Note: This transcript was transcribed by Gonzalo Urritia.
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.
Meg: Welcome to The Prevention Podcast, this is Meg Martinez Detamonte, your host and I am here with Evert, who is a non-offending minor-attracted person, using the term NOMAP. Hi, Evert.
Meg: So good to have you on our show today.
Evert: Yeah, thank you for giving me the opportunity to be here.
Meg: Of course. So, I just introduced you as a nomap and that’s kind of where I wanted to start because recently we’ve been getting a lot of people asking us why we use the term map, minor-attracted person and even the term nomap which stands for non-offending minor-attracted person. And Evert, you are pretty adamant about using this term in the place of pedophilia, or even anti-contact pedophiles so I was wondering if you’ll share that. What is the term nomap mean to you?
Evert: In fact, it’s more a rational word, a statement I make that I am attracted to minors, little girls, but that I am not offending in any way and I always have done that. It is more a term used by science than in normal life. Most people use the term pedophile but we see that the term pedophile is hijacked by criminals and society to talk about abusers. And I am not an abuser, I am a person attracted to children, girls.
So the term map does give me a platform to speak about it and also to speak to people who are also attracted to minors but maybe not prepubescent children, like I am. So it is a more general word used in the community to talk about people with our feelings without the pain or the difficulty of the conflation which society has.
Meg- That was very beautifully said. We here at The Prevention Project agree and that’s why we also use this term. First and foremost we find this term in the literature, the research literature as
well as people are studying a variety of individuals who are attracted to minors and as you very eloquently put it’s not all about prepubescent children which is what pedophilia represents.
I also love that you shared that the term pedophile is hijacked to be described or to use towards people who have actually offended or abused children when in fact, as we’ve said many, many times on this podcast somebody that’s attracted to children does not always go on offending or has to go on offending and can very much be committed to non-offending and to sharing that mission and vision.
Which again is beautifully said by you in that the term nomap is actually a statement and a platform for you. It’s a statement of you saying I am attracted to children but I’m committed to non-offending.
Evert: So between us I still call myself pedophile, because it states my form of attraction.
Meg: Right, yeah.
Evert: I don’t use “girl-lover” because it is mostly used to sell child porn. It’s a pity that the pedophile is used to shame on other people who are not liked. Like sometimes in politics you hear these words or in society that opponents are called pedophile without actually being pedophiles. So that’s why I call it highjacked.
Meg: And I think that’s a really great point because we do get a lot of people who are either trolling, but sometimes people who are just generally curious and say “Hey, why are we using this term, map, and not just calling them what they are, pedophiles.” And so I actually think it’s great to hear you say “Well hey, I do identify with the word pedophile because I’m a person who is attracted to prepubescent children, that would be a pedophile.
But I don’t agree with the fact that this word is hijacked and so I’m gonna also call myself a map so that I can, and more specifically nomap, so that I can very much state to the world that I’m a non-offending minor-attracted person. And so I do see and I want other people to see that map is definitely this umbrella term and somebody could still identify as a pedophile and a map.
Evert: One of the things we often hear is about the normalization of pedophilia. Our agenda is absolutely not “normalization of pedophilia”, that’s far away. We just want a little air to breathe.
Society is going to regulate things just to prevent children, of course it’s important and it is good to take actions against abuse. But if it also means that some people in society are taken away any point of living, any space of living, any place to be and feel safe then I think these rules are missing a very important point.
Meg: I would say that sometimes we are doing more harm than good when we highjack labels like pedophile and lump people all into the same category instead of getting to know people in individual basis and helping the people who need help and who don’t want to offend.
Our founder Candace Christianson said this several times, that why not help people and treat people who are seeking help regardless of who or what they’re attracted to. Why would we not help them? And so I love how you said using the term map can at least give us some room so that we can breathe a little and let people know “I’m minor-attracted but I’m not an offender. I have no desire to offend, I’m very aware of society’s laws, I actually am an advocate for child sexual abuse prevention and that’s me, I can be all of those things.”
