long fight for Holocaust compensation. BBC News. 26 January 2000. 12 September 2006. [http://nws.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/619896.stm]

[23] Norman G. Finkelstein. Lessons of Holocaust Compensation. 2001. 12 September 2006. http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/article.php?pg=4&ar=14

[24] Kimberley Jane Wilson. Reparations, Anyone? Project 21 New Visions Commentary. August 2001. 12 September 2006. http://www.nationalcenter.org/P21NVWilsonReparations801.html

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Additional Sources:

$5bn Nazi slave fund agreed.’ BBC News. 14 December 1999. 12 September 2006. [http://nws.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/565116.stm]

Anthony J. Sebok. A New Dream Team Intends To Seek Reparations For Slavery Part I FindLaw. 20 November 2000. 16 September 2006. http://writ.corporate.findlaw.com/sebok/20001120.html

German Parliament Passes Nazi Holocaust Compensation Bill. People’s Daily. 7 July 2000. 12 September 2006. http://english.people.com.cn/english/200007/07/eng20000707_44925.html

Holocaust reparations. Wikipedia. 25 May 2006. 16 September 2006. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust_reparations

Sara R. Parsowith. Austria begins Holocaust compensation process. Jurist. 16 December 2005. 16 September 2006. http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2005/12/austria-begins-holocaust-compensation.php

Sex Offender Treatment – What Works?

INTRODUCTION

One of the most heinous crimes committed in society is a sexual offence against a child. Sexual predators, monsters, pure evil, are often words used by society (through the media, etc.) to describe those who molest children and often these groups of individuals are categorised by one word which encompasses any and every description available – Paedophile. However, not all offenders are “paedophiles” in the strictest interpretation. In a few cases there have been instances where offenders against children have been rehabilitated. Of course, there are many more who do not alter their views and feelings and are still released (due to limits on sentencing) back into society. Since this is so, why do we continue to attempt to treat and rehabilitate those offenders; also, as we do not know which will offender be successfully rehabilitated, should we not just refuse all treatment and keep them indefinitely in prison?

BACKGROUND

Historically, men often married much younger women, some of whom were in their very early teens, possibly to ensure compliance, health and an ability to conceive. In 1860, the agent of consent was twelve years old. This meant that anyone of twelve or over could (legally) consent to having sexual intercourse. Fifteen years later, the age was raised to thirteen by the House of Commons after much campaigning by Josephine Butler (a social reformer). This was still believed to be too low and the campaign continued for some years until 1885, when Parliament passed the Criminal Law Amendment Act which raised the age of consent to sixteen .

Laws on consent are now sixteen in the United Kingdom and America has many states which have a similar or higher threshold. Unfortunately, this is not world-wide. In Albania, Bulgaria, Canada and China the age is fourteen. In Chile and Panama it is twelve years of age, whilst in South Korea, Spain and Japan, the age is thirteen. . However, according to ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism), a “child” is anyone under the age of 18, in line with the European Convention of Human Rights . This is at odds with many countries who state that anyone in the mid-teens should be able (and is able) to consent to sexual relations.

Child sexual abuse was thrust into the public domain in the UK through the incidents in Cleveland, in the 1980s. There, over one hundred children were removed from their homes due to the belief by social services that they were subjected to [ritualistic] sexual abuse (though many of these accusations were never substantiated). The outcry which followed the horrendous treatment of both parents and children in this case resulted in an inquiry into the matter (and the Children’s Act 1989 being brought into UK legislation). Various bodies, such as the NSPCC, Social Services and other agencies dealing with vulnerable children, undertook research into the matter of sexual abuse of children and theories arose as to what type of person committed such an act. These included brain deficiencies, psychopathy, mental illness and the “cycle of abuse”. Many cases continued to highlight the deficiencies in the system including that of Sidney Cooke, a known paedophile was released and offended again (resulting in the death of Jason Swift, a male teenage prostitute).

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?

The most apparent way forward was to rehabilitate those who offended against children since many sentences given by the courts were less than ten years. Prison could not hold these people forever, not least since many were segregated for their own safety. Following a survey into sex offending and offenders, which showed that 63 establishments had some form of specialist programmes, the Prison Service adopted the “Sex Offender Treatment Programme” (also known as SOTP) in 1991. The SOTP was, at the time of Iain Crow’s book, in place for approximately eight years. He states, although the early indications of the SOTP are good (in that attitudes of offenders have been successfully altered) that “…at the time of writing, it is too early to say whether it is successful in reducing reconviction”.

