|Pictured: Rage boner Viagra. (Source.)|
Now, I'm going to do something I almost never do. I'm going to warn you, up front, that this post is highly controversial and in-depth. I'm going, in the next few lines, to give you massive spoilers by way of offering you the opportunity to run screaming. Mark your calendar.
I'm going to be talking about pedophilia, child molestation, and a bit about rape. A friend posted this article on Facebook a few days ago. It is filled with lies, sensationalism, and attacks on people who are actually doing some fairly decent things. But!
I understand that this is one of those topics that is nearly impossible to view objectively long enough to see the value of their work. I understand that these topics are bad triggers for some of my readers. So, with no rancor and no name-calling on my part, stop reading if you need to. I will not have panic attacks on my conscience. Have a kitten to see you on your way.
If you're still here, onward.
I'm going to ease into this by first apprising you of Minor's credibility. The article in question was written for/published by WND.com. For those who don't know, WorldNetDaily is a "news source" focused on "neoconservative news." Also, conspiracy theory.
Yeah. It's a tabloid that occasionally reports news. Remember all those crazy "Obama needs to release his birth certificate to prove he's American" stories running around? WND led the charge. Their ticker on their site, when I looked just now to get the link up there, listed a story about Christian persecution, two Ben Ghazi stories, a 9/11 story, a "defund Obamacare" story...you get the idea. So, to be clear, this is not a reputable news source. If you want some deeper analysis on why I hold WND to be less than reputable, here's an article about this same general area, from ConWeb, a blog/news analysis site that focuses on conservative alternative news sources. To be clear, it's critic site, not a news source in itself. But at least the guy who edits it comes right out and says that. So, YMMV.
Next up: Minor's writing style. Minor does a number of things that make me cringe, not least of which is that he does not cite his sources consistently. In print, short citing or "common knowledge" claims can be used validly and sparingly, because print has limited space available. But when you're writing online and making serious claims of value and intent, I should not have to hunt your sources down for myself. Seriously, go look at a CNN online story sometime. You can barely read for the links taking you to reams of fact-checked evidence they're covering their ass with. And they rarely use content that isn't immediately available in archives accessible to the public.
Why would you short cite in an online story? Well, in this case, so you can lie outrageously and twist your sources words to make them fit your story. At no point, and this is my next squick with Minor, does he present full and accurate quotes.
In fact, Minor does the opposite. He writes around the quotes to create a misleading context so that the bits he quotes come off as having a new meaning. That's yellow journalism, plain and simple.
Alright, we've sufficiently caught our breath. Let's get into the uncomfortable part.
The article in question makes a variety of claims, and does so by smearing a number of reputable and intelligent people who are actually working in the opposite direction of the "let them have the children" scare tactics being spouted by Minor. We'll take them in no particular order here.
Of this organization, Minor says the following:
In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.
B4U-Act calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”The implication is that B4UACT is seeking the decriminalization of child molestation. This was, by the by, one of the first moments I realized that Minor's article was seriously hinky, but for the wrong reasons. At the time, I took the implications at face value, and assumed the organization was akin to NAMBLA. And the APA agreeing with such an organization on anything definitive strikes me as ludicrous.
NAMBLA, for those that don't know, is the North American Man Boy Love Association. They are the butt of many jokes, none of them funny. Because those jokes are also mostly accurate. NAMBLA believes that child molestation should be legalized. Full stop, no joke. And we're going to leave it at that because taking NAMBLA apart is another article entirely.
Here's a link to B4UACT's mission statement, which I will paraphrase:
They want to make mental health care available to pedophiles for the purpose of helping these individuals to control their urges. They want to remove the stigma of seeking that help, because pedophiles who fear seeking assistance are more likely to become child molesters. They do not want to decriminalize child molestation. They want to increase availability of the help pedophiles need to prevent them from harming children.
