All is not well on Planet Dorries. Two weeks after the Mid Bedfordshire MP introduced a sexist private member’s bill which would teach only girls the virtue of sexual abstinence and “how to say no”, Nadine has helped to advance the myth that child sexual abuse is linked to the behaviour of children.

On Channel 5’s Vanessa show on Monday she opined:

“If a stronger ‘just say no’ message was given to children in school then there might be an impact on sex abuse … if we imbued this message in school we’d probably have less sex abuse.”

So desperate is Dorries to bolster her abstinence agenda that she cheaply aligns the issue of teenage promiscuity with child abuse. Scrapbook will leave it to a genuine victim of childhood sexual abuse to outline exactly how offensive this is in a blogpost entitled “Nadine Dorries thinks I was asking for it”.

But with a majority of 15,152, we will all have to up with “Mad Nads” for the foreseeable future.

  1. One of the comments on that link suggests writing to David Cameron if you want to make a complaint. I feel that might be very slightly more successful than writing to someone who will probably denounce any and all criticism as a conspiracy by communists or something.

  2. Is this stupid woman serious!!?? Why and how is she still a member of Parliament??? Stupid, deluded and so very, very wrong!!! This has made me so angry that……. I can’t think of any words to describe it.

  3. craig weatherhill says:

    I sometimes wonder what world politicians live in, because it isn’t the one the rest of us inhabit. I can’t believe the sheer heartless stupidity of Ms Dorries’s statement. As if “No!” would be the slightest help to a 4-stone child against a determined 16-stone adult. It would very likely result in raising the level of abuse. This ridiculous Tory is basically saying to all those who have suffered abuse: “It’s your fault if you didn’t say no”. Why do we allow people like this to govern our country?

  4. Er…Phil Ruse. Re: Why not replace the word “sex” with the word “drug” and see whether your reaction remains the same?”

    Nice conflation there, Phil.. Saying ‘no’ to a drug dealer in the street or a friend passing you a spliff is a lot easier than saying ‘No’ to a fully grown adult who is intent on raping you. As most abuse tends to happen within the family home or with a known ‘friend’ who is probably also psychologically manipulating feelings of guilt, shame and entitlement into the child, the idea of saying NO isn’t even an option or likely to stop the abuse happening. Try thinking a little before you post such ridiculous comments again.

  5. @Karl
    I’m pointing out that the message is similar, I’m not making any claims as to it’s efficacy. Your points are good, however I personally think the idea of teaching children it’s OK to say “NO” is one worth exploring. You yourself say “the idea of saying NO isn’t even an option or *likely* to stop the abuse…”. Again, personally I agree with this, but if it’s possible even in only a few cases, is this worth looking at?

    This rather gets away from the general point of abstinence that Nadine Dorries was promoting; now that I do believe is a lost cause!

  6. Dear Ms. Dorries,

    I understand where you’re coming from, I really do. You think that if children were ‘fully’ educated about sex, if they were told that ‘no’ is an option, rather than just taught the ‘mechanics’, that there would be less behaviour in the ‘bad sex stuff’ column. I get it. I’m in favour of an even broader sexual education for schools also. Broader, more in-depth, starting at a younger age, and with components about emotions, abuse, mental health, how some people (adult, with free will people) practice abstinence, the weird and the wonderful. Get it all in there, definitely.

    But you’ve been rather idiotic with your words, and I’m surprised that you haven’t been given a telling off from on high yet. So, so misinformed, uneducated, insensitive and well, stupid was your comment on the Vanessa show regarding sexual abuse that I have to believe there’s a retraction coming up.

    Yes, I was abused as a child. Yes, it happened before I even knew what sex was. No, saying no (which I actually tried, despite being six and it being my father) made sod all difference. Had someone at school then told me that to avoid what had happened, I could have, should have practiced abstinence… well, I’m laughing just thinking about it. Add ten years more therapy on to what I’ve already been through (it took me six to say the words ‘It wasn’t my fault. There’s nothing I could have done to change what happened to me’ out loud. But, of course, I wasn’t *taught* to say no. That would have made all the difference, I’m *sure*.)

