Child abuse and neglect can produce serious and long-lasting damage. The range of actions classified as child abuse or neglect is constantly changing as a result of social and economic conditions, political ideology, advances in medicine, improvements in communication and melding of cultures. Today, child abuse and neglect is widely recognized as a major social problem and policy issue throughout much of the world. During the last 50 years, the United States and many of the world’s nations have responded to child abuse and neglect with legislative efforts, a variety of programs and interventions, and organizational efforts to identify, respond to and prevent the abuse and neglect of dependent children. Today, there are innumerable local, national and international organizations, professional societies and advocacy groups devoted to preventing and treating child abuse and neglect.
Significance of the Study
One case related to child abuse and neglect is pedophilia. Pedophilia affects children of a certain sex and within a certain age, usually under the age of 15 or 16 years. Most pedophiles are not violent toward children, instead leading and enticing children to willingly perform sexual acts, although some are violent to the point of rape and murder. In 1974, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment act was passed which provides federal funding at the state level for prevention and response to child abuse. With this act, many states strengthened their response to child abuse and established child statutes in which parents may be prosecuted for abusing their children. Regardless of the legal response on pedophilia, it is clear that much cases never comes to the attention of the criminal justice system and is, unfortunately, never dealt with. This serious and alerting case should be fully characterized and understood for the good of the concerned children, especially the adolescents.
What is Phedophilia?
As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is typically defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger). In contemporary Western societies, the subject is highly contentious and fraught with strong feelings. The strength of the feelings is readily explained by concern for the welfare of the children and for their healthy, unimpeded development. The child must be at least five years younger in the case of adolescent pedophiles. However, the term pedophile is often used to refer to any adult who is sexually attracted to males or females below the legal age of consent.
While there is considerable psychological and sociological literature about pedophilia, philosophers working on the philosophy of sex have given relatively little attention to the subject. As pedophilia is seen as a paradigmatic case of sexual perversion and is generally viewed with strong moral revulsion, it might have been expected to generate more philosophical interest. Experts believe that most pedophiles are males. Some female adults are sexually attracted to boys or girls, but these children are usually at or beyond the age of puberty. Sometimes, however, females sexually abuse children in concert with males, or they will knowingly allow males to abuse their own children or other children.
This is more likely to occur if the women are abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Pedophiles may believe that their behavior is normal and that it helps teach children how to become loving and affectionate. Such individuals avoid such words as pedophilia, preferring to use such terms as adult-child sex. They believe that others who do not understand their behavior are unreasonably rigid. Some organizations of pedophiles claim large memberships and actively support the practice of pedophilia. Pedophiles may fail to consider the short- or long-term consequences of their actions; for example, in one case, a pedophile was told by a child whom he had met on the Internet that her mother was a police officer, yet he molested the girl anyway. Most studies of pedophilia are performed on people in jail or prison, and it is also true that many acts of this are never reported.
Ephebophilia: Its Opposite
Ephebophilia is a variety of male homosexuality. Ephebophiles are attracted to post-pubertal, sexually mature youths. They are sexually attracted to the fully developed, vigorous maleness of adolescence. In the narrow sense, “pedophilia” refers only to sexual attraction of adults to pre-pubescent and sex with them. When the term is used in this sense, ephebophilia is not included as one of pedophilia’s varieties, but rather distinguished from it, the end of puberty providing the line of demarcation.
Characteristics of Pedophiles
Pedophiles are age and sex specific. They will normally prefer children of a certain sex and within a certain age. Child molesters fall into several categories. One is the fixated pedophile who never moves beyond the attraction he or she felt for children when he or she was a child. The regressed pedophile often turns to children in response to stressful life events. Although most pedophiles do not physically harm children, the mysoped makes the ritual connection between fatal sexual violence and personal gratification. The sadistic pedophile abducts children for the purpose of torturing and eventually killing them to achieve sexual gratification. Pedophiles come from a variety of backgrounds. Some are well educated, while others are illiterate. Many were not close to their fathers, and many came from homes where alcohol was a problem for at least one parent (usually the father). Pedophiles often have weak verbal skills, and almost 9 out of 10 felt particularly close to their mothers.
