I was really saddened this morning to read a post on a local home ed list from the mother of Kassy Harris, the talented young artist who drew the picture on the front of this issue of the EO Children's Pages. Apparently an official from EO called her today to tell her that there have been numerous complaints about the picture, stating that it is 'erotic' and a 'paedophiles delight'.
In my pre child life working as a solicitor I encountered more paedophiles than most folks can reasonably wave a big stick at. I talked with them at length, I read reams of psychiatric reports, theories and treatment plans. This detailed insight into the world of paedophilia left me with more questions than answers. I found it impossible to draw any reasonable conclusions as to the whys and wherefores of paedophilia. The only thing I did deduce with any certainly is that it is an extremely complex process or condition, call it what you will. The causes, incidents and rehabilitation are far from simple.
To suggest that pictures such as Kassys will have any impact whatsoever on the world of paedophilia is to my mind absurd. This isn't about art or paedophilia, it's about us, parents. It's about what we perceive to be threats and what we perceive to be solutions. It's about trying to simplify something and place it in a neat little box with defined causes and effects. Life would be a lot less scary if we could do that but paedophilia is not that simple.
I may be sounding rather blase here. I'm not. I'm a fully paid up member of the paranoid parenting posse. The garden gate is always securely padlocked. The security cameras covering the whole external space surrounding our home record twenty four hours a day. I would never go and let my six year old open the door unless I had already looked out of the window to see who it was. I have sleepless nights thinking of when the time will come that I should let her go out alone.
Comments such as that which have been made about Kassys art work are very damaging -damaging to Kassy and her family. The likelihood of the picture causing harm by way of escalating paedophilia tendencies is so remote as to not be worth contemplating. I hope this won't deter Kassy from going on to develop the talent she obviously has.