What is pedophilia?
Pedophilia is a type of paraphilia, intense sexual arousal to atypical objects, situations, fantasies, behaviours, or individuals and in this case, to children.
A pedophile is a person that is sexually attracted to pre-puberty kids (usually 13 or younger).
Due to scandals from around the world about men preying on pre-puberty children, pedophilia has become one of the most commonly known paraphiliae.
It’s more complex than you think
Most of you would probably be sickened by the idea of being sexually attracted to children and will beg the question, what kind of sick person can even fathom that?
- Some have argued that this happens because of the over-sexualisation of kids in the media, while others say that pedophiles themselves are a product of child abuse when they were growing up.
- Some even argue that it is a sexual orientation that they were born with.
- Some would even say it is a mental illness.
- Science has seemed to find a similarity in pedophiles: their sexual preferences do not mature like everyone else. While most of them remain sexually attracted to children of the same age as the first time the pedophiles were sexually aroused, some even fall deeper as to find a liking for younger children. According to Dr Fred Berlin, director of the Johns Hopkins Sex and Gender Clinic, “People don’t choose what arouses them — they discover it.”
The dangers it poses
Pedophilia poses a threat to children in every corner of the world.
Being sexually abused in general would leave some devastating trauma in a person, it would be unimaginable what it could do to children.
According to research done by Melissa Hall and Joshua Hall, it was found that there are correlated effects of children being abused and them having higher levels of mental problems and self-destructive behaviours like:
- eating disorders,
- dissociative patterns,
- relationship problems.
These were confirmed in a few studies in the past including a study by Browne and Finkelhor.
The United States National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) has publicly identified behavioural changes which are typically found in a child who has suffered trauma:
- withdrawn behaviour,
- not wanting to be left alone with a specific individual
- the ability to be well-versed in sexual knowledge, language or behaviour that is inappropriate for the child’s age.
- growing up being destructive to themselves by means of substance abuse or engaging in high-risk activities.
Pedophilic persons do not always end up giving in to the urge and become sexual offenders.
However, there are still a high number of child sexual predators at large.
Different countries have made different efforts to eradicate this issue:
The United Kingdom and Germany are providing rehabilitation counselling for those with tendencies to commit sexual assault on children. However, Germany has been criticised for keeping the offender’s details anonymous.
This is a method to lower sexual desire and libido without surgically removing the genitalia of the offender. Russia, Poland, South Korea and recently Indonesia, passed a bill to punish child sexual abusers with chemical castration.
No letting down the guard
Regardless of whether the pedophiles are inclined to assault a child or remain controlled and closeted, pedophilia should be treated and watched over for the sake of the younger generations to come.
Even if chemical castration is proven an effective step to prevent sexual offenders from ever preying on a child again, proactive steps must be taken to stop any new offences from ever taking place.
Children are tomorrow’s hope, by that context we should do all that we can to protect them from traumatising events.
1) Hall, M., & Hall, J. (2011). The long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse: Counseling implications. Retrieved from http://counselingoutfitters.com/vistas/vistas11/Article_19.pdf
2) Browne, A., & Finkelhor, D. (1986). Impact of child sexual abuse: A review of the research. Psychological Bulletin, 99(1), 66–77. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.99.1.66
3) Richards, K. (2018, April 22). The causes of paedophilia and child sexual abuse are more complex than the public believes. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-causes-of-paedophilia-and-child-sexual-abuse-are-more-complex-than-the-public-believes-94915
4) Seto, M. C. (2012). Is Pedophilia a Sexual Orientation? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(1), 231–236. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-011-9882-6
5) Giulio, P. (2020). Pedophilia: Definition, classifications, criminological and neurobiological profiles, and clinical treatments. A complete review. Open Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health, 019–026. https://doi.org/10.17352/ojpch.000026
6) Effects. (2018, March 19). The National Child Traumatic Stress Network. https://www.nctsn.org/what-is-child-trauma/trauma-types/sexual-abuse/effects
7) BBC News. (2016, October 19). How child sexual abuse is tackled around the world. https://www.bbc.com/news/newsbeat-37703085
8) ANTARA, & Yasmin, N. (2019, August 28). Gov’t Forges Ahead With Chemical Castration of Child Sexual Offenders. Jakarta Globe. https://jakartaglobe.id/news/govt-forges-ahead-with-chemical-castration-of-child-sexual-offenders/