Vicious Circles & Angry Squares: Pedophilia, Scapegoating, Taboo, & Social Control (Part Two)

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The Dark Secret of Parenting

1.   A Vicious Circle that Can’t Be Squared

When it comes to addressing pedophilia, as with homosexuality, there seems to be a massive blind spot. It is this: of all the men or women who sexually abuse children, a significant percentage of them were themselves interfered with as children.[1] Of the countless children who have been sexually interfered with, a large portion become alcoholics, drug addicts, manic depressives, and suicides.[2] There are others–a much smaller percentage–who grow up to become successful businessmen, artists, writers, musicians, scientists, religious leaders, politicians, and celebrities major and minor. (See also: “51 Famous Survivors of Child Abuse”.) It would be impossible to gauge the percentage that go on to develop sexual desire for children (whether or not they act on it); my point is simply to underline an existing overlap between the victims and the perpetrators of sexual child abuse. Despite this, our compassion for the victims is mirrored by an equal and opposite lack of compassion for the perpetrators. The more we identify with victims of child abuse, the more fiercely we condemn their abusers. This is a vicious circle that can’t ever be squared. (Let’s face it, outrage and wise judgment generally don’t go hand in hand.)

In the past (and the present), advocates of pedophilia have argued for it as a valid lifestyle choice and a right of both adults and children.[3] Those who condemn it have claimed it’s a disease, a pathology, a “sin.”[4] In both cases, short of trying to identify a pedophile gene or specific brain patterns (a 100% mechanistic model that Christians seem happy to cite[5]), there is no serious attempt to find the cause. Christians and scientistic materialists are in total agreement when it comes to the relevance of depth psychology to understanding human behaviors or formulating social solutions: it has none. The fact that depth psychology is banished with equal conviction by both the religious and the secular mindset may be a clue as to what’s driving both parties towards the same radical solution.

From a deep psychological view, pedophilia, whether latent or active, is the result of trauma and psychic fragmentation.[6] (This viewpoint has been contested, but I have yet to find any convincing alternate explanation.[7]) It is one of many symptoms of having psychic poisons put in one’s body by other people, people who had those poisons put in them by other people, and so on, all the way back to the original “perp” (the snake in the garden, for Christians, ignorant and primitive behavior, to the secularists).  Based on my own experience (which I have written and talked about elsewhere), those psychic poisons don’t simply dissolve or get sweated out over time; they fester away in a person’s unconscious. And as long as they remain unconscious, they will drive a person to compulsively reenact the original trauma in new, disguised ways, in an unconscious attempt to bring about a resolution. This is true whether we wind up in the role of the abuser or the role of the repeat-abused—or both. And by the same token, the unresolved trauma drives a person who has been abused as a child to seek and find containers to put those poisons into, to get rid of them, to pass on the psychic charge to someone, anyone (generally someone smaller and weaker), to relieve the hideous pressure of those toxic fragments that, like a virus inside a system, is compelling them to behave in ways both abhorrent and incomprehensible to them.

 

2.   Pedophilia Vs. Sadism

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“Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.” (Leviticus 24:20, Exodus 21:24).

“And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee.” (Matthew 5:29)

“In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Latin proverb.

Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance, said Einstein (maybe). To condemn without understanding is not only unfair to the condemned; it also closes off the possibility of understanding the behavior being condemned. If we cut off a limb because we don’t like how it’s behaving, we may never identify what caused it to behave that way. The psyche that’s fragmented, like the community that’s divided, needs a scapegoat to bind itself together. But the result is closer to Frankenstein’s monster than Paul’s savior (or Nietzsche’s Übermensch). It’s a bundle of fragments (fasces), not a whole system.[8]

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The other problem with violent opposition to, and moral judgment of, pedophiles is that it may actually strengthen the argument for normalizing pedophilia.[9] It’s easy to forget how fast things change because part of the way they change is that we are discouraged from even thinking in the old ways (i.e., the way our parents or grandparents thought). We are coerced, pressured, threatened, to forget all “wrong” interpretations to make room for the right ones. Pedophilia is considered pathology today; it is recognized as being extremely harmful to children. The line between consenting adult and non-consenting child-victim seems a clear and stark one. But what of teenagers who have sex with prepubescents, or a twenty-year-old who has sex with a seventeen year old? What of teenagers–and pre-teens– “sexting” each other (having long-distance sex via video or cell phone images), and thereby creating “kiddie porn”?[10] What of parents who put their five-year old daughters into beauty pageants? The line is anything but clear and stark.

