Musings Of A Spiritual Atheist

We should first define what we mean by pedophilia. It is the use of underaged children for sexual gratification by adults. Due to the different rates at which people mature, there is some fuzziness about the definitions of children and adults. For instance, is a 20 year old with Down’s syndrome to be considered a child or an adult? Is a 16 year old having sex with a 14 year old pedophilia or teenaged sex? Apart from those kinds of difficulties, it is fairly straightforward. Note that it does not include sexual activity by children with each other, what used to be called “Playing doctor”. That is not based on sexual gratification but on sexual inquisitiveness and learning about a secret activity.

A very frequent charge laid against homosexuals is that they want to have sex with children and that homosexuality involves pedophilia by definition. Let's get this point laid to rest immediately. Such a charge is a malicious and bigoted lie. There is no other way to describe it, and there is no point softening it. It is an extremely serious charge, and one that goes to the heart of the hatred displayed in anti-homosexual propaganda. There is a saying, “Throw enough cow shit at the side of a barn and some of it will stick”. This malicious lie is the proof of that. Homosexuality and pedophilia are two completely different things. They are not related.

Does that mean that pedophiles are never homosexual? Of course not. Pedophiles want sex with children. Some pedophiles want sex with any child, some with young boys, some with young girls. The common component is that they be children. Let's make a second point crystal clear. Pedophilia is a reprehensible crime. Pedophiles damage children both physically and emotionally, and they must be brought to account.

There are many ways to distort facts. Putting the emphasis on homosexuality instead of pedophilia when young boys are attacked is one of them. We could as easily emphasise that male pedophiles who attack young girls are heterosexual, but what would be the point? Those who stress the preference of the pedophile are obviously more interested in pushing their own prejudicial hatred than they are about the horrific experience to which the child has been submitted. Focusing on that aspect takes attention away from the crime of pedophilia and the damage done to the child and focuses it upon a single characteristic of the criminal. The result is a reduction in focus on the truly malevolent nature of the crime. The crime is not in the likes or dislikes of the criminal, the crime is the abuse and rape of a child. Focus on the child!

Those who contend there is an automatic link between homosexuality and pedophilia are simply damning by bigotry. They are using the natural revulsion about the rape of a child to defame those who are not in any way involved. It is a despicable approach as it shows them to be so devoid of decency that they would rather concentrate on spreading lies about those whose sexual preferences offend them than working to protect children. They prefer to use the pain of a child to push their own hate filled propaganda than speak the truth and do something about it. Once again, I repeat, focus on the child!

If we condemn all homosexual men because one male pedophile assaults a boy, then we must condemn all heterosexual men when a male pedophile rapes a girl, for what is the difference? If we condemn all homosexual men because one male pedophile assaults a boy, then when that pedophile is a priest we must condemn all priests since the criminal act was committed by a member of that group as much as it was by a member of the other. If a male teacher seduces an underaged female student, we must condemn all male teachers and all males, forbidding them from teaching any female student, just as we should condemn all female teachers and all females because one had a sexual affair with an underaged male student. Must we condemn all Christians because one Christian minister sexually preys on a young, female member of his congregation or should our condemnation only extend to all ministers in the religious denomination involved or on the adults in that congregation? Should we, perhaps, simply condemn all men since the minister was also a man? The logic used to condemn all homosexuals would demand that we do at least one of these. The more we look at examples of group condemnation for the actions of an individual the more the logic of blaming all for the actions of one becomes blatantly unreasonable?

The only person to blame when a pedophile assaults a child is the pedophile. How can it possibly be seen as anything else? The child is not at fault, especially if very young, and adults, particularly parents and grandparents, must ensure they do not give off any unconscious message that the child has done anything wrong.

How should convicted pedophiles be treated? This presents some difficulties due to the natural desire of most people to protect young children from sexual exploitation. That, of course, must be the paramount concern. There can be no question of tolerating any repetition of crimes by pedophiles, that is quite clear, but how is this to be accomplished? The only way it can be guaranteed is by imprisonment for the duration of their natural life, meaning until they die, rather than just for 25 years. In the UK this used to be called “during her Majesty’s pleasure”. In Canada there is an option to designate a criminal as a dangerous offender. This is permanent imprisonment without any possibility of early release or parole so that the offender remains in prison until they die a natural death. For some pedophiles this would be appropriate.

Although it may not be possible to remove the psychological and physical effects of a sexual assault on a child even with long term counselling, compensation must be paid by the offender in the way I have previously described. The money should be held in trust for the child so that when they reach an age of reason, high school graduation perhaps, they may decide whether to accept or reject it. If rejected it should be returned to the fund used to pay compensation to crime victims. It should not be paid to any other person, not even the victim’s parents, since it is personal compensation for the damage the offender caused. If it is thought desirable for parents to receive compensation for extra costs associated with raising a psychologically or physically damaged child, then it should be assessed against the offender as a separate amount. In either case, rejection of any compensation should not remove the offender’s obligation to pay it, and at any time during their life the victim should be able to access it on request.

Sometimes, when the pedophilic assault is by a parent rather than a family friend or a stranger, it is somehow considered to be less severe. This is nonsense. If anything, it is more severe, since it includes a strong component of betrayal of the parental obligation to protect the child from harm. This betrayal may result in higher compensation but, apart from that, I do not see how the penalties should be any different whether the parent involved is the mother, the father or both.

I am not in favour of castration, whether physical or chemical, since hormones may not be the root cause of the problem. Women who assault children, for instance, are not being driven to it by uncontrollable urges emanating from testosterone, since they do not produce it in any significant amount, if at all. Castration or, presumably, oophrectomy for women, may remove sex drives in general but may not alter the attitude that children are suitable subjects for satisfying adult fantasies. If a pedophile requests it, of course, it should be provided but having had it done should not then be permitted as justification for early release from prison.

One of the conditions laid on pedophiles when they finish their sentence or are paroled is that they may not go certain places where they are likely to come into contact with children of the age that stimulates them. This is obviously quite a reasonable restriction on their right to travel and associate. The problem comes in implementing it continuously. I suggest that if they are released from prison it should always be contingent on agreeing to have a transmitter implanted in or on their bodies somewhere, so that the signal may be mapped by a central agency, the RCMP perhaps, to validate where they go on a regular basis. This would enable police to quickly stop any move to visit areas restricted to them. This is sometimes done with expensive breeds of animals and should work as effectively on humans. I would consider this a reasonable limitation of constitutional rights, since it is designed to protect children from sexual attack.

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