    I’m just wondering. Could we tweak your bill slightly, to make sure adults are taught about abstinence also? Cos, I gotta tell you, I would have *loved* it if someone had explained the concept to my father. Seems perhaps you’re targeting the wrong group with the ‘just say no’ message…

    Idiot.

    Yours,

    (name removed for this website)

  7. deborah goodall says:

    the woman is clearly disturbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!how dare she have such fkd up view on child abuse……so many angry things i wanna say here but comment probably get deleted i completely agree with carl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. @Karl and Phil

    I think what you’re both saying is that saying ‘no’ probably won’t stop child molestation, but it is important that kids know they’re allowed to say no and shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

  9. Oh my god, I don’t think I’ve heard something so insensitive. To say ‘No’, you have to understand what you’re saying no to. How is a 5 year old in this instance suppose to understand the situation of abuse and think to say no. At that age everything seems normal, and they don’t understand that actually what is happening is wrong.

  10. It is very sad that this so called politician is so uneducated about a subject like this. She makes it sound as though being able to say “No” would make a difference and perhaps in a politician’s idealistic world it would. However child abuse is very complex, the person instigated the abuse has likely to have suffered some abuse in his/her life. The children who are abused are conditioned into thinking that it is ok, they are told so many times that it is their fault by their abuser that they actually start to believe it. The abuser is generally a very controlling person who will have nurtured the child into his way of thinking.

    This politician should hang her head in shame and leave subjects like this to those who are more qualified, namely those who have been at the hands of such abuse.

    As for someone trying to liken saying “No” to sexual abuse is the same as saying “No” to drugs worries me as well. Drugs are entirely another matter which I will not go into here.

  11. The message of Drug abuse and the ‘Just say no’ phrase cannot in anyway be similar to that of child abuse, if you are only 5 or 6 years of age and have a large, strong 40 yr old man bearing down upon you, saying ‘NO’ does not work. The men and women carrying out these horrific acts in most cases emotionally abuse their victims first ‘grooming’ or choose a victim far too young to say ‘NO’ or one that is already emotionally unstable! Harsher sentences for these offenders would go alot further to potentially stop them than a child saying ‘NO’! This women is obviously not a parent and if she is perhaps she should embark on a parenting course unless of course the goverment cuts has not forced the closure of her local agency!

  12. The idea that this will stop all child abuse? Absurd.
    The idea that this will stop most child abuse? Absurd.
    The idea that this will even effect the statistics to a noticable amount? Absurd.
    The idea that this will help one child prevent this happening to them? Possible.

    And for that reason only, it’s not a bad idea.

  13. All comments about how stupid this is seem to be based on the premise that you have a 14-40 stone adult, who is hell bent on having it, forcing themselves into a 5 or 6 year old. While I won’t deny the existences of these people. I imagine there are abusers who slide gradually into it, and with no negative reinforcment (such as being told/begged/implored no) keep going.

    It could be that a borderline abuser may *may* be put off by being told bluntly ‘no’. When Iwas sent away anywhere (play school, summer camp…etc) my mum told me that if anyone touched me in a bad place, I was to yell ‘NO’ at them. Thankfully I didn’t need to, but the idea is sound.. to a point.

  14. Maybe we should have lessons to teach all those women who get raped to say “No!” instead of letting it happen to them… Nadine Dorries is beyond redemption.

  15. Yes children should be taught they can say no. This however shouldn’t detract in any way from the fact that any form of abuse is the responsibility of the more powerful (mentally and/or physically) abuser and not the victim.

  16. I’m 21. For the entire of my primary school years, we *were* told to say “Stop!” or “No!” if anyone abused us or touched us in ways we didn’t like or want. We were never told anything about what “abuse” was or that grown-ups touching our genitals without permission was wrong. I think children need to be taught that their bodies are their own and that NO ONE has the right to touch them without their express permission and consent.

    Promoting abstinence, which the school I went to already made clear is a n option, does not help any child or young person know what is and isn’t abuse. Teaching people about consent, boundaries and bodily autonomy does.