If the focus continues to be increasingly on either strictly materialistic or purely moral factors–if depth psychology is less and less admitted as evidence–it’s possible to imagine a day when people will believe that the harm done to children “seduced” by adults (like the harmfulness of homosexuality) was all grossly exaggerated, a day when denying children the “right” to consent to sex with adults will be as outmoded as the prohibition against women voting. If so, then Christian reactionaries will be every bit as instrumental in paving the way for such a shift as well-meaning liberals, morally turbulent libertines, and sadistic sexual predators.

We appear to be very far from reaching a similar position on pedophilia to that now held on homosexuality; and yet currently, a large part of the anti-pedophilia drive is due to the growing awareness of just how widespread it is, and how inextricably tied up with our social institutions, structures, and values. So at what point does commonality cross over into normality?[11]

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*

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Another problem with the condemnation of pedophilia is the term itself. The word “pedophilia” has been instrumental not in increasing awareness of the reality of child sexual abuse but in narrowing people’s perceptions around it, in closing down their ability to question and explore it, to really consider that it might cover a spectrum so wide and deep that it essentially includes everyone raised in our current society (and probably throughout history too). With something this pervasive, this endemic, how can pedophilia be called an aberration, at all?

Pedophilia is a single designator for an extremely wide spectrum of behaviors, ranging from the pathetic (and relatively harmless) to the most heinous and destructive acts human beings are capable of committing. At the risk of being further propagandized, I will refer to Wikipedia again:

“The word pedophilia comes from the Greek: παῖς, παιδός (paîs, paidós), meaning ‘child,’ and φιλία (philía), ‘friendly love’ or ‘friendship.’ Pedophilia is used for individuals with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children aged 13 or younger. Nepiophilia (from the Greek: νήπιος (népios) meaning ‘infant’ or ‘child,’ which in turn derives from ‘ne-‘ and ‘epos’ meaning ‘not speaking’), sometimes called infantophilia, is a sub-type of pedophilia; it is used to refer to a sexual preference for infants and toddlers (ages 0–3 or those under age 5). Hebephilia is defined as individuals with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in 11- to 14-year-old pubescents. Pedophilia emerges before or during puberty, and is stable over time. It is self-discovered, not chosen. For these reasons, pedophilia has been described as a disorder of sexual preference, phenomenologically similar to a heterosexual or homosexual sexual orientation. These observations, however, do not exclude pedophilia from the group of mental disorders because pedophilic acts cause harm, and pedophiles can sometimes be helped by mental health professionals to refrain from acting on their impulses which cause harm to children.”

This is all a bit confusing, and for obvious reasons. The law of the jungle is never more inconveniently at odds with the law of the State than when it comes to the question of sexual readiness. At first pass it seems sensible to use the criteria of what causes harm to another to define what constitutes a mental disorder (in this case pedophilia, as opposed to hebephiliac, which while illegal and overlapping with pedophilia, is not viewed as a mental disorder). But as with homosexuality (or for that matter fully adult sexuality), the question of harm is both wide and deep, and if our society really wanted to outlaw everything harmful it would have to, first or last of all, outlaw itself and its own laws.

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It’s significant for example that people are talking a lot about pedophilia today but not so much about incest (which has always been rife in society). The two overlap but obviously are not synonymous, and though it’s likely the majority of child sexual abuse is committed by parents, uncles and aunts, older siblings, and other family members, the kind of pedophile we hear most about is either the “stranger danger” of lone predators stalking other people’s children or, more recently, that of politicians, DJs, and other high-profile public figures abusing children in a systematic, organized, and institutionally protected fashion. In these cases, it’s likely that parents are often complicit with the abuse, to whatever degree, if not actually participating in it. (Strictly speaking, parents are always somewhat responsible for the abuse of their children, if only in terms of being neglectful and oblivious enough to let it happen.) One thing we almost never hear about is mothers who sexually abuse their children; yet this happens too, and in the available testimonies of ritual abuse, it seems to be almost as common as abuse by fathers.[12] Apparently we have a selective kind of attention based on what is tolerable to us and what is not. I would guess this moving line of toleration is itself based on how close to home the stories are to us.

