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Of Homosexuals, Pedophiles, and Differences

In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated.’"
Accused Haredi pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz.

Accused Haredi pedophile Avrohom Mondrowitz.

 I was just sent a link to a blog called Together We Heal (TWH). This is a website whose stated purpose ‘is for any who suffered the trauma of Child Sexual Abuse. Provide a safe forum, educate any seeking info and expose the predators methods’.
What I read there was both shocking and yet hard to dispute. And yet I’m sure it will anger, survivors of abuse, their advocates, and the homosexual community.
The thrust of this article is that there is a movement among professional psychologists to stop calling pedophilia an illness, and to refer to it as simply a sexual orientation. We are after all dealing with a sexual orientation that is virtually impossible to change. Just like same sex attraction (SSA). SSA was once considered a mental disorder. That changed in the 70s when the APA redefined it. Which of course change the entire culture of homosexuality from one of shame to one of pride. Homosexuals who once hid their orientation are now so accepted that gay marriages are being performed by some clergy.
Now before anyone wants to come over here and shoot me, I am not saying that there aren’t very important differences. Leaving religious issues aside, homosexual sex between two consenting adults is a lot different from sex between an adult and a minor. By definition there is no such thing consenting adults when it comes to pedophilia. When an adult has sex with a minor it has been amply demonstrated that the effects on the minor will have lifelong devastating consequences.
For Orthodox Jews, more often than not that includes going OTD. But even worse – many victims drop out of society completely, some end up in the streets; some as alcoholics or drug users; and some even commit suicide. How many times have I read a survivor story about how well adjusted, productive, and studious he (or she) was prior to the abuse, only to become rebellious, unproductive scholastically,  and eventually drop out of everything afterwards. There seems to be an almost endless stream of reports from survivors with stories like that.
Which makes something I wasn’t aware of quite shocking. From the article:

In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from childhood sexual abuse experiences.”

Does this not fly in the face of everything we know about child sexual abuse?! This report is not a layman’s report. It is not Satmar, Agudah, or Lakewood saying this. It is the report of a professional organization that studies these things. The same one that changed homosexuality from a mental illness into a sexual orientation; an organization whose many members treat victims of sex abuse successfully! And it came out 15 years ago! I have never seen it quoted until now. I am unaware of any APA report to the contrary. And yet every professional and every survivor I have ever spoken to or seen quoted on this subject says the exact opposite! I tend to agree with the survivors and the experts I’ve spoken to. What is going on here?
Getting back to pedophilia as a sexual orientation – just like heterosexuality or homosexuality, I can obviously see the danger in equating pedophiles to homosexuals to heterosexuals. Whatever one may say about these three groups of people religiously, I don’t think there can be any doubt that their sexual orientation cannot be changed. Nor can there be any doubt about the vastly different consequences of sex between 2 consenting adults – and the consequences of sex between a child and an adult.
The question becomes how we judge people whose sexual orientation is different from the vast majority of us that are heterosexual… and whose sexual orientation cannot be changed? Do we say judge the sin and not the sinner? That is certainly the religious way to look at it. Pope Francis just yesterday said basically that about homosexuals to a shocked media. They shouldn’t be shocked. That was always the view of the Catholic Church. But it is the view of Judaism too. Who are we to judge others by who – or what – they are sexually attracted to?
At the same time, the effects of succumbing to one type of predilection are the polar opposite of the effects of succumbing to another predilection. It is also virtually impossible to live a life of complete celibacy. When homosexuals have sex in biblically forbidden ways, we can condemn the behavior from a religious perspective. But we can also understand that from a humanistic perspective, there is no psychological harm being done to anyone.
But a non celibate pedophile is a horse of an entirely different color. How can we judge only the sin and not the sinner in that case? Even if he can’t help himself? And view him as just having an alternative sexual orientation?
Here are the things for us to consider. Does saying that pedophiles should no longer to be considered mentally ill change anything? Does the 1998 APA report saying that the vast majority of victims report no negative sexual effects from child sex abuse change anything? How does this impact the original APA decision to redefine homosexuality from a mental disorder into an alternative lifestyle? And finally, how do homosexuals and survivors of child sex abuse and their advocates feel about all of this?

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About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.