That's a freaking laudable goal. That's something I think we could all get behind. When someone consistently suffers from suicidal or homicidal urges, we make therapy available to them post-haste. When someone has pedophile urges, we promptly vilify them and tell them to fuck off and die. How does that help anyone?
Scaring people who need help away from therapy does not help them or their potential victims. It does nothing but force individuals who are at risk for harming children to live in secrecy and fear, which in turn increases the potential that they will tip over into actually harming kids.
So spouting vitriol at an organization that seeks to get these people help earlier, more openly, and in a way that does not send them fleeing from therapy is disgusting and vile.
Next up: IASHS —
The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality is exactly what it says on the tin. They study sex. As a way of discrediting one Milton Diamond, who we will get to in a moment, Minor paints them in the following light:
The IASHS lists, on its website, a list of “basic sexual rights” that includes “the right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud.” Another right is to, “be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior” and “the freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire.” The organization also says that no one should be “disadvantaged because of age.”Taken together and presented without context, this seems fairly damning. Unfortunately for Minor, here's the actual "basic sexual rights" list.
The ethical guidelines for the Institute are based on the belief that sexual rights are human rights.
1. The freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire.
2. The right to sexual entertainment, freely available in the marketplace, including sexually explicit materials dealing with the full range of sexual behavior.
3. The right not to be exposed to sexual material or behavior.
4. The right to sexual self-determination.
5. The right to seek out and engage in consensual sexual activity.
6. The right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud.
7. The right to be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior.
8. The recognition by society that every person, partnered or unpartnered, has the right to the pursuit of a satisfying consensual sociosexual life free from political, legal or religious interference and that there need to be mechanisms in society where the opportunities of sociosexual activities are available to the following: disabled persons; chronically ill persons; those incarcerated in prisons, hospitals or institutions; those disadvantaged because of age, lack of physical attractiveness, or lack of social skills; and the poor and the lonely.
9. The basic right of all persons who are sexually dysfunc-tional to have available nonjudgmental sexual health care.That's so heavily sprinkled with CYA and references to consent, there's very little way to take it wrong. You'd literally have to be obtuse to miss the fact that they're very much against rape, molestation, and abuse in all forms. I made the part that Minor drew most of his quote from bold, just to draw your attention to the fact that in context it makes perfect sense. It refers not to youth, but to age as a sexual handicap. Since youth is a driving sexual force in our culture (legal youth, not minors) age as a handicap means an older person. "Disadvantaged by age" doesn't mean "my partner is a minor" it means, "I'm getting older and no one wants to have sex with me."
10. The right to control conception.
So no, the IASHS isn't a ravening den of hedonistic barbarians lolling about in their debauchery, it's a group of scientists and researchers that happen to study sex, and want to advance cultural and social understanding and acceptance of said topic.
"Oh, but think of the children!" says Strawman Schmoe. "We can't have kids learning that sex is ok! Abstinence is the only way!"
Welp, I'd like to point out that according to third party studies, abstinence does jack shit for teen pregnancy rates, as opposed to comprehensive sexual education. Given that, as my sister is fond of screaming about, the current platform of the loudest voices on the conservative side advocates a strict limitation of women's reproductive rights and a cut to services for those who are in financial need (like, say, single teen moms) I'd have to say that IASHS is thinking of the children. As in, doing their best to prevent instances of pregnancy that lead to abortion, by advancing understanding of policy based on teaching kids how not to get pregnant.
"But that will lead to sexual permissiveness!" Schmoe wails.
Wake up. It's already here. You want to reverse the trend? Stop preaching hellfire, and start preaching commitment, personal responsibility, an open approach to sex that makes it less taboo (and therefore less appealing to a rebellious kid that wants a way to exercise control outside the boundaries of parental relationships.) In short, stop demonizing and glorifying sex. If it's just something that can happen, instead of this dark and mysterious rite of adulthood, we might make some headway towards teaching kids that "hey, maybe you should hold off on this."