The short size of the child provides the pedophile with an opportunity to exert power and authority. At the same time, the sex of the child has little to do with the adult sexual orientation of the molester. For example, a male pedophile may be very interested in sex with boys ages 9 or 10 years old, but at the same time be married and consider himself homosexual. Around 80% have been documented as having a history of childhood sexual abuse. The pedophile is known to the child in 90% of cases, 15% or more are relatives of the victim. Homosexual pedophilia does not differ from heterosexual pedophilia. Research on the victim points out that most are female and the molester is usually known. However; when a male is the victim, the molester may be a stranger. The degree of the pedophilia sexual act can vary ranging from simply observing the child, to touching, undressing, exposing of own genitalia, fondling, and sexual intercourse.
II. CAUSES OF PEDOPHILIA
The causes of pedophilia that have been researched remain unclear. It has been suggested that the pedophilia represents a regression or fixation at an earlier level of sexual development which resulted in an adult repetitive pattern of inappropriate sexual behavior. Therefore, it is suggested that the pedophile returns to a sexual habit that was developed early in life. It is also theorized that the pedophile is expressing revenge regarding a childhood trauma. It is also said that pedophilia is caused by a pleasurable sexual arousal to conditioned objects.
The following are identified as possible causes of pedophilia:
1. Parental punishment of a small boy for sustaining an erection
2. Sexual abuse of a young male
3. Fear of sexual performance or intimacy
4. Psychosexual trauma
5. Socio-cultural and/or psychological factors
6. Excessive alcohol intake
Previous studies have shown that same-sex child molester is higher than opposite-sex offenders, with offenders against boys being at a higher risk for delinquency, compared to offenders against boys. The number of prior offenses and the intensity of the fixation on children as sexual objects are factors that predict abuse. Another study was done over 111 child molesters.
Child molesters included same-sex, opposite-sex, and mixed groups; all responded to stimuli of specific ages and sexes. Findings showed that the degree of sexual reoccupation with children, paraphilia, and number of prior sexual offences were predictors of sexual delinquency. The causes of pedophilia are unknown, but most scientists believe that conditioning in one form or another is involved. The motivation/ learning model can account for the development of pedophilia and can explain its distribution over the life span.
A Person to be Declared as Pedophile
The diagnosed criteria for a pedophile are as follows:
1. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors including sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger) 2. The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty 3. The person is at least 16 years of age and at least 5 years older than the child or children molested
III. EFFECTS OF PEDOPHILIA
The effects of pedophilia to an individual, especially to those who are at a young age, include initial fear, anxiety, depression, anger, aggression and sexually inappropriate behavior. Boys have the same patterns of distress as girls, with symptoms such as fears, sleep disturbances, and distractedness; however, boys tend to be less symptomatic than girls. Additional long-term consequences include self-destructive behavior, isolation, low self-esteem, trust issues, substance abuse, and sexual problems. People who have a history of childhood sexual abuse have increased rates of depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and drug abuse. There is often an increase in psychopathology among victims of childhood sexual abuse and this psychopathology is manifested at times in the form of pedophilia or other inappropriate behaviors with young children. Victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely than nonvictims of that abuse to manifest sexual hyper-arousal and sexually aggressive behavior with a tendency to repeat and reenact sexual victimizations as adults.
Depending on the age and size of the child, and the degree of force used, pedophilia may cause internal lacerations and bleeding. In severe cases, damage to internal organs may occur, which, in some cases, may cause death. Herman-Giddens found six certain and six probable cases of death due to child sexual abuse in North Carolina between 1985 and 1994. The victims ranged in age from 2 months to 10 years. Causes of death included trauma to the genitalia or rectum and sexual mutilation.
Pedophile acts may cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Depending on the age of the child, due to a lack of sufficient vaginal fluid, chances of infections are higher. Vaginitis has also been reported.
Research has shown that traumatic stress, including stress caused by sexual abuse, causes notable changes in brain functioning and development. A study was done on women who took SAT and it was found that the self-reported math Scholastic Aptitude Test scores of the sample of women with a history of repeated sexual abuse were significantly lower than the self-reported math SAT scores of the non-abused sample. Because the abused subjects verbal SAT scores were high, it was hypothesized that the low math SAT scores could “stem from a defect in hemispheric integration.” A strong association between short term memory impairments for all categories tested (verbal, visual, and global) and the duration of the abuse was also found.
Pedophilia can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. Psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, dissociative and anxiety disorders; general psychological distress and disorders such as somatization, neurosis, chronic pain, sexualized behavior, school/learning problems; and behavior problems including substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, animal cruelty, crime in adulthood and the worst, suicide. Long term negative effects on development leading to repeated or additional victimization in adulthood are also associated with child sexual abuse.
