Friday, September 7, 2012

Born This Way

Every few years, I see yet another attempt, either from the community itself, or from academics trying to move us past bigotry and narrow-mindedness, to redefine pedophilia as a "sexual orientation."  Here is this month's example, from September 7, 2012 Gawker:
Born This Way: Sympathy and Science for Those Who Want to Have Sex with Children
The article itself starts off with a bit too graphic of an account by one of these unfortunate ones--no, not the victim, but the poor misunderstood child molester.  Unsurprisingly, academics in Canada are working hard to make us sympathize with pedophiles, and the "born this way" and "can't really change" themes appear.  Of course, there is no discussion of whether this is a learned behavior, which much of the existing literature on child abuse recognizes.
Van Gjiseghem says what he and his colleagues mean by sexual orientation is a person's inborn and unalterable sexual preference, irrespective of whether that preference is harmful to others or not. Currently, there is no significant longitudinal evidence that pedophiles can be made to not be attracted to children, and thus it can be defined as their orientation. And if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it's futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions. Doing so is akin to sending a homosexual child off to a religious-based institution that claims it can "pray the gay away."
A society built around greed, lust, and selfishness, has no future. 

15 comments:

BFR said...

As a Christian adherent to reformed theology, I believe that God is not ashamed to declare that "Jacob I loved and Esau I hated", and this was before they were born. And to those who claim that hat to be "loved less", that does not correlate with God's position on it: "“Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his hill country into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the Lord Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord."

So God expressly declares that regardless of what you bring from the womb, you will still be accountable before a holy and righteous God, or as He says in other passages, "so man is without excuse" and "what right does the clay have to accuse the potter, "why did you make me like this".

Clay got no say.

Anon Y. Mous said...

Currently, there is no significant longitudinal evidence that pedophiles can be made to not be attracted to children, and thus it can be defined as their orientation. And if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it's futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions. Doing so is akin to sending a homosexual child off to a religious-based institution that claims it can "pray the gay away."

I agree with all that, as far as it goes. Of course, the purpose in sending child molesters to prison is not to "alter their attractions", but rather to keep them from molesting any other children, at least during their prison stay, as well as serving a deterrent to others thinking about offending, and to deter themselves from re-offending if/when they get free.

Unknown said...

I tend to agree that there's nothing that can be done to cure pedophiles. My conclusion is rather different: I don't care what we do with them as long as there are never any children in contact with them ever again. (Execution is fine. So is life imprisonment. Or permanent confinement in a psychiatric ward. Or internal exile somewhere children aren't permitted.

Mauser said...

Well, if he's right, then I guess Euthanasia is the only alternative. Works for me.

RightKlik said...

"...if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it's futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions..."

Has "altering attractions" ever been the point of incarceration?

There are so many problems with that article I lost count. It's full of faulty logic and straw men.

jdege said...

"And if pedophilia is a sexual orientation, that also means it's futile to send pedophiles to prison in an effort to alter their attractions."

We don't put them in prison because we hope to cure them, we put them in prison because they're too dangerous to let wander around loose.

Anonymous said...

I have often wondered whether Sodom and Gomorrah wasn't more about molesters than otherwise, although that wouldn't explain the Greeks.

Anonymous said...

Gee, when you decide to abandon any ethical or moral context it becomes easy to define 'reason' and exercise it any way that meets your goals. Might this remarkable off track academic have any view on the victims? If the 'orientation' of pedophiles should not be treated, then is society to accept all of their actions as natural and unavoidable? The mind reels as to what you might actually find on this person's personal computer.....I'm not calling them a pedophile with any certainty necessarily, but one has to wonder about the mind of someone who actually tries to justify the behavior.

Pawpaw said...

I worked with sex offenders for several (12) years in an earlier assignment. By that I mean that I put them in jail. From what little I read of the blockquote, I'd say that the author is correct. You can't fix these guys. The reason that "Chester the Molester" is a stereotype, is that pedophiles follow a pattern that doesn't change with age. It is futile to send pedophiles to prison in an attempt to alter their attractions. It is NOT futile to send them to prison if your intent is to keep them away from children.

Anonymous said...

So many comments here claim you cannot fix a pedophile. That may be inarguable, but it misses the point. Mass murderers or other sociopaths may be incurable. But would we excuse any of their behavior because of some innate quality? Evil is evil. And the actions of an evil person must be measured or viewed through the eyes of their victims. To call something like this an orientation as if it is on equal footing to a loving relationship, hetero or homosexual, is ludicrous.

Eric said...

If that's true, then why do we ever let them out?

The fact that pedophiles eventually get released completely undercuts your assertion.

Rich Rostrom said...

There are men with pedophiliac urges who have requested chemical or surgical castration.

They know (or feel) that they can't shed these urges or control them - and they don't want to cause harm.

Is that what is Gawker suggesting as an alternative to imprisonment of pedophiles?

Anthony said...

If that's true, then why do we ever let them out?

The fact that pedophiles eventually get released completely undercuts your assertion.


There are several practical reasons for letting convicted pedophiles out of prison other than in a hearse:

1) Where the maximum effective sentence for murder is life in prison, you want *all* other crimes to have a lesser sentence, so you don't give offenders an incentive to kill their victims.

2) Younger men (and women) have a harder time controlling their urges than their elders; someone who has pedophilic urges is more likely at age 40 or 50 or 60 to decide not to act on those urges than someone who is 20.

3) Prison is pretty bad, and the prospect of returning to prison will hopefully provide sufficient incentive to pedophiles to not act on their urges again.

So even if a pedophile coming out of prison will still have those desires, there's hope that they will be able to control themselves enough to not re-offend. We as a society may (probably) have gotten this balance wrong, but that doesn't prove that the correct balance point is life in prison.

Clayton Cramer said...

It is true that you want there to be an incentive to not re-offend, and yes, for most serious crimes, increasing age reduces the risks.

Unfortunately, my impression is that child molesters remain extremely dangerous even into their 60s and 70s. Unlike many violent crimes, the motivations are not just testosterone poisoning, but something that may be characteriological.

Michael K said...

My impression is that castration, chemical in some cases, does help pedophiles to avoid the fantasies that are often present in those incarcerated. I agree that age does not reduce the risk of offenders. The courts have held that castration is "cruel and unusual," thus condemning some to lifetime incarceration where there might be an alternative.