Sunday, August 9, 2015

Arguments for Childhood Sexual Encounters

Introduction

I ran across an article today with a very interesting comment from a "Vernon D". Here, I will address the single response to that article. It is the response, more than the article, that has me appalled. The response links to a journal article on www.shfri.net. Once you enter the site, you are taken to a site titled 'SafeHaven Foundation' and a splash screen citing the need and presence of academic freedom in the UN and US Constitution. One of the links of the main site is their 'philosophy of responsible boylove'. You can read it for yourself, but essentially their philosophy is that a relationship between a boy and older male is acceptable provided that the boy is calling the shots and is a bond of friendship.



So, about that "journal article" they posit as scientific... It strikes me that my perspective might be helpful on this sort of topic, given that I did molest a child and I did, at one time, believe that sex between an adult and child would be okay in the 'right' circumstances, eerily akin to the above philosophy.


Issues With Claims To Be Scientific


One of the main issues with the response is that it claims, and I quote, "For more discussion of "pedophilia" in a scientific journal, go to http://www.shfri.net/ppp/ppp.cgi" Also, "Addressing the broader issues beyond the allegations in this news report, it should be noted that scientific studies based on legitimate empirical evidence..." The biggest issue with the article is that they claim it to be scientific, but it is not published in a peer-reviewed journal with any sort of academic credibility. It is published in a forum for sharing logical ideas across multiple disciplines. If they are making claims to have empirical and scientific proof, then their article must cite academic sources properly and be reviewed by psychologists in the field. The article itself is framed as a logical argument, not as a peer-reviewed study. As such, it cannot be considered scientific or empirical. 


Main Points

The article essentially claims that the factual basis for trauma and victimology, as it calls it, of children following sexual encounters with adults is lacking. In other words, the trauma that children feel from sexual encounters is based not on fact- the child's feeling- but on society's beliefs regarding such encounters. The argument is that in many cases, minors have sought out sexual gratification from adults. There are numerous news articles of minors lying about their age, and the duped older person ends up on a sex offender registry. So the cases do exist.


However, the article fails to examine why those children seek out those encounters. I would argue that they have undergone other traumatic experiences, such as emotional abuse, bullying, sexual abuse, etc, and are expressing themselves to get attention in the only way they know how: By acting in a way they think is outrageous. It is a mechanism of childhood we are all familiar with. The experts who work with children have varying suggestions of how to meet the needs of these children, but never will you find an expert on children saying that it is a good idea for these children to express themselves sexually with adults to explore and satisfy their physical desires and natural curiosity.


Certainly, there are established cases where there were sexual acts between an adult and a child, and the child was not harmed. There are likewise many more cases where the same happens and the child was harmed. There are also cases where the sexual acts happen and the child's experience with police and parents are more harmful than the act itself. Many people overreact, insult the perpetrator, etc, and the child ends up more confused, more disturbed, and more harmed because the reaction to the situation was not helpful. Within this field, that is recognized fact that all of those cases exist.


Issues Of Trust And Bias


However, an adult cannot interact with a child without the child trusting the adult simply because they are an adult. Therefore, any sexual encounter will involve grooming (I have said before grooming can be voluntary or involuntary), and therefore coercion and bias. There is no way for a child to seek out a sexual encounter without the same sort of belief-interference that they are claiming is responsible for the feeling of trauma. Children would not naturally seek out sex with adults unless an adult is leading them that direction, or there is something else going on. In other words, it is very uncommon. It is also preposterous to think that the children that will not be harmed will somehow, miraculously be paired with adults who accept these boy love philosophies. It is similarly preposterous to think that anyone can identify what children will or will not be harmed by it. There is no crystal ball there. The logic does not add up.


That is what the article is arguing: The same premise of their philosophy, that boy love (older individuals having what most, including myself, consider an inappropriate relationship with young boys) is a safe and natural part of growing up. My experience with that kind of argument is that it is blatantly and obviously self-serving. It is obviously biased for a group of people with attraction towards children, particularly boys, to be arguing that sexual acts with boys is okay if the boys want it and the act is about love. I daresay the authors of the site, and of the articles, have no way of proving they have no self-interest in making the claims they do.


Conclusion


It is natural for a child to seek out curiosity-indulging experiences involving sex with other children. This is extremely common. In the vast majority of these cases involving peers, there is no harm done. It is also natural with an older child, if they have access to younger children, to experiment in a similar way, though many of these cases involve harm to the younger child (a third of child sexual abuse cases involve juvenile perpetrators). Those result in a bit more harm, because of the lack of equality. It is still mostly benign. However, when an adult enters the picture, the lack of equality becomes pronounced enough that there is no way for a child in most cases to be making relationally-oriented decisions without some sort of leading on the adult's part.


At minimum, childhood sexual encounters with adults have a very high risk of harm, not only because of the potential time lapse in the event and the harm being recognized as such, not only because of the genuine, un-interfered with feelings of the child both during and after, but because so much literature shows us the self-described feelings of the child, as a child, as an adult, etc. In victim's own words it is harmful, and those statements are made both with and without the sort of reaction cited by the article.


And because of that, their arguments fall on deaf ears to those capable of thinking logically and rationally. There is a reason most of society views sexual interactions between children and adults as taboo. Using big words and fancy writing to argue otherwise does not convince anyone capable of using logic to assess all of the facts and all of the arguments. Like it or not, they have the freedom of speech to say whatever they wish. In that much, they are correct. But it is still illegal, and for a very good reason.


I went into reading this journal article with a great deal of hesitation. There were a large number of red flags: Would I question all I have learned in treatment because of it? Would it argue me away from believing that my actions were wrong? Would it change anything? Having read it and processed it, all I feel is disgust and sadness that people can write such preposterous things and dress it up as logic. The only good thing that came from reading it is affirming just how crazy, illogical, sad, and desperate it is to believe that a sexual act with a child could be a good thing. I have been there. I would not wish that kind of twisted belief on anyone.

No comments:

Post a Comment

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