I debated for more than 30 minutes if I should “post” the below article or just list the title and link on the In the News page because some people would immediately go on a rampage calling me a predator or pedophile sympathizer (which I am not) based on the article’s title alone.
I have read other articles, studies and editorials on pedophiles and pedophilia (one very recently) and have immediately concluded the authors and their writings are reckless, bias and scary and you’ve never seen one of them posted on this blog.
But the below article is spot on as have been other writings by Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau and it should be read by everyone including those who grasp for reasons to discredit me, my advocacy and this platform.
The pages of this blog are viewed 2,100- 3,300 times per month from people across the globe including State and Federal Legislators, Reporters & Journalists, Researchers, Attorneys, Law Students, Victim’s Advocates, Abuse Survivors, Offenders and the Family Members of those Survivors and Offenders and I’ve decided the below article should be read by all.
Let the judgment commence!
We Need to Make It Easier for Pedophiles To Seek Help
By Elizabeth Letourneau
Elizabeth J. Letourneau is Director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All three are embroiled in a child sexual abuse investigation that has likely taken on added significance given the release of an audiotape in which Mr. Collins appears to admit to illegal sexual behavior against three girls. The revelation was shocking, and it leads to a familiar set of questions.
To me, one stands out: How could this have been prevented?
As a public, we’re always shocked to learn that an apparently upstanding citizen has molested children. The news flies in the face of our collective perception that sex offenders are monsters. But there are two problems with this perception.
It blinds us to warning signs when a potential offender is someone we know, love or respect—someone who is patently not a monster: The teenage boy who prefers the company of little kids to peers. The step-father who insists on putting the girls to bed by himself. The pediatrician who asks parents to “wait outside.”
And the idea that all sex offenders are monsters, and monsters are unpredictable, draws resources and political attention away from effective prevention efforts. We spend far more to address sex crimes after they happen.
Yet we don’t have prevention programs that target adolescents at risk of sexually abusing children, even though they account for more than 50% of cases. All the emphasis is on after-the-fact policies. We must treat victims. We must detect and stop offenders. But if we really want to reduce harm, we need a stronger culture of avoiding the problem to begin with.
In my 25 years of research on sex-offender assessment, treatment and policy, I’ve met hundreds of offenders and reviewed the records of thousands of boys and men charged with sex crimes. But until last year, I’d never spoken with a non-offending pedophile. And until I did, I really did not recognize their existence. They were largely invisible, because the stigma and risk of coming forward to ask for help was simply too great.
Everyone loses when we ignore this group of non-offenders. I’ve spoken to young men who were horrified to realize they were attracted to younger children in adolescence, and that they were not growing out of their attraction. They described appalling childhoods, living in self-imposed isolation for fear of being discovered and labeled a pedophile. Several expressed self-loathing. Many considered suicide. As adolescents, they wanted help controlling their sexual impulses, but had nowhere to turn for help.
In Germany, where therapy is confidential (and where recording conversations without peoples’ knowledge or consent is illegal), thousands have reached out to the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld, which specifically targets men and adolescent boys—both ones who have acted on their impulses and ones who haven’t—attracted to children.
the stigma of pedophilia and the fear of criminal consequences is so great that
non-offending pedophiles rarely seek help. Those who do may be turned away by
professionals who are untrained or unwilling to help. These adults and
adolescents are left to struggle on their own. Many – too many – do not
The best prevention programs focus on the individuals at highest risk of offending. But to get those individuals into an intervention, we must destigmatize the act of asking for help. The problem behavior must remain stigmatized, of course. But the act of asking for help should be met with encouragement and effective professional interventions.
When we hear about the next supposedly upstanding citizen offending against children, we’ll still ask how it happened. But it’s so much more effective to ask how we could have stopped it from happening in the first place. We will have that answer only when we insist on reasonable resources to develop a culture of prevention.