On Silence and Taboo

Taboo: (n) A strong social prohibition or ban relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and forbidden based on moral judgment.

Pedophile: (n) A person, 16 years or older, with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (usually 13 years or younger).

Fester: (v) To putrify, rot, or decay over a period of time.

Silence: (n) Relative or total lack of audible sound.

As by now you have heard, a firestorm erupted on Twitter yesterday when two bloggers sent a tweet about a book for sale at the major retailing website of Amazon.com. I clicked the link and there it was: a manual for pedophiles on how to groom, molest, and rape children. It was not a memoir or psychologist’s explanation, it was a how-to manual, an instruction booklet on how to rape children. Rape. Children. Sex with children is always illegal, it is always rape. This, for sale on one of the largest, most accessible retail websites in the world. Mainstream. I tasted bile. I taste bile as I type now.

I was an intern at the District Attorney’s office and later in several law enforcement and investigative offices during my collegiate years. Right after college I worked as an investigator at a PI firm, and spent most of my time hanging out at the Sheriff’s department trying my hand at cold cases, mostly homicides. With that background, I have been exposed to the nasty, damaging world of pedophilia. I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wish I could unsee. Unlearn.

Yesterday morning I wasn’t shocked that a manual existed, as I’ve known for years that pedophiles consider their predilections to be a hobby of sorts, and love to share secrets and tricks with each other on how to evade law enforcement, groom victims, perform certain sex acts with little physical evidence left behind, how to get away with certain things to fall into a lighter sentencing catergory should one get caught, etc. It is a lifestyle built on lies, manipulations, deception. I’ve seen documents like this before. In order to survive pedophiles fly under the radar and keep their conduct to closed, derelict communities of acceptance.

Yesterday morning I was shocked that the manual would be so mainstream. We ALL should have been shocked it was so mainstream. The book’s right to be there was being defended. It wasn’t a legal issue of free speech or child pornography, it was an issue of business standards. Amazon is a privately owned entity and under no obligation to carry, sell, or protect this writing. But Amazon let the book stand. Amazon made the statement that the instructional manual of child rape was not found to be so heinous that it warranted immediate removal and a public apology. The presence of the book said that the taboo is sliding, that the concept of child rape has a place in our society.

Amazon should have standards that state that any materials propagating or supporting the molestation and rape of young children is prohibited and has no place on their site or in our society.

Pedophilia must remain taboo, and considered unacceptable in every form, in every circumstance. There is never a time when it is permissible for an adult to have any type of sexual relation with a child.

Parents and others spoke out, loudly, some in rage, some in shock, over this book being available on a site they used and trusted for their families. I spoke out loudly. I spoke about it all day long. I called authorities and media to alert them to the book and the story. I informed my parent community and that of others to rally parents, to collectively say “NO WAY we will let this stand.” My community, my parents around Pigtail Pals made phone calls, placed emails and follow up emails, they contacted and were interviewed by media, they posted the information and alerted their friends. They took action on a day when silence would not stand.

The book is now gone. But the problem is not.

The problem cannot be met with silence. For those who criticize, saying our voices attracted attention and increased sales, it did. Hopefully it also increased awareness, increased a feeling in people to take up action. People had the right to speak out against something so vile, so abhorrent that most of us became physically ill when we thought about it for too long. And hopefully those curious people, most of whom I’m willing to bet are not pedophiles, who downloaded the book into their Kindles and read as many pages as they could stomach, now have a new frame of reference to just how disgusting pedophilia is, and how unfair and damaging it is to its small victims. Amazon was concerned on protecting its customer’s purchasing rights, while most of America, and the world, was concerned over the rights of our children not to be molested or raped.

Yesterday gave marketers and retailers the message that our society will not stand for the peddling of pedophilia and profiting from the harm to the bodies of the small children we cherish.

Whether you took part in the uproar yesterday or not, the problem is not gone. Today, tomorrow, and the next day, consider an action you can take to give voice to the sexual abuse of children. Contact law makers for stricter sentencing, donate items or time to shelters, mentor youth so that there is a caring adult in their life advocating for their health and wellbeing, volunteer at a Take Back The Night, and set a standard in your own family – sexual violence toward any person at any age is unacceptable. Talk to your children about their bodies and sex, and who may and may not touch them. Give you children the voice that should they ever be approached or be touched, they be unsilent.

Today, tomorrow, and always, be unsilent.

Pedophilia festers in the silence, the taboo slides when we stay silent. BE UNSILENT.

