A New Class of Victims

From CNN:

“Pedophilia” was long used as a synonym for “child molestation,” and both were often seen as psychological failures of self-control. Child molesters were thought to be acting out their own histories of abuses, reacting to fears of adult relationships, or manifesting a symptom that might be resolved in psychotherapy, after which they would no longer be pedophilic.

Recently, however, a number of studies have starting changing that view  It appears that one can be born with a brain predisposed to experience sexual arousal in response to children.


An untold number of cases merit sympathy.

The science suggests that they are people who, through no fault of their own, were born with a sex drive that they must continuously resist, without exception, throughout their entire lives. Little if any assistance is ever available for them.

Remember that Richard Dawkins has argued it is better to sexually molest a child than to raise that child in religion.

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12 Responses to A New Class of Victims

  1. Random says:

    Here’s a question. Many people argue that homosexuality is not immoral because homosexuality is an intrinsic part of their identity. As normal as the attraction of straight men to women. The reasoning seems to go something like this:

    a) Gays are predisposed to seme sex attraction due to biological and psychological facts.
    b) Mutual consent exists.
    c) No harm occurs to anyone else or to them.

    Therefore you should not impose your preferences on gays.

    It seem from the findings you just mentioned we could construct a similar argument:

    a) Pedos are predisposed to pedophilia (where this is defined as sexual attraction to children) due to biological and and psychological facts. Their behaviour is an intrinsic part if their identity and is no different from male and female attraction.
    b) Some child may consent to sexual activity with an adult.
    c) If intercourse occurs between a child and an adult no harm will occur to anyone else or them if both parties consent.

    Therefore we should impose our preferences on pedos.

    What is the difference between this argument and the argument for the normalcy of homosexuality? Both claim if both parties consent there is no problem. Both claim that sexual attraction is an integral part of their identity and this seems born out by empirical research. Both claim that if the behaviour brings no physical or psychological harm occurs to the consenting party or anyone else than we gave business regulating said behaviour.

    It seems unreasonable to me to suppose that there are no children in the history if the world who have not consented to sex with an adult or that some sort of harm will always come to the child if both parties consent. Most cases where harm results are cases where the child did not know what was happening or was raped. The only difference I can see is to stipulate that consent occurs between adults. What justifies this distinction? Why can’t the pedo argue that it is just as arbitrary as claiming that marriage should occur only between a man and a woman?

    To be clear I am not arguing against gays or in favor of pedophilia. I am simply interested in the merits of this argument. Frankly, it seems to me that it can be used to justify any sort of sexual arrangement.

  2. eveysolara says:

    No there’s no way a child can consent in the same way an adult consents according to the law, your comparison is disgusting.

  3. Random says:

    Why not?

  4. eveysolara says:

    Children are inexperienced, uneducated, have difficulty saying no to adults, etc, etc. It’s disturbing that you even have to ask.

  5. Random says:

    There are plenty of adults who are uneducated and do not know how to read or write. Unless you ‘re suggesting that sex should only be legal for educated adults it’s unclear to me how this is relevant. Many adults have no sexual experience until they are 18 or over. Unless you’re suggesting that sexually inexperienced adults should not have sex it’s unclear how this is a relevant factor. It seems to me that an 11 year old is perfectly capable of understanding what sex entails. Plenty of adults have difficulty saying no other adults as well even when it is clearly against their interests. For example, plenty of poor people vote Republican even though it is clearly against their interest to do so. That’s the first example that came to mind but there are plenty of worse ones. Do you think it should be a criminal offence for such adults to have sex?

  6. eveysolara says:

    This is my last response for obvious reasons. I dont mean educated as in college, and yes an adult may be not so experienced but that’s apples and bowling balls in comparison to a child. The bottom line is the power balance. There will always be a coersion, no matter how subtle, the same is true for other similar types of relationships, such as therapist-patient relationsionships. When you lack a moral compass, try google scholar.

  7. Random says:

    There are plenty of adult relationships where there is a power imbalance as well. There are many marriages where the husband completely controls the wife. There are women who have sex not because they want to but because they feel that they are coerced by those around them (sometimes it’s subtle sometimes it’s not). Both if these case can lead to appalling consequences for the people involved. But it would be absurd to extrapolate from such cases to the conclusion that all such relationships are bad. Why should you do the same to child/adult relationships?

    There are several countries where child marriage is legal and it was legal in many western countries for centuries until relatively recently. To claim that such relationships necessarily entail negative consequences would require an evaluation of every such relationship in the history of the world. Until you do such an evaluation you are not warranted in reaching that conclusion. So it seems that your attempt to distinguish homosexuality from pedophilia has failed. Consequently it seems that gay rights campaigners ought to be sexual libertarians.

    Well. ..As I said it was not my intention to argue against gays. I just wanted to a get a response to this argument which I see deployed quite often. Unfortunately, most responses to it are like yours-consisting only of question begging assertions and emotional outbursts devoid of rational content. So I’m going to have a crack at giving my own response.

    One obvious difference is that pre-pubescent children are medically incapable of bearing intercourse. Sex will physically harm them, injure them or kill them (as in the case if 11 year old girls who die giving birth in child marriages). We might argue this is an indication that sex with children is unnatural. This is an important difference but it can’t be the whole story. Afterall, gays are much more likely to get AIDS than straight people. This is clearly harmful but many would reject this as a proof that homosexuality is unnatural. Further more, it is clear that different children reach puberty at different rates. There are cases where 11/12 yr olds have been able to have sex and bear children without adverse effects. Yet no one would doubt that they are still children. So we still need to find another distinguishing factor.

