Seriously. Their hatred and fear of people like me isn’t derived from a protective instinct but rather from the same old nonsense that’s been around for centuries: a need to scapegoat someone so they can feel superior. How do I know this is so? Because these are often the same people who embrace the American culture of violence that takes the lives of thousands of children every year. These are the same people who still believe that striking children is an appropriate form of discipline. These are the same people who think it’s fine to take away welfare from poor families and are perfectly content to let those children starve. They don’t care about kids (except maybe their own), and they never have. The hatred of pedophiles isn’t about protecting kids.
Nor is it about making life better for survivors of abuse. Dozens of survivors emailed me to tell me their story and thank me for my articles, but the bigots who attacked me in the media disregarded these folks’ feelings and opinions entirely because it didn’t fit their simplistic narrative. The dominant narrative about survivors is that they are to feel traumatized for life and forever scarred by their abuse if they are to be listened to. I actually angered people by saying that having my genitalia touched at age 7 didn’t cause me any distress as a child, which is the absolute truth. What did distress me was the way people reacted to it afterward.
Note that, nowhere in there do I ever say that abuse is okay. Abuse is still abuse, regardless of how the child reacts to it. Even if the child welcomes it or enjoys it (and yes, it does happen), it is still abuse and still wrong. But it does no one any good to pretend like every instance of abuse is worse than death for every child who experiences it, no matter how convenient and comforting that fiction is. What winds up happening is that society makes those survivors whose experiences were not particularly bothersome feel horribly ashamed, as if they are freaks or weirdos for not being utterly horrified every second it was going on. The dominant narrative with respect to sexual abuse has little to do with truth and much to do with certain people’s need to rationalize their own fear and hatred.
I mentioned how this is the same old story that’s run through the entire history of human civilization. Every culture and generation has its scapegoats, those people who philosopher Slavoj Žižek calls the Big Other. They are the outsiders, the ones who are blamed for causing the worst problems in society. For the Nazis, it was the Jews. For the Puritans, it was witches. For Space Age Americans, it was Communists. In the ’70s and ’80s, it was gays. This is, of course, a simplification, since often the hatred and persecution of these groups overlap, but there is always some primary group, the Big Other, who receives the brunt of it. For my generation it is pedophiles, even non-offending ones like me.
Of course, as Žižek points out, the Big Other as conceptualized doesn’t really exist. The targeted group becomes the ultimate Straw Man, and as long as the dominant narrative persists, there is no way to open up a dialogue with society. The Nazis always considered Jews untrustworthy, so anything the Jews said in their own defense, no matter how truthful, always fell on deaf ears. So it is with pedophiles today. Many people dismissed my articles as manipulative, an attempt to justify some ultimate goal of legalizing adult-child sex, which couldn’t be further from the truth, but it doesn’t matter to these people. They needed a reason to despise me, and if they couldn’t find a reason, they would’ve fabricated one. Luckily for them, there’s a whole crop of things I said whilst I was embroiled in the pro-contacter cult, which they can now hold up as evidence that the person I was back then is my true nature.
In these peoples’ minds, pedophiles can never be good people whether they’ve offended or not, and any evidence the haters can dig up to support their specious reasoning is absolute proof in their minds. And therein lies the problem for us at VirPed. How do you win over people who are immersed in the pro-contacter cult when so much of society treats you exactly the same either way and the pro-contacters know that? What incentive do they have to come over to the ethical side? It makes little sense for them to do so, and indeed, they have come to the point where they essentially see society as their enemy.
Of course, the longer they are on the pro-contacter boards, the more entrenched they are going to become in that philosophy. I have actually seen a pro-contacter state that anyone who turns someone in for child porn should be killed. Some of them have become exactly as hateful and violent as those who oppose them. They identify with jihadis and anarchist revolutionaries, and it is perhaps a matter of time before they incite a violent revolution. Anyway, many pedophiles are underground and isolated, vulnerable to temptation—pushing them into a corner where their best option is to identify with the pro-contacter cult is dangerous for society and for children.
And once again, it is clear that the bigots aren’t really about protecting kids. They are about hating and punishing pedophiles. These are not the same thing, and the more disillusioned and alienated pedophiles become from society, the bigger the gap between these two things become. So, if you really are interested in protecting kids from abuse and not just satisfying some twisted need to deal out hate and anger, then make things better for those of us who don’t want to cause harm but desire a place at society’s table.