When it comes to organized sexual child abuse by the rich and powerful, as shocking as these stories are, they at least place the abuse fairly far outside our own communities and, most importantly, our own homes. Yet what seems to be involved in these cases is not so much pedophilia (the word means child-love) as sadism. There are forms of sexual child abuse that are not sadistic, and there are forms of sadism that don’t involve children, so the two shouldn’t be conflated any more than “regular” (adult consensual) sex and sadism should be. Sadism spans the entire spectrum of human sexuality: it can inform all types of human relations, whether heterosexual, homosexual, pedophiliac, or whatever else is on the menu these days. The use of sex as a means to dominate others is at base of the sadistic urge, and dominating a child is obviously easier than dominating an adult. Those who have an unhealthy  desire to use sex as a means of causing pain to others are likely to be drawn to children as victims: not because they are pedophiles but because they are sadists.

With all this in mind, it may be that the problem being addressed, or rather not addressed, is less pedophilia per se than sadistic pedophilia, which is part of a larger problem of sadism, per se, and of the more destructive kind of narcissism or solipsistic self-regard. If we dare to journey deeper still, we may be compelled to look at traumatized sexuality in all its forms, that is to say, a libido that’s been polluted and distorted by sexual trauma of one sort or another. This could even include birth trauma and emotional incest, both of which are probably so common in western families as to be almost the rule (even without Lloyd de Mause’s crazy-making statistics[13]).

So where does normality end, and abomination begin?

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3.   Christ-ian Love

Such indifference to the finer points of sexual perversion and its relation to childhood trauma obviously makes life a lot harder for someone who is sexually confused or dysfunctional and may have certain desires that take them dangerously close to what’s being socially condemned as perversion. But it also makes things easier for acting pedophiles and other sexual predators to slip through the net in all this confusion (look at the McMartin preschool case). This isn’t a question of rational processes so much as emotional reactions, social contagion, and mimetic violence. Once a community is stirred into a panic-frenzy at the suspicion of inhuman predators in its midst, it invariably spills out onto more innocent bystanders. Even someone who tries to consider the perspective of the alleged pedophile (as I am doing now) can become suspect, or someone who isn’t expressing a suitable level of outrage and condemnation. People within the group know this, instinctively, and they are likely to increase their own ire to signal to the group that they are kosher. This sort of thing makes escalation inevitable.

Of all of these concerned citizens, what percentage of them was sexually abused as children (with or without memory of it)? What percentage is interfering with their own children–or someone else’s? Doesn’t it stand to reason that, in a small community, child abusers would be among the loudest voices decrying child abuse? Of course, it is easy to get up in arms about some newcomer in town nobody much likes, or some distant celebrity. But what about when it’s a spouse, a brother, an aunt, a mother or father, doing the interfering? Then the standard operating procedure is to say nothing and pretend the abuse is not happening, even to convince oneself that it isn’t. There might even be a correlation between the denial of abuse happening in one’s own family, or among trusted community members, and the ferocity of condemnation for child abuse in the abstract, and for abusers (or possible abusers) identified outside one’s immediate circle.

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As Michael Lesher notes in Sexual Abuse, Shonda and Concealment in Orthodox Jewish Communities, pedophilia is condemned in the abstract but tolerated in actuality. Presumably it is condemned abstractly partially because it is tolerated in actuality. We judge and reject most fiercely in others that which we cannot bear to see in ourselves. This makes condemnation of abstract pedophilia a kind of safety valve that allows us to continue tolerating it in actuality.

My own aim in mapping the extent to which child sexual abuse pervades and supports our current social structures, and always has, is not to “expose” the evildoers and expunge them from the world. It is part of an attempt to show how society and culture is founded on the kind of actions we consider to be the most abhorrent and unacceptable.  So how can society take a position against these behaviors? What if this is the way of our world? What if all religion, science, art, and politics are inextricably entangled with those fundamental abuses of power by which the strong exploit and torment the weak? If we want to pull on the string of “pedophilia” to try and remove it from the social fabric of our lives, are we prepared to watch the entire tapestry come undone, starting and ending with our beliefs about ourselves? And if not, what will be the result of that preliminary tug?

