The twisting, turning, stranger-than-fiction true story of the Brobergs, a naive, church-going Idaho family that fell under the spell of a sociopathic neighbor with designs on their twelve-year-old daughter.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann takes a detailed look at the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann, who vanished from the seaside resort of Praia de Luz in Portugal, while on holiday with her family.
A critical look into some true crime cases where American law enforcement made up for lack of actual physical evidence by using devious psychological tactics during interrogation in order to extract confessions from naive suspects.
What happens when California dreaming becomes a nightmare? When people head to Humboldt County, California in search of quick riches in the form of marijuana, often times they are unaware ... See full summary »
Ruth Jeffery was subjected to emotional and mental abuse at the hands of an unknown stalker who distributed naked photos of her; when the stalker was finally caught, the man's identity proved as traumatic as what she had already endured.
Steve Humphries' documentary on sex offending against children is a brave attempt to take a different look at the issue, but ultimately fails by lacking focus and not connecting disparate threads.
He has access to some promising Human Resources - victims, a self-confessed non-practicing paedophile, an academic who 'lost' her job by challenging the orthodoxy - but squanders them by raising more questions than he provides answers to.
Dr Sarah Goode claimed to have lost her job, but it was never made clear exactly why. We imagine there is another perspective on the matter but it is never explored. She says there is a spectrum of male sexuality, from those exclusively attracted to adults at one end to those exclusively attracted to children at the other. She argues that we stand to learn most by talking to those in the middle. A simple analogy would be to suggest we can learn how to prevent armed robbery by speaking to those who would keep a supply of money they found in the street. Dr Goode's analysis is further undermined by her definition of paedophilia as a male sexual behaviour, ignoring female offenders completely.
Similarly 'Eddie' says he is sexually attracted to children but would never act on it. This interview could easily have been anonymous and voiced by an actor, as it frequently would be by mainstream documentary makers, but Humphries identifies Eddie and shows him speaking openly. This does nothing to keep any child safer but exposes Eddie to huge risks from vigilantes who do not discriminate. The voiceover at the end tells us Eddie went into a European residential programme. Perhaps an exploration of that programme would have been enlightening?
The 2000 News of the World campaign to identify paedophiles is covered but again without any kind of ethical analysis. It fails to mention, for example, the paediatrician hounded from her home by a mob, or the wrongful identification of innocent people. It does, however, suggest that paedophiles driven from their homes then 'go underground' and are lost to police monitoring, despite the fact that many of the moves were under police protection.
I do not expect every documentary to provide comprehensive solutions to the difficulties it highlights, but I feel we should be given an opportunity to consider what they might look like. Humphries tells us that he has learnt how 'damaging and widespread paedophilia is' but has not shared that with us in any meaningful sense. At the most superficial level, his victims are shown in almost idyllic rural settings and comfortable surroundings, not in the deprived areas many of them will typically live. He speaks of finding new ways to protect children, and only currently speaking to paedophiles after they have offended, but only teases us with the way these things are being addressed. He speaks of the cycle of abuse, how many victims become offenders, but not what we can learn from those who defy this cycle.
Steve Humphries packs plenty into a short playing time, but does so by avoiding depth and analysis. Paedophilia is a brave topic to tackle. Sadly this is not the ground-breaking treatment it warrants.
0 of 0 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this