Prevention therapy for Paedophiles: Better than getting revenge?

The concept of paedophilia is a hard topic for most people, it is a subject that draws anger and confusion, that sparks aggression that can over-power a sense of humanity. People struggle to understand how someone can have such unnatural desires, and are quick to label people with these desires, as criminals. Although I understand the anger, as I feel it too, we are surrounded by many different people, and the more the world grows the more psychological illnesses we become aware of. It might be hard to comprehend paedophilia as a mental illness, but to consider it as one, I think, is the best way to develop an understanding that the feelings and desires are beyond the control of the individual.

This blog is not completely directed at the first article provided (located at the bottom of the page) but more about the discussion in the comments and people’s views on the sex dolls and paedophilia. For the purpose of this article, I’d like to consider paedophilia as a mental illness – as it is discussed as a “psychiatric disorder”. But, although this concept may offend or confuse some people, please do try to be open minded. There is no way that I support ANYONE who would bring harm to someone else, but as you all know I am studying to be a Psychologist. I have a dream of working with children and/or criminals, to find out how disorders occur, what makes someone commit a crime and how their childhoods can affect their future lives. To do this, you need to be open minded. You must consider all alternatives, no matter how strange they are. To be a good psychologist, you can’t walk into a room with a criminal and expect to help by saying, “Oh, that’s weird and disgusting”, you have to put yourself in their shoes and you need to treat them like any other person. I say this because, personally, I would not consider paedophilia as a “mental illness”, because if a man can be attracted to a woman and vice versa, a woman attracted to another woman, a man attracted to another man, a younger woman attracted to an older man, or a younger man attracted to an older woman – then, anything is possible. We no longer consider homosexuality as a mental disorder because it’s a sexual orientation. Just like a gay man did not decide to desire other men, a paedophile did not decide to desire children, and they have to live in a world that is completely against them. No matter how disgusting or dangerous paedophilia might be to us, to some it is a sexual preference.  Society is in charge of determining what is right and what is wrong, and for perfectly good reasons we have decided that acting on paedophilia is completely unacceptable. So, as I said, I will refer to it as a mental illness.

Sex dolls made to look like under aged girls – prevention or encouragement? Even I was on the fence about this. The more comments I read, the more leaned to the side where it might actually be encouraging the acts on real children, so I started to find myself sitting in the majority (for a change). The reason for this though, is because I came across a link posted by a woman about Germany’s Prevention Project called Dunkelfeld, which I will discuss later in the blog. As I said, I didn’t choose to write about this mainly because of the dolls, but because of the ideas that were passed around throughout the comments.

Not saying that being angry about paedophiles and wanting to get revenge makes you close minded – but, a lot of these people appeared to be completely ignorant, and yeah, close minded. Some people find it hard to fathom that you cannot convict a paedophile if they haven’t actually done anything wrong, even when you believe that their thoughts alone are wrong. In one of my comments I tried to explain that paedophilia can be seen as a mental illness, just like other mental illnesses, it is a psychological problem that people are unable to have complete control of BUT paedophiles do have the choice of offending or not. People questioned that if these dolls would help prevent children from being offended, would others be happy to accept them. The angry responses to these valid questions are a great reflection of a problem we have in our society. People spend too much time being angry about things they can’t stop, but are happy to ignore anything that might actually prevent it.

Furthermore, these responses were very much continued when I came across the linked article about the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). The article is about an open paedophilic man named Max Weber (I’m not sure if this is a fake name or someone named their kid after the famous sociologist but whatever), who had not offended but had been close, and his experience with the PPD. Basically, he was surprised when he attended the therapy sessions that he witnessed such a mix of people, a church warden, a banker, a doctor and people from all walks of life. Some who had no children, some who were parents and some who had family with children, single, in a relationship, or married, but had not offended. This project’s main focus is to help prevent people from offending, by allowing them to discuss their thoughts, and teaching them ways to avoid things that may lead them to commit. One of the main points of prevention was discouraging the watching of porn and so on. This is where I “got off the fence” and decided that maybe the use of sex dolls would be a bad idea. Some people made a point that maybe the person would be able to get it out of their system by using the sex doll instead, but others said it would just encourage them. This project though, is saying that things such as that need to be avoided in order to prevent the real thing occurring.

What do I think of this project? I think it is a positive thing. I like to be optimistic and realistic about these things. As I said, it’s obvious we can’t just go around and put people in jail because the laws don’t agree with their desires, so if the best we can do is offer them a safe place to go and get help then why the hell not? I received many replies on my comments that said there was no way that therapy was going to help, that these people were absolutely sick and that therapy would only encourage their behaviour, because it makes them “think they have rights”. That right there is an example of the fucking ignorance of the people we are surrounded by. I referred to Norway’s prison system in one of my comments, that sometimes rehabilitation is more effective than punishment. Treating people like they are disgusting animals is only going to push them further away from society and closer to committing the crimes we don’t want them to commit. It shocks me that people would rather side with the option that is impossible rather than the side that might help prevent it from happening. A regular replier stated that the only thing that really stops these people from offending are knowing the consequences of their actions; losing their job, family, reputation and their future.

I said,

“You are right, I think the consequences in place are what stop them from offending, but those laws aren’t going to change even when therapy is offered. It will still be a crime, they will still have the same consequences, but maybe therapy will help them get their life on track and help them deal with their thoughts. The consequences will always be in place, and as long as they are then therapy is just another step to try to decrease the offending rates.”

The world will never be what we want it to be, there will always be criminals and crime, the law does not allow us to kill people we dislike, or to punish people for their beliefs or their desires. We have to accept that we may not always get the revenge we desire, and that the biggest step we can take to creating a safer place is to allow the people who need help the most, to get the help that they need. Every individual has the right to be helped, and in the long run I’m sure we’d all prefer to have accepted prevention therapy than to let dangerous people roam our streets when they could have been helped. The more hate we spread, the less people who will seek help, and the chance of offending rises.

“Sometimes teaching people how to be a good citizen and not treating them like complete dirt actually has a positive effect, even if we don’t believe the person deserves any rights. It shouldn’t be about revenge, it should be about preventing it in the first place.”

 

Article about young-looking sex dolls being seized by NZ customs: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11887417

Article linked by a commenter about Germany Dunkelfeld project for paedophiles: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/16/how-germany-treats-paedophiles-before-they-offend

 

 

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