A frustrating misconception

There is a misconception, particularly among feminists, that all child sexual abuse—and indeed, sexual attraction to children itself—is inherently about power. This is flat out absurd. I had planned to write a longer article on this issue, but my friend Ender wrote an excellent piece on this that covers it pretty well, called Demystifying Sexual Attraction to Children. I only want to add that I find it amazing how people who have never experienced it are willing to project some set of motives onto you just to satisfy their own notions of what you are about (possibly to avoid cognitive dissonance). But I’m telling you unequivocally, my attraction is NOT about power. Indeed, in my fantasies children are often at least my equals if not more powerful than me in some respects. That’s why it’s fantasy.

Of course, in real life children aren’t like this at all, but many pedophilic child molesters (as opposed to situational offenders, who sometimes do abuse because they get a thrill from overpowering children) often fool themselves into believing children truly are equals and are able to give meaningful consent. For a pedophilic molester, whose abuse is rooted in actual attraction to the child’s form, they may need to delude themselves into thinking such things before they can comfortably have sexual contact a child. All they need is for the child to willingly engage, and for this type of abuser the consent matter is resolved because they believe kids to be equals at least in this regard.

Seriously, go to one of the pro-contacter boards and read the posts of the people there who are arguing for legalization of adult-child sex. It is chock full of just these kinds of rationalizations. They have a constant need to reassure each other on this issue, and they do it using every argument you can imagine.

Other pedophiles—the amoral kind—don’t give a rat’s behind whether a child can meaningfully consent or not, but that still doesn’t mean their abuse is necessarily about power. Seriously, this myth needs to die. It is so wrongheaded that it ignores something fundamental about pedophilia, which isn’t going to do much good at curbing sexual abuse. Those pedophiles who are inclined to abuse kids may see that argument and think, “Well, that doesn’t describe me at all, so what little Suzy and I are doing must not be abusive, then.”

If you truly want to put a serious dent in child sexual abuse, you need to understand the complexity of the issue and the various motivations of different types of abusers and address each of them. Spreading the myth of a single motive for abuse is not going fix the problem.

8 thoughts on “A frustrating misconception

  1. >”many pedophilic child molesters … often fool themselves into believing children truly are equals”

    Two people can be different and at the same time ‘equal’.

    If you consider that a child can not be your equal does that mean that you consider her your inferior then?

    Isn’t it exactly this mind-set that leads to REAL abuse? – ‘she’s just a child – nothing she thinks, or wants really matters?’

    Have you never felt admiration for a child? Have you never been in awe of a child’s charm, vivacity, love, beauty and felt that it is YOU who were the lesser being?

    The irony is that a close friendship (whether intimate or not) with a non-familial adult – a ‘stranger’, if you will – is just about the ONLY relationship a child can have with an adult where there is NOT a power differential.

    And it’s fast become a relationship that has become impossible for children to have.

    Think of all the socially approved relationships: parent, teacher, doctor, policeman, judge, social worker, priest & c &c – and the various degrees to which they have power over children built into their role.

    And how many of these relationships do children actually opt into?

    And how many of these relationships can children opt out of?

    None.

    Clearly Society has absolutely no problem with grossly unequal relationships between adults and children.

    And in a topsy-turvy twist of irony Society labels as ‘unequal’ the only kind of relationship where equality is not only possible, but is something to which BOTH partners aspire, the only relationship that the child chooses to engage in and can choose to end.

    I’ve always been a celibate paedophile – but I’ve had the good fortune to have one profound, long-term friendship with a little girl where we both loved each other. I KNOW that our relationship was one of equals – I looked up to her, I admired her because she was a supremely admirable person, we were a ‘couple’, I was proud when I was with her – she was not a ‘child’ and I was not and ‘adult’ when we were together, we were just two people.

    Occasionally she sought to be more intimate with me in the way children often do when they trust and feel comfortable with an adult whom they maybe find attractive

    (and let me be clear what I’m NOT saying – when she, for example, would come into my bed and take of her nightie and try to cuddle up to me she wasn’t ‘asking for sex’ nor ‘consenting to intercourse’.

    What she WAS consenting to was some kind of increased intimacy to exist between us, just as much as she felt comfortable – that’s all, that’s enough – an increase which, if I’d let it happen, even if it was just the two of us sleeping naked together holding each other, would have involved me in committing a crime).