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7 Responses to “Of Homosexuals, Pedophiles, and Differences”

  1. Several problems with this analysis:

    (1) It presumes that pedophiles are promiscuous or sex mad. This is not the case. In fact, my observation is that pedophiles tend to be less promiscuous or sex mad than teleiophiles, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

    (2) The "lifelong consequences of abuse" are derived via circular reasoning. For decades, psychologists have assured anyone with psychological problems that the source was childhood sexual abuse. In many cases, the patient could not even remember any such incidences until their therapist convinced them it happened by introducing false memories. (Current research has revealed that it is shockingly easy to create false memories.) Therefore, a large number of people with psychological problems will attribute all of these problems to sexual abuse in childhood even when it never occurred. Others may have experienced actual abuse that was harmful to various degrees. Naturally, all of these people should have our sympathy – but we should not presume that they are correct about the origin of their problems.

    The research in question from 1998, known variously as the Rind Report or Rind et al (1998) simply analyzed a number of studies in which college students were asked about their sexual experiences in childhood, and they found that in cases where these students had had consensual sexual relationships with adults while they were children – relationships which were never found out – there was no significant difference in outcome between these students and those who had not.

    The difference in outcome for children whose relationships WERE found out suggests that much of the harm in such cases is sociogenic or iatrogenic.

    (3) As regards the religious question, note that although several major religions condemn homosexuality, not a single one condemns pedophilia – and in fact many give approving accounts of relationships that today would be considered pedophilic – for example, the story of Esther.

  2. James Cantor says:

    The opinions in that essay are based on several incorrect claims. First, there is no such movement. There exist only individual people, usually hired by defence lawyers as "experts," who make claims that will benefit their clients. Second, the research scientists who refer to pedophilia as a "sexual orientation" are saying so as part of saying (as the scientific evidence suggests) that pedophilia is an inborn characteristic that does not change over the course of life. They have not been equating the social standing of the two groups.

    - James Cantor, PhD, CPsych.
    Associate Professor, University of Toronto.
    Editor-in-Chief, Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.

  3. Geoffrey Woo says:

    Heterosexuality may be normal or acceptable, but rape isn't. So it is best to equate pedophilia with rape or sexual abuse in the workplace. Obviously a minor is hardly capable of resisting such advances, such as punching the perpetrator in the face. The issue has never been whether pedophilia is acceptable or not.

  4. I would argue that either the APA changes to the DSM were and are primarily politically motivated, or they are primarily based on scientific study.

    If they are primarily based on scientific study then changing the category on pedophiles is just a statement of facts.

    This author, I am sure, believes that it is primarily a political basis.
    In that case, clearly it would be the wrong political choice to change the category as it would leave little choice to stopping or incarcerating the most prolific abusers.

    To continue on that thread, I would disagree that it is or was a bad thing to change the DSM without scientific proof. If a society views women as inferior or disordered or a particular race that way, do we have to have scientific proof not to treat them as sick?

  5. 1) The author is a failure in recognizing that it's usually the people who engage what he calls "consensual adult acts" that also engage in non-consensual acts.

    Liberals promote a culture that hammers incessantly that everyone is “normal” and every sexual perversity is OK. Or so say our sexually perverted elites (and the large part of the populace who is the same). And they will hypocritically add that every sexual perversion is OK “as long as its consensual” – pretending that every time that consent fails it is not already too late for prevention – and pretending that it’s not the same people who they were empowering as being sexually perverted “as long as it was consensual” that usually violate consent down the road. But society supported the perverted mind of the individual all the way until the abuse or harassment happened. (There are millions of examples, but take Frank Lombard, and Newton and Truong, as two clear examples).

    Society waits until abuse happens to then exclaim that abuse is bad – but where is the detection that will allow its prevention? Then all we see in society are cowards.

    Furthermore, while sexuality bourgeoisies go on proclaiming that being sexually perverted is OK “if it is consensual,” they are fully indifferent to the fact that most of what is not consensual is never brought to justice anyways, a fact that obviously does not bother them and for which there is no civil rights movement, we must note.

    http://alessandrareflections.wordpress.com/2013/08/03/another-homosexual-couple-sexually-torture-a-baby-boy-in-australia-liberal-report-portrays-the-monsters-as-glowing-gushing-with-endorsement-for-the-gay-male-couple/

  6. About how scientifically and morally corrupt the APA is in regard to sexuality issues, one must read NARTH. NARTH has been a beacon of light all along, while the APA drove itself into its current deplorable state.

    The APA’s and the Pedophilia Controversy:

    http://narth.com/docs/pedcrisis.html

    Lastly, what is clear to any sane person is that you can take the LGBT out of the DSM, but you can’t take the profoundly deformed (DSM) psychological problems out of the LGBT folks.

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