London Pride: who’s really trivialising child abuse?
Nothing says ‘Happy Father’s Day!’ like a cold pint of ale and a spot of child abuse – at least, that was the end of the stick that the offence-hungry Twittermob hurriedly grasped after reading a tweet from beer brand London Pride on Sunday. The promotional tweet, which has since been deleted, read, ‘For those telling offs, clips round the ear, raised eyebrows… and that first pint of Pride’, in a nod to pint-loving dads on Father’s Day. Unfortunately for the beer brand, this was received by some as the company celebrating child abuse, with one enraged customer tweeting in response: ‘Wow. Used to love a pint of Pride, but now you’re suggesting it’s a reward for assaulting my daughter, I’ll pass thanks.’
However, more so than London Pride, it is the outraged mob that is guilty of trivialising child abuse here. By grouping ear-clipping with genuine acts of violence towards children, the self-righteous people who balked at Pride’s tweet reflect a growing trend whereby the definition of child abuse has become inflated, therefore making the issue more difficult to tackle. If only we lived in a society in which the worst that it got for children was a clip round the ear from a parent trying to instil some discipline. Unfortunately, real abuse exists, and it can’t be dealt with if we’re all distracted by such a trivial tweet.
As Tim Black noted on spiked last week, the discussion of child abuse is being diluted by self-serving organisations, such as the NSPCC, which routinely move the goalposts with regard to what constitutes abuse. The NSPCC now claims that a parent teasing their child can be classified as abuse; so is it any wonder that a Twittermob was bustling to prove just how offended it was at that innocuous tweet? These people could have expressed anger about the systematic abuse in a place like Rotherham, but instead they chose to pour their energy into barracking a beer brand.
When we obscure the real cases of child abuse with this shroud of faux-hysteria, and expand the definition of abuse to the point that most British parents could be classed as child abusers, we do nothing to protect children. If all the political and social will to act on cases of abuse is diverted into such exhausting displays of outrage, then cases of genuine abuse will be deprived of the attention and careful examination they deserve. You don’t deserve a pat on the back for being offended by a tweet – you deserve a clip round the ear for distracting from the real issue.
George Harrison is a student at the London School of Economics and a spiked intern.
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