There is delirium and there is reality. The first is in the conspiracy theories of QAnon, the American extremist movement, and in tweets from the Brazilian right. The reality can be found in books like “O Consentimento”, recently launched in Brazil, and “La Familia Grande” (still without translation).
QAnon claims that the Democratic Party of the United States, with the support of the film industry and “globalist elites”, has created a satanic sect dedicated to the kidnapping, torture and sexual abuse of children. For radicals who revolve around Jair Bolsonaro and Olavo de Carvalho, the legalization of pedophilia is only a matter of time in Brazil.
“The Consent” and “La Familia Grande” are memory books originally published in France, in early 2020 and in January of this year. In the first, Vanessa Springora recounts how, at the age of 14, in the 1980s, she fell victim to writer Gabriel Matzneff – a respected name in French intellectual circles and also a serial and unrepentant pedophile. In the second, the lawyer Camille Kouchner reveals how her brother suffered in his childhood from sexual abuse on the part of his stepfather, the famous political scientist Olivier Duhamel.
The commotion caused by the two works was great enough to influence a political decision. On March 15, France for the first time set the age of sexual adulthood in its legislation. When the rule takes effect, sex with children and adolescents under the age of 15 will be treated as rape, with a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. No adult can claim that the relationship was “consensual”.
“La Familia Grande” brought to light a well-known fact: child abuse is rarely reported, as it almost always occurs in the family or in a circle of acquaintances. “Consent” has incriminated a whole era. In the cultivated environment that Springora and Matzneff lived in, no adult knew how to protect the girl, even though the writer’s sexual preferences were notorious.
The book presents two reasons for this: the cult of the artist, to whom normal limits would not apply, and “the spirit of the times”. “Fighting against the imprisonment of desires, against all repression, were the key words at the time,” writes Springora.
She recalls how, in the second half of the 1970s, the most revered French intellectuals mobilized to reduce the sentences of pedophiles and prevent the laws from setting the age of sexual adulthood. Manifestos have been published. Among the seven or eight dozen signatories were names such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Roland Barthes, Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault and Françoise Dolto (psychoanalyst specializing in childhood).
In fact, France was not isolated in this movement. In other countries, such as the United States and England, groups made up of sociologists, political scientists and psychologists have also gained notoriety, who argue that “intergenerational sex” can be a form of liberation for children. and adults.
Contrary to what the crusaders of the extreme right claim, these ideas have not gained ground in recent decades. Pedophilia has ceased to be a behavioral problem and has become a medical problem – a disease, as the Manual Health Organization can attest. It involves seeking treatment for patients, but not excusing them when they put their fantasies into practice. More than ever, attention is focused on victims of sexual violence.
The men who abuse children in “O Consent” and “La Familia Grande” are real people, who do real damage. Springora and Kouchner have put the anguish, fear and anger felt for years at the service of a goal: to denounce the unbearable violence contained even in the most “tender” caresses of a pedophile, and to unleash political action . The change in French law is the result.
In comparison, the pedophile of the nightmares of QAnon and of the “ideological” bolsonaristas is an abstract being: an absolute evil, a chimera. Both groups have also used this monster to serve political ends. But the result, in this case, is only interested in themselves.