Evert: Yes, and I hope that some child-abuse prevention organizations start realizing that it is not the pedophile who’s the opponent. It might even be the pedophile who can also be part of the community to keep children safe. They might be a risk but if we can control that risk and we can make the risk in a way less harmful then I think we have some good things gained.
And we are not opponents, we are in a way just like you, we love children, we want to protect them, we want them to be happy. And it’s unfortunate that in a situation where children might be I might get aroused but that doesn’t mean that I will act on it. If I’m on the playground maybe some men might be aroused by the mothers who stand there, I don’t know, but you don’t act on it.
Meg: I agree, I couldn’t agree more. We often hear people who for some reason fuse impulsivity with minor-attraction, thinking that all people who have a minor-attracted orientation are these ticking time-bombs that are going to offend and the reality is from what we’ve seen, all of the minor-attracted people that we’ve worked with have this capacity to control themselves just like any other person who’s attracted to an adult.
And so I’m really glad that you bring that up. And it leads me to go back to something that you said earlier about how you actually are acknowledging that there’s some risk and so I think that that’s something that people don’t hear a lot. They think “Well they’re using the term map or nomap and they’re saying that there’s no risk.” And so you’re acknowledging that people that have minor-attractions can be of risk.
Evert: We are just as much risk as any other one, if we look at persons who abuse children they’re not only pedophiles. If it was I would be happy but it isn’t. People who abuse children have several forms of sexual attraction. They have several backgrounds, they can be male or female, they can be Christian or another religion. It is the person which is the problem and I am a person and I have a certain risk and it is mostly that in a point where the self-control is lacking that a risk
can become a danger. So keep people on the safe side by making them strong in awareness, strong in their own self-esteem and strong in self-control. That is the point I’m trying to make. That is how we could take part in the prevention.
Meg: Absolutely, so you’re saying that it doesn’t really matter the person’s orientation or the person’s attraction or not, what matters more is what’s going on individually when it comes to self-control, self-esteem, shame and other symptoms that may participate in a person deciding to act out and offend against a child.
Evert: Yes, and unfortunately we notice that many peers are in that middle state. They don’t have that self-esteem, they are ashamed, they hide away on several forms like marriage or live alone in a house outside society. I think that every psychiatrist or psychologist would mean that these people might have mental health risks.
Meg: When you say peers are you talking about other people who have come out as minor-attracted that you’re aware of?
Meg: So talking about that community of people who come out as minor-attracted, Evert, share with me what you think the difference between a pro-contact map and an anti-contact or a nomap is.
Evert: Well, pedophilia is simply the attraction, the sexual or romantic attraction towards prepubescent children. And if they are older they’re called hebephiles or something. The feelings are always the same, the age might vary and the appearance of the child might vary but the feelings are always a certain attraction and maybe a form of arousal or fantasy. That is all the same. The difference between pro-contact is that they actually want to act on these feelings, they want to act on their fantasies.
They want to act on their urges. And they decide to let their interest prevail above the other. While a nomap or anti-contact pedophile is actually choosing to let the interest of children stand above their own wish simply because they see that a small amount of joy doesn’t weigh up to the damage that would be done. It’s very simple. It doesn’t have to do anything with law or fear for police or whatever. It is the simple fact that you love a child and the child is more important than yourself. If you love another you want them to be happy and safe. And so I choose to be not-acting on it.
Meg: Thank you so much for sharing that, I love how you put it. and I think it’s good for our listeners to hear it stated in that way in that it’s not always just about fear of legal action, it’s truly for a lot of nomaps about putting the interest of a child above their own, which in many circles is prevention. You know, it’s prevention of how do we keep these children safe and happy and healthy and prevent any harm or abuse.
So I appreciate you sharing that. Just connecting this to what you said earlier, you also shared that there are people that are kind of in between you were saying, that are isolated and not necessarily on this pro-contact bandwagon where they’re acting out but they’re not necessarily involved in a community that is very much believing in non-offending or anti-contact principles like you are.
Evert: We actually don’t know how many people with minor-attraction there are on this world, because most are hiding. And pro-contacts speak out and hurt and you see them on television, so everyone gets aroused or gets hating about what they’re seeing and if we want to speak out we are blocked, we are denied any access of platforms.
