I first wrote this for State.com and have copied it to my blog. You can see the original post here.
I think it’s time to be a little less mean and start giving a little more love to paedophiles. It’s time to re-evaluate why we hate who I think are the most misunderstood people around.
The way we tend to see paedophiles is as the scum of the earth. The worst people to exist and the ones that we should be publicly outing, shaming, and who should spend their lives monitored with a brand on their forehead. However, this is because we clearly don’t understand what a paedophile is.
Technically, a paedophile is a person 16 or older who is sexually attracted to children who are 11 years or under.
What a paedophile is NOT is someone who has sexually abused a child.
In popular usage, we use the word interchangeably for the sexual attraction and for the molestation of children. This is actually very problematic because this way we vilify people who have potentially done nothing wrong while also mis-labelling some people who actually do sexually abuse children. It’s important to remember that most forms of sexual abuse are not committed based on sexual attraction, but rather as acts of power over another.
To put it simply, not all paedophiles are child molesters and not all child molesters are paedophiles. The usage is not accurately interchangeable. Just like how someone can be born a psychopath but isn’t a murderer unless they’ve committed the crime. Obviously any sexual act on a child is horrific and illegal, no question, but how do we prevent this happening in the first place?
While society has been busy coming to terms with the idea that some boys love boys and some girls love girls, we’ve totally overlooked the idea that some people feel attraction for other people, objects or animals outside of the socially acceptable or lawful spectrum, and they can’t help that.
What’s it like to grow up with the knowledge that how you feel is wrong? What happens when you constantly repress your feelings and are not able to talk about them safely? How does it feel to be hated for something you can’t control?
Besides basic emotional control in day to day situations, repressing your feelings is never a good idea as it can actually make them stronger. Like Japan, such a perfect country with so much pressure for the people to be perfect, and the home of tentacle rape porn. Like the men passing the laws that make gay marriage illegal that are sending dick pics on Grindr. Like the nice, quiet kid from the broken home who shoots up his school.
Now, considering all of this, do we REALLY want people who feel sexual attraction towards our children to be repressing these feelings?
No, they should be speaking about it and we should be listening, being understanding of their predicament, offering advice and coming up with solutions for how to deal with these feelings.
A safer, happier world for paedophiles is a safer world for our children.