8:55 AM 09/11/2013
Sexual assault victimsâ€™ organizations are slamming evolutionary biologist and leading atheist Richard Dawkins for comments he made about the inoffensiveness of â€śmild pedophilia.â€ť
Dawkins made the remarks in a recent interview with The Times magazine. He said that during his time at a boarding school as a boy in the 1950s, a teacher â€śpulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts.â€ť Dawkins described the incident as â€śmild pedophiliaâ€ť that left him no worse off. Neither Dawkins nor the other boys abused by this teacher suffered permanent physical or mental damage, he said.
â€śI donâ€™t think he did any of us lasting harm,â€ť said Dawkins.
Dawkins also said that it was improper to judge the acts committed by this teacher by todayâ€™s higher moral standards.
â€śI am very conscious that you canâ€™t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours,â€ť he said. â€śJust as we donâ€™t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and canâ€™t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.â€ť
His perspective on sexual assault drew strong criticism from numerous victimsâ€™ rights organizations, including Peter Watt, director of child protection at the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
â€śMr. Dawkins seems to think that because a crime was committed a long time ago we should judge it in a different way,â€ť said Watt, according to The Washington Post. â€śBut we know that the victims of sexual abuse suffer the same effects whether it was 50 years ago or yesterday.â€ť
Dawkin made the comments to suggest the outrage over recently revealed child abuse scandals was overblown, according to The Daily Mail.
â€śMild touching up,â€ť is not the same thing as rape or murder, he said.
Dawkinsâ€™s memoir, â€śAn Appetite for Wonder,â€ť will be released on Thursday.
on Sep. 11, 2013 at 12:40 PM