Welcome to the prevention podcast, I’m your host, Candice Christiansen. Our goal, at the prevention podcast, is to talk about dicey, controversial issues related to preventing sexual abuse. Why? Because it needs to be said. Topics include the biology of pedophilia, risk, need and responsivity principles related to non-contact and contact sex offenders, researchers in the field of sex offender treatment, and more.
Join us bi-weekly, and let’s talk about it.
Welcome to the prevention podcast, I’m your host, Candice Christiansen. Imagine, if you will, hearing the word “pedophile.” How do you feel? What do you notice in your body? Do you feel disgusted? Do you get a sick feeling? A sense of… fear? Do you find that you have an assumption that a pedophile is a dirty old man in an alley that’s waiting to molest your child?
Now, I want you to put the words, “anti-contact,” or, “non-offending,” in front of the word pedophile. How do you feel now? Confused? Unsure? Surprised? Disbelief?
During this process of putting this podcast together, I have had quite the experience. And I’ve been blown away at the misconceptions, bias, the hate, the threats, the judgement that anti-contact pedophiles experience. I’ve seen this before with sex offenders, where the media will purport to say things about sex offenders that really is not in line at all whatsoever with the research. But sadly, because the media has such power, people actually buy into that.
Recently, an article came out in The Sun magazine, claiming that anti-contact pedophiles were actually… pro-contact pedophiles, and also claiming that they were sharing their fantasies and being inappropriate on their Twitter accounts. This is something that as Prevention Project we have never seen. Other psychologists who are on Twitter, other organizations that are for prevention have not seen what The Sun was claiming. They demanded that Twitter suspend these accounts because they were claiming that they were harmful to children. One of the individuals whose accounts has been suspended, and who has continued to endure constant hate messages, people creating fake accounts, people claiming that he’s a certain sex offender in Canada, and so on and so forth, is Ender Wiggin, which is an alias to protect him.
We had the opportunity to have Ender share his thoughts about the recent Sun article and educate the pubic on the truth about that, including the truth about Twitter accounts for and with anti-contact pedophiles. So, I hope you can have an open mind as you listen to Ender and this podcast.
So, about the article in The Sun, not much to comment, really, you just gotta think about what kind of publication this is, right? The Sun is not a serious newspaper, it’s basically a tabloid. It’s nothing but a sensationalistic rag and as such, you can kind of expect this kind of article coming from them, right? You just look at the language that they use, I mean they define pedophiles as vile, sick, you know, pervert, so they clearly have no interest in analyzing the issue with a level head. All they’re interested in is expressing their moral outrage and catering to their typical audience, typically uneducated people that lack any critical thinking skills.
So, it’s nothing that you wouldn’t have expected from a publication like this, and in that sense, not surprising at all. In addition, they claim that the investigation has uncovered or discovered hundreds of accounts, and it’s not like we’re hiding or anything, right? We’re out there in the open, we’re identifying openly as pedophiles, as people who are attracted to children through no choice of ours, and you know we’re there to raise awareness and education.
They claim that we are discussing our sick or vile fantasies, which anybody who would look into our accounts based on this article would see that’s simply not the case, right? I haven’t seen a single pedophile that I interact with on Twitter ever discussing their fantasies in detail, right? So, in fact, it’s mostly our detractors that are mostly obsessed about what we may or may not fantasize about. All the time, we simply don’t discuss those things, we simply acknowledge that we were born or developed, through no choice of ours, a sexual attraction to children and that’s pretty much it. We don’t post anything that’s remotely inappropriate, we don’t post images of children at all, we don’t, whether innocent or sexual or inappropriate in any way, we don’t discuss our fantasies in details, we don’t write anything that is even remotely inappropriate.
So you know, this claim that we’re discussing our fantasies, with their qualifiers, their epithets, like vile, sick, perverted… simply a load of trash, right?
And finally, there’s the issue of the images that they claim that we’re using to entice children or to lure children, which is simply ridiculous. I mean, it’s true that a lot of us use drawings that depict children or children’s characters, like you know, cartoons, Disney characters, stuff like that, and I won’t deny that perhaps pedophiles identify with childhood in a way that most people… don’t, and so these images are something we can identify with.
