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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

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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.

2. Distortion?

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."
For the diagnosis ‘pedophile paraphilia’ [as a distortion] is the criterion: "Over a period of at least six months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children […]
The person has acted on these sexual urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies caused marked distress or interpersonal difficulty. [*]" And "The paraphilic focus of pedophilia involves sexual activity with a prepubescent child (generally age 13 years or younger). The individual with pedophilia must be age 16 years or older and at least 5 years older than the child." Adolescents having relationships with 12- or 13-year old children are not seen as distorted.

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.

4. Harm

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 self-critical.
The psycho-dynamic model is clarified with the help of the personal story of the speaker: the blanket-theory – therapy - elephants – painkillers – consciousness – the neurosis as surviving strategy of the child’s inner – the de-neurotisation process.

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.

8. Problems

Research is extremely difficult.

A process of scapegoat forming and demonizing is fully going on.

Making a diagnosis is a process full of pitfalls and paradoxes; there are no objective criteria, thus a subject decides. 23 of 25 reports had errors.

Treatment of sex offenders is not a therapy of the inner, but a nightmare full of behavior control.

The trend is to lock up people for treatment – or for life if one does not cooperate with the treatment staff.

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.

Make correct definitions and inspect if you have made a definition or a preach;

Ask yourself questions and inspect if it are really questions and not hidden sermons;

Ma a differentiation between feelings and deeds;

Make a differentiation between science and morality;

Read, read, read and read.. study thoroughly;

Have a critical look on theories, methods and practices; and finally

Have also a critical look, but also an open mind on what I had to tell you today.





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