It’s very difficult to get these people in this middle who are hiding and looking outward to show that there are other alternatives. That there are ways to live happy and still feel happy and a little bit honorable about who you are. That these feelings are not a horror but actually are part of yourself. And that you can act strongly in society with these feelings. Many pedophiles who aren’t shown might work already with children in jobs or they help children in a wonderful way, they never act out in a sexual way. But you don’t see them.
And my fear is if a person in this situation, in this hiding is getting into mental problems by whatever, it could be people who become depressed by society, by problems on work or other things. If they get into low self-esteem and low mental state they become a risk without knowing it. They might act on it without knowing it.
They might hurt a child and see it happen while they’re doing it and then, actually I write it many times, if we can in any way prevent a pedophile or a map or a person who is attracted to children, even heterosexuals or homosexuals who feel attracted to children, if we can prevent them to act out we save two lives. It’s not only the life of the child. What would happen with a person who has done this? How can he live with himself? What would society do? So that’s important to me.
Meg: Right, and it’s important to us too here at The Prevention Project and as a program created by an abuse survivor, we believe just as well that we are creating hope for two lives. We’re creating prevention for children who may be at risk to be harmed, and then we are also creating hope for people who are at risk to harm children.
And I know that we’ve spent a lot of time on this podcast talking about our program that treats maps or people who are minor-attracted who don’t want to offend against children, but we also treat a variety of other people who are at risk for creating victims. Adult victims or child victims because we do believe that that life matters as well, the life of the person who is struggling.
So I love that you’re bringing this up Evert and sharing your goal, and it sounds like your goal and your mission is to reach these people who are in hiding and to give them a sense of community to where they feel accepted enough to open up about what’s going on with them and seek the help that they need. How are you doing that?
Evert: Well, the first thing is you have be visible, you have to be known, and that is difficult so I want to emphasize that what you are doing is actually so important, it’s not important for me to speak out like I’m rallying for an important position, it is most important that these words reach people and make them think about “maybe I should reach peers and I don’t seek peers on porn sites, I will find criminals who want to make money out of me.”
No, I want to find platforms where they can speak safely with pedophiles or other maps about their feelings so that they can understand what they are and can maybe ask questions or whatever. What you are doing is so important, you’re spreading the word. And that is prevention indeed.
Meg: Well thank you so much for saying that.
Evert: Thank you very much for doing this.
Meg: Well that kind of leads to another question that I wanted to ask you, because as we’re wrapping up our season we’re wrapping up our interviews and our podcast producer was like “You need to interview Evert” so here we are doing that and I wanted to ask you why this podcast was so important to you and why you were so interested in being a part of it with us.
Well in a way I already said it, why I find it important, these words need to be spread. It’s not important that my words but people who are feeling attraction to children and maybe they’re in doubt if they are or not. They have to be able to find a way to speak about it and to find out. And that’s why your platform is so important and I myself have been in this mental state which was very disturbing.
I really lived in a double life, in one way I felt fully confused about myself and on the other hand I had to support a family. And I had difficulties and I had to fight myself out and I had help from peers on the good side. So now I am almost fully accepted myself as a pedophile.
There are sometimes that I had a little bit of self-censorship. Would I take pictures or not, whether can I look at children or not, but in a way I feel glad that I reached this point and I want to share this possibility for everyone. And that makes me give so much energy.
That is my mission in a way.
Meg: Yeah and we love having you here to share your experiences, I think a lot of our listeners that are maps and nomaps share that thought that you had about “It feels like I was living a double life and it feels like I’m in hiding”, I think a lot of people can relate to that and I mean I guess what I would also say is, what would you say to some of those maps that are in hiding, that don’t agree with the pro-contact voices out there but maybe feel too afraid to go under the label of map or nomap and speak out on public forums or on social media or even to their intimate, close family circles. What would you say to some of those maps that are in hiding and aren’t sure of what to do?
Evert: The first thing you have to do is don’t fight yourself, you will lose. You have to take and accept what you are. There is no one who changed these feelings, who can cope with them, you can use them even positively but we can’t deny them, you can’t hide like I did.
