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to think being a paedophile isn't a crime?

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MNHQ have commented on this thread.

KissingFish Wed 30-Sep-15 11:04:02

I see posts from people both on here and other places (Facebook) about how paedophiles should all be killed and confusing the terms paedophile and child molester / child abuser.

They're not the same thing and honestly I don't think being a paedophile is a crime. It is a sexual orientation that nobody chooses to be born with. The same way people are born straight or gay.

Just because someone is a paedophile it doesn't mean they have acted on it and so it doesn't mean they are a child molester.

Surely if we all accepted that paedophilia is a sexual orientation we could help these people before they commit a crime. Before they act on it. I bet there are a LOT more paedophiles out there than we know about. They just don't act on it because they know it's wrong to act on it.

I am of course not saying being sexually attracted to children is a good thing or that it should ever be OK to act on it. No way. Just that I don't think people choose to be a paedophile and it must be pretty scary to realise you are attracted to children. Much the same way it used to be about being gay. And I don't imagine you can just ask friends, family or many people actually for help and advice.

I think in order to deal with a problem you need to understand it first.

I am willing to be convinced otherwise though if anyone has a good argument?

Disclaimer: I am not a paedophile, I just don't believe they are all evil.

parrotsummer Wed 30-Sep-15 11:05:36

I know what you're saying.

Being a paedophile isn't a crime but being a child abuser is.

But if you don't abuse children - no one will know.

ephemeralfairy Wed 30-Sep-15 11:07:17

I agree 100% OP. Will be interested to see how this goes though...

WhyCantIuseTheNameIWant Wed 30-Sep-15 11:07:52

You make sense.

People have muddled the words.

RonniePickering Wed 30-Sep-15 11:08:51

I agree with you.

Waltermittythesequel Wed 30-Sep-15 11:10:20

You're absolutely right in what you say re: terminology.

I don't know what the answer/solution is.

Who would ever admit to it, really? And even if they did, you can't change a sexual orientation, can you?

So what do they do??

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 30-Sep-15 11:10:47

You are correct. There was an interesting documentary on about a year ago. It was about a man who was a paedophile but had never acted on the feelings he had. It was very interesting and I felt he was actually very brave to discuss it, given the love for vigilantism when it comes to paedophiles.

Racundra Wed 30-Sep-15 11:12:11

The difficulty comes when child abusers say 'well, homosexuality was a crime forty years ago, and so in forty years time paedophilia will be seen as acceptable'.
But abuse of children is never acceptable.
Of course there are people that desire children who would never, ever act on those impulses. We cannot punish people for their thoughts.

pinkyredrose Wed 30-Sep-15 11:12:38

I agree.

noeffingidea Wed 30-Sep-15 11:13:33

Being an active paedophile is a crime. And that includes viewing images of children being abused.

Scobberlotcher Wed 30-Sep-15 11:13:40

Yes it is true that you have not committed a crime if you have feelings that you never act upon. and yes, it would be good if anyone who had such feelings went to their doctor and got help instead of acting on them.

TheBunnyOfDoom Wed 30-Sep-15 11:13:51


Waltermittythesequel Wed 30-Sep-15 11:14:26

I'm wondering how a doctor could help though?

There's no pill you can take, unfortunately.

UnderTheGreenwoodTree Wed 30-Sep-15 11:14:53

The oh-so-understanding approach that paedophilia is a sexual orientation, is precisely the recognition that paedophile advocacy organisations want and have been campaigning for for many years.

First, get it recognised as a sexual orientation, comparable to say, homosexuality. Next, they want to abolish the age of consent. Ta da - no legal barriers to them grooming/ sexually abusing children.

sliceofsoup Wed 30-Sep-15 11:14:54

Well of course. The crime is the abuse of a child.

Just as I could want to rob a bank, but that isn't a crime unless I actually do it.

Facebook is a breeding ground of hysteria. About all things. Not just this. Some of the comments on there are absolutely shocking. The ignorance and stupidity of people these days is astounding. I try to not use it as the benchmark for my view of society, as I would be in a constant state of despair at the world if I did.

barefootzenhippy Wed 30-Sep-15 11:15:19

I had this exact same conversation with a friend last night. Yanbu at all, I agree with everything you say and I think that only a very small percentage of paedophiles actually act on it.