    Now are you telling me that if I had let her sleep naked next me that all the equality that we’d achieved in our relationship would be extinguished like a candle flame in a hurricane?

    Is consensual intimacy (and by intimacy I don’t mean ‘sex’) such an extreme, disruptive thing that it, even in its mildest form, destroys everything in its path, everything the relationship had till that point achieved? that it changes the meaning of everything, turns everything inside out – turns a tender, trusting, equal relationship into something sordid, exploitative and loveless?

    Would this little girl and I cuddling each other have been such a monstrous act? And if so what exactly rendered it monstrous? this mild physical expression of our love and trust in each other?

    The only time our relationship wasn’t equal, the only time I was the ‘authoritative adult’ lording it over her and acting as if her feelings and wishes counted for nothing, was when I was, through fear and confusion, paying lip service to the laws you so uncritically adhere to and rejecting her love.

    Decades later it still breaks my heart to think how I had to ‘defuse’ the situation, literally push her out of bed, tell her to put her nightie on and send her back to her bedroom, confused, rejected and lonely.

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    1. Leonard, I’m not going to argue the contact issue with you, but no, I do not see children as inherently inferior to me. I just understand that they cannot meaningfully consent, and I respect that. This is a myth perpetuated by the pro-contacters, this notion that respecting children can only mean nothing short of giving them the same rights as adults. This is a false dilemma. I do respect kids, and it’s because I respect them that I understand why they cannot be treated like adults. I am open to some of the Epstein concepts, but in a limited capacity. Beyond that, I think you know that this issue isn’t really about the kids’ rights for the pro-contacters; it’s about their right to have sex with children. The fact that no one else but the pro-contacters are really demanding amply demonstrates that fact. If kids themselves ever start organizing en masse and clamoring for their right to have sex with adults, then I might begin to look at differently. Until that happens, no, kids cannot meaningfully consent to sex. Stop torturing yourself with this nonsense and come over to the light side. You’ll be a lot happier with yourself, I guarantee it.

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    2. Leonard, I get your point. I once was friends with a young girl, who was 9. She was pretty, and there were times that I thought she really loved me. She did love me, but not romantically. Because I am autistic, I appear vulnerable, I looked cute to her probably. Therefore, she loved me in the same way she would love a puppy dog, or a toddler.

      From a legal standpoint, I believe children are special. They need special laws to protect them from harm. They cannot take care of themselves yet, and they cannot make decisions for themselves yet. They are not inferior, but special, because of this. They need to come first in the eyes of the law, not at the same level of importance as adults. In a sense, I think they are superior to adults.

      I do think on some issues children should be treated as equals. There should be equal protection from physical assault under the law, for both adults and children. Corporal punishment should be outlawed. But children are more vulnerable than adults, and thus are special. Everybody is different, and can’t be painted with the same brush.

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  2. Todd, why have you approved my comment (December 23, 2015 at 5:13 am ) whilst not approving my previous comment, which was much more substantial and made points entirely germane to your OP and your comment of December 17, 2015 at 9:48 pm?

    Despite your being virtuous I do have respect for you and your integrity and courage in being out.

    If you have left one of my comments unapproved I do not believe it is because I have expressed my thoughts in a disrespectful manner.

    I understand that you dislike engaging with pro-choicers. I can appreciate that you don’t want your blog to become a venue for pro-choice vs anti-choice squabbles.

    Maybe you don’t want arguments and evidence supporting pro-choice positions to receive exposure on your blog? But as it seems that I am the only pro-choice paedo who comments on your blog I can’t imagine this being a real problem.

    My own blog is, in a broad philosophical sense, pro-choice. I can assure you that if you should ever visit it, and find flaws and weaknesses in what I have written you would not only be welcome to address them in a comment, I would actually be grateful to you for doing so – we need critics and opponents to help us think.

    One should not surround ourselves only with those who agree with us.

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    1. I do not want any representation of the pro-contact position here at all. I don’t mind you commenting in general, but from this point on all pro-contact responses from ANYONE (it’s not personal) will be summarily executed without trial. 😉

      The thing is, I have followers who are abuse survivors and don’t want to see that stuff, and if it comes between protecting their sensibilities vs. your right to make your case, it’s clear which side I am going to take on that. You have a venue for your position; I ask that you please not make mine an extension of yours. Thanks!

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