Monday, April 18, 2011

Pedophilia vs. Child Rape

So how on earth did I decide to write a post on pedophilia? It's not exactly a comfortable topic for me, as a child molestation survivor, but I don't imagine it's an easy topic for anybody.

There is a self-described Christian on Twitter called @MissRaissa who sees it as her mission to spout hateful, ignorant, homophobic, anti-choice nonsense on the #atheist and #prochoice hashtags. She and I had a bit of a phone "debate" awhile back on my friend Synthaetica's podcast show. You can listen here or you can see where fellow-atheist GodsDontExist put the entire podcast into 3 YouTube videos on his channel.

In this conversation, in regards to her desire to force all pregnant rape victims to carry to term, she claimed she "understands" how a rape victim feels. So, I asked her if she was a rape victim herself. Answer? No. MissRaissa imagines she possesses a great deal of empathy I just don't see the evidence for.

Then on the afternoon of April 3rd, she tweeted something that made me sick to my stomach.

Head-spinning, isn't it? But it goes on. See, MissRaissa doesn't think this was an awful thing to say, because she thinks pedophilia is wrong - just like homosexuality, adultery and fornication. Ah yes, because adults having consensual sex with each other is just *exactly* like an adult abusing and violating a child, incapable of giving consent.

But I think I can see where (some) of her confusion stems from. Pedophilia - the adult sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children - is a sexual orientation. That statement from scientists may have her genuinely worried (after watching far too many Gathering Storm videos and not nearly enough parodies) that there will soon be a movement for "pedophile rights" in western society. This is because to @MissRaissa all sex is sin, and all sin is equal, but relax: The rest of us aren't as delusional. We can tell the difference between consensual sex with mature parties and child abuse.

A pedophile is not necessarily a child rapist. If a pedophile never acts on their defective desires, no child is harmed. If they do, the harm is permanent and will stay with that child (or children) for their entire lives. I think it's better for society, and safer for our children, to talk about this.

People with the sexual orientation of pedophilia need help. There is no consensual sex in store for them, because children are not capable of giving true informed consent to sex. The prefrontal cortex of the brain, responsible for long-term goal planning and decision making, doesn't finish forming until we hit our early 20s. The sexual features and organs of children are not fully developed, and are often seriously harmed by sexual activity as a result. (I myself have extensive scarring leftover from my childhood.)

I'm not sure what retrogenic therapies or prenatal preventions scientists will develop over the next several years to prevent pedophiles from becoming child rapists. But I know they will have more success and more funding for research if there is public support for these studies.

I was molested by a man in his 70s, a twice divorced father of 5 and grandfather of 2. I do not forgive him for what he did, but I do not hate him either. I think he was a very sick man, who had absolutely no one to turn to. Perhaps if he'd had a support group, a sexual therapist, or some as yet un-thought of solution, he might not have harmed me the way that he did. For both our sakes, but mostly for mine, I wish he could have gotten some kind of help.

Until then, I'm waiting for MissRaissa to apologize, and to admit that children under the age of 10 CANNOT give consent to sex, and therefore all sexual activity done to a child of that age is necessarily rape. She refuses. The conversation on Twitter has been scathing and at times downright juvenile. If that sounds entertaining, I invite you to join the conversation!