I tried to live as heterosexual, I looked at adult porn and had sex with my wife. Looking back it was all nothing more than a theater. It didn’t satisfy and they must understand that situation. So to get out and get happy like I am now means to accept what you are and try to find ways to speak to us. Come with questions you have, you’re not a monster, you’re just a person like any other, one who has a sexual feeling and the only difficulty is some people don’t like that.
Meg: And I think that this process of accepting who you are is how we’ve come up with so many different words and names and labels for it as we discussed earlier because I think it helps people to realize “Ok, this is what an actual pedophile is”. You know, scientifically if you will, and this is what a minor-atracted person is, and this is what an exclusive minor-attracted person is, and non-exclusive minor-attracted is, I think it’s in our nature to create these labels so that people can go through that process of acceptance.
Evert: Of course. But one thing that’s also very difficult is when I speak to a heterosexual they will listen with their heterosexual background, they will see everything from the side of a heterosexual. And if I talk about my feelings to a peer I don’t need much words. He immediately understands. And that’s why they must seek out peers. You can’t explain it to a normal heterosexual. Certainly not a few haven’t reached the situation of putting your feelings in words.
Meg: What I do think is that people that have this sense of support, more often are able to accept what’s going on inside them and talk about it and be more aware, as you’ve mentioned. Be more aware of what’s going on inside them and how they can control their thoughts and their behaviors and their emotions to a degree.
Evert: Actually, you have build up a motivation not to harm children. And when you’re confused you don’t have that motivation, it’s broken into pieces. So you have to repair it, and you have to have a clear view in life about how you want to live your life as pedophile or as a minor-attracted person.
Meg: This podcast, I do appreciate you sharing so much about your story and your vision and mission and purpose going forward as an advocate for nomaps and as a peer, really, to anybody that’s experiencing these feelings so that they can feel like they’re not alone and I think that drives and definitely contributes to our purpose which was to truly bring light to those in the dark, and so in closing I just wonder if there is anything else that you want to share, not only to maps out there but to the world, about this topic. As we seek to bring light to those in the dark.
Evert: Well, I want to state one thing also, because it also is important about the situation. We as map activists, I don’t really think I’m an activist but I’m speaking out, we are always told that we want to be part of the LGBT community.
And in a way you see immediately reactions from this community revolving or almost disgusting and the fact that we want to be part of that, I think we are not at that moment yet, we still have to find a way to simply be here instead of be openly and with right in society and I hope that many, many LGBT persons don’t feel endangered by us, we don’t have such thoughts or agenda.
And they themselves must understand that they sometimes have the same routes, same way to go to accept themselves or find a way to live with their feelings. We have so much in common and I think “I don’t want your help, the only thing I ask is don’t be an obstacle, give us the space to make our own way out”. And I think that it’s also important to know, for people who have been or are part of the LGBT community, another thing I think is I want to speak out to people who are responsible for making laws or decisions on these things, that with fear and disgust you don’t make good decisions.
If we look at all the policies there are, we hardly see any effect. And I hope really as many people like you and others say, let’s take another way. The way of prevention. And I hope the people start changing their minds and we get on this way of prevention and we certainly will support that.
Meg: And you know, we couldn’t agree more with your last statement, the way of prevention and that’s exactly why we choose to do the work that we do and choose to have this podcast and guests like you on it who truly believe that prevention is the intervention and prevention is actually the answer, and so again, Evert, we really appreciate you coming and being on this podcast and dedicating your time, I know you said that you’re not an activist but I would also call you one, you’re out here speaking out and sharing your mission and doing so to help others and again to move forward with this mission and vision of prevention and we so appreciate you being on our show today.
Evert: Well, thank you too for letting me speak out and giving me the opportunity to help others. Because that’s also part of my big wish in life is to help others and not harm them.
Candice: Thank you for listening to this week’s podcast. Please visit thepreventionproject.org to learn more about our project and programs. Please remember to subscribe to our podcast at
www.thepreventionpodcast.com or iTunes. See you next time!