There's only one way to find out... FIGHT!
Of course, there's only one winner at Mail Towers. Childline, the charity which has helped thousands of child abuse victims and works solely to assist children in distress, has produced a booklet aimed at children, telling them what to do if they're being bullied at school, or abused. In order to tell children exactly what sex abuse is, they have to use words like 'penis' and 'vagina'.
The Mail are bubbling over with indignation at the thought of trying to protect children by telling them the correct names for parts of the body. Therefore it's some kind of evil leftie plot to sexualise young kids, and should be destroyed!
(NB you may remember the Mail isn't shy on this subject itself, given its rather disturbing coverage and photographs of underage models and a 16-year-old Angelina Jolie. But obviously that was in the interest of journalistic integrity. I'm glad we've cleared that one up. Now the Mail can get back on the lofty saddle of its ever-rising high horse.)
Parents are quoted, teachers are quoted, all of whom giving the impression that every single person in the world ever is opposed to this information being given to children. Then you have the Astroturf 'pressure group' (man in a shed) Family Focus quoted, to try and lend another layer or respectability to this hatchet job:
Is it necessary to inform all children about child abuse at the age of eight?
asks Dr Adrian Rogers of FF. To which my answer would be: yes, it is. Earlier would be better, but eight isn't a bad start. We got warned about sex abuse at my school and even when I was in the cubs - why not? Surely the whole problem about pre-teen sex abuse is that the children involved don't know what's happening is wrong or unusual - that's how the abuser manipulates the situation and carries out the crime. Surely this booklet is a decent way of looking at it. No...? No. Apparently not.
The other argument aimed at the book is that it focuses on family members as potential abusers. To which the answer is: that's perfectly sensible. Most abusers are, like it or not, known to their victims through the family. It's unpleasant, but that's the way it is. Given that children are more likely to be abused by someone they know, why concentrate on strangers? And why does Rogers question whether 'all' children should be 'informed'? Who should and who shouldn't? Everyone is, sadly, at risk of child abuse. Not at a great risk; it's still very rare of course and let's not blow it out of proportion - which this booklet doesn't, by the way. But there's no way of telling who is and who isn't.
Mailites are convinced, though, that Childline is evil and no-one should warn kids about sex abuse:
More inappropriate 'mush' from the self-appointed 'do-gooders'!
says one, and is quickly backed up by
Having driven fathers out of families the PC mob are now targeting uncles
which is a crock of shit. All that is said in the booklet is that one instance of something 'unhealthy' is an uncle asking a child to take her knickers off. Surely a child of eight can understand that doesn't mean all uncles are abusers? I think they can - because children of eight, on the whole, have a greater capacity for learning and understanding than Mail readers, who demand to be force-fed caricatures of their own twisted opinions.
But for once, some dissenting comments have been allowed through the filters:
...for some children it is too late when they realise what an adult is doing to them is not acceptable. It's no use saying seven is too young to be introducing the subject, tell that to the kids already being abused by that age.
Which is something. But it can be so disheartening to see well-intentioned and totally reasonable measures to try and inform kids about child abuse being attacked. It's classic Mail anti-PC Brigade bollocks, the idea that telling children about parts of the body and 'unhealthy' interaction with adults is worse than abuse itself. It shows the dark heart of the Mail. Not a pretty sight.