(Redirected from Paedophilia
Pedophilia (American English) or paedophilia / pædophilia (British English), from the Greek παιδοφιλια (paidophilia) < παις (pais) "boy, child" and φιλια (philia) "friendship", (ICD-10 F65.4) is the condition of people (either adult or adolescent) whose primary sexual attraction is toward prepubescent children. It is a chronophilia, i.e. a paraphilia in which the paraphile's sexuoerotic age is discordant with his or her actual chronological age and is concordant with the age of the partner. Pedosexuality is used as a synonym. It is sometimes used informally to describe sex offenders or child pornographers.
In the United States and some other countries, the term is sometimes used more broadly to describe people attracted to adolescents. In cultures or countries where love relationships or dates between adults and adolescents are socially or legally accepted (at least with parental consent) or are viewed with tolerance - such as France or Brazil, the word pedophilia is almost never used in this sense, either formally or informally.
In most countries of the world, adolescents above a certain age can be legally emancipated through marriage, economic self-sufficiency, pregnancy or by other means. The marriageable age is generally below the age of majority and in some cases below the legal age of consent. Sexual relations with emancipated minors are not considered pedophilia.
The term Paedophilia erotica was coined in 1896 by the Vienna psychiatrist Richard von Krafft-Ebing in his writing Psychopathia sexualis. The following characteristics are given:
- the sexual interest is toward children, either prepubescent or at the beginning of puberty
- the sexual interest is the primary one, i. e. exclusively or mainly toward children
- the sexual interest remains over time
Occasionally definitions additionally require an age difference of at least five years. On the other hand, a pedophilic sexual orientation often develops during puberty or childhood. (See causes of sexual orientation.)
Some sexologists such as Dr. John Money assert that not only adults but also any postpubescent adolescents may qualify as possible pedophiles.
A person is not necessarily a pedophile simply because he can be sexually aroused by children; rather, a pedophile is defined as someone whose primary sexual attraction is toward children. There is evidence that at least a quarter of all adult men may have feelings of sexual arousal in connection with children (Freund & Costell 1970, Hall et al. 1995, Quinsey et al. 1975). Note that pedophilia can be diagnosed solely in the presence of fantasies or sexual urges on the subject's part — it need not involve sexual acts with children.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition, Text Revision, American Psychiatric Association includes a Diagnostic criteria for 302.2 Pedophilia:
- A. Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).
- B. The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
- C. The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.
- Note: Do not include an individual in late adolescence involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with a 12- or 13-year-old.
The actual boundaries between childhood and adolescence may vary in individual cases and are difficult to define in rigid terms of age. The World Health Organization, for instance, defines adolescence as the period of life between 10 and 20 years of age.
Pedophiles often refer to themselves as boylovers or girllovers, though most of them are not both; collectively they are sometimes referred to as childlovers.
Child sexual abuse
A perpetrator committing child sexual abuse is commonly (and often but not always mistakenly) assumed to be a pedophile, and referred to as such, but there are often other motivations, much as adult rape can have non-sexual motivations. Most perpetrators of child sexual abuse are not primarily interested in children - a fact which has been recognized by law enforcement (Lanning: Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis) They are sometimes referred to as pseudo-pedophilies or situational offenders, whereas pedophiles primarily attracted toward children are called structured pedophiles or fixated pedophiles, as their orientation is fixed by the structure of their personality.
Pedophile is not a legal category or term. Although the acts that molesters carry out are criminal in most jurisdictions, they are not legally referred to as pedophilia. However, newspapers and other news media frequently make erroneous use of the terms accused pedophile or convicted pedophile in reference to individuals accused or convicted of sexual abuse of children.
Ephebophilia, also known as hebephilia, is the condition in which adults are dependent on the sexual attraction to postpubescent adolescents. Pederasty refers to attraction toward male adolescents. Attraction to female adolescents is sometimes referred to as "Lolita syndrome". These terms are used in contrast with pedophilia; however pedophilia is sometimes used, in the United States, more broadly to describe both ephebophilia and attraction to younger children, i.e. any person younger than the legal age of consent.
Sexual desires including youths are common among adults with a heterosexual or homosexual orientation, though their attraction is not specifically to persons that young. Only when it is a specific and exclusive attraction, is it labeled ephebophilia as a sexual condition or orientation. It should also be noted that unlike pedophilia, attraction to adolescents has never been regarded by psychologists as pathological. In fact, it has often been considered normative in some societies, such as those in which adolescent girls have been married to adult men. Nonetheless, it is often illegal for adults to act on an attraction to adolescents below a certain age, and such activity is disapproved of in many societies.
Some researchers have suggested a distinction between pedophilia and infantophilia (also called nepiophilia), because interest in a 10-year old and a 2-year old seem rather different preferences. At the same time it is unusual for pedophiles to prefer toddlers.
In Japanese society the attraction towards teenage girls (high-school students) is a widespread cultural phenomenon. The manifestations of such attraction, such as lolicon art, school uniform fetishes and sexual relations with teenage girls (e.g. enjo kosai) are more tolerated by society than in the West, but are often illegal.
In France and in most of the Francophone world, this kind of relationship is also accepted. Movies like Brodeuses ("A common thread") (2003) usually show these relationships in a casual way, not giving much importance or attention to the difference of age. Nabokov´s "Lolita" - the book - was first released in France (1955), while Adrian Lyne´s "Lolita" (1997) - the movie - faced no restrictions in Europe, including France; and Celine Dion's "Lolita" - the song - was released only in French by the Canadian bilingual singer. The movie "Pretty baby" (1978) - depicting 13-year old Brooke Shields playing a preteen prostitute - was filmed by a Frenchman Louis Malle.