But I digress. Mostly because we're about to get into the parts that will take some serious splainin', Lucy.
Milton Diamond —
Ahh, Dr. Diamond. Your positions, they make my life so hard. Here's what Minor has to say about Diamond:
Milton Diamond, a University of Hawaii professor and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society, stated that child pornography could be beneficial to society because, “Potential sex offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex against children.”Oy. Ok, here's the part that's going to make you scream: Diamond actually did say that, although it was taken out of context to make it far more inflammatory than the actual statement as printed in the study Minor is quoting.
Issues surrounding child pornography and child sex abuse are probably among the most contentious in the area of sex issues and crime. In this regard we consider instructive our findings for the Czech Republic that have echoed those found in Denmark (Kutchinsky, 1973) and Japan (Diamond & Uchíyama, 1999) that where so-called child-pornography was readily available without restriction the incidence of child sexual abuse was lower than when its availability was restricted. As with adult pornography appearing to substitute for sexual aggression everywhere it has been investigated, we believe the availability of child porn does similarly. We believe this particularly since the findings of Weiss (2002) have shown that a substantial portion of child sex abuse instances seemed to occur, not because of pedophilic interest of the abuser, but because the child was used as a substitute subject.
We do not approve of the use of real children in the production or distribution of child pornography but artificially produced materials might serve. As it is, with restrictions on even materials for the scientific study of the phenomenon forbidden to all but police enforcement agencies, these real life studies are the only way to begin to understand the phenomenon. Unfortunately, we do not have a breakdown by age of the perpetrators or victims of sex abuse. With the new Czech Republic law against child pornography, however, analysis of findings over the next 5-10 years could show if this new prohibition against child pornography is correlated with an increase or decrease in sex crimes against children or without any noticeable effect.
Diamond, Jozifkova, Weiss. 2009. (Emphasis inserted.)
What Milton is saying is that availability of non-harmful sources of pornography, like Poser renderings, drawings, aged adjustment software applications that reverse-age an adult, text stories, etc, that adhere to the law and do not involve actual children in the production, but depict wholly artificial creations that appear childlike may provide a release valve that could potentially decrease instances of child abuse.
If there's a lot of weasel words up there, it's because it's a very, very, very hypothetical proposition. Is it still disturbing? Yes. But is Diamond advocating the wide spread availability of real kiddie porn? No. He is, at the most, stating that his study suggests that artificial alternatives to harmful child pornography could, maybe, lower child abuse instances.
Breathe, people. Scientists are supposed to push the boundaries of human knowledge and understanding. And in this case, the question was, "is pornography increasing or decreasing sexual violence?" And, having determined that it seems to cause an overall decrease, Diamond points out that this may apply to all forms of pornography. He then, however, states clearly that there is no way in hell he will get behind kiddie porn as a solution to child molestation and abuse. So yeah. Breathe.
Drs. Vernon Quinsey and Hubert Van Gijseghem —
We're going to take these two together because Minor does. Both argue that pedophilia is an inherent sexual orientation. Full stop, no holds barred, yes they really mean it.
And I heard a great cry of fury arise from across the land.
Bear with me, ok?
Here's Van Gijseghem testifying to the Canadian Parliament as an expert witness on the treatment of pedophiles:
When we speak of therapy or when individuals get therapy and we feel as though everyone is pacified, the good news is often illusory. For instance, it is a fact that real pedophiles account for only 20% of sexual abusers. If we know that pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small [offense] from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality, and if we agree on the fact that true pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation, everyone knows that there is no such thing as real therapy. You cannot change this person's sexual orientation.Notice, please, that nowhere in there does he advocate acceptance of this behavior. In fact, here's Van Gijseghem himself, on his own website, addressing the controversy surrounding his statements:
In response to the article of columnist Brian Lilley “«Experts» running the asylum in Canada” (Toronto Sun, February 25), I would like to make the following statement.