Much as I would like to banish Christians and reactionary-types who preach death to pedophiles and other extreme, delusional, or harmful beliefs from my own sphere of social interactions–and much as this desire initially motivated this current essay–I can’t in good faith act on that impulse. The reason I can’t act on it is that the collective body of human beings–both alive and dead– of which we are all a part is much like our own body or any other biological organism. Each part is integral and can only be understood in relation to the whole system. (The reverse is true too: the whole system can only be understood once all the parts have been integrated into it.) Because of this, my disagreement with this particular Christian is a potentially rich area of discovery, both for me and for others. It allows for confrontation with hidden or disowned parts of my psyche that I would otherwise have been able to avoid. This is an exact match for the opportunity that pedophilia as a social “ill” offers us, but only if we resist the urge to condemn it without investigation. Instead we have to be willing to follow it into some dark areas within ourselves that correspond with this external “abomination.” We have to see and own our complicity with evil.

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If there is one redeeming value that might be called Christian (or Christ-ian), it is the value of unconditional love. Unconditional love means no conditions. What form such love might take in terms of social reforms is impossible to say, since, so far as I know, there has never been a social reform that stemmed from unconditional love. It’s hard enough for us to love our spouses, children, and ourselves unconditionally, never mind people who are utterly antithetical to our beliefs and values. Yet there may be no “exercise” more worthwhile than this: to extend compassion to the people (and the corresponding aspects within ourselves) that are most repugnant to us, and embrace the very qualities we most desperately want to condemn and abolish, forever, from our worlds.

To be true to my own standard of total acceptance of both self and other in all their manifestations, I must accept the other who preaches condemnation and extreme prejudice under the guise of Christian ethics. How to accept the part that rejects, without letting it reject the part that accepts? Only love can square this circle. To hold a space for Christians (and Satanists), I must be truly Christ-ian.

 

4.   Poison Containers & Unlived Lives

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My own felt sense about pedophilia–having and acting on a sexual response to prepubescent children– is this: when a child’s libido is mishandled (or sabotaged) by adults or older children during the child’s formative stages, the child may remain “stuck” at that level of sexual development. Biologically, of course, they will grow to adulthood; but emotionally, psychologically, and sexually, they remain at the age when the abuse occurred. Hence it may be “natural” for them to be attracted to children of a similar age, because that is what feels safest to them. Having said all that, it may also be the case that anyone who has had their psyche infiltrated by other people’s poisons—and this probably includes everyone—is going to be using sex, to one degree or another, to try and get rid of those poisons, regardless of what kind of sex they have and how apparently “functional” they may be, socially speaking.

To recalibrate a bit, my point about poison containers doesn’t require that all sexual predators, sociopaths, or whatever else we want to call them (I’d prefer not to label individuals so much as behaviors), were sexually abused. What it means is that poisons were put in them, and that sexual abuse is one of the most common ways for this to happen, as well as one of the ways to try and get rid of those poisons. The primary motivation for sexual abuse, I believe, is the offloading of psychic poisons onto–and into–another. Unfortunately, this understanding is virtually non-existent in the current debate, to the degree that, even though I think there is a “substantive” psychological basis for it, it may be viewed by many as sheer metaphysics. And while it may seem that the use of the term “poison” here is largely metaphorical, this may only be due to the unfamiliarity of the model being used. Extreme emotions do cause chemical reactions in the body (adrenalin being the most obvious). Insofar as abuse involves one person passing a negative emotional charge onto another (often with the aim of making them feel how they do), and insofar as that charge triggers chemical processes in the body of the abused, then the term “poison container” is close to being a literal description of what’s occurring.

Children are the perfect poison containers because they are defenseless and unpolluted: they have not yet had time to intoxicate themselves with negative emotions. The more “pure” or empty the vessel, the more easily it will receive the poison. If we want to trace this mechanism far enough back, or deep enough in, we may uncover the dark secret of parenting: the unconscious drive to have children as receptacles for poisons. My own experience bears this out, as does the prevalence of child abuse in our culture. If we widen our definition of sexual abuse and allow also for the sexual objectification of a child through the parent’s (or primary caregiver’s) gaze, through fantasy, emotional incest, and the like, then who doesn’t have some experience of this? And who among us is sufficiently free from poisons to cast the first stone? If the poisons go all the way back to the womb, then the Virgin Birth may be no more than the inebriated dream of a damaged fetus.