In Brazilian culture tolerance sets the tone as well. In 1999 28-year old Marcio Garcia , a nationally famous and good-looking actor, dated 14-year old model Daniella Sarahyba for over a year and the relationship was assimilated by the Brazilian mainstream media and by the TV network which he worked for. Also in the nineties 13-year old Kelly Key, who would become a famous singer, started dating 23-year old singer Latino, whom she married later on. Before that, in 1982, 40-year old Caetano Veloso - a very famous Brazilian singer and composer - began a love relationship with 13-year old Paula Lavigne, at the time he was married to someone else. Soon he divorced and 3 years later they married. Their marriage lasted 19 years, ending only in 2004. The relationship was respected and he was never persecuted by the media nor by the phonographic industry or boycotted by radio stations. None of them was ever called a pedophile, an accusation that could be construed as slander in Brazil.
Reactions to adult-adolescent relationships may be considered by some as a prejudice like racism or the hatred against immigrants : ageism. In the 80s, 15-year old Brazilian student Eliane Maciel searched for judicial help against her conservative parents. She wanted the judge to rule that she had the right to date a 33-year old man with whom she was in love, and she won. They eventually married. Her drama was told in the self-biographical best-seller "Com licença, eu vou à luta - É ilegal ser menor ?" ("Excuse me, I'm gonna fight - Is it illegal to be a minor ?") (1983), which turned into a prize-winning homonymous movie (1986). Since 1988 prejudice on the grounds of age has been forbidden by the Brazilian Constitution.
Cultures are also influenced by religion. The Catholic Church, for example, systematically preaches the concept of tolerance among different individuals and social groups (and religious tolerance between different religions) as a fundamental principle. All forms of discrimination are condemned, provided that they don't collide with legal or cultural norms (see age of consent, marriageable age and section "Other legal aspects"). According to the Holy See official intervention at the OSCE Conference on Tolerance and the Fight against Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination (September, 2004), "the roots of racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance are found in ignorance, prejudice and hatred, which may often arise from faulty and inadequate education and also from the misuse of the media" (see culture of fear). Ageism is considered a form of discrimination.
In many countries, sexual attraction, desires or fantasies in adults towards underage adolescents is quite common. A sign of this is that, in the adult porn industry, a reasonable market share goes to movies that show young women dressed in uniforms, characterized as high-school students. Some of these movies are regularly aired on adult channels like Playboy TV and others.
Underage sex and criminality
Sexual acts between adults and prepubescent children are both a taboo and a crime in many cultures because, among other reasons:
- children are seen as unable to understand the physical, emotional, and social consequences of sexual acts and are therefore unable to give informed consent;
- sexual acts can involve coercion and abuse of power, which can break bonds of trust;
- sexual acts can, for girls at puberty, lead to pregnancy, a condition for which they may well be unprepared; and
- religious or pseudo-religious faith often prevents scientific inquiry, as illustrated when the U.S. Congress voted unanimously to condemn Rind et al.
Sexual acts between adults and postpubescent adolescents are also seen as a taboo in some cultures, while in others they are viewed naturally or with tolerance. Cultures are influenced by the local age of consent, religion and language.
The percentage of pedophile perpetrators in cases of child sexual abuse is estimated to be 2 to 10 percent (Kinsey-Report, Lautmann, Brongersma, Groth). Abuse is mainly a phenomenon of heterosexual and homosexual orientation.
Statistics from the United States Bureau of Justice Statistics (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/press/rsorp94pr.htm "5 percent of sex offenders rearrested for another sex crime within 3 years of prison release") indicate that while sex offenders in general reoffend 5.3 percent of the time, child molesters reoffend only 3.3 percent of the time (though the latter statistic only counts child sexual abuse as opposed to all sex crimes).
Most cases of father-daughter incest are believed to involve fathers who are situational offenders, rather than pedophiles. Some have argued that these cases are triggered by the withdrawal of the mother from the family, often due to physical or mental illness.
Other legal aspects
Legally, relationships between adults and adolescents do not necessarily include sex. Most of them involve sexual attraction. Just dating a teenager below the age of consent is legal in some jurisdictions, specially when the adolescent's age is above the marriageable age. In other jurisdictions, this may be illegal.
Advocacy of pedophilia
There are a number of organizations together referred to as childlove movement that seek to remove the stigma from pedophilia, and to legalize sexual relationships between adults and children or teenagers.
See pedophilia and homosexuality for the historical relationship between pedophilia advocates and the gay rights movement.
- Ames, A. & Houston, D.A. "Legal, social, and biological definitions of pedophilia." Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 19, 1990, pp. 333-342.
- Pedophilia Fagan PJ, Wise TN, et al, JAMA. 2002; 288: 2458-2465 Full text (requires registration)
- Archives of sexual behavior vol. 31 no. 6 December 2002, Is pedophilia a mental disorder?, summary - Discussion among scientists about whether pedophilia really is a disorder, and a discussion of the moral aspects of child sexual abuse
- Rind et al., a controversial 1998 study of the effects of child sexual abuse
- Capturing the Friedmans, a film documentary about a family troubled by pedophilia
- Harmful to Minors, a book by Judith Levine which, among other issues of sexual morality, discusses the perception and reality of pedophilia
- Paul Wilson: The Man They Called a Monster. Book about a court reporter who had sexual relationships with 2500 adolescent males; includes interviews with the later adults who reflect on these relationships.
- French movies (showing normal love relationships between adults and adolescents) - are available (usually for free) at the cultural center of the French Embassy in Washington, D.C.
- The Woodsman (2004) - tries to present a balanced and multifaceted approach to the issue of pedophilia. Kevin Bacon plays a 45-year old man that is attracted to 10-to-12 year-old prepubescent girls.