Sometimes, I read something and think: I only want to blog to advocate that others read this too. As was the case when I read from a fellow TOI blogger the recent: “Best Practices for Sex Offenders Reentering Society.”
Just know that this author is a child safety pioneer in the Orthodox community. He knows what he’s talking about and is good at communicating his expertise about this once totally taboo subject.
His objective to educate can be difficult in an era with so many false teachers who have nothing to teach. On top of this, there are so many who hold that we’re all equals, so everyone is worth listening to equally and there cannot be any teachers.
So, read his blog post, please. If you can read only one, read his post.
What could I add?
Let’s remember that not all pedophiles actually abuse children. Some just manage to stay away from kids forever, living lonely but holy lives.
Let’s remember that 80% of grownups abused as children will never abuse a child; while a 100% of grownups who abuse children were abused as a child. It’s important not to confuse the two. All abusers were “taught” (hurt) to become abusive but those abused in the vast majority of cases learn from the abuse not to repeat any of it. (They could be scared of becoming an abuser while being solidly refraining. Therapists love to help there.)
Let’s remember that most acts of sexual abuse of minors don’t come from outsiders (‘stranger danger’) but rather from loving family members (who assume that the baby will not mind or remember).
Incest seems a “normal” situation in the heterosexual family — sorry to say. Most of these abusers are not pedophiles. We can see traces of this in how many “normal” people easily touch small children inappropriately (in public) by stroking, squeezing, or kissing them in ways that with a grownup would be called sexual (molestation). This is typically done without permission while frequently the child freezes or clearly shows (facial expression!) disliking it. Grownups who do this and bystanders often just laugh it off since the “normal” perpetrator feels good about it so it must be good. Much more awareness is needed here. (Though that will make people do this more in private, giving us a next challenge.)
Freud heard from his clients, only divulging after years and with great hesitation, their incest stories. Prior, he had worked in a forensic lab where he studied baby corpses with venereal diseases (that could not be cured yet — before the age of antibiotics). The two scenes were a perfect match. Nevertheless, he knowingly hid this pandemic behind a fancy fake theory (the Oedipus Complex) — for a century now and counting.
Hating or Loving Pedophiles
Let’s sidestep for the moment if we should hate anyone at all.
Should we hate pedophiles?
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach would answer yes. He seems so desperate to contrast himself with Christians (who feel obligated to turn the other cheek and love everyone, though their history shows that that’s too high a goal that backfires and leads to bloodshed) that he would say: we must hate. However, that’s not the traditional Jewish way. Rather, the Sages (and Bruria) teach us to hate the sin but love the sinner.
I would say that the future lies in loving pedophiles, without becoming permissive. To love alcoholics also doesn’t mean to give them shots.
Let me say that I don’t envy pedophiles. There seems no therapy to “cure” them. Can you imagine what it feels like to live like that? It’s like finding out that the only way to feel good is to regularly kill people.
Like any abuser, they have a real need for closeness and sexual union too. But their only path to a worthy life is to stay away from kids.
Pedophiles who abstain are lonely beyond description but the ones who give in are that too. Real sexual bliss only comes from two people deeply connecting, which kids can’t do sexually. Pedophile sex is a one-way street which prevents a mutual bond. Their sexual objective is as unreal as alcoholics’ who count on alcohol to feel happy — it won’t happen.
The only therapy that helps in any way, to deal with “fake needs” (trauma disguised as needs) is to talk, cry, laugh, shiver, blush and yawn about it. That heals. Anything else about it is just enlarging the problem.
We obviously should not empathize so much with them that we would allow them to deeply hurt children (for life).
On a positive note (brace yourself), pedophiles often see children where other grownups just ignore them and hope that they would just be quiet and not bother them. They could be child advocates though they need to stay away from them. They could teach grownups to empathize more with kids around them. And how to protect them against pedophiles!
Not so Gay
In the Sixties, pedophiles rode the wave of heightened sexual tolerance and joined Gay Lib organizations. They were welcomed because “their sexuality was also despised.” Women of the section of the Amsterdam police force that dealt with sex crimes (de zedenpolitie) stopped the production and export of Dutch child pornography, which was the first sign that pedophilia must be a category outside of the gay causes.
Gay-healers have long claimed that gayness is caused by sexual abuse. Many gay adolescents are abuse survivors. But, cause and effect are rather reversed here. On average, gay kids are seen as cuter so more often abused. They are often more isolated, lack proper support, so are more often abused by abusers who look for ways to get away with it. One must be so strong to come forward as gay, that such people often also have the strength to remember their history of being molested. Sexual abuse so much goes against the heightened empathy in gay people (that’s one reason why same-sex couples are safer for kids: more natural empathy) that they have a greater need to talk about these hurts than straight incest survivors. Sexual abuse and gay abuse compound each other, making it hard to shut up about them both having occurred.
Many have claimed (and still in Israel) that gayness is spread in a population through gay pedophilia (“recruiting”). How else could gays procreate? The sad truth is that most gays come from normative heterosexual couples — where they are often sexually abused (see above).
Stop Being so Naive
Let’s remember that sexual abuse is not sexuality but rather abuse.
From the one pedophile I had in therapy I learned how naive parents are. Pedophile sex doesn’t deeply satisfy them so pedophiles who don’t refrain must be addicted serial abusers.
Serial abusers can only roam when whole communities are completely naive. We don’t need to be frantic or paranoid but the opposite, staying ignorant, is undesirable too. Kids count on and deserve our protection!
Remember all the news reports about prominent gay-healers who later come out of the closet? A pedophile predilection seems fixed too. Don’t ever believe a pedophile who claims he’s over it now. It’s not been seen. True reports of the Monster of Loch Ness are more frequent. This lack of change is not because they are “bad people.” it just can’t be done.
The problem with pedophilia is not that it is weird (all grownup sex tends to be weird — ask kids) but that it hurts kids. Even pedophiles who claimed that they don’t hurt children hurt them. To have sex with kids, they manipulate and use them — which has nothing to do with real sexuality: creating closeness. Lying, manipulating (paying for sex), and pretending are all opposites of intimacy.
Children, with their whole life in front of them, should not be taught that sex is similar to eating: a thing you do in order to feel good, which you can do alone or together. Kids deserve living a long time without a need to think about sexuality — or anything else that grownups often obsess about, like finances, survival — and be protected against these things.