Wednesday, April 29, 2015

'Pedophile Priest' and 'Convicted of Pedophilia'

The Biggest Atrocity

One of the biggest atrocities when talking about child sex abuse is not actually the impact on the victim. Yes, you read that right. The biggest atrocity is how the crime is treated. More often than not, you hear about pedophile priests (hey, it rhymes, right?), convicted pedophiles, or pedophiles who stalk children. Some pedophile did this, some pedophile did that. I do not think it is treated seriously enough. The biggest atrocity is that the crime is constantly being minimized in the media, and in our everyday language.

Effects Of Abuse

You see, when someone sexually assaults a child- I used assault that time- they are stealing things from that child, things that child may never get back. They are stealing from them a mentally healthy way of viewing themselves and the world, they are stealing the child's peace of mind and sense of security, they are stealing their emotional well-being, and they are robbing the child of their choices. A child cannot consent, even if they say yes, because they have no idea what they are saying yes to. They could easily be saying yes because the rapist did things for the child to make the child feel like they have to do something to earn them.

In a nutshell, that is what sexual assault does to a child. There are other impacts. But my point is that the word 'pedophile' means 'someone with pedophilia', and pedophilia is just the condition of being attracted to children. Most people with it will never act upon it. Child sex abuse is not about an attraction to children that interferes with the abuser's life. It is about the abuser choosing to sexualize a child, violate their boundaries, and abuse them. It is about the abuser's choices to hurt a child and the impact it has on the child. That choice is made for many reasons, and there are many factors involved. But those factors and motivations are not what caused the sexual abuse, ultimately it was a decision.

Minimizing Abuse

By using the incorrect terms 'pedophile' and 'pedophilia', we are minimizing the impact of child sex abuse on the victim, and we enable people to hurt children more frequently, and with the idea that their actions are the result of some disorder rather than their own choice to harm a child. Imagine you were the victim of a thief stealing your wallet, your identity, and causing all sorts of problems for you. You have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fixing it, and now they've caught the jerk that did it. And in the headlines, they discuss how his kleptomania kept him from paying for things the way most people do. The guy gets a few months of probation and mandated to a treatment program. My guess is that you would be furious.

That is the sort of minimization that is implied by using these terms improperly. Add to that the sadistic tendency in the media to describe just what was done to the child, and you have a system and a response that is not aimed at the victim getting justice. It is about satisfying curiosity, generating sensation, and indirectly saying, "Look at this shocking thing!" It is clickbait, of a kind.

Prevention And Help

I believe firmly that with the right tools and resources available to actual pedophiles- those with the disorder who may or may not have hurt a child- they can be prevented from ever harming a child, or harming more if they have already. Also, by identifying those at risk for abuse who are not attracted to children, who make up the majority of offenders, we can prevent them from ever harming a child by getting them the coping skills and help they need to ensure they do not abuse a child.

However, in order for that help to be available, we need to look at these people who have not offended as if they have not offended and need help. Not as people who have already hurt children, because those who have hurt children and those who want help for being attracted to children are two very different groups of people. Those who want help cannot get help if they think they will be arrested if they try to get it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated to ensure a safe environment to discuss the issues and difficult content in this blog.