Pedophilia is an abnormal attraction, a paraphilia, or someone sexually excited by a child. National statistics from the Department of Health and Human Resources from 2002 showed around 90,000 children report sexual abuse yearly. This is one statistic believed to be higher that 90,000 as sexual abuses are often under reported, or not reported at all.
The term pedophilia, coined in 1886, by a German psychiatrist Richard Freiherr von Krafft-Ebing comes from the Greek words, “pais” meaning child, and “philia” meaning friendship or love. Dr Kraft-Ebing tried to show that sexually deviant thoughts, as in pedophilia, were not criminal, yet an illness, and needed treatment as an illness.
Pedophiles are usually men, attracted to one or often attracted to both sexes. Some pedophiles have a difficult time relating to adults of the opposite sex. This is especially true when the abuser is male and victim is a male. If reported and the perpetrator receives counseling or treatment the recidivism or relapse rate is highest among pedophiles drawn to boys rather than girls.
Pedophiles have found a new way to hunt for their next victim. Rather than hanging out at schools and parks, they sign on to the web. Now pedophiles lurk in places that young teens hang out, in chat rooms and in places like myspace.com. Now it is easier than ever for pedophiles to arrange a meeting with a victim and never have to leave their easy chair or home to do so.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that one out of every five children between the ages of 10 and 17 years will be invited to have sex at least once online this year. Many of those requests will come from pedophiles lurking in the darkness of perpetrator waiting for the right opportunity to make their move.
The most dangerous part of using the web for their sexual request is pedophiles can remain anonymous and if the heat gets too warm, they can simply disappear for a while. Where before when trying to seduce a child in public there were many eyes and risks of a camera catching them in action.
It is important to realize that since I started writing for BellaOnline’s Missing and Exploited Children’s Website that I have come to realize not all pedophiles will act on their fantasies. A pedophile may believe he can continue to live and work in an atmosphere around children and never act on his wishes. This is a dangerous assumption for the pedophile and the children around him. The struggle a pedophile faces in his daily life can be difficult in this situation. Life is hard when you harbor a secret as great as one of being a pedophile.
In addition, not all people who abuse children are pedophiles. Have I confused you? Consider some abusers may in fact choose to target a child because a child is the weakest link. There may be no sexual attraction to the child. Remember that sexual abuse like rape is not about the sex itself but about the control and power, it gives the abuser.
Consider there are different types of pedophiles. There are the pedophiles who are situational molesters. When they find themselves in the right situation, they cannot pass up the opportunity. They maybe incapable of having a relationship with another adult, and find that children are an outlet after felling frustrated or humiliating themselves in an adult relationship.
The hardcore molester will begin molesting as they reached their sexual peak at puberty. Most likely, they were a victim of abuse. A common situation that leads to abuse is the frustrated and stressed out person who turns to a child after an adult relationship fails. The first time abusing a child is a fluke, yet they quickly learned that children make a good substitute for an adult when an adult is not available. This is a person that may work near children everyday, thus making their opportunity one of convenience.
There is a push to classify all pedophilia as a mental illness. The DSM-IV, which is a mental health “dictionary,” has listed the following Diagnostic for 302.2 Pedophilia as:
• Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (age 13 years or younger).
• The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
• The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.
• Note: Do not include an individual in late adolescence involved in a continuing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.
• Specify if:
Sexually Attracted to Males
Sexually Attracted to Females
Sexually Attracted to Both
• Specify if:
Limited to Incest
• Specify type:
Exclusive Type (attracted only to children)
One fear is if pedophilia is treated only as mental “illness” pedophiles that do have sexual meetings with children will suddenly end all personal accountability for their actions. When diagnosed with a mental illness, he or she will often choose to “blame” the illness for their actions, rather than hold him or herself accountable. The good news, pedophiles might be more agreeable to try treatment, and families might be less inclined to “hide” the dirty skeleton in the closet if they knew there was help for the pedophile. Where now most cases if a pedophile is “caught in the act” the authorities would automatically become involved and the pedophile most likely arrested. If classified as a mental illness it might mean victims or survivors would also be able to receive help in a timelier fashion. This would be a good thing, rather than victims forced not to tell and keep a horrible dark secret locked deep inside for decades.
What do you think about classifying pedophilia as a mental illness? Let me know by joining us in the forum after you have read this article. Here is a direct link to the discussion for this Forum article.
Until next time, I am sending angels above you, angels below you, angels all around you to keep you safe!