There are two contrasting adaptive styles in sexual abuse victims. One adaption strategy seeks mastery through active repetition of the trauma, while the other adaption copes by avoiding sexual stimuli. Victims of childhood sexual abuse may exhibit mood disorders including chronic anxiety, depression, delayed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety attacks, and hysterical symptoms. Victims of sexual abuse may also experience difficulties in intimate relationships and express a sense of alienation, isolation, stigmatization, and a negative self-image. There is a wide variety of psychological conditions that have been documented in sexually abused children, with a higher-than-average tendency toward repetition of either being victimized at the hands of an adult or victimization of children.
Arguments that Aroused about Pedophilia
In our type of society, pedophile sex is considered both a moral offense and a crime that deserves a truly, serious punishment. There are two further arguments against pedophilia behind both its moral disapprobation and legal prohibition. First, sex with minors is wrong because it is non-consensual; second, it is harmful to those who are concerned. Both of these arguments have been questioned throughout time. Now, let’s look on the way a pedophile is conceived by the public. The pedophile is often visualized as “a dirty old man”, a stranger to his victims, who forces himself on children and has a matured sexual intercourse, thus putting them through a frightening and painful experience and inflicting serious and long-term damages on them.
The drastic effects of the cases explain why pedophiles are usually called child molesters, and why pedophilia seems to be “the most hated of all the sexual variations”. What is true is that most pedophiles are men but the majority is young or middle-aged. More often than not, they are not strangers; they are likely to be a family, neighbor, or other adults that are known to the victim. The harmful effects of pedophilia on a child’s sexual, emotional and personality development are still a matter of researches and debates; rather than an authorized fact.
IV. EXAMPLES OF CASES CONCERNING PEDOPHILIA
* A 65-year-old youth minister of the First Baptist Church from Sinton, Texas who admitted to molesting a 6-year-old girl shocked a congregation of followers. The story saw this pedophilic Baptist minister through his 37-year jail sentence. “I then hooked my thumbs in her waist,” the minister said, “and put my hands over her groin area, on the outside of her clothing.” “The first couple of times, she did not say anything,” the minister continued. “She was more interested in driving. But the second time, when I told her we needed to go home, and she slid over to the passenger seat, the look on her face killed my soul. I felt great remorse for having taken advantage of this child.”
* A glam-rocker Gary Glitter was convicted of possessing child pornography, but actual child abuse allegations against him were dismissed because his accuser had sold her story in a newspaper. Glitter seems to be a prime example of the predatory pedophile, continually unrepentant, even after going 27 months of imprisonment in Vietnam for offences against two girls he claimed he was teaching English, after already being permanently barred from Cambodia in 2002 for sex allegations. This case had led for actions to remove passports from sex offenders.
* February 11, 2011 – Laval police handled one of the biggest cyber pedophile cases. Sandro Tasillo, 26, is linked to internet sex crimes involving 30 young girls. Police say Tasillo would roam for underage victims on Facebook. He would offer girls money to take off their clothes in front of a webcam. But the money was never delivered, and the photos of the girls were often sold to other pedophiles. Tasillo was formally charged at the Laval courthouse. He faces a total of 40 sex charges. Police believe the 30 victims who have come forward are just the tip of the iceberg. Police are asking other potential victims to contact them as soon as possible. The investigation is still ongoing.
V. TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF PEDOPHILIA
Treatment for pedophilia emerged as a means to prevent child molestation or as a way to reduce sexual deterioration. That is, pedophilia is treated either when a person wants to remedy his pedophile tendencies, or when a person has committed a sexual offense against a child and his pedophilic interests addressed to reduce sexual deterioration. This combines preference-based treatment with programs designed to manage other criminogenic needs.
Treatment would change factors known to be related to sex offending. Improvement of these factors would correlate highly and negatively with recidivism. Progress in treatment technology would be reflected in greater reductions in sexual deterioration over time. Treatment outcome studies using random assignment would show greater effect, and better-implemented programs would be more successful.
In the earliest stages of behavior modification therapy, pedophiles may be narrowly viewed as being attracted to inappropriate persons. Such aversive stimuli as electric shocks have been administered to persons undergoing therapy for pedophilia. This approach has not been very successful. Another common form of treatment for pedophilia is psychotherapy, often of many years’ duration. It does not have a high rate of success in inducing pedophiles to change their behavior. Pedophilia may also be treated with medications. The three classes of medications most often used to treat pedophilia are: female hormones, particularly medroxyprogesterone acetate, or MPA; luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) agonists, which include such drugs as triptorelin, leuprolide acetate, and goserelin acetate; and anti-androgens, which block the uptake and metabolism of testosterone as well as reducing blood levels of this hormone.