M. Lilley may have been acting in jest when he wrote that Van Gijseghem “showed up (at the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights) to tell MPs pedophilia was a sexual orientation just like heterosexuality or homosexuality”
Now, if this may look funny, this misquote got around the country and people interpret it as if Van Gijseghem is trivializing pedophilia and treating it like, as on hate-mail stated, “a normal human function”
My argumentation before the Committee was exactly the opposite
What I said, in sum, is the following: Real pedophiles (about 15 to 20 percent of all child sexual abusers) would better be incarcerated rather than referred to some therapy program as an alternative. The reason: they are untreatable. Why are they untreatable? Because a sexual orientation (an exclusive attraction to prepubescent children is a sexual orientation) is irreversible.
Unlike the way Lilley’s quote was interpreted, I affirm that pedophilia is definitely a pathologic attraction and acting out this attraction is a very serious crime.So...what?
Well, let's take on Quinsey as a way of addressing what the hell this means. Quinsey sat down for an interview in the wake of the Sandusky/Penn State nightmare, and responding with the following when asked if rehabilitating pedophiles was even possible, given his view that it is an unchangeable sexual orientation:
As far as we know there is no cure for pedophilia, but people can learn to control their urges, they can avoid high-risk situations. The evidence of treatability — that is, that clinicians can lower the likelihood these guys will re-offend — is controversial. If you look at the field as a whole, there is no consensus on how effective these programs are at helping these guys control their urges. From the social policy side, you have to do something. And one of the things we can do—and do quite well, in fact—is to assess the risk that pedophiles have of re-offending And that risk varies substantially. Some guys are very likely to re-offend and some guys are not, and we can measure that. So that gives us a tool that allows us to determine what kind of supervision people might require to avoid re-offending, and how much attention we should pay to their risk.Short story short? Quinsey and Van Gijseghem are not of the opinion that pedophilia should receive widespread acceptance; they are of the opinion that we're treating it wrong. By treating it as a "curable" condition, the need for the kind help that B4UACT advocates is obscured. Basically: pedophiles suffer from a serious, non-alterable condition, and slapping a palliative on it so we can be seen to be doing something helps no-one.
Are you angry right now? Are you thinking some variation of, "just burn the fuckers and let god sort it out. What kind of sick bastard would want to have sex with a kid?"
Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but the sick kind. As in, the brain is not wired right. As in, this is a hard-wired condition that we have been treating wrong all along. So put your vitriol down for a second and consider the following:
Most pedophiles don't ever touch a child in an abusive way. Most, not some, not a few, most. Look back up at Diamond's study for a clue:
We believe this particularly since the findings of Weiss (2002) have shown that a substantial portion of child sex abuse instances seemed to occur, not because of pedophilic interest of the abuser, but because the child was used as a substitute subject.What?
That means, in plain English, that many child abusers abuse children because children are vulnerable, not because the abuser is a pedophile. Remember how rape isn't about sex, it's about power? Well, it's harder to find a more powerless victim than a child.
To make this absolutely clear: pedophile does not always equal child molester.
What it does mean is that there are people who spend every day of their lives actively working not to hurt children. In the face of biological imperative. It also means that when such people reach out for help, they get slapped down for being "evil."
To put that in perspective, again, if I'm having severe homicidal rage issues and I go to a psychologist to get help controlling it, I will be lauded for accepting that I have a problem and need help. If a pedophile admits he needs help controlling himself, we, to say this again, tell them to fuck off and die.
How, precisely, does that protect anyone?
Rep. Alcce Hastings (D-FL) —
Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.
Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fl) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law. “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”Right, then. First off, it's entirely possible Hastings said this. I can only find non-creditable sources reporting this story. And by non-creditable, yes, I do mean far-right-wing. Before anyone yells, you'll note that I don't use ThinkProgress or similar super-liberal/far-left sources. If I'm citing news, that article sure as the hell better come from a news source.
