A Public Service Announcement: What Is Pedophilia

"It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence."                       — C.S. Lewis


"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You too? I thought I was the only one."                  — C.S. Lewis




Have you noticed?  Pedophilia is reaching epidemic proportions in our society, even in our churches!  Today we'll take an in depth look at pedophilia.  Tomorrow we'll post the "Profile of a Pedophile".  Together, these posts will serve as a public service announcement on pedophilia and how to protect your children from molesters.  Then on Wednesday, we'll editorialize on why we believe the sexual abuse of children often goes unreported.  Here's a clue:  Pedophiles target prepubescent children…


Are you concerned about pedophilia?  WE ARE!!!  That's why we're investigating it and providing this important public service announcement.  As moms, we're terribly concerned about the rampant crimes being committed against the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society. 


TIME featured an article on pedophilia in 2003.  To read the story in its entirety, follow this link:  


Here's how the TIME article begins:

n. recurrent, intense, sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child
–American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual


It's easier not to ask too many questions about pedophilia. The questions make you blush; some of the answers make your skin crawl. But it seems that almost daily we see another grown man tell his story and weep, suddenly becoming the terrified kid he once was. All the revelations, all spilling out at once, have created a fog: Why are there so many people who want to molest children? How can we stop them? Are we overreacting?"


The Psychology Today website




considers pedophilia to be a "paraphilia", which means an "abnormal or unnatural attraction."

Here's Psychology Today's definition of pedophilia:  


"The fantasy or act of sexual activity with prepubescent children. Pedophiles are usually men, and can be attracted to either or both sexes. How well they relate to adults of the opposite sex varies.  Perpetrators often delude themselves into viewing their actions as helpful to children. They might tell themselves they are contributing to a child's development or that the child is enjoying the act; however, they do tell their victims not to alert their parents or authorities.
An estimated 20 percent of American children have been sexually molested, making pedophilia the most common paraphilia. Offenders are usually family friends or relatives. Types of activities vary and may include just looking at a child or undressing and touching a child. However, acts often do involve oral sex or touching of genitals of the child or offender."


What CAUSES pedophilia?

Unfortunately, the causes are not known.  There seems to be some evidence that pedophilia runs in families, but it is unclear whether this stems from genetics or learned behavior.  Childhood sexual abuse is often viewed as a potential factor in the development of a pedophile, but this has not been proven.”


According to the Psychology Today web site referenced above: 


"Behavioral learning models suggest that a child who is the victim or observer of inappropriate sexual behaviors learns to imitate and is later reinforced for the behavior. These individuals are deprived of normal social sexual contacts and thus seek gratification through less socially acceptable means. Physiological models focus on the relationship between hormones, behavior, and the central nervous system with a particular interest in the role of aggression and male sexual hormones."



The American Psychiatric Association's Medical Library




provides some important diagnostic information on pedophiles:



Diagnostic Criteria for Pedophilia

"Pedophilia, included in the American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968, continues to be classified as a mental disorder. The DSM is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals and provides clear, objective descriptions of mental illnesses, based upon scientific research. Pedophilia is categorized in the DSM-IV-TR as one of several paraphilic mental disorders. The essential features of a Paraphilia are recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors that generally involve nonhuman subjects, children, or other non-consenting adults, or the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner.


An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act and this is never considered normal or socially acceptable behavior. Darrel A. Regier, M.D.,M.P.H., Director, American Psychiatric Association’s Division of Research states, “there are no plans or processes set up that would lead to the removal of the Paraphilias from their consideration as legitimate mental disorders.”



The American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) criteria for Pedophilia (302.2) are:

“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 sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty;
The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.


Pedophilia generally is treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy. The therapy may be prescribed alone or in combination with medication. Some examples of medications that have been used include anti-androgens and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Relapse prevention is also emphasized. However, the outlook for successful treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with Pedophilia is guarded."


We conclude with highlights of important information provided by a renowned psychiatrist, Dr. Herbert Wagemaker, at the following website: 



What is Pedophilia and why are child pedophiles such an epidemic?


"Pedophilia involves sexual attraction/orientation towards children, and usually involves males. Pedophilia is very rare among females. It is characterized by recurrent intense sexual-arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children for at least a 6-month period of time. What this means is that the sexual attraction/orientation of the person (usually a male) is toward a child rather than an adult. It has been estimated that sex offenders are often involved with two or more children, and the problem is often a recurrent one.  Mental health professionals agree that child molesters should never be considered normal, but is a disease.


Four percent of the population suffers from sexual orientation toward children. In 1999, 93,000 kids were sexually abused. 50% of the abusers were parents of the children. 18% were relatives. This means that almost 70% of children were molested by family members, fathers, uncles, and grandfathers – males they trusted.


What causes pedophilia? No one decides, "I’m going to grow up and be a child pedophile."
We know that pedophilia runs in families. Boys who are molested often molest boys when they grow up. Do they molest because they were molested or because they have a genetic sexual orientation toward children?


I feel that there is a strong genetic predisposition in pedophilia. I believe that pedophilia runs in families and seems to be a variant of OCD, which has strong genetic predispositions. In other words, pedophilia seems to be an illness that is caused by abnormal brain chemistry with strong genetic connections.


One of the important questions we must ask is, "How safe are our children when registered sex offenders are living in our neighborhoods?" Most pedophiles are multiple offenders and are involved with a number of kids. The answer to this question revolves around the treatment of pedophilia. How effective is it?”

Web MD web site  http://www.webmd.com/  states, "Sadly, there is no cure for pedophilia." This is true. There is no cure, but there is treatment.


Because adults who sexually abuse children are repeat offenders, it makes sense not to allow them to be in close contact with children. According to a study by Abel in 1987, reported in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(1), 3-25, offenders against female children had an average of 19 victims, while those against male children had an average of 50. These figures surprised me. Common sense tells us to keep these adults away from kids and out of our neighborhoods.



Pedophilia is an illness that must be treated. If it is not treated successfully, our kids are in danger. We must know where the sexual offenders are. They must be registered and followed closely. My heart goes out to the men and women who are sexually attracted to children. The ones I have talked to hate this. But, even more, my heart goes out to the children who are molested, or are vulnerable to molestation. They must be protected from child pedophiles. All of our children need to live in a safe environment, free of the threat of molestation."

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