1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Discuss politics - join our community by registering for free here! HOP - the political discussion forum

Pedophilia- what's wrong about it?

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by dong, Oct 1, 2006.

  1. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I debated for a bit whether to put this under "society" or "controversial issues" but it's here now, as it's a massive topic. One might not think it controversial but as one who regards himself as a maverick in many senses, I would not be surprised if I generated some rather heated debate on this topic. You could consider it as an extension of the threads "Can child molesters be rehabilitated?" and "I declare thee man and cow", although I must say, when I raised the latter thread, it was suggested that I wanted to sleep with animals...One hopes that the same does not happen here!

    The questions to be asked revolve mainly around the moral dimensions of specifically sexual relations between an "adult" and a "minor" however this may be defined. I expect there to be a fairly unanimous vote of "this is wrong" which is fine, but in turn one should expect an exploration of why we think this to be so. I hope that we can cover the socially relevant issues as well as judgments on status of consciousness and agency, and maybe even clear up some misconceptions regarding the relevant psychiatric presumptions.

    So then. Your thoughts on so-called pedophilia. Go nuts.
     
  2. l99999us

    l99999us New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I think it is wrong because of the long-term harm that it causes children. Just look at the Pedophilia cases in the Catholic Chusch as just one example of what i am taking about. The fact of the matter is their are good reasons why minors are not able to concent to sexual relations with adults in that they are not able to make good judgements in this matter. As I have said in the man and cow thread I basically think it comes down to ethics. I certainly have no problems with sexual relationships but I think (as in all things) we have to make sure those relationships are not harmful to others and I think this concern overrides any other issues here.
     
  3. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's a good starting point as far as a western cultural viewpoint is concerned. We can also presume how it can be harmful due to the nature of such cases. This brings up the following question, not unlike the question of legalising recreational drugs, actually- "in what ways is the reported long term harm of children mediated by cultural standards and practices?" and "What are the issues that give rise to a requirement for good judgment in matters of sexual relations?"

    One could point to teenage pregancies and mothers under the legal age and argue that these people may often serve as good examples if they do not display the maturity that one typically expect of a mother. One could also say that parenthood is no longer grounded in biological imperatives due to the sheer weight of the cultural considerations- career, opportunity and social advancement that compete with the role of parenthood. But I am straying off the topic somewhat here.

    Back to the original question then, I suppose what I am further asking is "if not in our current context, do you think a significant relationship between a minor and an older person (which may be inclusive of sexual conduct) is ever justifiable?"
     
  4. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Our society has an overriding interest in making sure that children are taken care of by their parents. We consider children as undeveloped and protect them from harm. We have all agreed on this and made it law here.

    Having an adult who is obviously more emotionally developed could easily manipulate a growing mind. That's how our culture views it for the most part, as taking advantage of a immature undeveloped person.

    If your asking is it "right" or "wrong" outside our culture, I'm sure you would get a different response. You must understand who and how you are asking this question. Please keep in mind the morals and values we all agree on in this society.
     
  5. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Of course, don't worry about that. Again, just because we have all agreed on the values doesn't mean that they are treated appropriately, or that they are necessarily 'appropriate' in the first place. Here, I am not trying to advocate for a particular outcome, so much as I want to see how complete a picture we can all gain. After all, this is a forum.

    Perhaps what makes me somewhat disturbing/alienating in my agenda is my distance when holding moral commentary. At best, I hold loosely consequentialist, anti-prescriptive moral principles and being described well as an existentialist, I tend to comment more on the hows of the formation of the way we think rather than the whats. As such, I am perfectly aware of who I am asking the question, in fact, it's specifically why I am prodding. This is an opportunity to expand or shift your comfort zone, should you choose to do so.

    Having an adult who is obviously more emotionally developed could easily manipulate a growing mind. That's how our culture views it for the most part, as taking advantage of a immature undeveloped person.

    I agree that this is the common presumption, and according to our framework of beliefs, it's justifiable. To make it a bit easier to discuss, perhaps we could broaden the discussion and discuss the nature of assumptions regarding agency of children (not just the sexual, pedophile component). I'd like to suggest that common perceptions, as is usually the case elsewhere, fail to take into account the constant dynamic shifting nature of development (despite our awareness of it). But perhaps this is merely a legal concern (as in age of consent, as arbitrary guildelines here seem to be one of those necessary evils).
     
