Born This Way? Fine, but children first.


I just read this piece (from Gawker of all places) (GIANT trigger warning for molestation/child rape) and I had Some Feelings about it.

The piece basically argues that there is scientific evidence that pedophilia–used in the sense of being sexually attracted to children exclusively–is not criminal but rather sexual orientation. The article compares pedophilia to homosexuality and presents a whole bunch of (actually interesting) evidence.

Now, here’s the thing. If it’s true that some sex offenders really are “born that way” well–fine. I don’t wish Sandusky, for example, to be raped in prison. That merely perpetuates rape culture. An eye for an eye–a rape for a rape–is not the way to handle this. But we also know that the recidivism rate for sex offenders is pretty damn high.

I don’t have a solution, but I do have an opinion. If there is a way to deal with pedophiles by treating them–in a 12 step type program for example–great. But the thing we need to focus on here is the children. We already know that locking pedophiles up doesn’t really work, since sentencing seems to be low and they usually do it again anyway. But child sexual abuse is so harmful, so devastating,  that our first priority must be the children. It seems that more careful monitoring of pedophiles, more of an emphasis on treatment, and even places for decent men who happen to have a sexual attraction to children to get help might be useful. People have all kinds of weird sexual fantasies, and all of that is fine and healthy and whatever. The problem comes when you do anything with consent, and of course children cannot consent–ever.

I’m not even sure where I’m going with this. Honestly the article just disturbed me so much, not only because of the awful descriptions but even more because of the clear implication that pedophilia can’t be cured, or changed. We just have to keep our children safe. The rights of pedophiles matter, but what matters a hell of a lot more is the fact that we must keep our children safe. That’s the bottom line.




2 responses

  1. Yes, so much! Thank you! A pedophile who recognizes that he’s attracted to children and takes steps to get help and, ya know, stays away from children? I don’t really have a problem with that guy. I mean, I’m not letting him babysit, but I’m not the thought police. The second that “person who is attracted to children” harms a child, though? That’s a whole different ballgame, and is never, ever, ever acceptable.

    I’m a straight woman, and I don’t go around violating men, because I know that my attraction has nothing to do with their consent. And, like you said, children cannot give consent. Not legally, and I don’t think morally, either.

    September 10, 2012 at 12:21 pm

  2. I also have an opinion about that article. It is interesting to read though that the whole thing seems to be treated as okay when what were written with those graphic descriptions are scenarios of rape and molestation, and wonder why it is considered an orientation when all i see is it’s an illness that have to be cured. Pedophiles have to be punished. I do not even have to think that they have rights when they do not even consider that the raped and molested children have rights to grow up normally in a healthy environment.

    September 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

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