On air: Can paedophiles ever be released safely into society?

The Thai authorities say they’re preparing to expel the former pop star and convicted paedophile, Gary Glitter. He’s been at Bangkok airport since refusing to board a flight to London, last night, following his release from a Vietnamese jail.

It comes as the British Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, says restrictions on convicted child sex offenders are to be tightened— to make it harder for them to travel abroad.

Can paedophiles be rehabilitated? Can their condition be managed so they don’t pose a threat to the community? Or should no chances be taken when it comes to the safety of children?

On Monday a British man, who police said was the “librarian” of a global internet child abuse ring, was jailed indefinitely. He had 241,000 indecent images of children. He admitted 27 charges, including causing children aged under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

How far would you go to make sure a paedophile doesn’t settle in your area? Should convicted paedophiles be able to travel freely around the world, or should they be forced to surrender their passports?

Or are we creating a society where parents and children live in fear of a threat that is remote?

190 Responses to “On air: Can paedophiles ever be released safely into society?”

  1. 1 Mohammed Ali
    August 20, 2008 at 14:04

    Just release a pedophile in the society without rehabilitating him and he will continue his act.

  2. 2 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 14:13

    I find it highly unlikely they can be released into society safely.

    The thing is, why such the hype now? It’s not like there are more paedophiles now than there were in the past. i think the only difference between now and the past is the internet, and how paedophiles can meet children that way. But that’s where parenting comes in. Parents should supervise their child’s internet usage.

  3. 3 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 14:18

    Paedophiles can be released into the society if their activities are completely monitored. Yes travel restrictions should be placed on them while attempts should be made to rehabilitate them. They are evil people who should not be allowed to roam freely and using the Intelligence agencies to keep tabs on convicted child sex offenders would not be a bad idea.

  4. 4 Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite
    August 20, 2008 at 14:18

    Thank you for your e-mail and the encouragement to respond on paedophiles.
    I believe convicted paedophiles should be as restricted in their travel as possible. Society should not be left to live in fear of unexpected dangers when the assailants are identified.Children have to be protected to the best of the ability of the adult members of their families and of the honest members of their society. Thank you.
    Marija Liudvika Rutkauskaite

  5. 5 Nick in USA
    August 20, 2008 at 14:21

    Doesn’t someone need to be popular to be considered a “pop” star? I’ve never heard of this guy.

    Yes, I think paedophiles can be released into society, but not without restrictions. He should be forced to talk to a psychiatrist once a week, as well.

  6. 6 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 14:22

    I do NOT think that Pedophiles can be released safely back into society without surgical alteration.
    Is it only males that are pedophiles and if so what does that say about genetic urges and the ability to control those urges?
    Are we genetically programmed that all males are pedophiles but most have the ability to control their urges?
    For the purposes of this post I am assuming that we are talking under legal age but NOT talking babies.

  7. 7 jesse basse
    August 20, 2008 at 14:23

    no way!no normal human being jump into the pit with his eyes open,it’s either a mistake or suicide.unless he’s rehabilitated or promising to stop and not do it again,he should,nt be allow in to the society,with such an idicent,highly immoral,inhuman,unethical,unchristian and unislamic,psychopantic way of behaviour.but the guy seems unrepentant so he should’nt be allow and people like him too should not be allow to mingle in the society,because that would mean tolerating them.

  8. 8 Katharina in Ghent
    August 20, 2008 at 14:37


    This is probably one of the most difficult questions possible. The left-wing-freedom-for-all person in me shouts “Let them live their life freely, once they’re out of prison!”, but the concerned mother in me doesn’t want them anywhere near where I live. To be honest, I don’t think that these men can be “cured”, if you have a sexual taste for children then that’s what you want, and a grown-up won’t do it for you as a partner. I believe that at least the police should always know where they live, and they should not be allowed to settle near a school or another institution for children. In adition to that, if possible they should be kept on drugs that supress their sexual needs (weekly visit of their nagging grandmother might suffice). 😉

  9. 9 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 14:42


    “unless he’s rehabilitated or promising to stop and not do it again,he should,nt be allow in to the society,with such an idicent,highly immoral,inhuman,unethical,unchristian and unislamic,psychopantic way of behaviour.but the guy seems unrepentant so he should’nt be allow and people like him too should not be allow to mingle in the society,because that would mean tolerating them.”

    Is it really a question about morality? Pedophiles are born that way. They don’t choose to be attracted to prepubescents, no more than homosexuals choose to be attracted to the same sex. It’s “natural”. But some “natural” things reflect mental illness, but this is one of the situations where fortunately political correctness doesn’t get in the way of saying “you, pedophile, are mentally ill!”

