Yes, you can see it right there, in the middle of my profile… “pedophile.” Apparently some people miss the other words, and confuse the
“≠” which of course is a “not equal” sign, in other words, being a pedophile does not make me a rapist. So, why do I put it there? Why set myself up for more hate on the internet?
Well, I have tried being ordinary and tried talking about child protection in the usual way, talking about why primary prevention is important, the facts found in research, and here is the thing. NO ONE CARES. No, really:
Anything with pedophilia or pedophile in the name generally gets more views. The more controversial, the more views there are:
When I have talked about prevention, even doing extremely short stories (like, “Three modes of prevention,” above), no one reads them. But when I talk about pedophilia, people listen. Why is that? I have no idea. I am not a social psychologist, and while I have a few guesses, I really am not someone to ask about social trends. So that is part of the reason… it simply gets more attention right now than talking about sex abuse prevention. You could say I use it as a “hook” to get people to listen.
So, Why Advocate?
In short, I am passionate about preventing sexual abuse. As you can see, I have covered a lot of topics about it. I made a website which is very comprehensive. I was victimized by sexual violence, and I know a number of people who were also victimized by it. So, I want to see that we as a society are doing everything we can to prevent abuse before there are victims. That is what primary prevention is all about.
…And The Pedophile Part?
…is self-explanatory, I feel like. I am a pedophile. Many of my friends in this endeavor are also pedophiles. I consider them to be like family to me, and in many ways, they are. We do not always get along, and I have been known to block some people I disagree with more strongly, but I care a lot about these people.
I know what it was like growing up, having these feelings towards kids and not knowing who to talk to about them, where to get accurate information… and it was lonely and miserable. So for me, part of putting that on my profile is to tell other pedophiles who might just be discovering their feelings, “Hey, you are not alone, I am here, and you can get information and help from me.” And who better? Would you rather these people be on their own, nursing a grudge against society for hating them? No, that leads people to an even darker and more dangerous place: The idea that it is okay to be sexual with kids. Yes, some of us pedophiles believe that, and you have no doubt heard all about them.
These pedophiles (we call them pro-contact) think that if the child is okay with it, then it will not cause them harm, though that is a bit like playing Russian Roulette with a child’s life and hoping they do not end up with a traumatizing scar, and that is just not acceptable to me. They do not necessarily abuse children, but they believe society should recognize that children can consent. I contributed to an article about why their arguments are wrong, to give adolescent pedophiles a valuable resource.
That is primary prevention at work, by the way: Getting people help before they start believing dangerous ideas like “children can be sexual with pedophiles if they consent.” Getting people help before children are harmed by someone because that someone engages with an anti-abuse community instead.
But… The Hate…
The hate comes with the territory. There is no way to challenge the stigma that pedophiles face, and the conflation of pedophiles with child rapists, without telling our stories and helping people to understand that, like anyone else, we are people with sexual attractions that are just a part of who we are. We bleed, think, work, learn, play, and believe sexual abuse is wrong just like you do. There will always be people who intentionally or unintentionally misunderstand and therefore oppose our challenging of the stigma around having attractions to children.
Why challenge the stigma at all? Because it helps no one. It does not help keep children safe, because pedophiles driven into isolation are more at-risk to offend. The only thing it does is make the people who are hating on a stigmatized minority feel better about themselves, and this does not protect children. Nobody cares about how good you feel for hating others. They care about protecting children.