Most clinical studies of these drugs have been done in Germany, where the legal system has allowed their use in treating repeat sexual offenders since the 1970s. The anti-androgens in particular have been shown to be effective in reducing the rate of recidivism. Making the molester impotent is sometimes offered as a treatment to pedophiles who are repeat offenders or who have pleaded guilty to violent rape. Increasingly, pedophiles are being prosecuted under criminal statutes and being sentenced to prison terms. Imprisonment removes them from society for a period of time but does not usually remove their pedophilic tendencies. Many countries have begun to publish the names of persons being released from prison after serving time for pedophilia. Legal challenges to this practice are pending in various authorities. Some recommendations for the treatment of pedophilia are the following:
1. Risk assessment using a well-supported measure
2. Education of the client, his spouse or partner, family members and close friends 3. Behavioral treatments targeting pedophilic sexual arousal 4. Monitoring of pedophilic clients in terms of access to child pornography, unsupervised contacts with children, and potential disinhibitors such as alcohol or drug use 5. Drug treatments targeting sex drive for higher-risk individuals 6. Cognitive-behavioral and behavioral treatments targeting general risk factors for criminal behavior such as antisocial attitudes and beliefs, association with antisocial peers, and substance abuse
The main method for preventing pedophilia is avoiding situations that may promote pedophilic acts. Children should never be allowed to engage in one-on-one situations with any adult other than their parents or trustworthy family members. Having another youth or adult as an observer provides some security for those who are concerned. Conferences and other activities can be conducted to provide privacy while still within sight of others. Children should be taught to yell or run if they are faced with an uncomfortable situation.
They should also be taught that it is acceptable to scream or call for help in such situations. Another basis of preventing pedophilia is education. Children must be taught to avoid situations that make them defenseless to pedophiles. Adults who work with youth must be taught to avoid situations that may promote pedophilia. Many states have adopted legislation that requires background investigations of any adult who works with children. These persons may be paid, such as teachers, or they may be volunteers in a youth-serving organization.
It is very evident that pedophilia is a serious problem of many countries. The alarming rate of pedophile cases must serve as an eye opener to our government, for them to take a serious look and enforce laws that give legal punishment to those who are proven guilty of this crime. Our justice system must be on its track to convict the culprit. Everyone should be responsible in handling this horrible crime.
Laws against child abuse and neglect should be strengthened and each one of us should be informed about the terrible effects that this crime would cause. But, let us not only put the pressure to the government in solving this problem. We, in our own families, should be the first to take extra care to our own selves. Our family should be strong and open communication should be observed for the better.
Help each other to protect our youth, because; as the saying goes, “The youth is the hope of our Fatherland.”
B I B L I O G R A P H Y
American Psychiatric Association. “Profile of a Pedophile”. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Arlington, USA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2006. Clark, Robin. et al. The Encyclopedia of Child Abuse. New York: Infobase Publishing, 1998. Flisk, Dr. Reverend Louden-Hans. “Sexual Abuse”. Father, Deliver Us from Evil. USA: By the Author, 2004. Gabbard, Glen. “Summary and Recommendations on Psychological Treatments”. Gabbard’s Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. USA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc., 2007. Greenberg, Jerrold. et al. “The Pedophiliac”. Exploring the Dimensions of Human Sexuality. Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2011. Laws, D. Richard and O’Donohue, William. “Pedophilia: Treatment”. Sexual Deviance: Theory, Assessment, and Treatment. USA: The Guilford Press, 2008. Murray, David. “The Homosexualization of Pedophilia”. Homophobias: Lust and Loathing across Time and Space. USA: Duke University Press, 2009. Primoratz, Igor. “What’s wrong with Pedophilia?”. Ethics and Sex. London: Routledge, 1999. Soble, Alan. “Pedophilia”. Sex from Plato to Paglia: A Philosophical Encyclopedia. USA: Greenwood Press, 2006. Vito, Gennaro. et al. “The Criminal Justice Response”. Criminology: Theory, Research and Policy. Canada: Jones and Bartlett Publishers, Inc., 2007. Internet Sources
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