In one of the interminable threads that devolved into endless discussions of pedophilia a couple of months ago, I raised an academic question about whether those who were commenting could come up with a reason why pedophilia was "wrong" without relying on a Judeo-Christian cultural context. The history, I argued, was that in Greece and to a lesser extent in Rome, pedophilia in some forms was culturally acceptable; only those pesky Christians managed to radically change the culture.
For me it was just an academic speculation, but apparently I was much closer than I had ever considered possible.
In a recent interview with the Times magazine, Richard Dawkins attempted to defend what he called “mild pedophilia,” which, he says, he personally experienced as a young child and does not believe causes “lasting harm.”
Dawkins went on to say that one of his former school masters “pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts,” and that to condemn this “mild touching up” as sexual abuse today would somehow be unfair.
Child welfare experts responded to Dawkins’ remarks with outrage — and concern over their effect on survivors of abuse.
I'm just curious what people think? Even in the midst of the groping, fondling, and raping of kids, and hiding/covering up of the crimes which occurred among clergy of my faith, it was exceptionally rare that anyone actually tried to condone it as being harmless.
Strega - Who's your IT girl if you dont mind me asking?
Oh good answer.
( Is she standing right there? - You can tell me the real answer when she moves away from the screen ok.)
I've watched interviews with pedophiles before where they discuss such things. One of the interviewees spoke of an instance where he didn't act on his urges. He explained how a girl around the age of ten smiled at him, and from his perspective, she was clearly flirting with him. He added hollow words clarifying he knew it was wrong, but it seemed to be something he said because he understood it should be said. It didn't really sound like it truly made sense to him why it was wrong, yet he was resigned to the fact that his behaviour is fiercely rejected by society.
That's not armchair psychoanalysis, mind you; it's just my gut reaction. I don't think they are making excuses; I think some of them have a severe distortion in their perception. There are known psychological disorders in humans which result in similarly potent delusions in otherwise functional human beings: for instance, narcissistic personality disorder. I'm not suggesting that the two things are related, but rather only that the human brain has all sorts wondrous potential for fucking up.
Then again, perhaps the definition of sanity is merely being insane in the same direction as everyone else.
Pedophilia is a manifestation of paraphilia, defined by Wikipedia as " the experience of intense sexual arousal to highly atypical objects, situations, or individuals." Other examples of paraphilia are zoophilia (bestiality), exhibitionism, and transvestism. Obviously we tolerate some paraphilias and not others.
Here's one I ran into today. A couple who apparently are deeply into zoophilia. Now, some (whose view of males is dim). We don't like bestiality as a culture, even though they aren't harming anyone. It might be argued they probably aren't even harming the animals. If the dog doesn't care or even gets some pleasure out of, some might say, why should we care? (BTW, she is pretty hot in a nerdy way. Looks pretty good in a bikini.)
The law is going to come down on this couple very hard and their lives will never be the same, but is their paraphilia really so bad that their lives should be ruined, or is it just none of our business?
Oops, there's a stray sentence fragment in there: Now, some (whose view of males is dim).
I had intended to say "Now some (whose view of males is dim) might assume that the wife is being forced into this, but we don't have any grounds for assuming that and women can be paraphiliacs, too."
Now some (whose view of males is dim) might assume that the wife is being forced into this
Yeah, that would be a red herring or a straw man or something like that, wouldn't it?
"If the dog doesn't care or even gets some pleasure out of, some might say, why should we care?"
Do you want this sexualized dog to then be at large - free to roam and copulate with children? No we dont want that so it is harmful and the dog would be shot.
Oh man - i saw a Jack donkey try to rape a man who it saw taking a dump in its paddock. I swear that donkey spotted that mans ass and went straight for it.
We want a civilized society dont we. We want people to know where to draw the line.
I agree with the fact that pedophilia manifested is abhorrent. However, as a society we have designed therapies and support systems for most unwanted behavioral urges, so that if people find they have such urges and are struggling to manage them, there are avenues that can be followed to try to support and assist those people.
There is a dearth of such avenues for potential pedophilia urges. It would be good if the person feeling these urges was able to resist using their own willpower, but I also think we, as a society, need to consider the creation of related support systems for those who need help in this regard.
I agree Strega, nobody chooses to be made a pedophile after all, or is proud of the fact (I doubt).
A man can express to his therapist merely having an urge to molest a child and it must be reported. He can talk about an active plan to defraud thousands families involved in a fund he manages and it's protected by therapist-client privilege.
An 'Urge' - a strong desire or impulse.
A "Plan" - decide on and arrange in advance.
An urge may be more likely to be acted on.