EmmaWoodlouse Wed 30-Sep-15 11:15:37

I've thought the same thing for a long time, but there's no point arguing with people about it. I tried to explain it to my MIL once and said something like you can't penalise people for feelings, and she thought I meant feeling, as in stroking, children instead of going further with them. She couldn't believe there are paedophiles who manage to control themselves.

It must be incredibly hard living with a sexual preference you can't/shouldn't ever act on. I'm sure I've heard of people who have committed suicide as a result. I'm not sure how they could be helped, though, as I doubt if it's possible to actually change who you are attracted to - there have been attempts with gay men in the past, haven't there?

dreamingofblueskies Wed 30-Sep-15 11:15:55

I do think that the mix up between 'paedophile' and 'child abuser/molester' needs to be addressed, as it must prevent people seeking help when they have sexual feelings for children. It would take a hell of a lot of courage to go and say to a GP/therapist 'I have these feelings and I don't know what to do' when you see the (much deserved) vitriol towards people who have abused children.

I remember listening to a documentary about a boy in his late teens who had set up an online support group for people who had these feelings and didn't know how to cope with them, it seemed like it was a useful resource, and had quite a few female members, which surprised me a bit.

I'm sure I read somewhere that one in seventy people are born with these feelings, not sure whether to believe that or not though.

Scobberlotcher Wed 30-Sep-15 11:17:07

child abusers say that to try to excuse their actions.

The difference between being gay and wanting to abuse children is the issue of consent. Children cannot consent.

It makes me angry when they compare it to homosexuality. It insults people who are gay. It isn't about who you are sexually attracted to, it is about your actions and whether the other person has consented or is capable of giving consent.

Two adults who consent to sex are in no way comparable to an adult forcing sexual activity onto a child.

It is actually comparable to one adult forcing sex on an unwilling adult. aka rape.

Ihatechoosingnames Wed 30-Sep-15 11:17:40

No, we should not normalise it as a sexual orientation because then that gives the impression that, actually, it's not that bad so what's the harm in viewing images of child abuse?

And, if it is a sexual orientation how can they be helped? You can't make a gay person heterosexual. There's nothing to suggest you can make a paedophile no longer desire children.

noeffingidea Wed 30-Sep-15 11:17:46

I do agree with the OP to some extent though. We do need to get over our hatred and learn to address this problem in an effective way ie by preventing paedophiles acting on their impulses.
I don't think it's scary for a lot of them though, because a lot of them seem to revel in it.

PaulAnkaTheDog Wed 30-Sep-15 11:18:30

Paedophiles in our country aren't offered treatment unless they have committed a crime. It's awful. There are people who have these feelings, who don't want to act on them but can't get the treatment that may help them, all because they haven't committed a terrible crime.

cleaty Wed 30-Sep-15 11:19:46

No it is not a sexual orientation. Paedophiles often have partners who they have enjoyable sex with. This is the line some paedophiles are pushing to try and get public sympathy.

Theycallmemellowjello Wed 30-Sep-15 11:19:59

I do agree that having any given impulse is not a crime. But I do think that it's important that people who recognise they have paedophiliac interests don't put themselves in a situation where they come into contact with children, ever - so I wouldn't say that I'd expect them to be treated just like everyone else. And I don't think that we can say that having an attraction towards children is the same as being gay - it's fundamentally different in that the attraction can never be acted upon, morally. There is also I believe a strong connection between having been abused as a child and having paedophiliac thoughts - indicating that paedophilia is not on the normal spectrum of sexuality but is a symptom of psychological distress. Thus there is a (strong) case for 'medicalising' paedophiles and offering them therapy, trying to cure them etc in a way that is obviously not applicable to being gay or having any other minority sexual kink. It's difficult because I don't think there is any reliable data on how many paedophiles are non-practising - we simply don't know how reliable an indicator having a sexual urge towards children is towards committing child abuse. But I agree that the stigma needs to be lessened so people can seek help - I'd imagine it is extremely difficult at the moment.

MinecraftWonder Wed 30-Sep-15 11:20:10

YANBU op - I do believe it's a sexual orientation, in the same way that being straight or gay is. It's not a conscious choice to be attracted to children - why would anyone choose that? And if those feelings are never acted on, there is no crime.

You make a lot of sense.

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