New Essay: What is the Abolitionist Response to P**dophiles?
I’ve been hinting at a big article I’ve been writing for months now and I’m finally ready to share it with you. Here’s an extract of my new essay What is the Abolitionist Response to P**dophiles? for you to read below…
Many of us in “leftist” spaces learn about abolitionism as a practice that counters our current carceral system. Despite its radically survivor-centred roots, many of us find ourselves falling into ‘abuse apologism’. For whatever reason, good-intentioned or not, some are consciously or unconsciously refusing to interrupt harm and therefore feeding into a patriarchal system.
My definition of patriarchy as a system wider than only gendered hierarchy, as it is usually described, is essential to the understanding of this essay. Patriarchy affects our connections with others and ourselves, usually on deeply personal levels, and therefore I consider it to be a system of relational hierarchy. Patriarchy aims to control the ideas that are associated with and therefore the possibilities attached to our gender, sexuality, family or relationship structure, and age. The patriarch or “true adult” is a largely unattainable ideal consisting of a very specific type of cisgenderism, heterosexual monogamy, and productivity (so by extension, this person is also thin or muscular and able-bodied). Adulthood is defined by patriarchy, and patriarchy is defined by adults. Those who fail to conform to patriarchal adulthood are dismissed as either “childish” (*1) or dangerous to children. For example, disabled people whose personhoods’ are undermined or queer people who are falsely portrayed in fascist media propaganda as ‘groomers’. It is important to remember, patriarchy is intimately related to the systems of white supremacy and capitalism: they cannot be separated. This leads to a wide-spread cultural desire to uphold and maintain the power that can come from the marginalisation or abuse of others.
Because we live in a patriarchal society, it is easier for people to relate to a loss of hierarchical power (i.e. systemically reinforced control of someone else’s behaviour) than it is for people to grasp what it truly means to be the object of power (i.e. for one to be dispossessed of one’s agency). This is true even when people have no direct experience with utilising the form of power that someone else loses as a result of a callout or intervention.
– Estelle Ellison, Pushing Back Against Mass Abuse Apologism
The focus of this writing is to address the behaviour that the majority of society views – on the surface – as the worst of the worst. Is there really a difference between so-called NOMAPS (non-offending minor attracted persons) and “active” paedophiles? How do we define peadophilla in a wider abusive culture? What, from the perspective of a child and an ex-child, could be an abolitionist response to paedophiles? I don’t expect this writing to have all the answers or get everything right; knowledge evolves with us. This essay is part one of two, the second of which written by Eshe Kiama Zuri, that will aim to explore and answer these questions, guided by our own experiences of adult supremacy, abuse, and our Black abolitionist politics.
ALSO, I wanted to remind you that my course Has Oppression Found a Home in You? is coming back this year. Places are filling fast so hurry — learn more and sign up!
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