Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Who Does Pedophilia Affect?

A rather gut-wrenching follow-up about Jared Fogle broke last night, and he was charged and expected to plead guilty to sex with a minor and "child pornography production/distribution", which should be called child sexual exploitation material, but our nation likes to minimize sexually abusive images by calling them pornography. It would not have surprised me, when we first learned that Fogle's associate was arrested and charged with production/distribution, that Fogle would be a casualty to the "child pornography" laws, which state that if you have sex abuse images in your possession, intentionally or not, you can be charged.

Now we find out a very different story. For the record, an interfering attraction to teenagers between 11 and 14 is hebephilia, not pedophilia, and an interfering attraction to 14-19 aged teens is ephebophilia. All three are a type of paraphilia. So Fogle may have hebephilia and ephebophilia, not pedophilia. Paraphilia is as indiscriminate as any other sexual preference: It can affect anyone from any walk of life. Those who have it, do not choose it and what causes the preference is largely a mystery. Someone can have the attraction but not the disorder if they do not find it interfering or distressing, but that determination is done by psychologists.

CNN did a follow-up with a woman claiming that she recorded Fogle and gathered evidence for the FBI. This makes me sick for several reasons: First, the FBI knew he had inclinations towards children and did nothing. Second, she knew he had inclinations towards children and did nothing to expose him. Third, Fogle could have gotten help if it was made available to him. None of that happened, which leads me back to my conclusion that we must both help and make it okay to receive help for paraphilias. It also leads me to the conclusion that the FBI would rather detain a criminal than preventing sex abuse victims.

One of the biggest tragedies in America is that real pedophiles- or paraphiles, if you prefer- are unknown and have a lot of mystery surrounding them, and sex offenders are viewed the same as pedophiles. They are all lumped together as perverts, deviants, or monsters in the minds of most people. So to most people, there is no distinction between someone who has offended, and is attracted to minors, and someone who has not offended, and is attracted to minors.

We have seen through numerous "child pornography" stings that anyone, from any walk of life, can abuse a child, either directly (contact) or indirectly (images). We know from research and common sense that anyone, from any walk of life can have a sexual attraction to children (or their same sex, or teenagers). I do not believe I need a reference to make that statement. Look up some news, or the articles I linked. It is fairly common knowledge (the fact that Jared Fogle, a basically average guy, should be evidence enough). In the United States, there are many people locked up in civil commitment programs, and the common understanding is that they are there because of their actions, even though that action is lumped together with whatever psychological disorders they might have.

It is my conclusion, based on the overwhelming reports of those with the disorder, that people are aware of these paraphilias when they are in their teenage years. Therefore, providing resources and possible interventions to all high schoolers or middle schoolers, would be an effective course of action in preventing those with paraphilia from offending. This could eliminate up to 33% of child sexual abuse. Obviously most pedophiles do not offend as it is, and most child molesters are not pedophiles. However, destigmatizing the disorder would help end the epidemic of child sexual exploitation/abuse/sexual abuse material by taking a significant chunk out of the epidemic.

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