Let's just take this one as pure analysis, then. First off, the declaration that the Shepard-Byrd Act grants protected status to pedophilia, by way of listing sexual orientation as a protected class.
I give you: the Americans With Disabilities Act, which lays out the law for discrimination on basis of disability (including mental disability):
ec. 12211. Definitions
For purposes of the definition of "disability" in section 12102(2) of this title, homosexuality and bisexuality are not impairments and as such are not disabilities under this chapter.
Under this chapter, the term "disability" shall not include
(1) transvestism, transsexualism, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, gender identity disorders not resulting from physical impairments, or other sexual behavior disorders;
(2) compulsive gambling, kleptomania, or pyromania; or
(3) psychoactive substance use disorders resulting from current illegal use of drugs.
Ayup. The foremost piece of anti-discrimination legislation in the US today specifically excludes pedophilia. Now, that's not Shepard-Byrd up there, I know. And that's because Shepard-Byrd is hate crime legislation. That is, it codifies that crimes committed due to perception or actuality of sexual orientation or gender identity are to be prosecuted as hate crimes.
What does that mean for pedophiles? Well, essentially, if (big if) pedophilia were to be recognized as a sexual orientation under the law, it would be illegal to beat up or harm a pedophile for the sole reason of their being a pedophile. It would not, and I want to stress this, not make child molestation legal.
Look at it this way: I'm gay. Being gay is protected under Shepard-Byrd in that if someone attacks me for being gay, they get charged with a hate crime, rather than a regular assault.
It doesn't mean I can rape people with impunity. Because that's ridiculous, right?
On that note, it is physically and psychologically impossible for a child molester's victim to give informed consent. Definitively speaking, that means that sex with a child is always rape. Always.
Rape, in case you've failed to notice, is wildly screamingly illegal, and will never be legal because it involves the act of violating a person through coercion or force, expressly without their consent.
Bluntly put: kids can't consent to be raped. So it will never be legal. Period.
One last source to address:
Linda Harvey, Mission America —
Minor uses Harvey as a supporting quote for his side, printing the following:
Linda Harvey, of Mission America, said the push for pedophiles to have equal rights will become more and more common as LGBT groups continue to assert themselves. “It’s all part of a plan to introduce sex to children at younger and younger ages; to convince them that normal friendship is actually a sexual attraction.”Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Mission America. No really. That's his supporting source. A far-right Christian Supremacist activist who penned the following short article:
If You Support "Gay Marriage," You Also Support...I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Harvey is not an authoritative source on legal matters. Harvey is, to be blunt, a social commentator in the vein of Falwell, Robertson, and Coulter. She has a specific agenda, and her comment falls right in line with it. Harvey is not reporting a trend, or analysing a legal point; she's stating her opinion, based on a belief that the inherently sinful nature of homosexuality equates it to pedophilia.
- The aggressive promotion of homosexuality and gender change as good and worthy to our children, and any opposing views in schools, community groups, and children's media falsely portrayed as evil and eventually banned by law.
- The continued rise in the numbers of people living with HIV as 25,000 or more people are infected each year (the current trend) through male/male homosexual sex, with a particular spike among younger males, because our politically-correct public health system won't take aggressive action to discourage it, since it will be part of "dating."
- An immediate increase in incidents where Christians or conservatives are threatened or sued for expressing any disagreement with homosexuality or "gay marriage" in the workplace, in schools, in the press, or eventually, in churches.
- Younger and greater numbers of youth claiming a "gay" identity, and then acting on that identity.
- Churches silencing themselves on the sin of homosexuality, then the opposite: being encouraged to sell their congregations, including youth, on the idea.
Is this what you want? Most people can see how harmful and unjust all these outcomes would be if they happened. Yet these trends are already starting. So isn't it time to start trusting God and believing His word, that homosexual behavior is never beneficial but always a sin?
- Resisters who continue to speak out will eventually be prosecuted, perhaps serve jail terms.
