(Click on the logo to return to the main blog.)

Dangerous Points of View: It's Natural

Something about this article worries me like a low rumble off toward the horizon:

Although sex offenders who prey on children are demonized by society, psychiatrists who treat them say up to 3% of Canadians are sexually drawn to children.

However, most of these pedophiles do not act on their sexual fantasies. Those who do mostly engage in exhibitionism, masturbation or gentle fondling of the child.

So, despite society's unjust demonization of them, pedophiles are more common than might be expected, and hey, most of them don't do anything about it... or anything that bad.

"Fortunately, the individuals who have pedophilia ... that are likely to act out and seriously harm a child are very rare," said John Bradford, clinical director of forensic psychiatry and the sexual behaviours clinic at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. ...

"In fact, in statistical terms, if you look at children that are killed, a parent is more likely to kill a child than a pedophile is going to kill a child," said Dr. Bradford, who has assessed such notorious sexual offenders as Paul Bernardo.

Apart from jaw-droppingly contrived statistics with terribly offensive implications, the danger that I see in this is that social trends seem to follow stages. Something that begins as reviled moves into the phase of "understanding," usually with an explanation for the behavior that diminishes the force of social and psychological blocks to that behavior. ("I'm convinced there's a biological component to it," Dr. Bradford said.) This shift in perspective — from "acting on this impulse would make me bad" to "I was not strong enough to resist my natural inclination to act on this impulse" — increases the frequency (individually and socially) of the behavior. In time, the necessity for that unbearable demand for "strength" comes into question.

Especially if, you know, it's only "gentle fondling."

To be fair, the article doesn't whitewash the horrors of what might be termed "pedophilia gone bad." However, it does end with the explanation that drugs — even though pedophiles are not, cannot be, made to take them when out of direct government oversight — are an effective treatment. Thus are powerful social/cultural solutions to problems that are problems discarded for the friendlier, more "understanding" pill, all while culpability for action moves further from the individual.

Posted by Justin Katz @ 01:46 PM EST


My own thoughts on this are that (1) the neutral phrase "sexual orientation" is being grafted into more and more laws and rules (to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of s.o.) at the very same time that (2) we are beginning to see the first attempts at arguing that pedophilia is a "sexual orientation". (3) This is not a coincidence.

ELC @ 05/16/2003 03:56 PM EST

The best treatment this kind of perp can receive is from Messrs. Hillerich and Bradsby.

GPP @ 05/19/2003 03:02 PM EST