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I don’t mean to suggest that parents would consciously have children for poison containers—that is too horrendous to imagine (though apparently it is a conscious decision in the cases of networks breeding children for abuse, sacrifice, sexual enslavement, etc.). What I mean is that conscious behavior which we abhor and consider psychopathic in others may often, even always, be mirroring our own, less extreme and unconscious behaviors. Is the idea of parents having children as a means to offload poisons so far removed from two adults (or one, these days) deciding to have a child to improve their lives in some way? Or wanting children who will do them proud by achieving things the parents were unable to achieve?

Is there anything more dangerous to a child, finally, than the unconscious desires ~ those lives unlived ~ of its parents?

(To be continued in Part Three)

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[1] According to some statistics, the average active pedophile (as distinct from incestuous family members) can abuse dozens, even hundreds, of children in a lifetime. (See for example Andrew Boyd’s Blasphemous Rumors, page 103): “A recent survey of 571 child molesters in America showed that each had abused an average of 380 children.” This is almost certainly a gross exaggeration, however, unless that is the child abusers in question are part of organized abuse rings. “Undoubtedly, there are some child sex offenders who victimise very large numbers of children. For example, in a recent case in the Netherlands, a man confessed to sexually abusing 83 children during his employment at two crèches and as a babysitter (‘Dutch creche worker abused 83 children’ 9 News 12 January 2011). In another case documented by Salter (2003), a school athletics director abused children over a period of nearly 20 years. This man estimated he had abused 1,250 children. As these examples suggest, this type of perpetrator usually has access to large numbers of children over an extended period of time. Many are ‘professional perpetrators’; that is, those who use ‘the institutions or organizations within which they work to target and abuse children’ (Sullivan & Beech 2004: 39). Sullivan and Beech’s (2004) study of professional perpetrators (n=41) found that 15 percent chose their occupation (e.g., clergy, teaching, child care) exclusively so they could sexually abuse children and a further 41.5 percent admitted that this was part of their motivation.” “Misperceptions about child sex offenders: Trends & issues in crime and criminal justice no.429,” by Kelly Richards. So even if it’s only a small percentage of abuse victims who go onto perpetuate abuse, it still seems likely that, as a social problem, pedophilia isn’t likely to go away any time soon.

[2] “The effects of child sexual abuse include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma, especially in the case of parental incest. Approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men; studies show that women commit 14% to 40% of offenses reported against boys and 6% of offenses reported against girls. Most offenders who sexually abuse prepubescent children are pedophiles; however, some offenders do not meet the clinical diagnosis standards for pedophilia.” http://www.thefullwiki.org/Child_sexual_abuse

[3] United Kingdom: Pedophilia wasn’t always so reviled  See also: “Not all paedophiles are bad people–we need to have a sense of proportion”: “In my studies of the activist group Paedophile Information Exchange, many members admitted sexual feelings for children which they had been able to turn to social good.”

[4] “Psychopathology and Personality Traits of Pedophiles,” by Lisa J. Cohen, PhD and Igor I. Galynker, MD, PhD.

[5]Study Finds Pedophiles’ Brains Wired to Find Children Attractive: A new study says pedophiles’ brains are wired differently than most adults’—and that means they could be diagnosed and treated before they’re able to abuse.”

[6] “The sexual problems reported so frequently in those subjected to child sexual abuse, particularly of the more chronic and physically intrusive types, may be conceptualised in terms of the disruption of the developing child’s construction of sexuality and the nature of sexual activity. Child sexual abuse may well create for some victims a construction of sexual intimacy contaminated by exploitation and coercion. The lack of mutuality and benevolence implicit in a child being used as the object of an adult’s sexual acts is a disastrous introduction to the possibility of loving sexual relationships. That experiences of sexual abuse, particularly when repeated or when involving a breach of what should be a caring and protecting relationship, leave no residual damage seems an inherently unlikely proposition.” “Long-term Effects of Child Sexual Abuse,” by Paul E. Mullen and Jillian Fleming

