Rachel writes today about the dark net - something so sinister and something that many people (me included) know absolutely nothing about. Yes, of course, I have read about it and about the recent cases she talks of. Yes, of course, I am appalled by it. I think the sentences handed out are about right - the damage done in the name of sex - particularly to children and young people - is irrepairable. Witness the men in their fifties and their grief, their broken spirit, in the recent trial of the football coach, also found guilty
What makes it all so hard, certainly for people of my generation, is that in our day life was relatively untroubled by such things. I am sure I am right when I say that almost all of us (I am speaking of both sexes here) have at some time in our lives been subject to some form of sexual harrassment. If we are lucky then it has been minor but some of us have experienced worse than that. And we have had to live with it throughout our lives. But this business of the dark net is something else, something I certainly find hard to take in. And it is of course the downside of the advances made in such things as computers.
When I was a child our free time was on the whole (unless it was pouring with rain) spent out of doors, in the fields, climbing trees, searching for tadpoles, fishing, playing in the river. In the winter we would have village magic lantern shows, threepenny 'hops' on Tuesday evenings in the village hall (all the boys stood at one end and all the girls at the other and only the bravest boys dare ask the girls for a dance!) How innocent it all seems by today's standards, and yet I am sure that to a lesser extent these things went on because there always will be 'sad' individuals who get sexual kicks out of such behaviour.
Oh for an innocent world. But then I don't suppose such a thing has ever existed and never will. It is just that whereas once upon a time it was just individuals, now such people can reach thousands on this wretched dark net.
I can do absolutely nothing about it, so I shall try to ignore it. Is that cowardly? Maybe it is. I am fully aware of it but in the days I have remaining in my life I shall try to concentrate on the good. How it will be possible I don't know. In addition to all I have written here there are the images of Syrian children, many of them babes in arms, covered in blood and being dug out of the rubble. And what happened to the people in Yemen who have suddenly disappeared from being a news story after months of being in the headlines? I don't suppose for an instant that their problems have gone away.