Monday, November 10, 2014

Pedophiles who hate themselves just like you hate them

Types of pedophiles:

Some pedophiles molest children and have no regrets about it unless they are caught. They make the news, and they are the example that comes to mind when people think "pedophile".

Others are celibate, but loudly argue for a change in society's attitudes and laws so that sex with children should be accepted. They see no inherent problem with the activity.

Others, like me and many others at Virtuous Pedophiles, accept that adult sexual activity with children is wrong. We can hope we seem less alien than the two types above because with respect to our views of the nature of children and what sexual activity is likely to be harmful for them, we are much like the average person. However, we feel OK about our attractions. Attraction to children is just part of who we are, and as long as we never engage in such activity, we think we're good people. That may still seem alien.

A large class of pedophiles you may not have considered are self-hating pedophiles. A great many write to us at Virtuous Pedophiles. The basic message is, "I know I am never going to abuse a child, but I am attracted to children and I hate myself for having that attraction." Now, some ordinary people hate themselves -- they might have serious depression or self-esteem problems arising from a troubled childhood or difficult life experiences. But there is no reason to think that these pedophiles have any psychological problems. As far as we can tell, they hate themselves for one thing only: that they are sexually attracted to children.

I bring them to your attention to show that pedophiles aren't all that different from the rest of society: Much of society hates pedophiles simply for their thoughts. Lots of pedophiles hate themselves simply for their thoughts. Once more, we cover the same range as other people. Given the natural tendency of people to think well of themselves (known as <self-serving bias>) it wouldn't be surprising if a lower percentage of pedophiles hated themselves than the percentage in the population at large who hate them. But there are still a lot who hate themselves.

In the list of categories above, only the first abuses children. There is another category of interest: offenders who also hate themselves. I think in society's mind, the pedophile child molester is at best someone who doesn't care about children or think what he has done is wrong. But those who work with them also report a great many sex offenders who know what they did was wrong and want to stop. They didn't control themselves when they should have. They are also in the category of self-hating pedophiles. Like someone who commits armed robbery to support a drug habit or someone who kills in the heat of a passionate rage, their desire led them into serious crime -- but they think their action was wrong just as much as you do.

I would like pedophiles to stop hating themselves for their attractions, just as I would like non-pedophiles to stop hating them. The groups are alike in sharing beliefs I would like to change.



4 comments:

  1. You forgot the category of paedophiles who don't believe that sexual interaction with children is necessarily harmful or wrong*, but choose not to engage in it anyway.

    There are many reasons for not being sexual with children that do not depend on internalizing the dogma of harm. The most obvious is the threat of legal repercussions. A related impediment is the understanding that to act this way would be to betray the trust of people (often friends and family members) who permit access to and friendship with their children. Respect for other people's values is a key element of a social conscience and being a paedophile does not imply the absence of one of those.

    Another compelling reason to remain 'celibate' with beloved children is the fact that the waters have been irredeemably muddied by decades of paedophile panic. Picture a swimming lesson. One might lead a child by the hand into the crystal waters of a forest stream and teach her to 'swim' with a light and joyful heart, but the same is not possible if the stream is poisoned and infested with flesh eating parasites. One is much more likely to protect her from rather than expose her to that kind of pollution.

    In my own life I've found that what I feel honestly in my heart is what guides my care for the children I love, and it has proved a reliable guide so far.

    Bloom.



    *clearly it can be both, as can sexual conduct between any two people, regardless of gender or age.

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  2. I should add that I once felt very ashamed of my feelings and when I felt that way, I had no clear sense of control over or ability to moderate them.

    Now I don't feel ashamed at all. I accept who I am and I love feeling what I feel. I choose to act with children in the manner that I understand to be in their best interests. That this never involves sex is more an accident of history than a triumph of moral conviction.

    Perhaps if it were socially acceptable to act on erotic interest in children, as it has been in many societies over the course of history, perhaps I would still show restraint. Who knows?

    Bloom

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  3. "You forgot the category of paedophiles who don't believe that sexual interaction with children is necessarily harmful or wrong*, but choose not to engage in it anyway."

    "Others are celibate, but loudly argue for a change in society's attitudes and laws so that sex with children should be accepted. They see no inherent problem with the activity."

    I thought that covered you pretty well. Maybe you argue softly instead of loudly, but it seems like a variant of that position.

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    Replies
    1. Not really. I've never argued for social acceptance of sex with children and I'm not sure it would be a good thing. My choice not to engage in sexual conduct with them is far more complex than a simple obedience to the law.

      What I do argue is that 'paedophiles' are scapegoats and that hyperbolic claims about the harmfulness of childhood sexual experiences with adults are made in order to enhance this symbolic role and justify demonizing and draconian remedies.

      Bloom

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