  17. you are evil ..do you realise that even saying no to a man who is so much stronger than a six yr old is ?? you are a very sick minded woman …dorries…and we are coming to find out what you and the rest of the perverted corrupt government has to hide …. oh wouldnt that be called peadofiles!!!! the ones you also pay to protect wen they are even in jail as they have a whole wing for nonces …people like you dorries ruined my life..and we will expose your bent corrupt ways

  18. “It could be that a borderline abuser may *may* be put off by being told bluntly ‘no’!”

    No, it couldn’t be. Do you think that someone who has taken steps to abuse a child, young person or adult doesn’t know that their behaviour is wrong? Do you believe that a small voice saying ‘no’ will actually stop them in their tracks? I just can’t see it.

    The issue here is that when we’re talking about these things we’re sending messages to people who have been abused. Subtly (or in Dorries case, not so subtly) we’re telling them ‘if only you’d spoken up, if only you’d fought harder, if only you’d said ‘no’.’ Instead, we should be saying ‘this was not your fault.’ That’s all.

  19. BRENDA mc ******** says:

    you are a disgusting disgrace to say this so a baby can say NO a 2 year old can say no you should be thrown out of your job if i pay my taxes why should we pay for trash like you get your a*rse of your seat and pick up your p45 join the que

  20. Saying NO is not an option. That is why is called abuse and not consensual sex. I have never read such an ill informed, ill thought out, misguided, stupid, offensive comment from a politician to date. And given the amount of stupid comments they make, that is saying something. Ms Dorries, you really are a complete and utter offensive idiot.

    Lessons on how to say no to married men anyone?

  21. Philippa Calver says:

    We are always looking for Labour campaigners down in Bedford.
    Let me know if you’re up for it

  22. I think people are getting a bit bogged down in detail & hypothesis here. Our society condemns child sex abuse & expresses that condemnation by making it a strict liability criminal offence to engage in sexual activity with a person under 13. It isn’t up to the victim of a crime to tell the perpetrator that they’re committing an offence – the law presumes, quite rightly, that they already know. It isn’t up to someone who catches a burglar in his/her house to say ‘No’ to forced entry & theft; it isn’t required of someone being beaten up in the street to say ‘Please stop hitting me’; and it isn’t even *available* to an under-13 to consent to sex, regardless of any other aspect of his/her behaviour. Nadine Dorries is a legislator, for God’s sake – she’s one of the people we entrust to make our laws – and she doesn’t know this ???

  23. warren Saunders says:

    What a fucking insensitive insane stupid bitch I don’t wish bad diseases on people but she deserves a right pasting what the fuck is she thinking real shit for brains

  24. As always the focus is on the victim and in this case child victims – when as a society are we going to make perpetrators responsible for and accountable for their behaviour.

  25. Burnt Toast says:

    Yeah we know we should have said no but telling us so will just heap more guilt on us. I had enough guilt of my own for letting it happen when I was six without you heaping more guilt onto me now.. stupid woman.

  26. @Lorraine

    Political Pundits does not sum it up perfectly in the least. The author of the piece you quote explicitly states that “…empowered people are not easy victims.”

    Do you think that however “empowered” a five year old, he or she can fight a middle-aged man? I couldn’t, and my understanding – at least at the beginning of my abuse – was that sex was meant for adults alone. I was then manipulated into believing otherwise, and no amount of abstinence-only education would have made a button of difference.

  27. I cant put into words what I feel! think about this comment! I am a therapist who works daily with children and young people who have been abused in Cornwall. These sort of comments are so damaging when we are encouraging kids to come forward.Children dont always have the personal power to say no to perpitrators or have the cognitive ability to make sense.

  28. Mrs. Dorries,

    I watched the Vanessa Show in which you spoke eloquently about your ideas concerning sex education, and teenage pregnancy. Your concern comes across.

    However, I think you have not done the depth of research in this matter, that your position as a Public Servant, paid for by the taxpayers, demands.

    Eloquence is not enough when it comes to the welfare and safety of children.

    You have a duty of care, Mrs. Dorries, that is both legally mandated and morally implicit.

    That duty of care is to the welfare of all those affected by the work you do.

