Toxic Tuesday: Pedophile or Molester?
What does a pedophile look like? They don’t necessarily look like a creepy, dirty or unkempt person; in fact, they usually dress nicely to attract children to themselves. Examples we have heard of in the news over the last two years are: athletic coaches/personnel, teachers both male and female, pastors and priests, a bus driver, Sunday School teachers, babysitters, neighbors, friends, day care workers, mothers, fathers, siblings, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, a spouse, a shopper in Wal-Mart, swimmers at water parks…are you understanding how far-reaching abuse goes? It could be anyone anywhere at any time.
Why do pedophiles molest?
They have an unnatural sinful desire which could stem from their own childhood trauma, from viewing pornography and/or from mental illness. I am in no way saying that all mentally ill people molest; they do not, the thought never enters their mind. But mental illness can be a contributing factor for some pedophiles.
They are hurting flawed individuals who do not have the courage to seek help and healing; or if they do seek it—the dark memories are so overwhelming they choose to leave them where they are instead of bringing them into the light.
Many pedophiles in a position of authority often know a child’s mental state and family conditions because a parent confides in them; believing that the teacher, pastor, neighbor, friend, or (you fill in the ___________) will have the child’s best interest at heart.
They love the trill of not being caught. For many; they want to be caught and even leave clues yet are exhilarated when they are not discovered.
The most alarming reason, to me, that predators prey on children is society’s silence. People decide to cover it up, not report it or not believe it. Always believe the child. Do not confront the abuser. Report the abuser and allow the law to investigate. “Easy Lie = “No, it didn’t happen” / Most Difficult Lie = Detailed report of a traumatic event. False allegations of child abuse are rare.” netgrace.org. Many people want no involvement in the process of bringing an offender to justice. Why? It is emotionally draining, judicially slow and financially difficult. There is rarely an eyewitness who saw what happened to the child. By the time the child tells what happened to them, if ever they tell what happened to them; the DNA evidence is usually washed away. 97% of rape cases are never reported. According to dosomething.org; 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18. This statistic holds true for the Christian community. 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68 percent are abused by a family member. Many adults believe the pedophile/molester over the victim; telling the victim to shut up and stop causing problems. Silence is breaking children.
You may be asking, “Is there a difference between pedophiles and molesters?” The answer: Yes.
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Pedophiles and Child Molesters: The Differences (calcasa.org)
Although virtually all pedophiles are child molesters, not all child molesters are pedophiles. Pedophiles have a clear sexual attraction for children. The focus of a pedophile is a child or children generally under the age of 13. Pedophiles often report they are attracted to children in a particular age range (DSM-IV). Child molesters are sexual offenders who have committed either intra-familial sexual offense (incest) against a child victim or extra-familial sexual offenses against a child victim or both.
* True pedophiles may abuse family members, but the majority of their offenses is extra-familial and is directed toward vulnerable children whom they court or groom for the purpose of victimization. Their relationships with children are based on exploitation of the children for sexual gratification.
* Offenders, who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters, can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes.
* Pedophiles, especially those who molest boys, or both boys and girls, are the sex offenders who have the highest recidivism (relapse) rates after incarceration and/or treatment.
* Pedophiles frequently are uncomfortable with adult intimacy and may spend their lives maneuvering to be near children. They may be extremely charming and skilled at manipulating adults, and they may use adult relationships to gain access to children.
* The pedophile may spend years working up to a position of authority and trust within a church, school, or youth organization in order to have access to children. Of course, most such individuals (clergy, teachers, youth leaders) in these types of authoritative positions have no sexual interest in children.
* The non-pedophilic molester is someone whose primary sexual orientation includes adults, but who may molest children in a maladaptive attempt to meet emotional needs.
* Research has found that many men who molest their own children or related female children have sexual interests that are indistinguishable from those of non-offending males.
* Data suggest incestuous offenders, regardless of the gender of the victim, have lower numbers of victims and are less likely to be rearrested for new sex crimes after they have been convicted.
* A child molester may turn to a child for sex out of a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner, out of poor self-esteem, or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. This type of offender usually has had appropriate (but often dysfunctional) relationships with peers and may be married.
* Outcome studies have demonstrated consistently low rates of recidivism (relapse) for incestuous offenders.
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New studies are showing many pedophiles, mostly male but some female, choose their field of study/career path according to which profession will give them authority over children and easy access to children.
The continual increase in the use of internet pornography is alarming. Males, females; children and adults, have instant access to it. Hearts will continue to harden, brain chemistry will continue to change since addiction always requires—more— requires different. One view of porn can lead to another; can lead to more wrong choices which lead to a seared conscience. Victims become no more than objects in an abuser’s life because emotional relationships have been replaced with images and fantasy. Because of the seared conscience the victimizer does not believe they are doing anything wrong; and may even believe the child deserves it.
If the perpetrator has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and/or is a sociopath they have no other point of reference than themselves. They believe the world and everything/everyone in it exists for their needs and wants. They live their life on stage acting according to how they believe their audience, at the moment, wants to see them. They often are charming, have terrific personalities, ooze compassion, can be dynamic speakers/preachers and are Academy Award worthy actors. When backed in a corner or caught; they have the ability to talk their way out of everything. Here me: They could violate you, violate your child, burn down your house in front of your very eyes and then; with a few hours and persuasive words, convince you they did not do it, someone else did it, and they were set up to look guilty. The worst part: You would believe them. That is how good they are with words and acting.
Next week’s Toxic Tuesday will address: What child predators look for when choosing a victim, ways you can protect your child, and symptoms of child sexual abuse.
If you are in danger or you have a child being abused, please leave immediately and seek help. Instances of children making up stories of child abuse are rare. Always believe the child. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse, and a link for Christian survivors.