Paedophiles – whose fault? Guess.

I’ve never come across Helen Rumbelow before. I hope to goodness I never do again. For apparently, paedophiles are all our fault as mothers.

According to Ms Rumbelow:

For a day I sat with the detectives — all male, bar one — at the headquarters of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in London, as they trawled through the hundreds of thousands of images, videos and transcripts of online chat …

The perpetrators are overwhelmingly Western white males, and the victims are mostly female. … But there is something else that catches your eye in the corner of the frame: the ignorance of women.

So there we have it. It’s our ignorance that gets our children abused online. It’s not, you know, the people that do it. Nope. Not them. I mean, they can’t help it, can they?

When one man, posing as a teenager on a social networking site, pressured a schoolgirl to lift her shirt for him, you saw her checking her back. While sitting at the family computer in the middle-class living room, her mother kept walking in and out, and the girl picked the moment when her mum’s back was, literally, turned.

Yes, mothers – don’t blink. Don’t look away. Don’t turn your back. And don’t blink.  Because, if you do, it will all be your fault when something terrible happens. Heaven forbid you, you know, walk in and out, you know, doing things.

And “middle class living room“? Hey, be careful mothers with a Volvo parked out front – it can happen to you, it’s not just the working classes! Quick! Step away from polishing the John Lewis mahogany table and go and watch your daughter immediately!

In another case the pink bedroom where a male relative filmed the abuse — police tracked thousands of images for six years before they saved this girl — could not have been decorated by anyone other than an indulgent mother, so feminine and fond was the provision of pink cushions and knick-knacks.

Pink cushions and knick-knacks!? You’re just asking for a paedo to abuse your girl with those furnishings! Don’t indulge your daughter! Go for regulation coral from Laura Ashley (to match your middle class living room) and she’ll be fine! You didn’t realise that decorating your daughter’s bedroom makes it your fault if she’s abused?

Another man, to prove to his online friends that he had access to a baby to abuse, posted online a family snap he took of his daughter’s first birthday. There is his baby in their shiny kitchen, her unwitting mother staring at the camera with a smile full of love.

It’s the mother’s fault she didn’t suspect her partner of abusing their child? It’s her fault for saying “cheese” when he took a snap for the family album? She should have been looking with eyes of suspicion, like we should all look at our partners, if they’re male, because it’s our duty to suspect them of being paedophiles? (And, what is with Ms R’s obsession with furnishings – “shiny kitchen”? Because abuse normally happens in drab, working class kitchens? What?)

Of course female paedophiles exist — in less than 5 per cent of cases. And yes, the internet’s special talent is to bring together people with rare predilections, horribly so for Vanessa George and Angela Allen. But don’t let the shock of the uncommon blind you to who is a more likely threat to your child. Don’t be the woman in the corner of the room, back turned.

Ah, but be careful, lest you spend too long suspecting the men in your life. Because then it’ll be your fault for being a man-hater, too.

The abusers, of course, don’t have any responsibility for what they’ve done. No, it’s the mothers.