CW/TW: Child Abuse/Pedophelia/Incest
It is one of the last bastions for widely accepted hatred in modern western society. Few topics rouse the intensity of anger, aggression, and judgement that commonly accompanies the idea of adult sexual interest in children.
Because it comes from a justified desire to protect innocent children and to avenge those who have been so profoundly and permanently devastated by sexual abuse, a hostility toward pedophiles is difficult to condemn or decry. Our hostility presumably originates from a noble and understandable place. However, it is also often unfortunately misdirected, and it can have unfair consequences.
It’s usually easier to dole out our disapproval in bundles that we leave undissected and unexamined rather than to ensure its precision. Such oversight is even more appealing when the subject matter is, by its very nature, both distasteful and frightening to us. We don’t want to envision the realities of adult sexual attraction to children, and we don’t want to dwell on the fact that our own children may at some point be affected by it.
Perhaps it is for this reason that, more often than not, we fail to acknowledge that pedophelia and acts of child sexual molestation (and other forms of sexual abuse toward minors) are not exactly the same thing. While they do certainly sometimes go hand-in-hand, sexual abuse can occur without the presence of pedophilia, and a pedophile can live their entire life without ever effecting a child in a sexual manner.
Our mistake is the overly convenient assumption that all pedophiles embrace, or, much less realistically, have chosen, their pedophelia. The reality is that the vast, vast majority of pedophiles spend their lives combatting, denying, and trying to escape their own sexual urges. Most of them wish as intensely, if not more intensely, than the rest of us do that they had healthier attractions to more suitable sexual partners.
If we can bring ourselves to accept that there is a group of pedophiles who never would have chosen…