Let those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, believe the truth.
Alright then. We've come this far, and now, down here at the bottom of all this analysis, let's have some conclusions, shall we?
Conclusion the first:
Lying, distorting the truth, and using scare tactics to achieve a political goal based on pure personal belief divorced from reasonable accounting for legality and the actual intent and opinions of one's sources is a vicious and disgusting way to avoid the knowledge that the basis of our legal system and society is a secular median point under which non-harmful behavior that your code of faith objects to may one day be legal.
Short version: this is a bastard way to try and use fear to attack LGBT rights, because religion is not and cannot be a part of the political process.
To clarify, no I'm not saying Christians have no right to vote for their beliefs. I'm saying that we have a secular legal system that recognizes freedom of religion, but because of that, cannot be shaped by religion. If you wouldn't accept Buddhism, Islam, or Neo-Pagan values as being the guiding principles for society, you can't argue that Christian values should either. So yes, in cases where those values are the main opposing force for a legal recognition of a secular value, the non-secular values are probably going to lose eventually. I'm not attacking your beliefs, but for the system to be fair, that's how it has to work.
Conclusion the second:
Pedophilia may be a non-alterable sexual orientation. If that's the case, then the model for helping these people, and I mean helping them not to hurt kids, needs a vast overhaul. I've covered this extensively here, so I'm moving on.
Conclusion the third:
It's going to be pointed out that I'm advocating abstinence in the face of sexual orientation for pedophiles, should it be clearly shown that pedophilia is a sexual orientation. It will be further shouted from the rooftops that I am a huge hypocrite for advocating such, while arguing against it in the case of homosexual and bisexual individuals.
I have sex with adult, consenting males. I further, just to drive in on this, have a mandatory dating policy; a mandatory STD testing policy for all parties involved including me; and a mandatory policy that sexual acts will not occur under the influence of mind altering substances, including alcohol. My having sex is not harmful to my partners, and as my having sex with my partners does not affect anyone but myself and my partners, it is possible for me to ethically say that there is no reason to insist on abstinence as a "solution" to my not having a heterosexual orientation. I can further state that consenting acts between informed adults can be ethically engaged in regardless of the genders, sexual identities, or gender identities of the individuals involved.
Anyone that takes the above statement to include incest will be shot at dawn by mind bullets fueled by rage. Incest is a complex issue that cannot be fully and responsibly addressed by a single-paragraph claim of definition. While I personally believe that incest is psychologically damaging and therefore non-ethical behavior, I lack a grounding in research to make that statement qualitatively.
Should it be shown that pedophilia is a sexual orientation, then pedophiles who have sex along the lines of their orientation would be raping children. There is no correlation between pedophilia and homosexuality, beyond the fact that they may both be considered orientations at some point, should pedophilia be shown to be an orientation. One can be ethically acted on, the other cannot.
So bite me.
A claim that pedophilia as sexual orientation is a valid reason to avoid pursuing LGBT civil rights is vile on a number of levels. It presupposes a 1:1 correlation between the urge to have non-consensual sex with children, and the urge to have consenting sex with an adult of one's own gender.
It relies on misinformation and distortion of the truth to function, usually by smearing the work of those who are seeking to achieve a deeper understanding of how to help pedophiles deal with their urges safely.
It draws vilification to pedophiles, and obscures a potential need for a new system of treatment and support that may be necessary to aid pedophiles with their control, thus obscuring a strong possibility to further help and safeguard children.
And finally, it shows the worst kind of mind: the kind of mind that will threaten your children, even if only by proxy, to intimidate you into agreeing with them.
Bottom line, folks:
When you hear the slippery slope argument applied to pedophiles, stop and think. That person isn't warning you about a possible dark future. That person is threatening you, lying to you, and standing in the way of help that might one day protect your children.
And that, dear readers, is the kind of "agenda" we should fear and oppose.