The Primary Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse
Stopping child sexual abuse... before it can happen.


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Supporting Pedophiles And MAPs

In case you are unaware of the distinction between a pedophile and a MAP, a pedophile is someone with an attraction to prepubescent children, while a MAP is an umbrella term for someone attracted to minors in general. MAP stands for Minor Attracted Person(s). The behavior of sexually abusing a child is often not motivated primarily by pedophilia: The majority of those who sexually abuse children are not sexually attracted to them. While that information may be difficult to believe, it comes from a number of sources. One study showed that one-third of sexual abusers of children have pedophilia while two-thirds do not[1], a Dutch study (p. 65-66) found that 20% of sexual abusers of children have minor attraction (not just pedophilia)[2]. Another study of 146 men who sexually abused children found that 16.2% had pedophilia[3]. The statement of former FBI supervisory special agent Kenneth Lanning[4] also confirms these ideas. While determining precise numbers is difficult due to underreporting, it is clear that a significant number of sexual crimes against children are perpetrated by someone with a sexual attraction to children, while most crimes are not.

  

Anti-Contact Vs. Pro-Contact

 

Within the pedophile community, there are two main groups: Those that are against sexual contact with children, and those who are for sexual contact children, anti-contact and pro-contact, respectively. The best course of action is to support the anti-contact community, and encourage them to have peer support. Why, you ask? By giving more attention to the anti-contact community, and ignoring the pro-contact community, pedophiles who are against sexual abuse will naturally become the louder voice.

 

In doing so, they will attract pedophiles who are young or do not yet have an opinion on their attractions. By doing this, we can encourage pedophiles to avoid harming children, either through imagery or with a contact offense.

 

What The Experts Say

  

This idea is not new. In fact, three major experts in preventing sexual harm answered questions about this recently during a special I-AMA (Ask Me Anything) session on Reddit in December. Maia Christopher is the Executive Director of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, Karen Baker is the director of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, and Michael Seto is one of the foremost experts on pedophilia and editor of Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment. The overwhelming opinion in the professional sexual violence prevention community is that helping pedophiles by offering peer/professional support is the best way to ensure that pedophiles do not harm children, and suggest that reducing the stigma against pedophilia (the attraction) will help this endeavor and protect children. This can be seen across numerous pieces of research as well[5].

 

For every pedophile that gains a community of like-minded peers that are dedicated to remaining law-abiding, they have social support from people that understand them and issues unique to pedophiles. For every pedophile that gains professional help, they have the potential of finding a support network. In doing so, they lessen the risk factors like depression, anxiety, and self-hate that can lead to acting out against a child, or themselves. We can also help them avoid the pro-contact community and the damaging ideas they espouse. When a pedophile can get support without harming a child, it is not only a win for the pedophile, but also for preventing sexual abuse.



[1] Seto, Michael C., James M. Cantor, and Ray Blanchard. “Child Pornography Offenses Are a Valid Diagnostic Indicator of Pedophilia.” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 115, no. 3 (2006): 610–15. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-843X.115.3.610.


[2] "On Solid Ground: Tackling Sexual Violence against Children in the Netherlands.” National Rapportur on Trafficking in Human Beings, 2014. https://www.dutchrapporteur.nl/Publications/OnsolidgroundTacklingsexualviolenceagainstchildrenintheNetherlands/index.aspx.


[3] Kesicky, D., I. Andre, and M. Kesicka. “EPA-0284 – Pedophiles and (or) Child Molesters.” European Psychiatry 29 (2014): 1. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0924-9338(14)77731-4.


[4] Lanning, Kenneth V. “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis.” National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Federal Bureau of Investigation, December 1992.

 

[5] Jahnke, Sara. “The Stigma of Pedophilia: Clinical and Forensic Implications.” European Psychologist 23, no. 2 (April 2018): 144–53. https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000325.

Shields, Ryan T., Benelmouffok, Aniss, and Letourneau, Elizabeth J. “Help Wanted: Lessons on Prevention from Non-Offending Young Adult Pedophiles.” ATSA, October 15, 2015.

Cantor, James M., and Ian V. McPhail. “Non-Offending Pedophiles.” Current Sexual Health Reports 8, no. 3 (September 2016): 121–28. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11930-016-0076-z.