One of the main problems with therapy (of any form) is that unless the target of therapy accepts therapy, there is a small likelihood of success. With paedophiles, their actions are not perceived [by themselves] as wrong and thus cannot be “cured” of any wrongdoing. They see society as being mistaken in the view that children are not sexually aware and that morally, if not legally, they are in the right. The core principle in treatment must be acceptance of wrongdoing as, if this is lacking, empathy is also missing.

Many paedophiles lack the understanding for their victims’ emotional trauma and often justify their actions by placing blame on the victim for instigating any abuse. If a prison term costs the State (in the United Kingdom) an estimated £22,000 per inmate per year, the cost of prison therapy must make this figure even higher. Can the State really justify the cost of such treatment when, at best, only a small minority of convicted abusers will not return to their offending behaviour upon release.

Victims of child molestation have such trauma that their lives are altered completely and forever. Given that this is so, the need for punishment of offenders and justice for victims, both in the eyes of the victim(s) and society in general is quite stark. The principle of due process and just deserts means that each offender can only be tried and sentenced for the crime for which they are before the court (though sentencing does consider any potential future risk and any past offences). So what do we do with those offenders who freely admit that their impulses to offend [against children] are so uncontrollable they cannot guarantee they will stop? With prisons so overcrowded now, can we justify keeping all child molesters in prison, not least because of the financial cost?

The public seem to believe that “locking them up and throwing away the key” is the answer; place all child molesters on an island with no way out and castrating those who do offend, even once, is the only way to deal with child abusers. Can we justify, financially or morally, keeping any offender who has not killed, in prison indeterminately until we (or the public?) decide they are no longer a threat? What about constant and overt surveillance of all released child abusers (the cost of which would be enormous)?

Some treatment programmes are known to work. There are instances where reoffending has been reduced, though this only applies to reconviction rates. Should we allow ourselves to focus on such a small number in the hope that this may lead to larger numbers of successes? If we can (and do) seem able to reduce the offending behaviour in child abusers on a small scale, why can we not make this small number even larger? The answer is we can, though not, unfortunately, eradicate abuse altogether. If numbers of rehabilitated child offenders are increasing, then surely those numbers are likely to continue increasing the more we encourage and provide treatment programmes on a sustained basis.

To ignore those (albeit small) successes would be foolish indeed as some offenders are not predatory and are more likely to be situational offenders (which will be defined in more detail below). This means that their offending behaviour can be successfully addressed and altered with treatment. The one component which many experts believe will reduce the success of any treatment programme is the introduction of laws enabling the public access to offenders’ details. This problem arose due to the rape and murder of Megan Kanka in the United States. Megan Kanka was a seven year old girl who lived with her parents, opposite a convicted paedophile – but they did not know this fact. Megan was killed after being raped by Jesse Timmendequas in 1994 and the repercussions of this event led to the American judiciary invoking “Megan’s Law”. This law has, at its basic premise, the right for every parent to view whether or not any convicted child molester is in their surrounding area (and they can obtain this information even on the Internet by simply inserting one’s zip code (the US equivalent of a postcode)).

A similar premise was called for by the parents of murdered schoolgirl Sarah Payne in July 2000. Roy Whiting (the man eventually found guilty for her murder) had a prior conviction for kidnapping and child molestation of a nine year old in 1995; it was his registering with the Sex Offenders’ Register which enabled police to arrest him so expeditiously. The Sex Offenders’ Register is partly a success of Megan’s Law in America. Due to the realisation of problems with paedophiles and other sex offenders in the United Kingdom, the Sex Offenders Act 1997 was introduced, requiring any person convicted of a sexual offence to register with police their whereabouts.

One of the main problems with such a register is that, invariably, it may fall (in whole or part) into the wrong hands. After Sarah Payne’s murder, the tabloid newspaper “The Sun/News of the World” purported to have the names of over one hundred convicted paedophiles and published their names and addresses “to protect the public and our children”. However, on several occasions, information was found to be faulty when people were attacked who looked similar to the pictures in the paper. Vigilantes walked the streets determined to “oust” paedophiles in their communities and chaos ensued. The newspaper, and the parents of Sarah Payne, publicly condemned the violence and vigilante acts but this did little to quell the fear already spread. The paper has even published a website claiming to assist parents to identify potential paedophiles and tell-tale signs of a child being abused.