  10. 10 Sigmund
    August 20, 2008 at 14:44

    It may well cost a lot of money, however this monster needs to be watched, Jackie Smith said “”No paedophile is a celebrity, every paedophile needs to be controlled,” she insisted.

    Upon his return, Glitter would be interviewed by the police and required to sign the sex offenders’ register. He would then have to tell police where he intends to live and notify them if he moves.

    He may also be monitored by police and the probation service under Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).”

    MAY be monitored you have just got to be kidding? Well let us hope he has chosen to live next door to Jackie Smith then.

  11. 11 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 14:45

    Groundless tabloid hysteria. Most children are molested by family members, and never reported. Tormenting pedophiles is a pointless, destructive witch-hunt and a cheap political ploy.

  12. 12 arnaudemmanuel
    August 20, 2008 at 14:47

    There is no way to eradicate all kinds of evil in our society today because they are many…of course we live the last days…and these pedophiles are some unwanted in our society…another problem is that all these evil doers may be our parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, and closest friends. So you see it’s not that easy to denounce them.

  13. 13 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 14:48

    @ Jonathan.

    Thank God stories like this are only groundless tabloid hysteria.


  14. August 20, 2008 at 14:51

    Just playing devils advocate as usual.

    the word “pedophile” conjures up one image in all of our heads. The legal definition is something much more encompassing. So to keep from arguing from two indirect perspectives, we should define the age difference and the amount of incidence we are assigning to the word. In this country you can be labeled a “sexual offender” for life if you are 20 and have a relationship with a 17 year old. yet we consider 18 and 21 to be a fully responsible and encouragable relationship. The first situation can get people sent to jail for up to 5 years. Can that “pedophile” be safely released to the public

  15. 15 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 14:59

    @ Dwight, a pedophile is a person who is attracted to prepubescent children. A 17 year old has gone through puberty. The person who has sex with a 17 year old isn’t a pedophile.

  16. 16 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 15:00

    @ Dwight in Cleveland
    I agree. Even if the girl produced ID that shows she is over 18 and in reality is underage upon conviction one gets labeled as a sex offender. Did the politically correct frightened of everything group press politicians to pass laws that go overboard?

  17. 17 Sigmund
    August 20, 2008 at 15:05

    And isn’t is sad that the real horrors are hidden in our country and manipulated by the ministry of justice.


  18. August 20, 2008 at 15:08

    I believe that pedophiles should be used as a resource in the war against terrorism.

    They can be inserted into the tribal areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan to do great things. Convert them to Islam first then use them to bait the really bad terrorists.


  19. 19 Angela in Washington D.C.
    August 20, 2008 at 15:09

    I agree with Dwight. There are situations in which individuals go to jail for engaging in consensual relationships with someone who is a few years younger, 2-3 years. These people are interacting with kids around the same age and I do not consider them to be pedophile.

    For the definition that Steve gave, I do not believe people that engage in act with prepubsecent child can be safely released into society. These individuals have already shown that they cannot be trusted. As long as they are not allowed to be around any kids that is fine.

  20. August 20, 2008 at 15:11

    As long as we use Steve’s description then I would have to say, they can not be released under the same conditions as say a bank robber, or a money launderer.
    By extension though, couldn’t you ask, “can a rapist ever be released to a society?”

  21. 21 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 15:15

    It’s not just my definition, it’s the medical definition, which is an attraction to pre-pubescents:


    If it were any other way, EVERY single straight male would be a pedophile. Remember all the big deal about Brittney Spears before she turned 18? Are we all pedophiles becuse we thought she was hot? It’s strictly about attraction to pre-pubescents, hence why we think there is something seriously wrong with pedophiles.

  22. 22 Jennifer
    August 20, 2008 at 15:16

    Paedophiles can be rehabilitated but they should be monitored very closely. They should have probation conditions that ensure they have no or limited supervised contact with children. They should have travel restrictions to prevent them from being unsupervised in another country. No chance should be taken with a child’s safety.

  23. 23 nelsoni
    August 20, 2008 at 15:22

    @ Steve. Thanks for the link. It gives us an idea of what we are talking about.

  24. 24 Angela in Washington D.C.
    August 20, 2008 at 15:23


    Although there are circumstances like the one you pasted, most cases occur from family members and are never brought to the open.

  25. 25 Ronad
    August 20, 2008 at 15:26

    Many years ago the state of Georgia in the USA had a training program for pedophiles similar to Clock Work Orange. If a prisoner volunteered for the training they were released early. The training consisted or a procedure that make them grossly nauseated when they watched child pornography.

    It was 98% effective for 5 years which should be compared to imprisonment then release which was 2% effective..

    The Supreme Court of Georgia ruled that this was cruel and unusual punishment. Why was this procedure not used for bank robbers, rapist, or murders, they asked. The State does not have the right to
    require change of mind just because it finds particular behaviors repulsive. It only has to right to imprison a person if they are caught and successfully prosecuted for their crimes.