[7] “Causal factors of child sex offenders are not known conclusively. The experience of sexual abuse as a child was previously thought to be a strong risk factor, but research does not show a causal relationship, as the vast majority of sexually abused children do not grow up to be adult offenders, nor do the majority of adult offenders report childhood sexual abuse. The US Government Accountability Office concluded, ‘the existence of a cycle of sexual abuse was not established.’ Prior to 1996, there was greater belief in the theory of a ‘cycle of violence,’ because most of the research done was retrospective—abusers were asked if they had experienced past abuse. Even the majority of studies found that most adult sex offenders said they had not been sexually abused during childhood, but studies varied in terms of their estimates of the percentage of such offenders who had been abused, from 0 to 79 percent. More recent prospective longitudinal research—studying children with documented cases of sexual abuse over time to determine what percentage become adult offenders—has demonstrated that the cycle of violence theory is not an adequate explanation for why people molest children. Offenses may be facilitated by cognitive distortions of the offender, such as minimization of the abuse, victim blaming, and excuses.” http://www.thefullwiki.org/Child_sexual_abuse#Causal_factors On the other hand, in “Developmental risk factors for sexual offending,” by Lee JK, Jackson HJ, Pattison P, Ward T.   Child Abuse Negl. 2002: “Childhood Emotional Abuse and Family Dysfunction, Childhood Behavior Problems, and Childhood Sexual Abuse were found to be general developmental risk factors for paraphilias. Furthermore, Childhood Emotional Abuse and Family Dysfunction was found to be a common developmental risk factor for pedophilia, exhibitionism, rape, or multiple paraphilia. Additional analyses revealed that childhood emotional abuse contributed significantly as a common developmental risk factor compared to family dysfunction. Besides, Childhood Sexual Abuse was found to be a specific developmental risk factor for pedophilia.” “Developmental risk factors for sexual offending,” by Lee JK, Jackson HJ, Pattison P, Ward T.

[8] “Fasces, from the Latin word fascis, meaning ‘bundle’) is a bound bundle of wooden rods, sometimes including an axe with its blade emerging. The fasces had its origin in the Etruscan civilization, and was passed on to ancient Rome, where it symbolized a magistrate’s power and jurisdiction. The image has survived in the modern world as a representation of magisterial or collective power. The fasces frequently occurs as a charge in heraldry, it is present on an older design of the Mercury dime and behind the podium in the United States House of Representatives, it is used as the symbol of a number of Italian syndicalist groups, including the Unione Sindacale Italiana, and it was the origin of the name of the National Fascist Party in Italy (from which the term fascism is derived).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasces

[9] What if the social phenomenon of pedophilia is following roughly the same pattern as the social phenomenon of homosexuality (in the 20th century western world at least)? What if it’s even a kind of continuation of the same social program? Even if this is overstating a social parallel, it still pays to think about how extreme hostility (Christian or otherwise) to homosexuality helped accentuate just how “wrong” it was to pathologize homosexuality, how it proved how ignorant and backward anyone was who believed that homosexuality was “unnatural” or unhealthy. Acceptance of homosexuality is now enforced, because even to suggest that homosexual tendencies might be related to psychological trauma is to be branded a homophobe and a hater, an ignorant savage, rightwing reactionary, or Christian fundamentalist. Yet the question of whether homosexuality might sometimes be a result of environmentally caused psychological damage, and whether it might also be harmful in some way to those who practice it (psychically or even physically), has never been answered. It has simply been ruled inadmissible. Admittedly, this viewpoint is one trumpeted by Christian media. But that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong: https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/13207.2.0.0/get-ready-people-are-trying-to-normalize-pedophilia

[10]  “Teenage Sexting Is Not Child Porn,” New York Times 2016: “The University of New Hampshire’s Crimes Against Children Research Center estimates that 7 percent of people arrested on suspicion of child pornography production in 2009 were teenagers who shared images with peers consensually.”

[11] Recent examples of a possible media push to normalize pedophilia: “Self-confessed paedophile claims he’s ETHICAL for not abusing children–and wants to change society’s views on his sexual desires,” by Tom Midlane & Anthony Bond, Daily Mirror Nov 2016. “What It’s Like to Be a Celibate Pedophile,” by Alexa Tsoulis-Reay, New York Magazine, August 2016. “I’m a pedophile, but not a monster,” by Todd NIkkerson, Salon.com Sept 2015. “’Virtuous paedophile’ outs himself on camera,” Daily Telegraph Nov 2014.  “Pedophilia: A Disorder, Not a Crime,” by Margo Kaplan, New York Times Oct 2014.

