Saturday, January 28, 2017

Thoughts on Gary Gibson and Todd Nickerson

Who?

Recently, two men have come forward, publicly, and have admitted to having a sexual attraction to young children. Todd Nickerson was admittedly the first pedophile to come forward in such a way that I am aware of. His story was originally aired by Salon. Gary Gibson is the second pedophile to come forward to my knowledge.

Revolting To Most

While both of these stories are almost certainly revolting to the average person, their stories, and our reactions to them, matter to the prevention of child sexual abuse. Some have dismissed the claims of both men when they say they have never acted on their sexual attraction by sexually abusing a child, and think there is a coverup. Some have accused both of possessing sexual abuse images, commonly referred to as "child pornography" (even though children cannot consent, are not paid, and are not acting in said images).

What most people fail to recognize is that only a third of sexual abusers are pedophilic, which means that the majority of people who sexually abuse children are not attracted to children. Further, when you look at the statistics on the issue (as I have done before), you realize that it is unlikely that the majority of Earth's pedophiles molest children. Either of these facts may be difficult to accept, but accepting them is important to the prevention of child sexual abuse, because it means that people with a sexual attraction to children, even if they have interpersonal difficulties, depression, or other issues that arise from such an undesirable attraction, are capable of not acting on this attraction by abusing a child.

Preventing Abuse With Facts

I have said numerous times that facts must take priority if children are to be protected from child sexual abuse. That is absolutely true, but why is it true? It is true because there exist adults and children in this world who have been abused by people who, in other circumstances, could have gotten help with what was troubling them before those people were sexually abused. It is true because there exist adults and children in this world who have been abused by people who could have been spotted by concerned citizens and spoken with before the abuse occurred. We cannot prevent abuse if we do not know who abuses children and why. That may be difficult knowledge to accept, but the sooner we accept it, the sooner children can be spared the pain of trusting someone who sexually assaults them.

My thoughts on Nickerson and Gibson are wholeheartedly in support of their message: Pedophiles are people, people who have usually not sexually abused a child, who deserve the same support as someone wrestling with any other issue under the sun. While I do not have access to their thoughts to know if they speak the truth in saying they have never abused a child, that does not matter. What matters is that people who might be at-risk for sexually abusing a child - be that a pedophile who thinks they are a monster or anyone else - get help before a child is hurt, not after.



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