    From the pedophiles view point they said the program was wonderful because they could now control themselves due to the training which previously they could not. Deep down inside they did not really want to molest children and were thankful that their desire was now in control.

    This information was dismissed as not relevant to the courts decision to make it illegal to offer training to pedophiles for early release from prision.

  26. August 20, 2008 at 15:28

    @troop, I think the homosexuals too need to be added to that list. In that case they’ll fight a good battle and maybe even capture bin Laden. What do you think?

  27. 27 Bob in Queensland
    August 20, 2008 at 15:49

    It must be remembered that paedophilia is an abnormal psychological condition which also happens to be a crime. As such, there is no chance that a prison sentence is going to “rehabilitate” them…so, for the safety of society, they should not be released.

    This is not to say that they should be treated cruelly but, until somebody develops a cure (as opposed to a punishment) then I can’t see how they can exist in normal society.

  28. August 20, 2008 at 15:49

    Hi Chloe
    Are we getting too dramatic about child sex offenders? There have been repeated child rape and forced sodomy cases in Tehran. One reason is the mass migration to the capital and other population centres, although the press sometimes picks on Afghans and other immigrants. The glaring problem is that Tehran has no ‘red ligh district.’ Shahre No, as it was called, was demolished at the outset of the Islamic Revolution. So it is not surprising that day labourers and transient workers may commit sexual offenses on their off days.
    Why not examine the issue thoroughly before falling into false conclusions. Regular checks and medical examination in properly quartered ‘red light districts’ would curb the spread of AIDS, safeguard inmates from abuse and cut down on sex crimes.
    From what I saw in Southeast Asia, many houses cater for child sex, and child prostitution is an accepted source of income for many families; What do you do then?
    Are paedophiles worse than sodomites? Members of closed communities and seminaries also practice forced sodomy, but where do you draw the line between consenting adults and rape? Homosexual and paedophile is often one and the same person. What happens when money changes hands and a person knowingly and willingly accepts renumeration for services rendered?
    The most society can do is enforce strict inspections at schools and warn children of any impending threat and keep a vigilant eye on public places in order to ensure their safety.

  29. 29 Roy, Washington DC
    August 20, 2008 at 15:51

    Given the risk of recidivism among pedophiles, releasing them back into society is a gamble that few people are going to want to take.

  30. 30 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 15:56

    @ Bob in Queensland
    Prison has long ago abandoned rehabilitation and is strictly now for punishment.
    After serving their sentence must we protect society from everything and never release these people? Where are parent’s responsibilities to watch their kids?
    Does a pedophile get “cured” after castration?

  31. 31 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 20, 2008 at 15:56

    Last year I worked as a researcher in child abuse, family violence and sexual abuse. I met many children that were victims of sexual abuse and talked with them about their experiences. It was heartbreaking. I could see their pain, anger and sadness. It was like their souls were broken forever.

    I think pedophiles cannot be rehabilitated. I strongly opposed to their “free” release into society. I think they should not be allowed to be near children and should be compelled to surrender their passports.

    Taking into account what I know now about the patterns of pedophiles, I am very careful when choosing caregivers for my daughters. Also, I have openly talked with my daughters about this issue. Pedophiles avoid children that may recognize their behavioural pattern and are warned against them.

    Child molestation and sexual abuse is more common that what we think. Many children do not say anything after being molested or attacked, for fear of retaliation (by the offender) or because they think the attack is their fault. Also, pedophiles often prey in children they know. It is common that the child molester/abuser is a member of the family, a friend of the family, a neighbour, a teacher, etc.

    About your question: “Are we creating a society where parents and children live in fear of a threat that is remote?”
    The threat is not remote. And when children are involved, we should not take ANY chances!

  32. 32 Julie P
    August 20, 2008 at 16:04

    Paedophiles are genuinely ill people and who appear to not have a cure for their illness. They need to be kept out of society.

  33. 33 Sigmund
    August 20, 2008 at 16:04

    hwat happens when the abusers are in positions of Ultimate juditial power as in Jersey.


  34. August 20, 2008 at 16:06

    Hi gang ! :-)… If paedophiles (whether celebrities or ordinary people) are as helpless about who they are as homosexuals, then there’s absolutely no use of rehabilitating them right ?! And in that case we need to keep them all away from the society so that our precious beloved children would be as safe as possible… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  35. August 20, 2008 at 16:22

    So which is worse? Murder or pedophilia? Or are they the same. It seems to be a subject that the Supreme court just wresteled with. They The reason I ask is that we need to have a bottom.. If you do this thing, you can expect to have the worst punishment inflicted upon you. Anything we consider less desireable, must have a weakerpunisment.