It’s also, obviously, we’re not going to use our real images because we can’t afford being outed as pedophiles due to all the stigma that exists in society, right? So clearly, we have to use something that preserves our anonymity and something like the choice of a cartoon character is a simple way to do that. In my opinion, there’s nothing morally or ethically wrong in doing that, as long as you’re not posting anything an overtly explicit sexual depiction of a minor, which you know, none of us are doing, and the notion that somehow posting these images can attract children doesn’t make any sense and if anyone thinks through the idea of it thoroughly, will realize that it makes no sense whatsoever.
You know, children to begin with, the kind of children of the age that pedophiles are generally attracted to, which are prepubescent children, are not of the age to be on Twitter to begin with, and if they do, you know, it’s Twitter’s problem and their parent’s problem, it’s not necessarily ours.
Second, it’s not like children can look for Twitter accounts based on their avatars, right? Plus, you know, all of us clearly state in our bio’s that we are pedophiles, or minor-attracted, or sexually attracted to children in one way or another, which leads to no confusion. So, you know, if we really wanted to lure children, we wouldn’t be proclaiming our attractions in our biographies, because it’d be the stupidest thing ever, so… The idea that we’re using these pictures to attract children, to lure them, to entice them and somehow take advantage of them is the most ridiculous claim I’ve heard in a very long time.
My main concern with the article is mostly that it’s the same kind of message that continues perpetuate the stigmatization of pedophiles, it just assumes that pedophiles are sick, perverts, vile, so it tries to morally paint pedophiles as inherently immoral just by virtue of being attracted to children. You know, that we are deceitful and manipulative by nature, that we’re there with the intent of luring children, that it’s the typical message around pedophiles. The only thing that it does is continue to further the stigmatization of pedophiles and continues to prevent public awareness and understanding of what pedophilia really is and, you know, most importantly, what it isn’t.
Now, I realize that the audience of these publications like The Sun or The Daily Mail, they’re not people with great critical thinking skills, so they’re not going to question what they read here, they’re not going to go and actually investigate these accounts by themselves to, you know, see if what they’re claiming is true or not, they’re going to believe it and they’re going to further their belief that pedophiles are inherently sick, evil, immoral, manipulative and they’re out there on social media just to lure children and to take advantage of them, which is a problem.
That’s my main concern. I mean, I’m not overly concerned because again, everybody knows what kinds of publications these are, and people with real critical thinking skills are going to see this for what it is, which is nothing more than sensationalistic drivel. Probably, these articles will be forgotten in a matter of a few days. I’m not overly concerned, but I think it’s unfortunate that these publications that continue to promote this vilification/stigmatization of pedophiles for an unchosen condition. As for the impact on other non-offending pedophiles on Twitter… Well, most of us have just laughed it off, right? I mean it’s pretty ridiculous and we’re used to this kind of nonsense every day. So, we pretty much have laughed it off.
The issue is, which we don’t know if it’s related to the publication of this article in The Sun is that, you know, a number of us have had our accounts locked, restricted, or suspended directly. So, a number of people had their accounts restricted quite shortly after the article was published, many of them were able to recover their accounts, you know, by providing a phone number for verification purposes or something like that, but a few of us have actually had our accounts suspended. So, we can’t be entirely sure if this has anything to do with the publication of these articles, but obviously the timing seems to suggest that it does, and this is worrying because you know, none of us are really breaking any of Twitter’s Terms of Service.
It’s true that sometimes, people like me in particular, we respond quite harshly to the haters that are there telling us that we should die a horrible death, that we should kill ourselves and stuff like that, and I often call them names that perhaps I shouldn’t, but compared to the kind of drivel and the kind of hatred that I get, the kind of abuse that most of us get, you know, being told that we’re monsters, we are perverts, that we deserve to die, that we should kill ourselves, that we don’t deserve to breath oxygen, all those kind of messages… Compared to what we may tell them, that they’re stupid maybe for not understanding the difference between an unchosen condition and a chosen action, and it’s a really apples-to-oranges comparison. Twitter, it’s true that they sometimes suspend the accounts that tell us to kill ourselves and stuff like that, but many times we report these accounts and nothing happens to them.
