Criminology/Pedophilia term paper 41871

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Introduction:

As an abnormal sexual behavior, pedophilia is considered a wrongful act engaged by an adult in order to casually gain pleasure through sexual activity with a child. A study conducted in a school in Massachusetts revealed �that at least 1/3 of the female respondents and 1 out of 10 males had experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of 15� according to Bruess, and Greenberg (157). Children aged 7 to 13 belonging to different socio-economic and educational backgrounds from either urban or rural areas are vulnerable to this type of victimization. Female children are also evidently more predisposed to sexual molestation than males. This sexual practice is thereby considered taboo and heavily condemned by a society that cannot tolerate the gravity of this immoral conduct. Demanding from a child to become a sexual object and the possibility of using actual physical force as a humanitarian violation necessitates the illegality of this act. This act is therefore considered heinous and morally unacceptable because of the strong possibilities of procreation and the unsettling effects it could bring on the child�s development according to Benatar (191).

Identifying this aberrant behavior in adults is the work of legal and medical authorities in order to protect the child from being victimized. Most of the adult perpetrators in common reports revealed that the pedophile is known to the victim as conducted in a research by Flowers (149). In 2002, the world became aware of this problem following a publicized scandal involving several Catholic Church priests who had repeatedly abused children in their parish. Incestuous relations committed by an older adult to a child, still categorized a pedophilia was pronouncedly declared as a common social problem that has been existing throughout the decades. As society turned a blind eye in the past to this aberrant sexual behavior, fearful perhaps to discuss this inconvenient moral issue, an increasing rate of incidence has slowly awoken us to the sad fact that the act could be prevented should everyone decide to understand and work to eradicate this problem.

Findings through Related Literature:

Authors had argued over the baseline data on the definition of a child. Psychologists believed that this should start with identifying the exact age as a cut-off point and agreed on the age of 7-12 is the perfect age group for a study. Flowers identified that the median age for victims of pedophiles is 11 years old for both males and females while perpetrators have a median age of 31 (150). The perpetrators of the crime are identified as those men or women who have spontaneous sexual preference for pre-pubescent youths. Langevin (1985) believed that the pedophiles� fixation to his previous �stage of development is a result of an unresolved curiosity�. In the psychoanalytic theory of development, male children at the age of 4-6 years old develop an attachment to a female parent while the female child develops an attachment for the male parent. Caught and reprimanded without proper explanation, the child develops anxiety and fears of castration. This unresolved issue for a pedophile creates a feeling of nostalgia and a relationship with a child for him is a �safe passage� to his repressed and inner fears, a chance to re-enact his childhood. This unresolved issue for an adult is also explained by Langevin (1985) when the adult (pedophile) �settles sexually for an immature person instead to avoid fears of castration or ridicule from an older female�.

Bruess and Greenberg also provided that �pedophilia is also commonly associated with incest and could be committed with or without sexual penetration� (157). The availability of the child victim to a pedophile is also a common reason why pedophilia is associated with incest. Langevin also contributed that �male dominance as a primal instinct� could be an explanation behind why an older male needs to sexually dominate a young child who could not subdue him physically. Parental neglect over their child or a �lifestyle of neglect is a common situation encountered by sexually abused children� according to Benatar (195). At an age where children are vulnerable to exploitation even from within the home, parental disregard for their welfare is also one reason why pedophiles are unintentionally allowed to commit an act. The likelihood of parents committing or allowing sexual abuse to children is greatly increased among parents who were also victims of pedophiles themselves according to Flowers thereby creating a cycle of violence.

Flowers also believed that children who are sexually abused stand the risk of �short and long term effects that is considered psychologically detrimental to their physical and emotional well-being� (149). Benatar reasoned that a molested child may have negative �feelings toward their adult partner coupled with feelings of guilt from the violation of a social norm� (192). His research also revealed that some adults who were once victims of sexual abuse during their childhood years encounter promiscuity and prostitution issues later in life. The ramifications increase among victims who are forced to endure painful sexual acts due to feelings of stigma and powerlessness that could also result to altered interpersonal relations. In effect, Flowers believed that �child sexual abuse can definitely interfere with normal childhood development� regardless of whether the experience was sexually gratifying to the child or not (149).

Solutions:

The American Psychiatric Association and in Craig, Miner and Coleman propagates the belief that �the intense sexual fantasies, sexual urges or sexual behaviors involving sexual activity with a pre-pubescent child can be controlled with anti-hormonal treatments in an adult�. Other offenders can be submitted for cognitive therapy, �medical treatment with cyproterone acetate under a specialized instruction and other intensive programs that would help prevent recidivism� as suggested in Craig, Miner and Coleman. In violent pedophiles with brain disorders, an intensive therapy involving medications and electronic treatment has also been heard of.

Conclusion:

It is imperative that sexual predators should be halted and the role of parents in providing responsible sex education to a child is important to solve this social issue. While children are prone to coercion, the knowledge of what constitutes a sexual act may alert the child to report initial sexual advances to parents. Likewise, parents need to play a role and emphasize in a child how pedophiles should not be enticed through the sight of a child�s budding sexuality. Pedophiles are drawn to pre-adolescents due to what they represent, as sexual substitutes for an adult woman. It is therefore important that a child must be drawn away from being the target of pedophiles� lasciviousness.

Works Cited

Benatar, David. Two Views of Sexual Ethics, Promiscuity and Pedophilia and Rape. Public Affairs Quarterly 16, 3, July 2002, p. 191-201.

Bruess, Clint E. and Greenberg, Jerrold S. Sexuality Education: Theory and Practice. Jones and Bartlett, 2004.

Flowers, Ronald B. Runaway Kids and Teenage Prostitution: America�s Lost, Abandoned, and Sexually Exploited Children.

United States: Greenwood Press, 2001.

Langevin, Ron. �Erotic Preference, Gender Identity, and Aggression in Men: New Research Studies.� Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (1985), Questia Media. 26 November, 2007. http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99627864

Craig, Melody. �Sex Offender Treatment: Accomplishments, Challenges, and Future Directions.� Ed. Miner, Michael and Coleman, Eli. Journal of Correctional Education (Dec, 2003). 26 November, 2007.

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