I have been trying to avoid all media surrounding George Pell and his conviction, but I let my guard down today and read part of an article on something that was said during the trial. As I read, I was hit with a realisation – the majority of people seem to think adults who use children for sexual pleasure are easily identified as the monsters they are.
Incest and paedophilia are such horrendous concepts, and the media portrayal is that they look, behave, dress, or whatever, a certain way that identifies them as easily as a brand on their forehead. Children are taught to fear strangers – particularly ones who offer sweets and try to get you into a car as you walk on the footpath – so when mummy or daddy’s best friend, or Uncle John surrender to their taboo desires, the child has no perception of danger. The stereotype that paedophiles are easily identified monsters needs to change before any semblance of justice will be served.
Most paedophiles I have encountered, including my father, seem like magnificently generous and caring people – the ‘give you the shirt off their backs’ type that everyone raves about to others – and this is part of their modus operandi. They need to be loved and adored by others to enable them to do what they do, both in terms of access to children, and in creating a persona so ‘pure’ that if a child breaks their silence no one will believe them.
In this particular case, a ‘man of God’ turned out to be nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing – a mortal human with carnal desires, who could not resist the temptation to act on them, but who also had a perfect facade.