  36. 36 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 16:27

    @ Dwight

    If by murder you mean the typical murder with malice (remember, Jack Kevorkian is a murderer, yet he isn’t the same as the killer laying in wait type deal).. then of course murder is worse than pedophelia. But in europe, the murder sentences are a joke. 15 years and you’re out.

  37. 37 Suresh
    August 20, 2008 at 16:28

    We do not accord mentally challenged people and incurable alcoholics the right to drive on roads. On repeated offences and violations, we strip individuals of this license.

    Similarly, the right to procreate must be used responsibly. Individuals like paedophiles either willfully or otherwise are not capable of using this responsibly. Hence we must take away their sexuality i.e. the license to procreate.

    States like California and Florida now regularly recommend chemical castration. I support this as a humane way of letting the paedophile live in society without being a danger to anyone.

  38. 38 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 16:31

    This is not as simple as it looks, folks. We are not talking about clinical “pedophiles” here, the psychiatric condition which Steve correctly defines as attraction to pre-pubescent children. But that is NOT the legal concept, at least in the US. There is a defined age, usually 18, before which consensual sex is automatically considered rape, even if the consensual partner is also under 18.

    That means that two 17 year olds fooling around can get tossed in prison for years for a “rape” that never happened, then labeled “sex offenders” for the rest of their lives. In California, when they finish their sentence, upon release they must publish their names and addresses in a “sex offenders” registry. They must wear silly ankle bracelet GPS trackers. A patchwork of laws forbids them from living almost everywhere legally. Result: they’re forced underground where they cannot be tracked.. Millions of dollars are diverted from effective enforcement to maintain a GPS network that law enforcers admit is useless.

    This hysteria did not start with law enforcement or child protection professionals, but with pandering politicians and talk show tough guys who spotted a hot button cause.

  39. 39 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 16:34

    I think that pedophiles should be beaten in jail, then branded (like they used to do with pirates) on the arm. I think that would stop (or seriously slow down) a lot of this type of thing.

    If you go on Megan’s list ( http://meganslaw.ca.gov/Search.aspx?lang=ENGLISH ) you’ll see HOW MANY PERVERTS THERE REALLY ARE OUT THERE!!! It really is amazing, I have a few dozen in my zip code alone.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  40. 40 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 16:43

    @Luz Maria,
    As usual, you are the voice of sweet reason. Most molesters are family members, outside the realm of draconian laws. And most sex offenders are not pedophiles. And educating your children will protect them.

    But the cynical political game of “Who can bash sex offenders harder” does not protect children. It whips up hysteria, it wastes money, it diverts attention from the real threat (Uncle Chester the molester) to the scary but very rare stranger bogeyman.

  41. 41 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 16:45

    @ Anthony

    You can get on those registries for just smacking a woman on her behind.

  42. 42 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 16:48

    @ steve

    Thats true, but there are a few that says things like “continuous non-consensual sex with a child under the age of 12”. Those dirty bastards are the one I was talking about. Not the 19 year old frat kid who was streaking. The serial child rapists are the ones who should get beaten and branded in my opinion.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  43. 43 Vijay
    August 20, 2008 at 17:02

    Can paedophiles ever be released safely into Society?
    Which society?What kind of paedophile?
    First of all there has to be a international consensus on the age of consent(http://www.avert.org/aofconsent.htm),there is so much variation,the paedophiles take advantage of different societies laws and cultural practices .
    There is a difference between someone who downloads 200,000 sexually explicit photos of little children and then kidnaps and rapes some neighbourhood school kid and a person who has sex with a 17 year old on holiday in a country where the age of consent might be 14,but the age of consent in his own country is 18.

  44. 44 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 17:06

    @ Vijay

    in your example, the person who has child porn and kidnaps and rapes a child is a pedophile. Someone who has sex with a 17 is not a pedophile. Unless there was some major health issue with the 17 year old, that pereson has gone through puberty by then. What shocks the conscience about pedophiles, is that they are sexually attracted to people who haven’t gone through puberty.

  45. 45 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 17:08

    Pedophiles’ feelings will not change, not even with therapy. The only thing that can and should be changed, if needed (as is the case with a pedophile that committed a sex crime), is their behaviour. This is very possible. Often pedophiles don’t see dangers and risks involved for the children. Some child abusers are pedophiles, some are not (pedophilia is a sexual attraction to children, often coupled with an emotional attraction). They’re a problem, but one easier to address than the “soulless” molesters and abusers. As they’re just subject to human feelings and more or less ‘manageable’ if they actually KNOW that it is needed for them. For other molesters, like ones of sadistic nature, the fact that their victim may be a child doesn’t matter, and it’s all about power. Those people are NOT pedophiles, and THOSE people are usually the result of a very troubled childhood. And that’s a problem that is much harder to address, one cannot really prevent that, other than preventing bad childhoods as a whole…

  46. 46 Vijay
    August 20, 2008 at 17:09

    @Katarina Ostereicherin
    Belgium, isn’tt hat where the politicians, businessmen, police and judges are involved with paedophilia in an organised manner.

