Special Article:Answers for Young People and Starters
Re-owning your body
Governments that use age to restrict your freedom to engage in voluntary sexual activities that you enjoy and are not harmed by, are playing to popular prejudice and perpetuating a state of affairs that allows for the repression of young people and the general population on many levels.
As it is patently obvious that many, possibly a majority of instances of minor-minor and minor-adult sexual activity are recalled as neutral or positive (even in today's condemnatory climate), age of consent laws are therefore unethical for the simple reason that the rare, traumatic or violent activity can be prosecuted as assault.
By classing violent rape as a mere "sex crime" and consensual, loving intimacy between "legally incompatible" partners in the same way (sometimes even as rape), these fascistic laws simultaneously undermine violence and demonise real sexuality. By muddling love, infatuation and eroticism with violence and terror, these laws and the beliefs that support them cause a great deal of pain, suffering and good-intentioned persecution of harmless adults and indeed previously unharmed young people.
"When governments and charities discuss the "abuse" of children why do we know that this is sexual, know that this is not only violent, but rarely mention these things?"
"Why do most governments and religions make laws against sex and treat it as something "special"?"
"What is meant, when someone says that I can't consent to sex under a certain age?"
"What exactly is the argument for liberalising or even removing these laws?"
"What about vulnerable people and predatory pedophiles?"
Sexual minorities; "pedophiles"
In the current situation, sexually "abnormal" individuals with "deviant" attractions are split up into artificial categories and subjected to abuse and stereotyping, despite not having necessarily broken any law.
- Some readers may be interested in FAQ for pedophiles on ANU.
The term "Pedophile" has been twisted from its original meaning (Philia as in Love and Pedo as in Child) to imply that anyone with a personal attraction to children is a child sex offender, or even worse, a psychopathic rapist or killer. This, some would say "Orwelian" use of language erases meaning from very specific terms, encourages broad sweeping generalisations and prejudice, and leads the public to suppose that love feelings and bloodlust are "related phenomena" in anyone with pedophile attractions.
Put simply, if correct linguistic and clinical definitions are to be used, a pedophile could easily be someone who does not engage in sex with children and avoids it due to the legal and social consequences, or even personal moral reasons.
- "What if Newspapers and Clinicians always call Sex-Offenders and Psychopaths "Pedophiles"?"
Well, that has absolutely no authority, as it goes against established meanings. The categories used by some clinicians may sometimes be well defined, or even used to classify offenders only, but they are still problematic in that they either confuse thoughts with actions (unlike parallel definitions for heterosexuals and homosexuals), or effectively disallow mere pedophilic feelings any distinguishable meaning, and even worse, risk misinterpreting and defaming people who experience them.
- "But some say that people with pedophile feelings are more inclined to act, or offend. Surely then, there is a reason to classify true pedophiles with offenders."
Simply saying that a behaviour is illegal (artificially so) and then using that fact to classify people who are inclined to that behaviour as "born offenders" is obviously wrong, as it attempts to rewrite natural psychological definitions because of a law that was absent for most of human history.
But even then, there is no evidence that truly defined pedophiles are any less capable of controlling their behaviour than other people, or that they have psychopathological tendencies in any higher a number than the general population (see Research: Psychopathy and Abnormal Psychology).
The idea that non offending pedophiles should be classified with offenders is further challenged by clinical-legal statistics which indicate that only a small proportion of child sex offenders are pedophiles (see Research: Pedophiles in the criminal population).
- "But some say that clinical definitions are absolute"
In the rare instances where some cowboy clinician does confuse the categories explained, they are wrong. Even if such a stupid definition were to be given medical authority, it would have no more meaning than the prejudice that motivated it. Homosexuality was once classified as a mental disorder, in such a way. Pedophilia is being persecuted and profited from in much the same way today, although some psychologists argue that it should be declassified (see Research: Psychopathy and Abnormal Psychology).
- "OK, but what if I disagree with having sex with children?"
You obviously haven't been reading. The pro-sex position is not necessary to approaching the subject of pedophiles properly and respectfully.
- "So, what is the best way to define a pedophile"
Resoundingly, this should be just as we define any other sexual attraction. The sensible way to do this is to classify anyone who preferentially expresses the attraction (to prepubescent children) as a pedophile, just as a Homosexual is classified as such for his or her preferences, as opposed to simply fancying one person of the same sex (which would probably imply some degree of bisexuality).
- "And how many people would fit this definition"
A phallometric (erection-based) study that divided stimulus materials into prepubescent and mature found that up to 33% of men in a newspaper-recruited sample expressed an equal or greater response to the prepubescent stimuli. Obviously, this does not mean that 33% are pedophiles, but that the real percentage is somewhat below 33%, as the percentage includes fence-sitters and the lack of stimulus categories probably pushed some ephebophiles into the 33% category.
Percentages are, for obvious reasons, much lower when men are simply asked about their preferences. Stimulus-based studies have not yet been carried out on females.
An Ephebophile is someone with a sexual preference for pubescent (developing) youth, and in some definitions, also young adults. This is in fact the correct term for many people who are classified as pedophiles. It should also be noted that a lot of "Ephebosexual activity" is wrongly classified as a manifestation of pedophilia.
- "If what you are saying is true, then how can I possibly argue the point without looking stupid?"
Firstly, you should disown the futile searching for strict "truth". The "truth" is that you will never find truth beyond the ideas of man, which are only "true" because some people say they are. All I am providing you with is a better reflection on the current situation, as I am not bound by today's hysterical prejudices, financial and political pressures to espouse certain viewpoints, or the need to pretend that the order is not exploitative. Governments and overly "mainstream" entities with financial incentives from powerful sources are absolutely useless when it comes to providing a fair analysis of issues constrained by taboos and overwhelming public consensus. In fact, what they tell is often a mixture of editor bias, necessary distortions and plain lies. What you should do is go away and read the professional literature on our issues, both for and against.
Secondly, you do not have to sound like an idiot to espouse these positions. You can vote for liberal politicians (at least those who support fairer parliamentary democracy) and engage in anonymous on-line activism. You can point out obvious flaws in people's definitions and warn against the misuse of language, for example in insulting and victimising unharmed "abuse survivors" with one-size-fits-all models and demonising pedophiles who abhor the idea of raping or even having voluntary sex with someone below the age of legal consent.
Just understand that there is nothing in popular support that makes any point of view more or less valid. Bad ideas are bad because of their consequences and logical flaws, not because of any initial lack of popular support. Some of the worse ideas have rallied populations. As one non-offending teenage pedophile (in reference to others' parents who may see him as evil), puts it:
- "Of course they will. Your parents have been indoctrinated, kind of like how the Nazis indoctrinated people to hate Jews. They really think that paedophiles are evil, because that’s what they were told. You can break the cycle of indoctrination by ignoring the anti-paedophile ideas which you have been “taught” by people who believe you can’t think for yourself".
- Source: http://anu.nfshost.com/youth/