Just watched an interview with a phone sex operator about her experiences - she had to listen to a pedophile talk about the "horrible things that he wanted to do to his seven year old daughter". While I feel absolutely terrible for her - I'd rather he call her and deal with his urges that way than actually abuse his daughter. While I don't think that a person who is sexually attracted to children should put themselves into situations that can cause temptation I do have to give the guy props for trying to be better than his desires.
People don't want to talk about pedophilia because of the ick-factor but we need to realise that pedophilia is basically a fetish or something akin to a sexual orientation. These people don't usually chose to be attracted to children - they just are. There could be some psycho-social reason that they sexualise children or something could be wired wrong in their brains.
Some act on their desires - and this is wrong. Children are not able to consent because they are not emotionally aware of the consequences of having sex - especially with a much older person* - nor are the emotionally capable of really understanding what sex is. And in some really horrible cases - they weren't able to consent because they weren't old enough to talk yet. As for whether these people deserve punishment or reformation - I am conflicted. I suppose that it depends on the nature of their crime. (Gods, that makes me sound so horrible).
I'm trying to differentiate between a psychopath and not a psychopath. Can the person control their desires with help? Does the person understand that what they did was wrong? Do they have empathy? Was this a really horrible mistake or pre-meditated? Will this person make the same decision in a new situation? Can we even answer those questions? Those answers are going to make the decision as to whether this person can be reformed. I think the biggest mistake that we make in Canada is assuming that all criminals can be reformed. And while I don't know about you I'm not willing to be my niece's life on the fact that a psychopath pedophile can be reformed or not so if there is any doubt - Fuck 'em. I'm sorry, you screwed up in a really big way and I can't decide if you're not a psychopath that means you lose. Oh wait, I'm not sorry. Have a nice life in prison.
*Assuming that they're old enough to even know what sex is - For example a 12 year old.
The Other Side:
As hard as it may be to grasp - some pedophiles never act on their desires. They know that their desires on wrong and have the potential to ruin not only their life but the life of a child. And for all intents and purposes these are good pedophiles and just like us, they're human. This means that since they're not asexual, they have a sex drive. I'm not even going to pretend to understand how these individuals go about their lives and create sexual relationships. I'm assuming that it would be something akin to living on the "down low" but even more problematic if it gets out.
(At least in most places in the world. There are still some places where homosexuality is still illegal. And you thought the States were behind the times in voting on gay marriage?)
I want there to be something in place for these individuals so that the temptation to act on their desires is as close to zero as we can make it. If these means that sex phone operators have to listen to someone for four hours talk about what s/he wants to do to a child than so be it. (I also want that person to have access to crisis workers to help them deal with the fall out because I bet there will be.) If that means we can create computer generated child-porn that hasn't taken advantage of any child in anyway shape or form - then so be it.
Yes, it turns my stomach.
However, I would rather those individuals have access to an outlet for their desires that does not include children.
But BJ, why not just chemically castrate them? Because I believe in autonomy. They need to make that decision for themselves. If they haven't broke the law by molesting a child and they never will, I don't care how they decide to deal with their desires. There's numerous choices:
- Go to Therapy
- Get chemically castrated
- Ignore the desire and try to live "normally"
- Fantasize about it
- Call a phone sex operator
- Look a weird creepy porn that doesn't have real children in it
What we do have to do is help find better ways for them to manage their desires that do not conflict with society.
Finally, with all that being said, it is important to remember that our feelings around pedophilia are socially constructed and that some cultures have different views. Ancient Greece practiced pederasty; Muhammad married one of his wives at 6, consummated the marriage at 9; and apparently some cultures in Papua New Guinea it isn't a big deal. (Proto-societies I guess, I'm not sure, and I find that what I found on the Inter-webs a little suspect but apparently it's legit.)
Also, if reading this entry made you go "ewww" or "icky" - just remember that writing it made me do the same thing. Comments, as always, are appreciated but please remain civil and think critically before you post.
Comments that are derogatory or dick-ish will be removed.