    This can be located in psychological facts. Pedophilia (though it may have biological causes) is universally regarded as a psychological disorder by psychiatrists. Of course, homosexuality was also regarded as a mental disorder until recently but it seems that there are important disanalogies. There exists a vast body of empirical evidence which demonstrates that pedophiles typically suffer great childhood trauma and tend suffer from all sorts of mental disorders which evebtually lead to child molestation. There is no evidence that this is the case with homosexuals. The brains of pedophiles typically suffer from severe malfunctions when seen through to brain scans. This is not the case with homosexuals whose brains seem to function normally. Finally there is the empirical fact that most child/ adult relationships result in very harmful consequences for the child because they are cases of rape, or where the child does not know what is happening and so cannot give consent, or where the intention is malicious rather than loving or caring. This is not the case with homosexual relationships. This fact alone constitutes a prima facie reason for legislating against pedophilia.

    So it seems to me that the disanalogy between homosexuality and pedophilia can be located in a combination of three facts: the physical harm which befalls children and the fact that pedophilia unlike homosexuality is caused by a failure to properly function as a person. Further more, the empirical facts of how pedophilia is played out in the real world (the psychological harm that befalls children, the intentions of the pedophile, the fact that that pre-pubescent children are generally incapable of consent and early pubescent children are generally incapable of informed consent) when contrasted with homosexuality give us a prima facie reason to legislate against the former but not the latter.

    I’m not sure if my argument is entirely convincing but it’s the best I could come up with. Any thoughts?

  8. Jim says:

    Random. Look up the reasons why we have age of consent laws. Then get back to us.

  9. d says:

    I think your attempts make sense, Random. I think arguments which might attempt to show prepubescent children really aren’t necessarily harmed or have the ability to consent are probably all very weak.

    The comparison to homosexuality break down on another level too. Homosexual sex isn’t, in principle, unsafe. It can be practiced safely (and I’m sure it often is). And actually, most of the danger is to gay men. Lesbians have it better than the rest of us, gay or straight, when it comes to risk from sex. So relying on disease risk alone to argue against homosexuality can really only apply to gay men, but might leave us with a ringing endorsement of lesbianism.

    You can slice up demographics in other interesting ways too. Poor black heterosexuals suffer, in some instances, suffer from similarly high instances of STD’s that gay men do, for example. Our efforts on all these fronts seem better focused on changing practices around sex.

    Harm to a prepubescent child is essentially a necessary fact that comes with sexual encounters with pedophiles. When it comes to teenagers, well… that’s a little murkier, but that’s not really the kind of pedophelia most are talking about when they say pedophelia.

    Maybe if we looked hard enough we could find one or two rare exceptions of a prepubescent child who was really emotionally secure and intelligent enough to enter into a relationship with a “healthy” pedophile, but that would probably be so rare as to not matter, in terms of the law. Morally, maybe we’d have a hard time condemning such a relationship… but it’s simply impossible to create laws that cater to every single exception.

  10. d says:

    Also, one might argue that pedophelia results in necessary harm to the pedophile. But I’d have to know more about the nature of pedophelia.

    I know in some instances there is an emotional component to the pedophelia. Somehow, the adult pedophile’s emotional growth was stunted somehow, and they can only relate or feel comfortable with children. So perhaps in these cases, there’s a good reason to focus our efforts on healing those emotional scars.

    In others, there is a physical attraction, but no desire for any sort of emotional bond. They just respond physically to children. These sorts of pedophiles generally desire adult relationships and *want* to be able to *want* a healthy sex life with an adult. So there are some avenues to explore there too.

  11. Random says:

    Jim posted:” Look up the reasons why we have age of consent laws. ”

    Don’t be stupid I beg you. Consent laws are there to protect people from engaging in extremely dangerous practices which often have consequences that they might not be mature enough to grasp. Examples of such practises include gun use, smoking and alcohol (the death/injury rates caused by alcohol abuse are horrific). Sex is not an extremely dangerous practice. There us no analogy between having sex and smoking or using a gun. The age of consent is completely subjective and varies from country to country.

    In some countries the age of consent is as low as 12 and in others it is as high as 20. By what criteria do you decide what the right age a person is befire being capable if giving informed consent? There was a time when child marriage was perfectly legal and there are countries where it still is. There already exist ‘pedophile rights’ groups who want to make it legal. And as d pointed out there may well children who are not adversely affected by prepubescent sex. To argue that there is a moral difference between such practices and homosexuality which should be reflected in legal terms is a serious question which requires more than lazy assertions like ‘but its already illegal!’ and ‘it’s impossible for kids to consent!’ etc to answer it.

  12. Jim says:

    Random, no. I did not imply to use “its already illegal” as an argument. Look up the reasons why sex between adults and minors is illegal. Why governments decided to make it a crime. Then you’ll have your answer as to why arguments for keeping gay sex legal can never be used to legalize pedophilia.

    Of course age of consent is subjective. Age for sexual consent, just like age for drinking, driving, voting, joining the military etc. is based on when society views its members as adults. Of course any age will be arbitrary. No one will argue that it’s not arbitrary. But most of the time, the law has to draw a line in the sand. So the question is not “is it arbitrary?” but “is it reasonable?”

    So, is it arbitrary to make 18 the cutoff age for voting? Yes. However, is it reasonable to restrict voting rights to those of an age where they have (presumably) completed the basic level of education that society expects an upright citizen to have? Yes. Is it a good, basic law? Yes.

    From that, is it reasonable for the law to dictate an age when most people are considered physically, mentally, and emotionally mature enough to consent to sex with someone, and with someone older? Yes. Besides, that was the same basic point that d was trying to make. Sure, the might be a small number of people who wouldn’t be negatively affected by a childhood relationship with someone much older (made me feel dirty just writing that), but that does not invalidate the reasonableness of age-of-consent laws.

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