The world’s leading atheist thinker, Richard Dawkins, has told the Times magazine a little bit of mild pedophilia between men and boys did no “lasting harm”.
Recounting his own experiences at the fingers of a schoolmaster who “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” the zoologist told the Times that this kind of abuse was no big deal. He called it “mild touching up” and added, “I don’t think he did any of us lasting harm.”
Unlike many survivors of pedophilic abuse and touching years ago, Dawkins says he can’t condemn:
“I am very conscious that you can’t condemn people of an earlier era by the standards of ours. Just as we don’t look back at the 18th and 19th centuries and condemn people for racism in the same way as we would condemn a modern person for racism, I look back a few decades to my childhood and see things like caning, like mild pedophilia, and can’t find it in me to condemn it by the same standards as I or anyone would today.”
Counsellors working with historic sex abuse victims say that while the crime may have been committed in a different age, the impact on many victims is lifelong.