Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende

Part 3: The Congress in Paris

Several members have visited the 15th World Congress of Sexology.
Members report and discuss about it.

The speaker speaks

Frans: Quite impressive, 2000 people, about 1000 abstracts and 600 speakers! There were surely progressive minds among them. For example, Thore Langfeld from Sweden presented a film about childhood sexuality with the message to respect it and not suppress it. There were more.

I was one of the first speakers of the congress. BTW, it is better to be the first speaker than the last one, because people are fit and recognize you during the congress. Listening to the last speaker, people are tired and have no time to speak because their airplane will depart soon after that speech. 

My lecture went well, I had about 100 attentive people and translations in French and Spanish while I spoke. (See Newsletter # E11 for lecture and background article) I have spread 75 cd-roms, which were not enough. After the last one was given, I gave the URL of the web site. 
< http://www.helping-people.info/ >
It was quite a lot of work to prepare this, but it seemed to work. Web sites and cd-roms are the modern ways to communicate a message. 

My entrance was "helping people..." because it was a congress of medical men, psychologists and psychiatrists, people who want to help people but do not know how to help people with pedophilic feelings. Once I had entrance and could speak, I could combat misinformation and give better information, I could criticize method #1 and describe method #2, the self help method. It worked.

One of the first who reacted directly after my lecture was a lady who is vice-president of the International Association for the Treatment of Sex Offenders and she invited me to speak at its congress in Vienna next year. 

Also just after the lecture, I met Latifa Bennari, president of L'Ange Bleu ('The Blue Angel') and Rolland Coutanceau, partner in the same.  L'Ange Bleu presents itself as Associatión Nationale de Prévention et d'Information Contre la Pédophilie (National Association for the prevention of and information against pedophilia). We had a talk in a small group there in several languages. I protested against that word contre (against); concernant (concerning) sounds better and is more neutral. While we spoke, we read the flyer that the group had spread. It was in French (but see the English on the web < http://www.ange-bleu.com >). The structure of the flyer was: negative in the front and at the end, but quite more differentiated and subtle in the midst of it. The lady explained that this was a necessary way of working in France. They even have made enemies by this differentiation inside the negative text. The group just had planned to start a support group for people with pedophilic feelings, so they were very interested in my lecture about the same.

It was hard working at the congress. The meetings started at 8 o'clock in the morning and continued into the evening. I had to travel one hour from my hotel to the Palais des Congrés, so I had to leave early for breakfast. There were six sessions at the same time, so one had to choose one of them. The languages were English, French and Spanish. In some rooms there was simultaneous translation, but in other rooms one had to jump suddenly to another language to understand the speaker. I'm glad to have studied several languages. There were also poster- and video presentations. There were Viagra stands, but also a very good bookshop and an amusing simultaneous chess player who had many visitors.

Presenting his lecture, a very serious researcher from the USA spoke about preventing teenage pregnancy. The method was "postpone sexuality" and the research was about how to reach youth with this slogan. They did not reach youth, youth went its own way and kept being pregnant in a high percentage. In the time for reactions, I said: "Sir, we in The Netherlands have the lowest teenage pregnancy rates of the world. But how? Not by Postpone Sex! We have openness and information from early childhood and we have condoms on every street corner and the pill for teenage girls. That works!" I got an applause and many people said afterwards to me words like "You are living in a good country! Don't follow those Americans!"

I will jump now to the two last sessions I visited.

The one was about Child Sexual Abuse, but all speakers were very differentiated and subtle. In the time for reaction, I appreciated the striving to keep families together and to not split them as a standard way of working. I also mentioned a poster that I had seen that had asked for respect for the predators, for understanding of the predators and asked to keep the family together and not to imprison automatically every predator. There came a lady to the microphone who said: "Thank you, Dr Gieles, that is my poster!" It was the same old lady that invited me to the Vienna Congress.

The very last session was impressive. The speaker was a Moroccan psychiatrist from France. He only presented one case. Incest in the family: mom with son and Dad with daughter. Nearly a suicide by Mom. The speaker told how he investigated this case very carefully and how he had found the key. The daughter had a neurotic interpretation of her fathers glance at her. According to the father, the glance expressed only love, but in the daughter's neurotic interpretation it became a sexual desire. Just before ending his speech, he gave the clue: there had been no incest at all in this family. He ended with his conclusions:

be very careful in this kind of cases

do not inform police about it and

keep the family together.

The not tolerated speaker can speak here

Tom: At first my congratulations, Frans, and thanks for your speech and work, and for the time I can speak here. Thanks also for the others who helped me to spread my diskette with my speech. I have spread 250 diskettes there and have received many serious and positive reactions.

We were there with 8 Ipce members. How can you have influence on a congress of 2000 people with 8 people? We have selected the key lectures and have asked quick key questions in the time for reactions. Doing so, we created room for progressive and critical questions. One of them was "How do you define child sexual abuse?" The speaker did not know; she said: "We have decided to make the definitions after the phase of gathering and processing data"... So, IMHO, we have had quite an influence on this congress. 

In June 2000, I could speak at another congress of the International Academy of Sex Research, also in Paris. The president had invited me to that congress. 
Now, at the WAS Congress, the president, Dr Ganem, appreciated my abstract and my paper also. After that, the scientific committee refused it. IMO, only the chair of this committee has blocked it, Dr Pasini. Here is the text of the paper I have spread with my diskette:



The scientific study of sex has always had its opponents. Now they are to be found on the Scientific Committee of the World Congress of Sexology. The evidence? A paper rejected by the committee although:

The proposed paper has been given sustained encouragement over nearly a year by no less a figure than Dr Marc Ganem, President of the W CS. Dr Ganem even promised the author he would get his registration fee back if the paper were not accepted. He said he felt the issue raised was "important'., the Abstract was "very interesting" and he felt "sure" the paper would be accepted.