  47. 47 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 17:13

    To address the question raised here: I think that sex offenders can be released into society, if their behaviour was due to a lack of knowledge of dangers etcetera involved. If they knew about that, and they still did it (or forced someone), I think the punishment should be higher, and that they should perhaps be checked upon a bit by psychiatric people. Other than that, sure, let them be free.

    For those that insist they can’t return into society: what about murderers? What about ‘normal’ sex offenders like adult rapists? I know protecting children is a nice cause and a nice reason for wanting to put sex offenders in jail forever, but why the hell would they (logically) be more of a threat than murderers and other rapists?

  48. August 20, 2008 at 17:18

    This will make for a boring debate today.

    Yesterday, someone called Russia “evil.” My opinion was that such a label was excessive. Applied to pedophiles, however, I think the shoe fits. Many of us don’t care if they can be rehabilitated, their very existence is a threat to everything we hold dear. I accept that they have “rights” but I also take a perverse pleasure in knowing that in prison, they are severely abused by their fellow inmates.

    @ Dan – do you agree or disagree?

  49. 49 archibald in oregon
    August 20, 2008 at 17:22

    There are many pedophiles that walk freely in their own country, only to travel abroad and take advantage of lax laws and rampant child prostitution elsewhere. It is a prolific problem, but only a few get caught……like Gary Glitter for example……

  50. 50 Vijay
    August 20, 2008 at 17:23

    It depends on the country and society you live in.
    In the UK someone can be put on the sex offenders list if they have sex with a 15 year old or if they are a teacher and have sex with (16 to 18 year olds,who are their pupils)
    In the USA I heard two phrases regarding this
    “15 ‘ill get you 20” and “old enough to bleed old enough to breed”(post pubescent)
    The age of puberty is going down very quickly in Western Europe some girls start at 9 or 10 ,are you sugeesting it would be ok to have sex with a 12year old post pubescent girl.

  51. 51 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 17:27

    @ Vijay

    Even in the US, where age of consent is 18, you might get put in a sex offender database due to statutory rape, but you’re still not a pedophile. When did I suggest it was okay? I’m just saying if you have sex with someone who is post pubescent, and are not attracted to prepubescents, you are NOT a pedophile. Doesn’t mean you haven’t committed some sort of crime. But there is a HUGE difference between statutory rape of a 17 year old and wanting to have sex with 4 year olds.

  52. 52 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 17:29

    My friend Vincent is a “sex offender.” He is not a horrible hairy criminal. He is not a rapist. He is not a child molester or a pedophile. He is not a bogeyman. He is a gentle, decent, honorable, educated, well-mannered man who one day drank more than he should have, and urinated without noticing the 16 year old who noticed him. He was falsely accused of a sex crime and railroaded into a six year prison sentence. He emerged a broken man–battered, missing teeth, nose broken. His own mother at first did not recognize him, and collapsed in tears when she did.

    My friend Vincent is now branded a “sex offender” for life, which the public assumes to mean child rapist. He is now essentially barred for life from any legal residence or employment. All because of hysteria fanned by blowhard politicians, talk show hosts, and a gullible public who can’t be bothered to raise their own children, and who soothe their guilt by voting for draconian laws, falsely believing they will protect their children. Does anyone truly think this is justice?

    This is not so simple as “castrate all the pedophiles.” It just isn’t. This requires rational thought, not hysterical bashing. Are we as a society able to rise to the challenge?

  53. 53 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 17:33

    @ Jonathan

    Something about a urinating in public turning into a sex crime accusation probably can’t happen without evidence. If there were no evidence, there could have been on conviction, and if there were no evidence, I doubt Vincent would have pled guilty..

  54. 54 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 17:36

    @ Jack
    How about that we agree.

  55. 55 Robert
    August 20, 2008 at 17:40

    If by release you mean to simply unlock the door and let them free then no.

    If you mean to let them out of prison under a very strong set of control orders (at least X miles from schools, no contact with kids groups etc) regular reviews with the criminal justice system and doctors, perhaps using some form of tagging and a ban from ever holding a passport then possible yes for SOME paedophiles it might be possible to allow them out.

    You can’t make blanket rules or statements on issues like this. An assessment needs to be made on a case by case basis of the risk that the individual criminal poses to society.

    In Britain for example we have the bizarre law which means a 16 boy is technically a peadophile for sleeping with his 15 year old girlfriend. No matter what your views of underage sex are, nobody would ever suggest that this boy is a threat to children and shouldn’t therefore receive the same treatment as Gary Glitter who is an obvious threat.

