LETTERS: Under-age 'seduction' is abuse

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The Independent Online
MATTHEW Parris in "Scandals in the House" (Review, 29 October) perpetuates a disturbing myth in the language he uses to describe Lords Harcourt and Esher's sexual interests.

Lord Esher did not, as Parris puts it, have "a long affair" with his own son; he sexually abused him. Lord Harcourt did not "seduce" this same boy and his sister; he sexually abused them. Describing this experience as "putting her off men for life ... he was not a physically attractive man" suggests that had he been handsome her response may well have been different.

The use of language, whether describing events 60 years ago or those that are still regrettably common today, minimises the harm caused to victims and enables perpetrators to deny the seriousness of their behaviour.

Christine Weaver

Mike Campbell