The writer, Tom O'Carroll, is well known in his field. He was invited by the President of the prestigious International Academy of Sex Research to be a guest speaker at the academy's annual meeting last year, where he addressed the Symposium on Sexual Privacy. 

O'Carroll's paper was proposed for the WCS's Symposium on Pedophilia, Sex Offenders. He is a published author on pedophilia. 

No written grounds for the rejection have been received by the author despite several requests by e-mail and phone. However, in one such phone conversation Dr Ganem indicated that the President of the Scientific Committee, Dr Pasini, appeared to be concerned not about the scientific quality of the paper but by the controversy to which it might give rise.

Sponsors of the W CS include pharmaceutical companies and the politically sensitive World Health Organization. You may feel it reasonable to wonder whether concern over keeping the sponsors happy is the real reason behind the decision.

A number of participants at this congress heard about the situation and felt it important that this paper should not be suppressed. The arguments and evidence adduced in it are scientifically sound. The problem is solely that O'Carroll's conclusions will not be universally popular: his paper may be politically incorrect but it is scientifically correct. Accordingly, it has been decided to distribute the paper as a Word file on floppy disk. Please take one. It is hoped you will read the paper and as soon as conveniently possible convey your views on this censorship to the W CS.

Here is the Abstract of the paper, as submitted by Tom O'Carroll: 

TITLE: Is paedophilia violent? 


A section called "Violence and Sex (violence, pedophilia, rape)" was included in a leaflet promoting this congress as part of a list of topics listed for symposia and round table discussions. This paper challenges the appropriateness of viewing pedophilia (UK spelling: paedophilia) in terms of violence. The literature on personality and behavioural aspects of paedophilia is reviewed with particular reference to "preferential" as opposed to "situational" paedophilia. Evidence on harm to children commonly attributed to adult-child sexual contacts is considered, as is the validity and value of the "consent" construct in the light of recent research. The unscientific attribution of violence to paedophilia as a supposedly inherent characteristic is discussed, particularly with regard to lines of feminist analysis founded on issues of power imbalance in personal relationships.

Tom's Paper is in full in Newsletter E 11 [External link]

What we have seen here, were not only two people, but also two strategies:

Strategy A (Frans):
Let's say: a more diplomatic approach as a scientist, so an academic way of presenting but not 'too clear', with in this case 'helping people' as the angle. 'Don't frighten the horses if you want to reach them'.
This was accepted.

Strategy B (Tom):
A more radical approach as a ped activist. 
This was refused.

Question: Is there still room for strategy B? 

Not too much, so it seems. A quite progressive lady attacked me because of my interfering to the lecture of Dr Thore Langfeld.  She said that my words did suggest that Thore Langfeld was connected with pedophiles. She was quite furious. Indeed, it was a misjudgement of me; I thought the lecture had ended, but it had not. But the incident suggests that there is not much room for strategy B. 
However, my speech at the Paris 2000 congress has had several positive follow-ups like an invitation to speak for the UK TV and to write an article in a leading journal. 

The other members react

All that happened is information; the refusal and the refused message. It gives an opportunity to react and to influence the agenda. The CSA Lobby claims to be the only ones who can start a discourse. Now it appears that they are not the only ones.

That' right. By reactions and questions one can add issues to the agenda. There is still room for strategy B as well as for A. We've seen the same at the 'Love and attraction' conference with Larry Constance and Thore Langfeld. There have not been many positive changes since that time. Strategy is still needed. 

There were good presentations as well as bad ones. Thus, your lecture is not rejected because of the quality but because of the content. BTW, a censored article can attract more readers because of the publicity, just like censored films do. BTW, there were press agents at the congress, but no publicity outside the congress as far as I know.

The theme of the opening session was that sexologists were oppressed in society. Well, at least some of them do the same now. Indeed, there were very good questions from our little team and also good reactions to it. 

For change, there are interventions of activists needed and also political action. Compare with the history of the gay's liberation. There also we saw both strategies; diplomacy and radical action. Politicians listen to the experts, thus start with the academics. 

I have seen several 'double faces' at the congress: in public they seem to be right wing, but in personal contacts I heard much more nuance and other ideas. For example the people of L'Ange Bleu with their 'contre la pédophilie' and their intention to start a support group. But, says another member, watch out for those double faces! 

There was surely room at the congress for radical input; there was radical input. For example the session about paraphilias. Yves Ferroul from France had titled his contribution "Sexual perversity doesn't exist". Also Charles Moser from the USA who criticized the DSM criteria for paraphilias and Margaretta Dwyer from the USA, who criticized the APA. 
Also the session "What's a healthy society?" was full of progressive input. WAS president Eli Coleman pleaded for more rights for minorities. In the time for reactions, I have brought in some more human right issues like

the right to be not circumcised

the right to have childhood sexuality not criminalized - I mentioned the two year young 'sex offender' in Florida... [See Documentation Service List in Newsletter E 11, # 01-015]

the right to have one's own thoughts without being reported to police and

the right to present a lecture at this congress without censorship...


Vorige Start Omhoog Volgende