  56. August 20, 2008 at 17:41

    A truly emotive topic that I doubt anyone can approach objectively especially when the hysteria whipped up by the tabloid media makes it a great topic to get the public interest up.

    Consider this, child abuse agencies, government agencies, reputable counselling agencies will all agree that most, typically about 80-85% of child sexual abuse occurs within the family. That is by close family members not your dirty old man in a raincoat. This does not mean that strangers do not commit such crimes. But be realistic about who are the perpetrators. So when rabid crowds howl for blood of ‘monsters’ more than likely someone they know, a family man no doubt, is doing worse to their own children.

    Can they be rehabilitated, like any criminal there are some who can and some who cannot. Does this mean we do nothing about it and throw our hands in the air and give up? Of course not. Some type of treatment programme for offenders must be available. What of an offender who wants treatment and is truly remorseful, would you not want them to be treated and make society safer? A repeat drink driver who kills an entire family can receive more sympathy from the public, I have seen that occur.

    This is not to minimise child abuse, but shows how perceptions differ. Yes it is a disgusting crime, but worse can and does happen in the world. Is it better to become vigilantes and hound offenders away or better to have them somewhere you know where they are and reporting to police and receiving treatment. Again I add that most offences against children occur within the family and that is more heinous but is so often overlooked, never spoken of as it is better to focus on the demented, evil looking ‘weirdo’ rather than face the reality of child abuse.

  57. 57 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 17:43

    @ Jonathan

    I’m sure you don’t know everything about your friend. After looking online, it doesn’t look like ANYONE would get 6 years without prior convictions. I think he was watering down the whole situation to you. I mean, whose gonna really tell a friend about prior convictions, or if they were on parole, or something among those lines.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. 58 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 17:46

    @ Steve
    You are naive for an attorney.
    No longer are the ADA’s interested in justice. All they want to do is enhance their win/loss ratio’s and then move up the food chain to become judges.
    To get a guilty plea they charge one with every conceivable crime. People unfamiliar with the criminal justice system are frightened out of their minds and unable to think rationally and without the immediate benefit of a lawyer concede defeat and plead guilty to a “lesser” offense to which they should have been charged with initially and most likely would have been found not guilty by a jury.
    I believe Jonathan’s story.

  59. 59 Vijay
    August 20, 2008 at 17:47

    I appreciate your point ,because I also made it in my first post,
    however is a nine ten or twelve year old post pubescent” mature” enough to have sex Some countries have laws which also require mental maturity as well as physical maturity.(Finland and Austria)
    Checkout the notes on bottom of the webpage I mentioned in my first post .

  60. 60 Jessica in NYC
    August 20, 2008 at 17:50

    @ Jonathan

    My initial reaction was a strong no, but then Jonathan reminded me of past examples the media show cased on various news talk shows (like 20/20 and nightline) of how one punishment is not justice for all.

  61. 61 Rashfa
    August 20, 2008 at 17:51

    i don’t think that intrnet is the only portral available to paedophiles to do their immature and hurtful act. yes they should b restricted to a higher level and the court rulings ont these animals should be enforced more strongly.

    and i strongly disagree to troop’s proposition here;

    “I believe that pedophiles should be used as a resource in the war against terrorism.

    They can be inserted into the tribal areas in Afghanistan and Pakistan to do great things. Convert them to Islam first then use them to bait the really bad terrorists.”

    seems to me that his only thought was to degrade the islamic community’s name which is already accused of terrorism by the west especially the US.

  62. 62 Venessa
    August 20, 2008 at 18:02

    Jonathan, Andrew & others have made some fine points. You can’t just make a blanket decision. There are many factors involved and each case should be reviewed individually.

  63. 63 Suresh
    August 20, 2008 at 18:07

    More than confisicating passports, the need of the hour is an internationally negotiated treaty to extradite known paedophiles and child sex offenders to the country where the crime was committed.

  64. August 20, 2008 at 18:11


    Exactly. And any reasonable mind must think that some treatment and even some possibility of rehabilitation is better than not doing anything at all. I wouldn’t necessarily say they are mentally ill, it is easy to say.. ‘Oh they are mentally ill.” But this is an act that can be performed by sane, rational people. We see judges, teachers, doctors, all types of educated professionals. It is not something you can take a tablet for, it is not that easy. But that said, it is not something that cannot be treated.

  65. 65 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 18:11

    “Aren’t pedophiles mentally ill?”

    Uhm, that’s a debate on its own. But even if it were: you’re not seriously thinking that all mentally ill people are actually locked up? Only those that are a direct threat to society.

    And the concept “threat to society” is also a vague term. Is a car a threat to society?

