The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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Pedophilia is viewed as among the most horrifying social ills. But scientists who study the sexual disorder say it is also among the most misunderstood.

When most of the public thinks of pedophilia, they assume it's synonymous with child sexual abuse, a pervasive social problem that has exploded to crisis levels online. Researchers who study pedophilia say the term describes an attraction, not an action, and using it interchangeably with "abuse" fuels misperceptions.

The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders said pedophilia is defined by “recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children.“ Scientists have in recent decades improved their understanding of pedophilia's causes, prenatal and early childhood risk factors as well as how pedophiles can better control impulses.

One of the most significant findings is that scientists who study the disorder say pedophilia is determined in the womb, though environmental factors may influence whether someone acts on an urge to abuse.

"The evidence suggests it is inborn. It's neurological," said James Cantor, a clinical psychologist, sex researcher and former editor-in-chief of, "Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment." "Pedophilia is the attraction to children, regardless of whether the (person) ever ... harms."

Not all people who sexually abuse children are pedophiles. Some pedophiles never abuse children, experts say, and some people who sexually abuse children do not sexually prefer them, but use them as a surrogate for an adult partner. They may be disinhibited and anti-social, with impulse control problems.

Sexual abuse at camp:Three victims, the man they call a pedophile and the lifelong impact of child sexual trauma

"There are child molesters and pedophiles. If you think of Venn diagrams, there's a lot of overlap," said Anna Salter, a psychologist, author, and internationally recognized expert who has done over 500 evaluations of high-risk sex offenders. "There are the people who are sexually attracted to children ... (and then) there are some people who molest kids who are not pedophiles. They molest kids because of anger. They molest kids because they're scared of adult women. They molest kids to get revenge, but they don't actually have an age preference for prepubescent children."

'This is not something that people choose'

Michael Seto, forensic research director at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in Canada, said there is more neuroscientific knowledge of pedophilia than ever before. MRI research is showing how sexual interests develop in the brain.

"I think as a field, we've accepted the idea that this is not something that people choose," Seto said.

Seto said pedophilia is something people are born with or at least have a predisposition to. Evidence shows men are more likely to have pedophilia than women. This aligns with research showing men are more likely to have other paraphilias, including exhibitionism, voyeurism and sadism. Men are also more likely than women to commit criminal acts.

Research also offers insights into risk factors. Seto said men with pedophilia have a much higher incidence of early childhood head injury. One study on diagnosed pedophiles showed they are more likely to report their mothers had received psychiatric treatment, which suggests the disorder may be influenced by genetic factors.

Pedophiles and the choice to abuse

Salter said when she conducts trainings, she often asked the audience, "How many of you have ever had an inappropriate sexual thought?"

If no one raises their hand, she tells them they're in denial.

"Of course, people have had inappropriate sexual thoughts. You may be attracted to your wife's sister. You may be attracted to a 16-year-old postpubescent babysitter. It doesn't mean you act on it," she said. "Pedophiles may not have control over the fact that they are attracted to kids, but they are responsible for whether they do or don't act on it."

Salter's conceptualization of the dynamics of sexual abuse involves a motor and brakes. Many people experience inappropriate sexual thoughts (the motor) but there are brakes (empathy, for example) that keep someone from acting on them. For a pedophile, the motor is their sexual attraction to children, but they can still use brakes to stop from abusing.

Salter said more research is needed to understand why some pedophiles do not act on their attractions, but her clinical observations suggest at least some pedophiles with bad brakes are raised in homes where they were mistreated or neglected. There is also a genetic component, as some pedophiles show psychopathic traits.

The controversy over 'destigmatizing pedophilia'

An academic at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, who talked about “destigmatizing pedophilia” and referred to pedophiles as "minor-attracted people" resigned in November following outcry over the phrase. Allyn Walker argued destigmatizing the attraction would allow more people to seek help and ultimately prevent child sexual abuse.

There is growing support in the field for Walker's point of view. While Cantor said there's no treatment that can turn a pedophile into a non-pedophile, pedophiles can be taught self-control and compensatory strategies, which he said is more likely if they're under the care of a professional. He argues that pedophiles need to be able to access therapy, which can be difficult since those afflicted may be ashamed to seek help or worried about being reported to the authorities if they do.

Josh Duggar's sex abuse allegations:Why treatment in this area is complex, controversial

"Where do you want the person? Therapy is where he should be going, and all we've done is make it very, very difficult for a pedophile to get that," Cantor said. "Which to me is insane. It makes the problem worse."

Salter said while pedophiles do not choose their attractions, she does not believe those who offend are being punished unfairly. Treatment should be encouraged, but without minimizing the impact abuse has on victims' lives.

"It's a choice to act on child molestation," she said. "We don’t need to say, 'Offending isn’t so bad. It really isn’t your fault. ... You really couldn’t control it. You are a victim of a punitive society.' We need to say, 'Offending is devastating. It damages the lives of victims. It has damaged your life. You can learn to control yourself. You have the capacity to do better.'"
...a o jakých tématech se po dnešním Googlení začne na ČEPEKu mluvit?
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Re: The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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A leading American newspaper published a controversial article about pedophiles, and the controversy heightened after the news outlet's social media account deleted its initial accompanying remarks about the piece.

