(WordPress is trying to change it to ‘pedophile’ (sans the a).I resist the Americanisation of the English language.)
There was a documentary on last week about paedophiles called The Paedophile Next Door. I managed to catch the last 5 minutes of it on a break in the middle a very long night shift, before I was bleeped to prescribe some paracetamol or something. Anyway, the long and short of it was that this guy ‘came out’ as it were, as a paedophile. His point, which I thought was a good one, was that paedophiles only get help once they’ve actually DONE something gross, and not preventative therapy that will stop them getting to the point where they do gross stuff. His theory is that if more paedophiles came out, there would be less stigma, and more help could be available.
I agree with him. I kind of felt sorry for him. While I do understand (as every practising Christian who believes in abstinence does) the frustration of having a sexual desire that you choose not to act on (I’m just keeping it real here), I can never imagine what it’s like to have a desire that is so socially unacceptable that you cannot tell anyone. In fact, it’s not even one of those taboo sexual fetishes that are legal, but still kinda unacceptable – it’s completely illegal and seen as disgusting enough to alienate you from everyone you care about.
I don’t know if I should feel sorry for him…after all he is a paedophile and as a society we always view them with contempt and not pity, but the way he spoke about it gave the sense that in a similar way to people who label themselves as homosexual or queer – it was something that he felt he did not ‘choose’.
Which obviously doesn’t mean that because he didn’t choose to feel that way, that paedophilic behaviour is acceptable. So if lack of ‘choice’ doesn’t make a behaviour that is sexually deviant morally acceptable, there have to be other factors that determine that….I’m not going to use this space to discuss what those factors are.
Essentially, he hasn’t acted on a desire that probably seems extremely natural to him but which he’s also personally disgusted with, and that takes strength of character. I do admire his bravery in seeking help before he’s committed a crime, and being open with something that could have significant repercussions for him, but my feelings about paedophiles in the community remain the same.
I don’t feel like he should be allowed around children unattended in any capacity (and I’m sure he might agree with me), I feel that it is right for the public to made aware of whether they live near to a sex offender, and I feel that once a paedophile acts on their urges, they should have lifetime imprisonment or at the least monitoring/tagging. Same with anyone who has committed violent rape or is a diagnosed psychopath who has attempted (possibly unsuccessfully) to harm people. I just personally think, with some crimes or psychiatric conditions, you’ve forfeited your right to be released into society – or unfortunately suffer from something that makes you unable to function in society. What I’m not sure about, is whether someone who hasn’t acted on their paedophilia but has expressed that they have those urges, should be taken out of the community.
One important thing I noted was that Eddie stated that his paedophilia was awakened when he stumbled on it watching pornography. Which came first? The paedophilic desires, or the child pornography? I think it’s important to note that in a world where we’re constantly visually stimulated, our sexual inclinations can actually be conditioned by what we see, so that what feels like a ‘choice’ may actually be a sexual behaviour that has been formed by what we’ve seen. As opposed to our sexual behaviour informing what we watch.
Thoughts? Should Eddie be locked up because he’s confessed that he is a paedophile? Is the whole way we talk about paedophilia skewed? Is it a choice?