Summary of the lecture about ‘pedophilia’
Dr Frans E.J. Gieles, The Netherlands
Nijmegen, November 10, 2005; Tilburg, November 14, 2005; Amsterdam, March 28, 2006
1. What are we speaking about? A: Define correctly
A good definition defines what something is and describes what it is and not is. Control if you have made a definition or a preach. I define with NCGV: "Pedophilia is the feeling to be attracted to children, also in a sexual respect." The NCGV adds: "This feeling is experienced as important by the person concerned." And I add: "The concept pedophilia is a construction, made to distinguish people with these feelings from other people."
Make a distinction between feelings and acts, thus between pedophilia and pedosexuality. Both concepts overlap each other. Modern language does not make this distinction and uses both concepts as equivalents. Thus, describe carefully what you mean an you speak about. "Philia" is ‘love’, but here our language fails. I refer to charitè, loving care, and attraction.
DSM IV Revised reads for paraphilias:
"The Paraphilias are characterized by recurrent, intense, sexual urges,
fantasies, or behaviors that involve unusual objects, activities, or
situations and cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social,
occupational, or other important areas of functioning."
The criterion of distress is taken away in a clarification: "It is important to understand that experiencing distress about having the fantasies, urges or behaviors is not necessary for a diagnosis of pedophilia. Individuals who have a pedophilic arousal pattern and act on these fantasies or urges with a child qualify for the diagnosis of pedophilia. Individuals who have a pedophilic arousal pattern and act on these fantasies or urges with a child qualify for the diagnosis of pedophilia [as a distortion]."
Having distress is called egosyntone, not fitting with the ego. Absence of distress is called egosyntone, fitting with the ego. There remains an important criterion: having acted. Only having fantasies and desires is no distortion, as long as one does not act upon it. Nevertheless, the actual practice does not make this distinction. A diagnosis egosyntone pedophilia is seen as a severe distortion of the mind and the personality. It is the worst you can have.
3. Recidivism rates
No 100%, but 13.4% for sex offenders, after treatment about 10%. The general recidivism rate is nowadays 68% or more.
No 100%, but 4% lasting harm. Only for girls and only after force or threats, mostly by fathers. The sexual experience was afterwards by boys felt as one third positive, one third negative, and one third neutral; by girls as one sixth positive, one sixth neutral, and two third negative.
5. What are we speaking about? B: content related
I define: "also in sexual respect", not "exclusively …". The feeling is much broader and far more a feeling than a deed. The feelings exist often from childhood age, but may in the course of life be more or less on the foreground ort on the background. Suppressed feelings will come back to the foreground. Make a differentiation between feelings and deeds, but do not divide people along these lines. The same human can be quite different in the several periods of human life.
6. The sources
There are nine models of explanation – see
the table – thus be conscious of the model you choose. Be critical and
7. Helping people
See the scheme. The left model might be criticized. The self-help model groups create ethics, to be summarized as hands off.
9. Studying and learning
Dear students, go thoroughly into this subject. Have a look at the literature list, ask questions and be critical and self-critical.