An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

01.08.14 | News

Description=Richard Dawkins Photograph: Jeremy Young 05-12-2006
Dear Dr Dawkins,
I hope that this letter finds you well and in good health.
This is something that many male survivors are currently not in and some of their more recent disturbances could arguably be attributed to your recent public discussions, in particular the impact of a collection of 140 characters you put together through the social media platform, Twitter.
I, maybe like many others, found your tweets confusing and have since found some of the arguments that are being had in the world about what you said equally confusing. Much of my confusion has come about due to the fact that you seem to believe that people would think you are creating an argument for endorsing these abhorrent crimes. I don’t see that at all and don’t believe that your ‘logic’ was saying that. However, my question would be about the ‘weight’ to each of these ‘values’, i.e. “mild paedophilia” versus “violent paedophilia”, or “date rape” versus “stranger rape at knifepoint” you have decided upon. I half did what you asked and I “went away” and I thought.
I thought about many things…
I thought about the moment I first realised in my therapists office that the ‘relationship’ that I believed I had had with a guy when I was experimenting with my sexuality in my younger days was in fact actually child sexual abuse between me as an 11 year old and him as a 53 year old. I thought about how many years it went on and how much my head became messed up, my thoughts became confused and my memories became hazy. I thought about how many years later even thinking of his name used to result in me being stuck in the shower until I was ‘clean’ (usually when my skin was red raw).
I thought about the time I was so scared about what was happening to me and my body that I couldn’t move (or didn’t know how to) but at the very same time had a tsunami of positive feelings for this person. I thought how much of a profound impact this had had on my life.
I thought about how silent I’d been, even to the point where at low times after all my therapy sessions and doing what I do I can still question if what happened was my fault or not.
But I also thought about how much good work is being done to #breakthesilence of the sexual abuse and rape of boys and girls, men and women. I thought about how hard voluntary sector organisations such as my own, Survivors UK and Mankind are working to support boys and men; I thought about how Manchester Rape Crisis and the other fantastic Rape Crisis Centres across the UK are fighting to keep women and girls safe; and I thought about the crisis workers, forensic medical examiners, ISVA’s and counsellors at Sexual Assault Referral Centres such as St Mary’s and Safe Place and how amazing they are. I thought about the 500+ men that have accessed my charity over the past five years and I thought about how proud of every single one of them I am. I thought about how supportive my partner is and all the other supportive partners of the survivors we work with out there. I thought about the 200+ Greater Manchester Police Officers I have delivered training to on how to better engage with male rape victims, and I thought about the Detectives I have the pleasure of working with (I also did think about the small minority that drive me mad with their know it all attitude); and I thought about all the people that have been a huge support to me and Survivors Manchester.
I thought how wonderful this all is.
And then I remembered what you said and your unapologetic arrogant attitude for the distress, upset and harm your ignorant words have created.
At this point my thoughts brought about feelings (that usually happens Dr Dawkins) and I felt sad. Sad that someone I respected could be so flippant and brutal. But I remembered that you are only human, not other worldly or supernatural, and the problem with humans is we make mistakes. But the beauty in humans is that we can rectify mistakes. We can say sorry. We can realise the harm we have caused others.
Don’t minimise the impact of sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation, as whilst your “own thirty seconds of nastiness back in the 1950s” as you state might not have done you any harm (regardless of what I think, and I would absolutely question that on a therapeutic level), this narrative results in people believing that they should just ‘get over it’ when they think about how horrible that experience was for them.
Don’t suffer from your own ‘god delusion‘ as whilst that would be ironic (don’tcha think, like rain on a summers day) it would also undo so much of yours and the late Christopher Hitchens work.
You’ve probably been told many times in the past 24-48 hours to go away and think so I’m not going to say that. I’d like you to sit here and just feel the pain of others.
Does that make a difference Dr?
Yours sincerely
Duncan Craig
CEO / Psychotherapist
Survivors Manchester
P.O Box 4325
M61 0BG
t: 0161 236 9025 (Office)
t: 0161 236 2182 (Helpline)

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