  6. Adrian MacNair

    Adrian MacNair New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    It's a generally accepted parental value that children are not mature enough to decide whether or not to have relations with an adult as their minds and bodies are still growing and developing. Certainly any child below 14 can hardly make any decisions of a sexual nature whatsoever. What most of society becomes enraged about is when a man rapes an 8 year-old child, there can be no justification in any context, in any form of reality or otherwise, to explain how a man inserts his penis into an 8 year-old and calls it "love".
     
  7. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Let's take that example to its completion- it would also therefore be generally accepted that such a claim (i.e. to call it love) is either a lie, a contradiction or a delusion due to the (usually justifiable) moral judgment that this is an act in self-interest.

    As I mentioned earlier, this would be further compounded by our other implicit cultural perceptions...i.e. the notion of initiative (as we seem to be under the impression that males are far more able to and likely to rape etc.) Your example of the older male on a minor would be the most common kind of example, and what I wonder here is if there's an epidemiological correlation here. There appears to be quite the difference in adult-minor sexual relations according to gender. Sure we go on about the predatory and perhaps selfish, malicious habits of male pedophiles, but what of the female teacher/student relations? We seem to look at those in a completely different light.
     
  8. vicki2

    vicki2 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2006
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As I read through the thread, the Mary Kay Latourneau case came to mind. It also came to mind a couple of weeks ago when there was a great deal of press regarding the sexy looking teacher who'd seduced numerous of her boy students. Basically, she got off with a slap on the wrist.

    What concerns me is a decidedly double standard for punishment in these cases. Women often get off with less harsh penalities for their behavior than men, and I wonder about this. Are men being treated too harshly?

    When considering this, I'm certainly not talking about men who sexually abuse eight year olds, but teenage girls.
     
  9. palefrost

    palefrost New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2006
    Messages:
    265
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Ive always thought these types of situations, i dare not use relationships, are based on "power" and not the sex act. Having control over another is the driving force. I never felt it had anything to do with love and intimacy. It's a personal gratification of control.
     
  10. l99999us

    l99999us New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    144
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    i think to the extenet it is cultural it is something so deeply ingrained that it is not something we can just discard easilly and the harm exists still even if it was 100% cultural (which i am not so sure it is). Also i think Palafrost makes a case that it is about control in most cases. And besides i am not sure how in any case the child actually benifits.

    I personally think it is wrong to try and legitimize this (not necessarilly saying that Doug is trying to do that) but I do think we should try and understand what causes people to become molesters and to try and prevent it (instead of just punishing them afterward.)
     
  11. hokeshel

    hokeshel New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I agree and would add to that, we need to figure out how we as a society contribute to child moestation. Do movies like Lolita and The new Bratz baby dolls movie make pedophiles more apt to molest children? I think does.
     
  12. Adrian MacNair

    Adrian MacNair New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2006
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    As a parent of a boy, I would not be any less lenient with a woman.
     
  13. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    That's getting towards what I'm getting at, really. I'm not here to legitimise harm or malicious conduct (Palefrost raises the obviously correct point in this regard), but as I already said, I'm here to see if it is possible to come to some kind of understanding of motivations and the way actions are mediated, and also the way perceptions are both effected and affected. I believe that if this were to happen then we would be more effective in understanding how to prevent cases of abuse or at least alleviate severity, keeping in mind the previous discussion about the pathological and non-rehabilitatable nature of certain cases.

    I sure dig that first sentence. I'm not entirely sure about the latter question (my answer would be 'possibly and probably yes in some cases, but not necessarily'). It's not an invalid thought, though, as I think under current guidelines, the cultural manifestations would be related to environmental concerns that may mediate behavior influenced by a predisposition. That's basically a general paraphrase of what you said.

    I think here's a convenient place to see what the medical literature has to say of it:

    PEDOPHILIA

    A preference for repetitive sexual activity with prepubertal children.