    Thus it includes all living Survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it includes all those children who are today being abused, and all those who will be abused in the future, because the policies you promote will affect many, many people, and because you made some comments about sexual abuse that I must address.

    That duty of care demands that you transcend your ‘opinions’ and deal explicitly with the facts, the material evidence.

    Those who have Survived sexual assaults in their childhoods form a very large part of that dataset. Have you spoken to Survivors on this matter? Are those conversations a matter of record?

    Regarding your comments which I have transcribed from the program which were as follows :

    “from some of the evidence I have heard, that if a stronger ‘just say no’ message was given to children in school, that there might be an impact on sex abuse, because a lot of girls, when sex abuse takes place, don’t realise, until later that that was a wrong thing to do … because” .. and you continue to speak of sex being so common in Society, in marketing etc etc and do not return to this matter of ‘saying no will impact sex abuse’, to the moment the child in jeopardy is in, and you talk instead of the over-sexualisation of our children, as a societal phenomenon and of how that is linked to teenage pregnancy, a point that is unproven.

    I note that you made a number of comments throughout the piece that it is the girls whose futures are most impacted by falling pregnant. That suggests that teenage pregnancy is key to your position. Your primary concern.

    You have used ‘sex abuse’ as a means to an end. To bolster your particular campaign.

    That is disingenuous and it is also manipulative. How dare you behave in such fashion?

    What evidence to you have to support your contention?

    How do you link your campaign, which is ostensibly about telling young girls that they should say NO, as part of their conscious abstinence practice, (which I partly support : sexual activity must to be consensual, well informed, safe and fun for all concerned, and that includes saying no…) to these comments?

    As a child, age 8, I was sexually assaulted. By a priest. I didn’t understand what was happening, so I could not say ‘no’. It was simply put just weird behaviour I did not understand, yet the abuser was in a such position of Authority in relation to me, the child that I acquiesced. He had all the power. ALL abusers do. They are adept at manipulating the situation. Check the facts. Ask Survivors.

    Many Survivors have in fact said ‘no!’, and that has then been ignored by their abuser. This is common. Abusers do not give up easily. Some children say no and are intimidated, manipulated and even beaten by their abusers. There’s this question of Authority again.

    How does a child, or a young teen say ‘no!’ and back it up, to an advancing abuser when all the real Power in the situation lies with the ADULT abuser? When all their young lives they are taught to respond to Authority with obedience?

    The other panellist mentioned the fact that many parents are embarrassed to speak of sexuality to their children, and that her organisation has programs to help parents get over that embarrassment, so that flows of communication between children and parents are more open?

    What are you doing to address this really important communication gap, one which abusers are known to exploit?

    And what then of children in ‘care’, in fostering, who might not have the kind of trusting relationship that nurturant parenting ought foster, where the child has no-one to turn to, where we know that sexual abuse is relatively common?

    Mrs Dorries, I have to say that ‘might have an impact’ is far too vague a term to use, for someone in your position, with the responsibility you have, of a duty of care to those whom you serve.

    Perhaps you don’t see it that way. Perhaps it is others you serve, (ideology) or your own opinions you serve. Only you can answer that. But I tell you this, your comments do not serve Survivors or children who are in jeopardy today, tomorrow and in in the future.

    You see, Mrs. Dorries, the roots of abusive behaviour are known, they are well described, and documented.. The dynamics of abuse have been studied for some time, the witness of many Survivors is a part of that dataset.

    At the root is a lack of empathy. At the root are a range of situations and societal expressions of power, where societal messages that lack empathy are transmitted by thought and by deed, where the power disparity that exists between a child and an adult is abused by the adult, to meet the adults perceived needs, where the child’s natural nurturant needs are not met. Part of that lack of empathy you have ably demonstrated in the comments you have made, quoted above.

    Of course I do NOT hold you responsible for the abuse that others do. Nor do I seek to link you to it in any way.

    If you are serious about preventing abuse, (which is another matter altogether than the one you are so exercised about, that of teenage pregnancy) then you must study this material.

