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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Saving children's lives

Just to draw the attention of anyone who happens by to a very important article that appeared in the Guardian recently. It's only accessible in Google's cache (not in the Guardian's archives - legal problems?) so catch it quickly.

Dr David Southall is a man who has dedicated his life to stopping sick people from torturing and killing their kids, and he has been vilified for his pains. Why?

One reason, it seems clear, is that the parents in question are often clever, manipulative and vindictive. Another is that the child protection “industry” is largely founded on the ideological premise that child abuse is an expression of patriarchy. Murderous mothers just don’t fit into this world-view (of which, ironically, Beatrix Campbell herself has been a prominent promoter – she has been quoted as saying “Sexual abuse of children now presents society with the ultimate crisis of patriarchy”).

Most fundamentally, I suspect, we clearly have a deep psychological resistance to seeing mothers as threatening. Stepmothers yes, real ones no. Of course that isn’t a problem in itself, and for most of us, happily, it fits with the facts. But if we allow this instinct to blind us to the evidence in these cases, we are abandoning the children of whom Dr Southall says “if your number one person doesn't want you around, doesn't love you, hates you, harms you, then you've had it. There's no hope. The worst the world can do to you isn't as bad as this”.

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