USA Today attempted to reframe the controversial topic of pedophilia as something that's "misunderstood." A majority of the piece brings up how child molesters complicate the public image of pedophiles.

One of the quotes in the pieces comes from psychologist, author, and "internationally recognized expert" Anna Slater, who says there are people who "molest kids because they're scared of adult women. They molest kids to get revenge, but they don't actually have an age preference for prepubescent children."

The theme of the article tries to argue the psychological situation of pedophiles, claiming it's a condition they're born with.

USA Today later deleted a thread of tweets that espoused the same talking points from the article and were met with a heavy ratio on Twitter.




The headline has been edited from "What the public keeps getting wrong about pedophilia" to "The complicated research behind pedophilia."

(It should be noted that in the original "for subscribers" blurb, USA Today went with "Pedophiles and child molesters are not the same thing. Understand the difference" for the piece's preview.)

One of USA Today's sources, Dr. James Cantor, in December 2018 advocated for pedophilia to become a sexuality that's treated the same as general LGBTQ+ advocacy: "Speaking as a gay men, I believe we SHOULD include the P. To do otherwise is to betray the principles that give us our rights."




After significant backlash online on Tuesday, USA Today Life deleted their initial tweets. But shortly after doing so, they republished a thread with a replacement and explanation.




"A previous thread did not include all information and the story it was written about is behind a paywall. We made the decision to delete the thread," USA Today claims on Twitter. They went on to say there was important "context" lacking from the original Twitter thread that was within the story itself.

USA Today removed the paywall for the story to that effect. The social media reactions and sentiments over the episode were of shock and disgust.

"To me (and probably anyone who has been watching) this is nothing more than the first step of trying to normalize this kind of behavior," Donald Trump Jr. said.




Arsenal Media Group digital director Logan Hall said "next corporate media endeavor: normalizing pedophilia."




"Ah, yes. Here we go with the liberal media celebrating and trying to normalize pedophilia," NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck said.




"You can't normalize and destigmatize pedophilia in context. It's a nonstarter. You should pull down the entire story, not just the twitter thread."




"They are hardly the first to attempt to normalize pedophilia and won’t be the last."




The USA Today piece cites the controversy between Old Dominion University and Dr. Allyn Walker, who talked about "destigmatizing pedophilia" and referred to pedophiles as "minor-attracted people," from last year. Walker resigned from their job with the school in the fallout from an interview they gave to pedophilia advocacy group, the Prostasia Foundation.


...a o jakých tématech se po dnešním Googlení začne na ČEPEKu mluvit?
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Re: The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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EN - Google translate:
Such a bit of a "classic" - we have professional facts, world-renowned experts comment on us in the article, we pass on the facts to the common public, which understands this, and based on negative reactions, we prefer to delete everything. They have to stand behind what they wrote when it is true. That truth will never win if he always gives in to pressure ...

CZ - původní:
Taková trochu "klasika" - máme odborná fakta, v článku se nám vyjádří světově uznávaní odborníci, my ta fakta prostředkujeme prosté veřejnosti, která tomu prd rozumí a na základě negativních reakcí pak raději všechno smažeme. Mají si stát za tím, co napsali, když je to pravda. Takhle ta pravda nikdy nevyhraje, když se pokaždé ustoupí nátlaku...
Československá pedofilní komunita – již 10 let s Vámi! ❤️💙
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Výkřik do tmy: Srdce plné lásky přetéká v slzách očima *** Když někoho miluješ, znamená pro tebe víc než ty sám a chceš pro něj jen to nejlepší, ikdyby to tobě mělo působit bolest *** Ikdyž jsou to "jen" děti, mají mou úctu a chovám se k nim slušně *** Moc, peníze ani sex nemůžou nahradit dětskou radost, smích a lásku. *** Čiň, co chceš, pokud nikomu neškodíš *** Každý čin se ti třikrát vrátí
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Re: The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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Cykle02 píše: středa 12. 1. 2022, 9:08:49 "To me (and probably anyone who has been watching) this is nothing more than the first step of trying to normalize this kind of behavior," Donald Trump Jr. said.

Arsenal Media Group digital director Logan Hall said "next corporate media endeavor: normalizing pedophilia."

"Ah, yes. Here we go with the liberal media celebrating and trying to normalize pedophilia," NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck said.
I thought some well known people and poeple on higher positions in companies think and learn unknown topics before they talk. I would expect such a statements from people with grammer school working every day with shovel or with broom saying these statements afternoons in pub after 10th beer. Not from people controlling big companies or departments of companies. But maybe they have had a bad day or some kind of brain outage, so we should excuse them. Maybe they are just jealous, that they didn't tell it and that they don't get negative attention.
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Re: The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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It's sad to see how even very intelligent people fight against results of well concluded research by the foremost and world renowned researchers based mainly on their conservative political agenda. Labeling is a terrible thing no matter if done from conservative or liberal side.
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Re: The complicated research behind pedophilia (USA TODAY)

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Indoctrination is a powerful witch.

Kód: Vybrat vše

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