Comments

  1. Great article Melissa. Like you, I worked for a time in that field but (and I’m not ashamed to say it) I couldn’t take the atrocity of it any more. There are things I saw which even in my worst imagining could I ever picture anything like it happening to a child. So to see this book on Amazon’s website and to hear their ridiculous explanation for why it would remain on their site, I was beyond disgusted and appalled. I am thankful for people like you who recognized the serious of this yesterday and didn’t take the 1st Amendment bait.

    • Wonderful article, and I completely agree on all points. We MUST speak up.

      I am hoping that Amazon is seriously looking at their standards. Even eBay has standards of what you can and cannot sell there. I’m going to look further into Amazon’s practices, as I buy many things from them each month.

  2. Melissa, Very well said. If you would ok it, I would love to add this post to my own blog. Certainly, giving you authorship and linking back to this blog. Please email me if I can repost. email is bgraciesmith@gmail.com
    Thanks,
    ~b

    • Thank you for your support. I would be happy to have you quote or link the piece, but sit quietly for a moment with your heart and bring out your own words of unsilence. Even if they are just a few, they ring loudly over the silence.

  3. Excellent article Melissa. How right you are: “Whether you took part in the uproar yesterday or not, the problem is not gone. Today, tomorrow, and the next day, consider an action you can take to give voice to the sexual abuse of children.”

    As always thank you for tuning people in and for your never ending herculean efforts to protect children.

    • Thank you, Elin.

    • Melissa, you are indeed a mama bear media machine, even your silence roars! Thank YOU, (& Elin & ALL who put voice to the squirming, churning unsettled disquieting feelings many brush aside to an ‘anything goes’ culture of ‘free speech at any cost’) Themis, Goddess of Justice may just need to be a new PigtailPals tee…So glad I was able to stay up late and read this in full tonight. Such an important post.

  4. As a survivor and a friend, I thank you for this post Melissa. You are a force to be reckoned with. Thank you for refusing to be silent.

  5. Thank you. As the mother of a survivor I give voice to the injustice and the shame these people should feel. I shout at the top of my lungs to be heard! I’m just me…one person…of so many that are not silent. So to know that you are here breaking the silence is incredible! Keep sharing your voice with the world! I too would love to share your link on my blog if you don’t mind.

  6. A terrific, well-written article on a very tough subject. Glad we got to chat about it yesterday in real time. It’s more important than ever to shine light on the world of sexualization of young children which is so deeply linked with what you’ve written here. Somehow, if children look older and are sexualized younger, the line between what’s permissible in mainstream or not becomes blurred by some.

    The book may have well been titled “How to Violate a Child, Ruin Lives and Steal Souls Under Everyone’s Nose.”

    Let’s make it clear. Not. Allowed.

  7. The sad fact about this supposed “predisposition” to harming children is that there is no cure for it. Hopefully the FBI have marked these criminals for future offences and are following the leads that they are also providing. I was a guardian ad litem..before my daughter was violently killed in a car crash by her supposed new “boy friend.” The lack of care and concern for our young girls is already astounding AND we have to be very diligent…the monsters are influenceing the peer groups of our girls friends… So with these particular pedaphiles, since they have already shown themselves…they should be put into a program for research. What they are selling is well known child abuse and the law enforcement in this country knows it!

    • I called old contacts of mine in the FBI and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children within ten mintues of learning of the book’s existence and sale in mainstream.

  8. Thank you so much for your wonderful, wonderful post! I strongly agree! I was also shocked at seeing such a book be accessible to anyone; I grew up with my abuser parents having such books, but they bought and traded them in secret. It sickened me how mainstream Amazon temporarily made these books. And I am so grateful that others joined in in the fight! I hope we all continue to.

  9. Ezzy Languzzi says:

    Excellent post. My response to these folks who accuse me of being anti-free-speech: I’M NOT PRO-CENSORSHIP, I’M PRO-CHILD. I’m for protecting the innocent who can’t protect themselves.

    You are spot-on. “Amazon was concerned on protecting its customer’s purchasing rights, while most of America, and the world, was concerned over the rights of our children not to be molested or raped.”

    I will never shop at Amazon again. Period. Shame on them for placing profits above the protection of our children.

