SEXUAL ABUSE

SEPTEMBER 25 2007 20:01h

Pedophilia - Acting on Sexual Attraction to Minors

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Sexual violence is an umbrella term for sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual abuse of children, and incest.

Pedophilia is defined as sexual attraction felt by an adult toward prepubescent children. Medicine categorizes pedophilia as a paraphilia and mental disorder of adults or mature young people.

What is sexual abuse? 

The very definition of sexual abuse implies an invasion of an individual’s physical integrity and an assault on their freedom and self-determination, wherever it may take place, in the marital bed or elsewhere. Sexual violence is an umbrella term for sexual harassment, sexual abuse, sexual abuse of children and incest. 

Sexual abuse of a child may be described as each sexual activity or behaviour that may cause emotional or physical harm to the child, as well as each sexual activity or behaviour that uses the child to gratify sexual or emotional problems of another person.

Pedophiles - categories and traits 

Experts categorize pedophiles into several groups. They can be heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. Several studies show that as much as five percent of all people have pedophillic fantasies and this is also evident in the spread of child pornography and child trafficking. Nine out of ten pedophiles are men, but there are also women among pedophiles. 

Psychologists say that pedophiles usually have narcissistic and antisocial traits and that they lack empathy toward their victims. They are prone to shifting guilt to the victims, accusing them of promiscuous behaviour, flirting, seduction… 

The Stockholm syndrome and pedophilia

The Stockholm syndrome denotes strong emotional attachment of the victim to the pedophile. The pedophile usually takes up the role of educator, parent, guide, advisor, or the like in the child’s life. 

In this way, they become an important factor in the child’s life, it is easier for them to sexually abuse the child, and the child is less likely to rebel. This is the Stockholm syndrome. 

Tearing down the pedophile myth 

Most people think that pedophiles do not engage in sexual intercourse with adults. This is not the case, as most pedophiles are in serious “proper” relationships. It is also not true that pedophiles choose their victims at random. Each pedophile has the exact type that he fantasizes about. It is also not true that only men can be pedophiles. Pedophiles are not people children are afraid of, they are usually nice and kind, and children like to hang out with them. 

Statistics show that one out of four girls and one out of five boys experience some form of sexual abuse before they turn 18. Among abused children, more than 80 percent were abused by people they knew and trusted. To a child exposed to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, this represents a traumatic experience that leaves deep scars. 

Latest research on pedophiles 

The most recent study on pedophiles was conducted by scientists at Yale University. They used scanning technology to study a pedophile’s brain. They showed erotic and pornographic adult material to different volunteers, including pedophiles. 

The brain scans showed that, in pedophiles, while watching the photographs, a certain part of the brain had reduced activity compared to other people who were tested. 

In this way, the scientists concluded that problems in certain areas of the brain can contribute to the feeling of attraction to children. The conclusion gives researchers hope that pedophilia may be treatable in therapy, as some other mental illnesses are.