What is sexual violence on children?
I feel it is important to define sexual violence on children. There seems to be no universal definition of what sexual violence or sexual abuse is. Let's go from macro to micro, from international to local.
By definition, the definition of sexual violence or sexual abuse towards children is different to the victim and the perpetrator. A witness may have a different appreciation of what the words entail. The definition in society is yet different again, even from one society or group to another. From one family to the next the meaning of the words can be fundamentally different too. And I have not spoken about cultural praxis.
The words are a sort of organic and evolving concept with main traits. Testament to that is the 114 page long Terminology Guidelines for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse
I really would like for you to find the motivation to read the whole document, though herewith some excerpts:
“Incest” refers to the sexual activity between two people who are very closely related in a family.
“Rape” is the crime of forcing someone (in this case a child) to have sex without the consent of the victim. “sexual assault” broadens the scope of the crime to include also sexual acts that do not involve penetration.
“Molestation” refers to the act of touching or attacking someone, especially a child, in a sexual way.
“Sexual touching of children”. Sexual touching of a child is a form of sexual abuse. “To touch” means to physically put hands on something or someone, and the term “sexual touching of children” mainly refers to the act of touching the private parts of a child’s body, and/or making the child touch her or his own private parts, for the purpose of one’s own sexual arousal/gratification. It includes any physical contact, including touching through clothing, as well as direct contact with the other person’s skin. The sexual abuse of children frequently occurs as repeated episodes that become more invasive with time. Perpetrators usually engage the child in a gradual process of sexualizing the relationship over time. Sexual touching often marks, along with sexual comments, the beginning of a gradually increasing process of sexual abuse of the child by an adult or by another child. For that reason, it may represent a crucial stage of intervention to avoid further, and more serious, sexual abuse of the child.
“Harassment” refers to the act of “annoying or worrying somebody by putting pressure on them or saying or doing unpleasant things to them”. The Istanbul Convention defines “sexual harassment” as any form of unwanted verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature with the purpose or effect of violating the dignity of a person, in particular when creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment. “Unwanted sexual comments” can be a form of sexual harassment. The process of sexual abuse may include or even start with unwanted sexual comments on, for instance, the way the child is dressed or is using make-up or on her/his physical beauty, thus embarrassing the child. While such comments do not always lead to sexually abusive activities, they may still cause harm to the child, and may be considered a form of non-contact abuse.
I am quite confident there is plenty of behaviour many people would not automatically have classified as sexual violence towards children.
At the national level, it will come as no surprise to you that Switzerland has no definition of sexual violence towards children, no definition of what's included and excluded. Each canton is free to do as they pretty please. Some cantons have definitions, most not. In all honesty, the having of a definition or not should not be pertinent. In light of the international conventions, the definition from one canton to the next should not differ. Since Neuchatel and Jura have no definition of what sexual violence towards children is, I'll use the Vaud one on page 9.
Niveau I : Bien-être Climat familial sexualisé de manière adéquate Au niveau du bien-être l’enfant ne subit aucune atteinte sexuelle de la part de son entourage. Les parents posent clairement l’interdit du passage à l’acte au sein de la famille. Les parents posent clairement les repères de la sphère personnelle et de l’intimité et remplissent leur fonction de pare-excitation. L’interdit de l’inceste est intériorisé ce qui permet une circulation des affects au sein de la famille structurante pour la construction de la sexualité de l’enfant. Niveau II : Risque Climat incestuel Au niveau du risque l’enfant vit dans une famille où la sphère personnelle et intime n’est pas suffisamment définie et respectée, la fonction de pare-excitation fait défaut. L’enfant subit de la part de son entourage, des atteintes relevant de l’incestuel : inceste moral consistant en incitations sexuelles intrafamiliales sans accomplissement physique. L’incestuel peut se caractériser par des inspections corporelles inadéquates, des atteintes à l’intimité, des dévalorisations du corps, des exhibitions des parents, des confidences érotiques parentales. Ce niveau intègre également les comportements extra-familiaux d’incitation sexuelle sans passage à l’acte (accès à du matériel à caractère pornographique). Niveau III : Maltraitance Abus sexuels Au niveau de la maltraitance l’enfant subit de la part de son entourage des atteintes relevant de l’abus sexuel : appropriation par violence, séduction ou emprise du corps de l’enfant comme objet de satisfaction sexuelle. Il est ordonné par trois formes d’abus : 1. les abus sans attouchement qui consistent en invitations sexuelles, actes de pornographie, exhibitionnisme ; 2. les attouchements caractérisés par les contacts sexuels inappropriés : pénétration simulée, masturbation de la victime ; attouchements sur l’abuseur ; 3. les abus avec pénétration qui répertorient les actes de pénétration orale, génitale ou anale, l’inceste et la prostitution.
It clearly does not go as far as the international definitions, but kudos to Vaud where at least there is a definition.