  10. In my daughters honor I just placed this add on the facebook page for the pro-race car driver’s page WHO are also engaging childen in dangerous hobbies and activities,
    (Danika Patrick, the Go-daddy Girl is on their team…)
    After 4 years of haunting them, they are starting to get the message because they are now owned by IZOD clothing, who sells clothing to MACY’s. They play “two- handed poker” as I said… AND they are targeting our kids market share. They make it look like Izod extreme sportswear is for “College Age” but thanks to Taylor Swift and her song “15”…remembering that our girls at 15 years old…thinking like “18”.

    Shards of Glass freeze pops are for adults only. A commercial for any big businesses running their companies like large tobacco companies…Amazon can be included if they keep this up!

  11. I know this won’t be popular, but I don’t agree with the assessment that this “book” was mainstream. It was a tiny self-published pamphlet by a mentally ill man. I can’t even imagine how someone found it unless they were searching for something they shouldn’t have been. It wasn’t being promoted by Amazon.

    There’s a lot of “fringe” stuff available for Amazon. Some of it is vile, and some of it is great. I’m really uncomfortable asking a bookseller to decide what the line for “appropriate” is. If this hadn’t become a hot topic on twitter, this man and his book would have remained in obscurity, on the fringe, taboo — because society wants nothing to do with it. We’ve allowed him to become mainstream, and put money in his pocket with the publicity.

    • Your comment is welcome here, so long as it is respectful, even if you disagree with some or all of the post.

      I have heard the argument you make several times over, and it is the popular voice of dissent on this event. If you read a few comments back from yours, you’ll see one from a woman who is a survivor of childhood abuse, and whose abusive parents traded books like this in secret. Fast foward many years later, it is now available for purchase, by anyone, with a couple of clicks from one of the world’s largest retailers. That is mainstream. It may not have been popular or best-selling book, but it was present and visible in mainstream society.

      There is a lot of fringe stuff on Amazon, and many other places, and that is fine. But there is NEVER a time when adults having sex with children is “appropriate”. This wasn’t a manual on how to roll a good joint, or a fictional description of a sexual assault inside of a larger story (“Kite Runner”). Some would find that offensive, others would not. This was a manual on how to rape children. Rape. Children. Our silence would have been regarded as apathy. His momentary notariety and small profit garnering is collateral damage to a larger issue.

      We weren’t directing attention to an obscure website or street address of a grimy shop. We were talking about Amazon.com, were the book was listed with other “Health and Sexuality” books. I know who found it, but am unsure of how it was found. My understanding is that it was an accident, and then came the call to action.

      Adults have sexual contact with children is ALWAYS inappropriate. There is no line.

      • Thank you for speaking directly to this issue. It is bad enough that America is accepting so much fringe on prime time t.v. (Thinking of Kardashians,
        Go-Daddy..where the conent is unrated.) It seems that these particular pediphiles were testing the water AND it is great that ALL of the news channels picked up the story. Pedaphiles always want to rationalize their criminality and knowing that Amazon is not screeening their publications, they should be fined for this.

        There is no line and perhaps our laws regarding child protection are not clear enough. Fines and penalties along with civil actions in court for crossing the line may be needed. No excuses!

  12. I can’t even speak. I’m too upset. Thank-you for speaking for me.

  13. –much deserving gratitude expressed to Melissa and the Pigtail Pals community for voicing their outrage and strong objection to the publication and availability of a completely unacceptable manual that endorses and promotes extremely dangerous, violent, and illegal sociopathic behavior at the expense of children and adolescents’ safety and well-being. In the absence of laws protecting the rights and sanctity of children and adolescents from damage, society globally would be in a complete state of chaos and doomed.

  14. This is a great article Melissa. What unnerves me is Amazon’s blatant disregard for their customers. Their comments were: “Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions.” Hatred or Criminal acts – they say one thing but their actions would indicate that they do infact promote criminal acts. Actions speak louder than words, and a world wide boycott before Christmas sales might just get through that their customers won’t stand for promotion of criminal acts!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by BRAVE KIDS VOICES, Annette, Chris Singer, Carolyn Hastie, Bridie C and others. Bridie C said: RT @PigtailPals: New Blog Post: "On Silence and Taboo" We must always speak out again child rape. The @Amazon story http://bit.ly/cIo71s … [...]

  2. [...] post, On Silence and Taboo, was originally posted by Melissa Wardy at PigTail Pals. I’ve cross-posted it with her [...]

  3. [...] their marketplace”. What I’d like to hear from Sears, much like we did from Amazon after they finally got the apology correct for selling a how-to-groom-and-rape guide for [...]

Speak Your Mind

*