    You must dig deep, Mrs. Dorries, and you must, above all, speak to Survivors…

    Here’s some research that would be a good place to start. I offer this to you with respect and with the hope that you reflect on my comments.

    http://www.alice-miller.com/ – Eminent Psychologist whose work or intergenerational abuse cycles across whole Societies, has helped many, many people recover from their trauma, has helped people break the cycles of abuse and prevented further abuse from occurring.

    http://www.birthpsychology.com/ – the latest findings in Science, on the natural development of children from in utero, through birth, infancy and childhood, which describes in great detail, the natural expectations that all children embody, that are intrinsic, inherent and that if not met, lead to pathology.

    http://www.violence.de/prescott/bulletin/article.html – Body Pleasure and The Origins of Violence

    If you don’t, then I, as a Survivor, must assume that you are more concerned with imposing your personal opinion and world view, through the power invested in you as an MP, than you are with the material evidence, the facts of the matter, and that is, in my view, utterly immoral, profoundly repugnant and I am sure that it absolutely disqualifies you from office.

    I look forwards to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.

    I will copy this email to your party leader, and publish it on my own outlets.

    Corneilius CrowleyYours Sincerely

  29. @Shreen I think using the term hysteria to dismiss a strong emotional response to what is at best a very bad handling of words is faintly misogynist given the history of the term and the circumstances. The right are already doing a good job labelling abuse survivors valid accounts of their very real and unpleasant experiences as hysteria, we don’t need the left to join in.

    I started the petition in response to Dorries’ comments because of my experiences as a college lecturer dealing with the survivors of abuse, out of an awareness of the hurt the comments were causing to people I know. Don’t assume that everyone has the same capacity to intellectualise their experiences as you – they may use more emotional language and less academic reasoning (although to my mind the concept of rational thought in a complete emotional vacuum, especially where dealing with issues like abuse and rape, is senseless) – the people who have been labelled as being part of a backlash have just as much right to express their responses as you do.

  30. Oh, and on the issue of context, did Dorries directly mean that children who have not said no to their attackers are therefore to blame for the abuse they suffered? No, she didn’t, I think she was putting the blame onto the education system, but she in choosing those words she was grossly misunderstanding and misrepresenting abuse – at any age, and it is she who introduced the term abuse, not the “backlash” – by suggesting that consent either affects the decision of the attacker or takes place outside of psychological manipulation.

    As a politician appearing on national television she has a responsibility to think carefully about how her wording can affect the people she is delivering her message to. If I made those kind of comments in a classroom I would expect disciplinary procedures to kick in.

    Let us not forget that the wider context of her comments is the ridiculous regressive bill she is trying to put through.

  31. Where does this idiot live, certainly not on the same planet as the rest of us.
    Maybe she should explain how a 3 year old is going to be taught to say no.
    Why do brainless f**kwits like this get into government.
    Let’s not beat about the bush and let’s call a spade a spade.
    This woman is dangerous.

  32. I haven’t decided if this woman is completely naive or just completely thick. I have decided that she has done more damage with her ill-informed comments than a wing on Peterhead. This is just what an abused child needs to hear. Hang yer head in shame, you mad tory:(

  33. let go let peace says:

    The Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation is a non-profit with a mission to help heal and support adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse worldwide. We are actively seeking adult survivors who would be willing to post a childhood photo and caption, their story, or their creative expressions to our website http://www.letgoletpeacecomein.org. By uniting survivors from across the globe we can help provide a stronger and more powerful voice to those survivors who have not yet found the courage to speak out. We also have a prepared a YouTube video that can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4PDC03Gl2k.
    Please share this website information with those in your group who could benefit from having a safe and judgment-free environment to share their story. Together we can; together we should; together we NEED to stand up and be counted. As a newly formed non-profit we need your help to spread the word about our foundation and how it can help survivors. Please e-mail me directly at [email protected] with any questions you may have. I do know that we have at least one survivor group locally that uses our site as a tool during their meeting sessions because some of their survivors found it easier and more helpful to share in print before they shared in person. Thank you for everything that you do.
    Thank you for everything you do!
    Gretchen Paules
    Administrative Director
    Let Go…Let Peace Come In Foundation
    630 W. Germantown Pike; Suite 180
    Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

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