Secrets and Lies
Recently, naturism has been in the news for all the wrong reasons and while it is not any one individuals’ fault, I believe it is something that could have been prevented.
A woman and four men were accused by prosecuting counsel at Portsmouth Crown Court of encouraging two 13-year old children to ‘walk around naked,’ by pretending to be naturists and using games of naked Twister and nude wrestling as a prelude to sexual assault, including rape. How many naturist families have innocently played Twister at a party I wonder, and will now think twice before suggesting doing so again? A fun game ruined by a selfish and obnoxious act.
The woman and her partner went further, creating a ‘naturist’ website so they could distribute pictures and videos of the abuse they had metered out for the sexual gratification of other paedophiles, some as far away as Australia. One video, said the prosecuting counsel, was titled a ‘training’ video to get a child ‘ready’.
As the case progressed, the court heard from witnesses how the woman’s personality – who had pleaded not guilty and laid the blame entirely on her partner – had changed in the months leading up to her arrest. The assumption that the defence counsel wanted the jury – and us – to draw was that it arose from the ‘secret’ life she was leading and her actions were out of character. [UPDATE – On the 2nd November, the BBC reported that all five were found guilty.)
It gives me no pleasure to also recount the recent downfall of John Wymark-Hoare, formerly the Yorkshire Region Representative for British Naturism, who was convicted of downloading, and storing, child pornography onto his computer. Arrested in August 2010, he nevertheless kept it secret from his fellow Executive Council members for over a year until his conviction was reported in a newspaper and seen by another British Naturism member.
I don’t want to write about paedophilia though, for while it affects us all, perhaps naturists more so, it is but a tiny minority who are getting all the headlines. No, what I want to draw your attention to is the secrecy and lies that such a life leads them into. For some it must be like living their own version of a spy thriller, only this one hasn’t been written by John le Carré or Len Deighton. While for others, like the woman from Portsmouth has claimed, it is quite terrifying. What paedophiles can’t stand however is openness and transparency, where secrecy does not exist.
Naturism and naturists have had a very good reason for their secrecy, at least in their own mind but that is now, surely, all in the past. Consider the Freemasons. Until comparatively recently, this organisation has lived with secret rites and ceremonies. Everyone knew of them, but no one knew with any certainty about who they were and what they did behind closed doors. This led to ridicule with cruelly drawn comedic cartoons of a man (women and Catholics are not allowed, at least in England and in the past) standing behind a lectern wearing an apron and with one trouser leg rolled up, while holding a trowel, spouting something spurious and, in