Letter of complaint to Channel 4 regarding ‘The Paedophile Next Door’ documentary
Channel 4 Enquiries
PO Box 1058
Belfast BT1 9DU
29th November 2014
The Paedophile Next Door
I wish to complain about the so called documentary, The Paedophile Next Door, broadcast on Tuesday 25 November 2014. This was a totally inappropriate programme to broadcast on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women given that the programme is tantamount to child abuse propaganda, reminiscent of this piece of apologia that appeared in the Guardian two years ago.
The term ‘paedophile’ in itself obscures the element of choice, the motives of power and control and pathologises the sexual abuse of children, as outlined in this piece, written by Professor Liz Kelly, a feminist researcher in the field of male violence against women and children. The voices of women who have worked in this field for 40 years were totally absent from this documentary. Where was Rape Crisis, for example? Rape Crisis has over 40 years’ experience of working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse, who are overwhelmingly girls.
The programme was totally biased. Whilst it opened with the man posing as a 13 year old girl in a chatroom, highlighting the prevalence of child abusers online, it then went onto attempt to contrast this with men like Eddie, who purports to be a ‘virtuous paedophile’ as he claims not to harm children. This is a highly manipulative juxtaposition. Eddie revealed later on in the programme that he realised he was a ‘paedophile’ through the use ‘of pornography’, which went unchallenged. I assume he means what is commonly referred to as ‘child pornography’, a term also used by the narrator, which Tim Tate at least addressed and defined as the ‘visual record of sexual assaults on babies and children’, and I would add, a crime scene.
The premise that somehow ‘paedophilia’ is an immutable sexual orientation is not one that many of us who work with survivors subscribe to, especially as it was pointed out in the programme that many ‘paedophiles’ are able to have sex with adults. It was also totally offensive and inappropriate to compare ‘paedophilia’ to diabetes and there was no counter-analysis of this view. Sex offenders will often use this notion to justify their behaviour as this places the responsibility on victims, implying that they somehow provoked the perpetrator to offend. Furthermore, adding insult to injury, as a friend of mine observed, ‘paedophiles’ are co-opting the language of lesbians and gay men, framing their honesty (which we are expected to applaud) in terms of ‘coming out’, a linguistic sleight of hand to conflate criminal acts of rape and abuse with consensual sex between same sex adults.
There were no helplines listed at the end of the programme for viewers affected by it, which is grossly irresponsible. And whilst you listed Stop It Now in your credits, why were they not referred to when Eddie and others complained how there was no help or support available to them when there is?
Last but not least, to then blame the general public for the poor ‘paedophiles’ who are forced underground and driven to offend as a result of stress this causes, is beyond belief (incidentally, this is an excuse many abusers use for their behaviour). Erasing all responsibility for their sexual abuse and rape of children and placing it on the public is effectively trying to groom us to be more tolerant lest our lack of acceptance force men to rape children.
Your programme was as manipulative as child sexual abusers themselves. The only thing to the programme’s credit is that you did not allow Tom O’Carroll a platform, despite interviewing him for it, although having involved him is indicative of the aims of this ‘documentary’.
I also resent the fact that I had to pause ‘ad block’ on Google Chrome to watch this on 4 on Demand and was then subjected to a soft pornographic pop up ad for an Asian Girl Dating Agency.
Alison BoydellDownload this post as PDF? Click here