  66. 66 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 18:12

    @ Rashfa
    Until Muslims stand up and take back control of their religion from the radicals that degrade Islam the world will consider Muslims terrorists. This is the perception Muslims created by their silence and every Muslim suffers for it.

  67. 67 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 18:12

    Now tossed into the hysterical salad we have “images of children.” No images shold be illegal in a free society. If people were assaulted in the making of images, then that assault is the crime and the pictures are the evidence. Pictures themselves should not be prohibited.

  68. 68 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 18:16

    @ Jonathan

    So so long as the crime already happened, the “evidence” should be okay and for others to look at? Sorry, you’re wrong. Nobody should be looking at pictures of 7 year olds engaged in sex acts. They should be prohibited, and anyone who thinks otherwise should be treated like those who actually look at them.

  69. August 20, 2008 at 18:16

    As with a lot of WHYS debates,

    The extremes need to be identified that we all could agree that that person should never be set free. Then as we move down the intensity of situations, we will slowly drop off one what we agree upon. A better focus would be to determine the cause, or causes of the development of undesirable sexual deviancy

  70. 70 Adam from Washington, DC
    August 20, 2008 at 18:17

    People are horribly lacking in understanding of pedophiles. I think WHYS should get a pscyhotherapist or pscyhoanalyst on air to help these contributors out.

  71. 71 Rick, Wisconsin
    August 20, 2008 at 18:17

    Many people who say these people should be set free have never had there child hurt by one of these sick people. This is not as simple as curing a common cold…its like aids and will never be cured. Keep them in prison where they can be treated the way they treated children.

  72. 72 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 18:18

    Paedophiles can never be released safely into the community. There is no “cure” for this compulsion. No matter how much they may apologise for their behaviour, the urge for child sex will always be there with them. So it really is a case of them being able to control the urge.
    No one can know for sure which ones will succeed in deeping their compulsion under control.

  73. 73 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 18:18

    Now the topic is about sexuality and children. Keep in mind there that sexuality is perceived totally different by a child, than it is by an adult. The child abuse survivor says, that children are not able to give consent to an adult kind of sexuality. And when it concerns young children, for example 10-year-olds: I totally agree with that. BUT, and this is mostly a philosophical point, does that mean that a child cannot enjoy a mildly sexual act (that the child does not perceive to be something “heavy” or “big” or “adult”)?

  74. 74 Dean in Ibiza, Spain
    August 20, 2008 at 18:19

    I was a victim of paedofilia when I was 13. At the time, I thought it was a game. But til this day it has effected my sex life and find it apauling what this man did.
    The age of concent should be set say at 17 all over the world and paedofiles being force treated and severely punished.

  75. 75 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 18:19

    The definition of Pedophile is being thrown around in the discussion, but there is inconsistency. Chloe keeps on saying children, but Martin keeps on talking about 15 year olds (who have gone through puberty) but then brings up 12 year olds, which I’m not sure of. But having sex with a 15-16 year old doesn’t make you a pedophile. You might be guilty of statutory rape, as they haven’t reached the age of consent, but certainly you aren’t a pedophile. In fact, virtually every girl I went to high school with would date guys in college when they were in 11-12th grades. they were minors, their boyfriends were 18-20. This was common. So is basically every guy a pedophile? I When I was a freshman in college, there as a girl, a friend of my best friend’s sister, that was after me, but I was 18-19 and she was 16. I never did anything about it, but she was really attractive, and she wanted me to. Am I pedophile for having thought about it? We need to understand that pedophile refers to prepubescents.

  76. 76 Ashi
    August 20, 2008 at 18:20

    This is a very confusing topic because the term of pedophile is not used correctly in mainstream society. The term “Pedophile” means love of pre pubescent children and in this day and age with all the hormones found in atleast american food, children reach puberty much earlier in life.

    Also i dont think pedophiles should be labelled a Pedophile legally, it should be a psychological label. The legal view of Pedophiles is an objective view where they group the whole population as a whole as Pedophiles, and Psychologically it can be a subjective view, and we can truly differentiate the harmful individuals from the unharmful.

  77. 77 Jennifer, USA
    August 20, 2008 at 18:21

    A question for the guest who is attracted to 12 year old children: He seems to be using biological reproductive ability as a measure of adulthood, but many others use intellectual and emotional development as this determination. Does this individual also feel that it would be acceptable to inter into a sexual relationship with a person of older years but who has a developmental disability such that their cognitive abilities are equal to that of a 12 year old child?

    My point is that simply because a body is physiologically capable of reproduction does not mean that the mind attached to that body is capable of consenting, of understanding the ramifications of entering into a sexual relationship or the potential consequences of that choice. Children can be taken advantage of, manipulated and controlled and in many ways are simply unable to genuinely enter into a consenting sexual relationship.