As we enter 2002, there has not been any implementation of Sarah’s Law and the Government has so far refused to do so. They believe, along with experts, that the public knowledge of paedophiles’ whereabouts should be limited if not avoided altogether.

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Many people, including the media, are guilty of labelling criminals by general descriptions and this is no less true in cases of child molestation.

A situational child molester often operates within a familial sphere, molests a child who they have unlimited and guaranteed access and, perhaps more importantly, is able to sustain relationships with adults as well as children. One of the key differences is that child molesters (as opposed to paedophiles) often realise and acknowledge that their actions are wrong. They often use manipulation, along with targeting and isolating potential victims, to ensure compliance and secrecy. Some situational molesters are married and/or living with an adult partner and may even have children of their own. It is this type of offender who is more likely to succeed in treatment therapy to address their offending behaviour as they are fully aware that their actions are both morally and legally wrong.

Paedophiles, on the other hand, do not appear to have a sustained ability to associate with other adults and so are often loners. They tend only to have associated with other paedophiles and/or children and thus have little adult contact. Their preference (both socially and sexually) for children further isolates them and many feel that their perception of children is not immoral.

Many may place themselves in positions of trust with children, such as working in a children’s home or scout leaders whereby such positions are mostly associated with children, not adults.
According to the Massachusetts Treatment Center, there are four distinct paedophile “types”: (i) fixated, (ii) regressed, (iii) exploitative and (iv) aggressive/sadistic. The basic explanation for these is that the first demonstrates long standing and exclusive preference for children and is most comfortable around children. The regressed typology is an offender who had “a fairly normal adolescence” and later develops masculine inadequacy and self-doubt. The exploitative offender is one which seeks a child to satisfy his sexual needs as a primary aim and uses manipulation to gain such satisfaction. The last typology is one which has a sexual and aggressive need for a child .

One of the main points to note here is that all these levels of paedophilia as described in Bartol’s book somewhat cross over the definitions given by Howells (in 1998) . He claimed there were two types, the preferential offender and the situational (non-preferential) offender. The former is easily identified as the fixated whilst the second is identified as the regressed.

However, it is clear that typologies are only effective in a certain number of cases as closeting an offender in a “typology” may result in focus being misplaced. For instance, paedophiles are known to be fairly manipulative (or else they would be discovered on a more regular basis) and can state their preferences to be “limited” to fit one type when this, in fact, may not be the reality. Even Bartol agrees with limiting focus by using offender typologies: “There is no such thing as a common ‘molester profile’.”

DOES TREATMENT REALLY WORK?

Chapter eight of “What Works: Reducing Reoffending” deals with treatment of sex offenders. It states that, of the 129 men released from the Massachusetts Treatment Center between 1960 and 1985, 25% re-offended compared to 40% of those who had not received treatment. Similarly, figures in the United Kingdom have also been encouraging: HMP Grendon is the only prison in the UK which has therapeutic methods at its core. One of the key points in Research Finding No. 115 from the Home Office found that there were lower reconviction rates for prisoners who had been at Grendon than for those who had been selected for Grendon but who did not attend.

A further study conducted by Carol Hedderman and Darren Sugg (commissioned by the Home Office) found eleven (8%) of the 133 offenders referred to a community based treatment programme were re-convicted within a two year period and of those, only six were convicted of another sexual offence (with the other five being convicted of a non-sexual/violent offence). One warning is given; the offenders may have responded more due to their levels of deviancy than any real quality in their treatment. Nonetheless, the figures are startling and can give rise to a feeling that treatment programmes can work. Their conclusion is simple: whilst the sample size is small, the results are encouraging and do imply that treatment, again, can be successful in treating the sex offender.

Yet another study conducted by A Beech, D Fisher, R Beckett and A Scott-Fordham indicates again that treatment has beneficial affects. One of the key points here states that child abusers’ levels of admitting offending behaviour were up and also found that there was significant changes in the social competence of offenders. This, according to Conte, is one of five dimensions which can lead to cognitive distortions which the molester may apply to his behaviour; both Marshall and Segal appear to agree as their findings show that molesters have lower social skills than non-molesters.

