Over the weekend I got into a little fight on Facebook regarding everyone’s favourite boogie man, the paedophile. I was shocked to see just the amount of people who, out of anger, were calling for the brutal murders of people for being a paedophile. So I really wanted to write a blog to address this idea a little. I think its more than necessary given what I saw just the other day.
First we need to do some definition of terms. See, a paedophile is just someone who finds themselves attracted to children, this is different from a child molester who molests children. This is important, because a lot of paedophiles have never molested children, never looked at child porn, never acted upon their desires. They’ve never done anything wrong, except for have an attraction to an underage person. Which we all know from our history of hating on “the gays” that sexual attraction isn’t something we can easily control, nor is it healthy to try and do so. Repressing sexuality causes that sexuality to bubble back through to the surface through an alternate route. Think of it like a river, you can block the river’s path, but it won’t stop the water. It will just go round your blockade somehow.
So now we know the difference between child molesters and paedophiles. We also know that sexual attraction isn’t something you can just change or take control of. Finally we know that even if we block the river, the river will just flow around the blockage. Assuming we’re all on board so far, and obviously if we’re not I’d love to have a conversation with you about what you think is wrong so far. Hit me up on Twitter or on here.
With our knowledge of what’s what, the question of killing or harming paedophiles can now be bought into question. When most people discuss this, they’re talking about child molesters, paedophiles who have molested children – and so will we.
Child Molesters, have already committed their crime, which may potentially have caused unknown trauma and damage to a child for the rest of their life. Some victims – and no, I won’t be calling them survivors. Some victims of child molestation can suffer long term psychological damage, such as depression and even personality disorders. Some even kill themselves. It’s obviously a huge problem which we should be protecting our children from, but does killing child molesters actually achieve this? No. Because they must have already molested a child to be a child molester. Does it stop them molesting other children, yes, it stops that specific child molester from ever molesting more children. However, it doesn’t stop any of the other child molesters.
When we kill a child molester, we send a message to other child molesters that the punishment for their crime is death, so out of necessity they get better at their crime. It’s already incredibly hard to track and catch paedophiles online. Things like TOR are often abused for the purposes of child abuse and every day it gets better and easier to anonymise yourself online. Police enforcement agencies for this type of crime will tell you themselves that it isn’t easy to catch online paedophiles. Their plant child can often receive thousands of messages from different paedophiles, and the Police will be lucky to catch one. One out of thousands is really bad odds.
We’ve dehumanised paedophiles, we’ve made them less than us, regularly non-child attracted people. So just as every other group of marginalised people, they’ve found comfort and power in each other. Using the anonymous internet and darkweb to connect and talk about the abuse of children. This happened when we dehumanised black people. This happened when we dehumanised gay people. When we dehumanised trans people. Or most recently, as we dehumanise Syrian refugees.
Across history we have this pattern of dehumanising a group of people, and every single time it’s caused further problems. Today we live with the results of black ghettos being in artificial poverty. We live with the problem of homophobic attacks. We live with transphobic laws being made about where people are allowed to go pee. We live with the reality of children washing up dead on beaches because we didn’t see them as human enough to deserve our help. Every single time it comes back to bite us in the ass when we realise “oh they were just people the whole time.”
Paedophiles, and by extension child molesters too, are the same – just people. They do bad things, and we don’t have to like them or agree with the things they do at all, but they are still just human. I get that the desire to hurt them like they hurt kids comes from a place of anger, and I would never tell anyone they aren’t entitled to their anger about something as seriously destructive as this – but its definitely wrong to use that anger in a way that isn’t going to make the problem better. As I said above, anger leads to hate, and hate leads to dehumanisation, dehumanisation leads to fringe groups that we can no longer control. Fringe groups are then able to abuse children freely while we all pretend the problem isn’t real because we don’t know about it.
If we want to solve the problem of child abuse, then we need to allow paedophiles to be people. We need to support them, keep them in our societies and help them to avoid abusing children. We simply cannot solve a problem that we can’t see – and paedophiles will never come forward when they are given such hate for merely existing. Think of it like a fire. We all know fire exists and can be destructive as all heck, but if we can’t see that fire, we can’t do anything about stopping it. If we want to stop the fire/paedophiles from being destructive, we need to know who they are and to do that, we need to treat them like people and not like monsters.
I don’t agree we should ever hurt people, whether those people be the young child of the nicest person you know, or a cranky person who happens to be a paedophile. We’re all people first and foremost, even the people we don’t like or agree with. If we’re ever going to fix the problems of our societies, we need to make sure we remember this.