However, none of us are really breaking any of the rules… we’re not being abusive, we’re not harassing people, we’re not threatening people with violence or anything like that and to have our accounts suspended simply for being out there speaking about what it’s like to be a pedophile, what it really means to be a pedophile and what it doesn’t mean to be a pedophile, where again, we don’t post any inappropriate things of any kind, any images, any videos, any text that can be remotely sexual or inappropriate, we don’t post child pornography or anything like that, so we really don’t break any of Twitter’s Terms of Service. It feels like, you know, we’re being silenced for being the minority that we are.
As usual with Twitter, you just get no explanation for why your account has been suspended, so right now, my account has been suspended, I have made an appeal over a week ago, I have never received any reply from Twitter at all, my account remains suspended, but I do not expect to receive an explanation as to why, you know, which specific rule or which specific term of service that they think or feel I have violated, or which tweets of mine have been deemed to be in violation of the rules. I don’t expect to receive an explanation, and to be honest, I don’t know if I will be able to get my account back, so I think that is the most serious impact that the publication of these articles may have had on some of us on Twitter.
Again, I want to stress the fact that we can’t really be sure that what’s been happening with our accounts is a direct consequence of the publication of these articles because Twitter won’t say, obviously, and we don’t know exactly if that’s the case. But, looking at the timing, it certainly does seem to indicate that it’s had something to do with it. That’s unfortunate because then The Sun will have gotten what they wanted with this article, which is to remove the voice of a minority off of Twitter.
Like I said, the reality is that if anybody goes on Twitter and looks at our accounts, they will see that we are doing nothing wrong other than talking about, you know, what it is to be a pedophile, what the differences between pedophilia and child molestation is, that being a pedophile doesn’t inherently make anyone a monster or a ticking time bomb that is inevitably going to molest a child at some point in their lives… all we’re doing there is raising awareness and educating the public and if you look at the interactions we get from lots of people on Twitter on a daily basis you’ll see that the abuse is really coming from the other side, right? There’s a lot of people that are out there saying that every single pedophile should be killed, that we don’t deserve human rights, that we should be used for medical experiments, that we should kill ourselves to do society a favor, you know the typical messages, and we’re exposed to those messages every single day through our presence on Twitter.
We’re there because we believe that conveying our message is important for the public to be educated and understand what it means to be a pedophile, what it doesn’t mean to be a pedophile, and the fact that there’s a lot of pedophiles out there, we’ve known we have these feelings we never chose to have these feelings, and that we have no desire to actually act on those feelings because we acknowledge and we agree with them that children are not developmentally mature, neither physically, nor emotionally, nor psychologically to be able to consent to a sexual relationship with an adult, and therefore we have no desire to harm them.
For that reason we refrain from acting on our attractions, we’re perfectly capable of doing so as well, which, it’s not like pedophilia is a compulsion that we have to make a gargantuan effort to resist to molest a child, it’s just an attraction in the same way that anyone’s attracted to whomever they are attracted to, and we can very easily choose not to act on that attraction.
It’s important for the public to understand that there’s pedophiles like us out there, pedophiles that not only do not abuse children and do not consume child pornography, but also pedophiles that do not believe that adults should have any right to have sex with children and that we’ll never fight for things like the abolition of age of consent laws, we will never fight for the legalization of child porn, we will never fight for anything remotely harmful to children, we just want to be understood, we want to be judged by our actions and not our feelings that we never chose to have and I think for that reason it’s critically important that people like us are allowed to have a platform somewhere on the internet where we can have our message heard.
I really appreciate that Ender was willing to give us his time to interview about The Sun article as well as Twitter accounts being suspended. He and other people who are pedophiles did not choose this condition and they’re capable of controlling the behavior. That it’s not a compulsion, it’s not something that, “Oh, I have this attraction, therefore I’m automatically going to molest a child!” It’s an attraction. And pedophiles can say, as he said, you know, he chooses not to abuse children, and he is a huge advocate as an anti-contact pedophile to ensure that children are not abused. I think that’s really, really important to get out there.
Thank you for listening to our podcast, we’ll see you in two weeks, and let’s continue to talk about it.