Yesterday, the atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins made comments about rape and pedophilia on Twitter that made many people angry.
From what I can gather, Dawkins appeared to have been tweeting over the weekend regarding religion and Israel, saying support for the Israeli state does not mean condoning the country’s current behavior in Gaza. Then he pivoted his examples — I would argue somewhat insensitively — to ones about about sexual abuse:
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Monday’s apprehension of accused child molester Charles Mozdir in New York City is owed not just to the brave police officer and two U.S. marshals who took bullets during the incident; the anonymous woman who recognized Mozdir on John Walsh’s show CNN “The Hunt” and immediately called the police also should be heralded as a hero. Keep reading »
I haven’t been following the Australian swimming community’s sexual abuse scandal. I only feel like I have been. That’s because these sorts of heartbreaking stories are so goddamned familiar: a coach is accused of sexually abusing the young charges under his tutelage and with whom he has shared lots of private time, often far from home.
In Australia’s case, several coaches were accused of sexual abuse of both male and female swimmers between the ages of 11 and 16. One coach is Scott Volkers, who is accused of child sexual abuse by three now-adult women. Volkers is accused, among other things, of rubbing the genitalia of a 13-year-old girl and groping the girls’ breasts; he has long claimed his innocence. Charges were dropped against Volkers in 2002 because accusations could not be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Two years later, in 2004, prosecutor Margaret Cunneen advised against recharging him.
Currently, Australia is holding an investigation (called a “royal commission”) focusing on the country’s institutional response, including whether Cunneen’s advice not to recharge him was appropriate. At the time, Cunneen showed skepticism that the abuse could be prosecuted. Which, as a lawyer, is her job to prove. However, what Cunneen said about it all was pretty offensive to these victims. Cunneen said it could all be seen as “trivial … almost fanciful” and it would be difficult to prosecute Volkers for molestation because his victim may not have developed breasts yet. “It is legitimate to consider whether 12-year-old swimmers even had breasts,” she said. Keep reading »
The reaction to Dylan Farrow’s New York Times article about sexual abuse she allegedly suffered as a young girl at the hands of Woody Allen has gotten even murkier this week. Mia Farrow, 28-year-old Dylan’s mom, and Lena Dunham have both voiced their support. But Moses Farrow, one of Mia’s other adopted children, has publicly sided with his father, telling People magazine that Mia was “vengeful” and “drummed it into me to hate my father.”
Oh dear. Keep reading »