By Consent

I frequently sign forms giving my consent for my child to be photographed. I used to not consent, but then my child was singled out when the photographs were taken. This is an extract from the latest one. Read it carefully, the language is very similar to the world of child abuse photography.

I …. consent to the photographing/videoing and publication of images of …. under the RFU’s Policy and Procedures for the Protection of Young People in Rugby Union.

It then goes on to get the child’s consent too…

I …. consent to the photographing/videoing and publication of images of my involvement in Rugby Union under the RFU/RFUW’s Policy and Procedures for the Welfare of Young People in Rugby Union.

My child is only 14 and it is the local club down the road he is joining. The letter is issued by the RFU. It accompanies another RFU form getting all his details and mine. Notice that my child is consenting to a different policy and procedure to the one I am. What exactly is in these procedures? What sort of things am I consenting to?

No parent has time to research the small print of every bit of paperwork put in front of them. There is a constant barrage of the stuff, most of it is nonsensical and refers to other documents or policies or acts of parliament. There is an option to not consent, but there will always be some penalty, like your child being socially excluded, isolated, laughed at, not allowed to join in with something “fun” like playing rugby or going on a school trip. To sign up to the good stuff, you also consent to the bad stuff. This is exactly the psychology of child abusers. Children are bribed and groomed with treats and rewards, and are put in a situation whereby they end up agreeing to their own abuse.

As your child gets older, it is harder to override their wishes. This doesn’t mean that my child is being abused with my consent and his, but it creates the possibility. And there is definitely plenty of child abuse about, estimates are that 1 in 4 have been abused as a child. “Child pornography” is a phrase I intensely dislike, as it implies consent, and harmlessness. Photographs and videos of child abuse are child abuse.

All the evil in our society is perpetuated by consent. You hand your child over to the State at birth by consent when you register a birth. You pay council tax by consent. You get car tax and a driving license by consent. All Acts of Parliament can only be enforced by consent. They are Acts, not Laws. The number of true Laws is actually very small.

It is difficult to avoid this consent business, because you have to go against the flow and challenge the system in order to do so. But having the knowledge makes you realise there is a choice. We have been trained to think there is no choice. I think if enough people stopped giving their consent often enough, the whole evil system would start to crumble quite quickly.

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