This means that they may use child abuse as an alternative sexual objective since they lack the ability to gain such an objective with adults. If social skills can be greatly enhanced, then perhaps, along with the other factors which may provide the psychological “profile” of a child molester being addressed, we may reduce offending behaviour of this type.

SHOULD WE TREAT ALL OFFENDERS?

All the above information and the vast papers which state that some offenders do react well to treatment does not answer the primary question. Simply, should the State (i.e. taxpayers) pay for treatment of offenders committing such a terrible crime? An interesting quote by Donald West states that: “The notion of treatment for sex offenders, unless it is by castration, is unacceptable to many people, since it suggests evasion of just deserts.”

Since Sarah Payne’s murder, the public in the United Kingdom appear to believe that all paedophiles (or molesters) should be castrated, given life sentences, or even the death penalty where a child is murdered. This may not seem to comply with “due process” but, to a parent (or even a non-parent), it seems fair to punish so severely for the abuse and traumatisation of a child.

One point to note is that, as the dark figure for child abuse (in any form) is likely to be so great, are we really stumbling around in the dark ourselves as criminologists? Do we truly believe we can “cure” paedophiles or other types of molesters by psychological and/or pharmaceutical methods? The argument for not spending high levels of taxpayers’ money on treatment facilities is great. If, as is generally accepted, many abusers are within the home environment, are we really likely to stop offenders if they are rarely caught as is believed?

Only a small percentage (possibly as low as one percent) of child molesters are incarcerated and thus treatment is limited to those within the prison system. Whilst most of those in prison may be deemed the most dangerous (by multiple offences and/or murder) it still does not detract from the thousands of abusers who are not in prison and thus not likely to be subject to any form of treatment. This can be justified by the belief that those offenders who do wish to attend treatment (subject to the prison service rules) only do so in order to reduce their sentence and/or to gain privileges not afford with Rule 43 prisoners .

The ties in with the rationale that, generally, not all treatment works for all offenders and, unfortunately, it only takes reconviction (or reoffending) rates to give a true picture as to whether or not treatment has been effective. Again, since many may reoffend but not be arrested and convicted for such reoffending behaviour, how are we to know whether any treatment provided was effective. The small numbers, many may argue, do not justify the vast sums of public money being spent on treatment for offenders who may or may not find it useful. Other arguments are more emotional in that no amount of rehabilitation justifies the sympathetic treatment of offenders against children. The public demands (almost literally) the blood of offenders against children and are not satisfied when they see anything less metered out. Indeed, many accuse governments and/or prison service officials of being as guilty as offenders they release knowing that they are [potentially] dangerous.

However, what cannot be ignored, from a scientific and/or studious point of view is that treatment has been effective for (albeit small) numbers of offenders. What is also accepted here is that, unless an offender wishes to address his [offending] behaviour and believes he can change, any treatment will be limited in success. We cannot, it seems to me, leave any offender who recognises his behaviour as wrong and wishes to change that behaviour (or at least try to change) without some form of treatment. This is almost akin to leaving a sick person without medication. Since that person has already recognised their problem and wishes to rectify that problem, surely we have a duty, as a civilised society. to accept and attempt to help.

Whilst it may not be effective for all offenders we must try to support those who are capable of such change. We do not expect a limited number of cancer patients to die just because treatment is not effective for all cancers, so why should we change principles on the basis that the “patients” are offenders?

CONCLUSION

The question of whether or not the State should attempt to treat the child molester may not have been definitely answered either way here. Indeed, whatever the answer, objections are bound to appear. The argument against treatment is no less compelling than the argument for and both sides will continue to provide evidence that the other is at fault. It is hard not to see the reasoning behind the refusal to spend money on offenders against children because we all (generally) have sympathy for those victims and their families and have a desperate desire not to have our children become victims. Just as compelling is the want and need we have for those offenders to be “cured”; to be stopped so they do not offend again.

Whatever option we choose, we will be offending someone’s belief and principles and the argument may never end with regard to offenders against children. However, we must see that some treatment, if it is recognised as being useful by the offender himself, should be available for those seeking it. Anything less would make us, as society, just as abhorrent as the offenders we condemn.