    ...When the victim is postpubertal, the disorder is frequently labeled child molestation or ephebophilia (attraction to youths) rather than pedophilia.
    Pedophiles prefer opposite-sex to same-sex children 2:1. Heterosexually oriented males tend to prefer girls aged 8 to 10 yr; in most cases, the adult is known to the child. Looking or touching seems more prevalent than genital contact. Homosexually oriented males prefer boys aged 10 to 13 yr, and their acquaintanceship with the child is more casual than that of heterosexually oriented males. Bisexual adult pedophiles usually choose children < 8 yr. Exclusive pedophiles are attracted only to children; nonexclusive types may also be attracted to adults.
    Pedophiles may limit their sexual activities to their own children or close relatives (incest) or may also victimize other children. Predatory pedophiles may use force and threaten to physically harm the children or their pets if they disclose the sexual abuse.
    The course of pedophilia is chronic and may be complicated by substance abuse or dependence, depression, marital conflict, or antisocial personality disorder...

    Source: The Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy 17th Ed.
    I wonder if I could get my hands on a copy of the DSM-IV...

    Pedophilia as a psychosexual disorder is defined such since: "These arousal patterns are considered deviant because they are often obligatory for sexual functioning, may involve inappropriate partners, and cause significant distress or impoairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning."

    The point of all that was to hint at the variety and complexity of presentations. Because we are exposed to various sensationalistic cases where the pedophilia has manifested in a case of predatory conduct and abuse of varying scales, I get the feeling that alot of the time we are inclined to think of "are" where there should be a "may".
     
  14. framed

    framed New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I doubt this is universally true, or even likely to be true in the majority of cases. While the media today may label all the minors in said relationships victims, and all the adults in these relationships predators, I have never seen any evidence that that's the actual mindset of either participant in such a relationship.

    There are most likely many motivations for an adult to make such a proposition, ranging from a raw sexual attraction, to a genuine love of the minor, to some "power" move as you put it. Along that spectrum the "power" motivation seems the least plausible and thus the least frequent, though that's just my guess.

    On the other side of the equation is the minor, who (in cases other than rape) presumably has to accept the advance. I assume the spectrum is just as wide ranging from sexual need fulfillment, to love, to what you suspect is typical: fear of the adults position of power. From the minor's perspective I could see the "fear of power" being more significant regardless of the adults reasons for pursuing the relationship. I wonder if there are any statistics about how often an accused pedophile is in a position of power over the minor they're in a relationship with? I'll try and dig that up, but I think it would be hard to collect so I'm betting it doesn't exist.

    Having been a minor myself in the not-too-distant past I'm thinking to how I might have dealt with a situation like that. Honestly as a 14 y/o boy, I could see being very happy to get some "extra credit" from my English teacher (I had a good looking one) My major concerns would have been who might find out and how they might have reacted ..that makes me wonder whether more harm is done in the sex act with the minor, or society's reaction to the act.

    If you look at the Mary Kay Latourneau story that Vicki mentioned as an example, do you think that boy was more damaged by having sex with his teacher (who I believe he is now living with while raising their kid) or from the ensuing legal and media circus that turned his life into a spectacle and dubbed him a "victim"?
     
  15. dong

    dong New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    To this I would also add a suggestion of "secondary pedophilia" where other psychological imperatives may be mediated by certain cultural foci to manifest in a clinical presentation of pedophilia...but don't quote me on that: this is largely speculation. More importantly, I'm interested in discussing to what extent the assumption of a power relationship has us dismissing the possibility of a "genuine love" of the minor as this appears to be a feature in some recent cases (like the murder of the child beauty paegant...the names I have shamefully forgotten).

    Here's where to me the most interesting part of the discussion lies! How might we discuss consideration of autonomy in one whose executive mental faculties are not assumedly completely developed? It seems that thus far the principle is to call this necessary manipulation by the adult/senior but I'm not sure that this is entirely fair, although it would certainly be true in at least some cases. We must keep in mind (so as not to be unduly judgmental) consistency in regard to connotations of such terms as manipulations as such is arguably an integral part of interaction anyway- the differentiating factor is that we don't call it manipulation if we consider both parties to demonstrate 'equal autonomy' under the specific circumstances.

    Vague hints to this in my citation of the Merck manual above :D. I will see if there's anything on the medical databases...if I could access anything of the sort. You're right though- there's a general paucity of material of the specific nature that you're looking for.

    I admit, I had to lol. Having gone to an all-boys school, I observed various manifestations of sexual attraction to several of the teachers, as well as some evidence of closer individual relationships. The line that was clearly being scrutinized was that of a professional teacher-student relationship. There was no specificl moral dimension as in these cases it was the student displaying the initiative. However, this is not related so much to pedophilia per se.

    I could think of other examples where exactly the same thing happened.
     
Loading...

Share This Page