[12] See the literature from survivors of ritual abuse such as Wendy Hoffman; or for an overview, Sara Scott’s: The Politics and Experience of Ritual Abuse: Beyond Disbelief.

[13] Lloyd deMaus’s statistics, which some people may question (I find them hard to believe myself), state that 50% of children (60% of female and 45% of male) are victims of sexual abuse (I think his numbers apply to the US, but it may be further afield). The average couple has more than one child, so this doesn’t mean that 50% of parents are abusing their children; but even if we half de Mause’s figures, it still must be a shockingly high number.

23 thoughts on “Vicious Circles & Angry Squares: Pedophilia, Scapegoating, Taboo, & Social Control (Part Two)

  1. (double checking some of the art in this post)
    like, is it Biljana Djurdjevic, Jasun or Lucinda ? .. anyone else notice the similarities ?
    keep it up, J ! the mountain has come to Muhammed

  2. One other obstacle to understanding this phenomenon is that children who were sexually abused and grow up to be (more or less) functional adults don’t want to talk about the experience. for fear of being pathologized. Because of the polarized environment on this topic, once a person reveals they were sexually abused as a child, they are forced to take the label of “victim” and assumed to be deeply damaged (more so than the typical member of our society).

    • One other obstacle to understanding this phenomenon is that children who were sexually abused and grow up to be (more or less) functional adults don’t want to talk about the experience. for fear of being pathologized. Because of the polarized environment on this topic, once a person reveals they were sexually abused as a child, they are forced to take the label of “victim” and assumed to be deeply damaged (more so than the typical member of our society).

      Absolutely, and it is to risk retraumatization because being open & honest & direct about such things is likely to be met with fake compassion, pity, denial, and even hostility or scorn; this is especially so if one is trying to bring it up with family members who may or may not be complicit, or even with anyone at all who may or may not also be a victim and have done everything possible to hide or suppress that reality and so resent someone who reminds them.

      Remarkable I don’t have to fend off more hostility than I do, now I put it that way.

      The whole question of victim-hood (as it relates to scapegoating) is highly relevant to this series, enough to require a whole separate piece, maybe.

  3. Well, I see what you mean now by saying it’s a mistake to think of a “them acting on an us.” I don’t completely agree with that, but I now understand what you were getting at. I do agree with the theory that we need to try love everyone unconditionally, as the more reprehensible someone is, the more broken they are and probably need to be glued back together psychically, and the only way to facilitate that is to love them. It’s a minefield of abject danger to oneself to attempt to do so, but what other choice is there? It seems to be true that memories of trauma are frozen in a chemical and energetic bath in the body and brain, a process which fragments consciousness by locking away pivotal experiences, and for the person to be made whole again, those deep freeze memories must be thawed out and owned. People will fight tooth and nail to prevent that, since it means owing a lot of depressing information, like how one’s parents fell short and how society does the same on a grander scale. But we have to know the truth in order to do better. And it’s better to know it than be doomed to repeat it.

      • I agree. There is a long-term payoff to self-examination as energy that is being wasted on repression is released for other purposes, but there is an upfront psychic cost, too. You have to be kind to yourself to make it work. I took a time out and availed myself of the Black Friday capitalist orgy to buy a few exquisite and frivolous items for myself. If we are headed into barbarism after this election, I am clinging all the more tenaciously to the trappings of civilization

  4. It’s interesting. Your thoughts on this subject to generalize some, seem to fixate on the “death to pedophiles” thing mostly with Christians. That’s valid to a certain point. But many more people besides Christians get angry about this subject because I think at a primal level it’s horrid. But also, I think a great sense of being powerless to deal with it occurs.

    If we are going to love all people as what seems to be your goal. Then it would make sense to start with our children. That would take teaching them to be strong, creative, smart and above all caring. That takes teaching them awareness. In turn, that awareness may give them a deep enough respect not to hurt innocent things for no good reason. It may also teach them to sense and avoid the walking monsters that humanity has created through lifelong trauma.

    It takes guts to love like that. Sometimes one needs a little outrage to love like that.

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