Without a clear definition, how do you want social assistants, judges, professionals, etc to have anything to denounce?
Now, how do families actually function, on the micro level? I'll testify as witness about three events in, three families. Having read the above you will understand how the below is not to be considered normal. The below is supposed to be sexual violence against children everywhere in the world, but not in Switzerland.
1) In the upstanding bourgeois Mamie family in the Jura one of the parents was a social assistant at the SPAJ of the Jura, and the other parent a teacher in Biel. They should know, right? I mean, of all people, they should know what sexual violence towards children is, right?
They consider a good spank and a good yell when kids are not listening brings them back to attention. Schocking? To me, yes. I never laid a hand on my kids and yelling to them is a nono.
To the Mamie family it is also normal to in front of children under 5 years old watch and listen to sexually explicit content on youtube. The worst was an idealisation of a movie called “la fistinière”. Watching and laughing, and joking, in front of kids under 5 years old, whose attention naturally went to wanting to not only hear but see what these disgusting movies are about. I'm not judging whether these movies are set in scene or actually real sick people. I find it disgusting and would not motivate anyone to go find those movies or watch them. They turn my stomach upside down. While to adults who in my opinion are sick in their head this might seem enjoyable movies, here I am judging adults of position in society who should know better then having kids around such material. But in the Jura, it is ... normal.
2) One day my wife bathed our son (1) and daughter (5). An exception as it was normally me bathing the kids as stay-at-home dad. Loud splashing and laughing, the usual. Suddenly I hear my son starting to scream in panic. When you care for your kids, you just know from the scream if there is something bad happening. I still hear my wife and daughter laughing, so my first reaction is one of dismissal, the wife will handle, she's the bather. But my son's screaming persistently continues well beyond my level of tolerance. So I rush to the bathroom. There I see my son standing upright, gripping for dear life with both hands the border of the bath, sliding painfully and getting back up, pushing his laughing sister away, he looks me in the eyes while I see my daughter reaching for his penis, my wife laughing with my daughter at the whole thing. They were playing “attrappe son zizi”, or grab his penis.
In shock of the scene I witnessed, I just grabbed my son, lifted him into my arms and holding him to my chest while he was trembling for dear life and grabbing my t-shirt in panic. I left the bathroom immediately, with a towel to dry him and calm him down. He did not let go of my t-shirt and kept screaming, I could not put him down on the diaper table to properly dry him and put him into clothes. He was in total panic, and it took a to me good long while to calm him down.
I heard my wife from the bathroom shushing I was overreacting, that they were just playing, that there is no harm in playing grab his penis, that they are kids and it is normal.
It is not normal under any circumstance to allow, let alone motivate, a 5 year old to grab the privates of a one year old, and dismiss it permissively as normal, let alone laugh and make fun around it, especially when the one year old is in total panic.
3) I reached out to my daughter's godmother, Célia Fleuri (Schaller) in Switzerland, Jura Bernois, daughter of the local doctor, psychologist and hypnotherapist specialist. She is adamant she knows about sexual violence on children because she denounced through her profession as psychologist several child abusers.
She felt that the scene is normal, and that I am the overreacting parent. She said the same happens with her and her children. (Read again the sections about the adult's responsibility of setting limits) I wanted to have a conversation about it with her, and time and again she canceled the conversation with another excuse to not have to discuss it.
I've talked to a number of professionals outside Switzerland, and they are all unanimous: These three examples are sexual violence and abuse against children. And many other children in Switzerland are subject to sexual violence too as per the 5 parts I am writing on the subject.
To authorities in Switzerland? Normal. To psychologists in Switzerland? Normal. To child protection services in Switzerland? Normal. To NGO's in Switzerland? Piss pants and run away.
See, once again I say to all child sexual abusers out there:
Go to Switzerland, particularly Neuchatel, Jura Bernois and Jura. It is your eden. You can do this kind of stuff there. You will be considered normal.
There is truth to what my children's grand uncle said to the prosecutor, I rephrase in short what he said and meant: “if such acts would be wrong or out of the ordinary, our whole family would then be committing child sexual violence”. I think he is right. As a society the Jura, Jura Bernois, Neuchatel, ... Switzerland has a cultural praxis problem with sexual integrity limits involving children.
!!! IT SHOULD NEVER EVER BE TOLERATED BY ANYONE !!!
I still have the SMS-es with the godmother in which she said it is normal, and email correspondence between the godmother and the abusing grandfather. Not that the law in Switzerland would care about a psychologist hypnotherapist feeling such behaviour to be normal.
I think time has come for the next topic to be about the Swiss Federation of Psychologists. Jaw dropping that one. Part 3 will probably wait a few days.
I'll finish off with a need to repeat about the three examples (and I have a ton examples):
!!! IT SHOULD NEVER EVER BE TOLERATED BY ANYONE !!!
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. This blog gets the proverbial pants on!
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