  78. 78 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:21

    Wasn’t Mary (from the Bible) around 12 years old and Joseph like 30-36 when they got married??? I wonder if people think Joseph was evil, and if Mary was a stupid little girl???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  79. 79 Andrew, Australia
    August 20, 2008 at 18:22

    A truly emotive topic that I doubt anyone can approach objectively especially when the hysteria whipped up by the tabloid media makes it a great topic to get the public interest up.

    Consider this, child abuse agencies, government agencies, reputable counselling agencies will all agree that most, typically about 80-85% of child sexual abuse occurs within the family. That is by close family members not your dirty old man in a raincoat. This does not mean that strangers do not commit such crimes. But be realistic about who are the perpetrators. So when rabid crowds howl for blood of ‘monsters’ more than likely someone they know, a family man no doubt, is doing worse to their own children.

    Can they be rehabilitated, like any criminal there are some who can and some who cannot. Does this mean we do nothing about it and throw our hands in the air and give up? Of course not. Some type of treatment programme for offenders must be available. What of an offender who wants treatment and is truly remorseful, would you not want them to be treated and make society safer? A repeat drink driver who kills an entire family can receive more sympathy from the public, I have seen that occur.

    This is not to minimise child abuse, but shows how perceptions differ. Yes it is a disgusting crime, but worse can and does happen in the world. Is it better to become vigilantes and hound offenders away or better to have them somewhere you know where they are and reporting to police and receiving treatment. Again I add that most offences against children occur within the family and that is more heinous but is so often overlooked, never spoken of as it is better to focus on the demented, evil looking ‘weirdo’ rather than face the reality of child abuse.

  80. August 20, 2008 at 18:23

    A child sex offenders need to be put to death or put them in jail for ever. SEX OFFENDERS ARE THE LOWEST FORM OF SCUM ON THIS EARTH. This criminal behavior is UNFORGIVABLE before God and there not excuses for these perverted sick sex predators.
    It is imperative for people, governments and religion organizations to protect children against child molesters.

  81. 81 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:24

    Also, if you’re ill for being attracted to a 15 year old, then you are ill for being attracted to the same sex. Some people still think that people are ill for dating outside their race.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  82. 82 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 18:24

    @ Anthony

    “Wasn’t Mary (from the Bible) around 12 years old and Joseph like 30-36 when they got married??? I wonder if people think Joseph was evil, and if Mary was a stupid little girl???”

    Well, since hte bible and koran are works of fiction, they could have chosen and ages. Apparently Mohammed’s wife, Aisha, was 9 when he married her.

  83. 83 Ashi
    August 20, 2008 at 18:26

    I dont think there can be a definite age as to when a child is fully mature and able to make a decision about having sex. The best we can do is to teach our children about sex and hope they use their best judgement. Religion and morality play a big part in telling people that sex is bad and evil, and a person is impure if they have sex. This is why sex at young ages becomes mentally damaging, because the person sees themselves as a victim.

    *Just to make clear, my opinions are only in response to young children who chose to have sex and the rape, or molestation of a child should be punished to the fullest exxtent of the law.

  84. 84 Adam from Washington, DC
    August 20, 2008 at 18:27

    Everyone who’s interested in this subject should read the book “Who’s Been Sleeping in Your Head: The Secret World of Sexual Fantasies” by the British psychotherapist and clinical researcher Brett Kahr. It touches on many of the crazy things that go on in the human brain and it’s really pretty amazing (and/or appalling).

  85. August 20, 2008 at 18:28

    This is the most enraging discussion I’ve ever heard on WHYS.. I’m literally shouting at my radio in anger. I cannot abide by that “man” on the radio saying that children at 12 years old are old enough to decide to become sexually active. That’s ROT. Pure ROT. It’s not cultural, it’s not positive, it’s rape of innocence. Just because one culture allows it doesn’t mean it’s right. Disgusting people like that obviously have no problem scarring a child for life for the sake of their sexual satisfaction. People who children are told they should trust, people who take advantage of children who are vulnerable and desperate for love and protection. It’s the most selfish, disgusting, piggish thing in the world.

    :::so angry her head is going to explode:::

  86. August 20, 2008 at 18:31

    Paedophiles should be seen as a danger to society as they seek to have sexual pleasure from children who haven’t developed sexually. These children when adults will be traumatised by their experiences.

    As such they should get the utmost punishment because when they are getting sexual pleasures from children, they are destroying the lives of the children submissive to them or forced to be be submissive.

    Families, in which such abuses occur should be brave enough to report them instead of keeping silent about them for the sake of family unity or “honour”.

  87. 87 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:31

    @ steve

    I don’t believe in the “magic” parts of the Bible or Koran, but I do believe, and there are other sources of information, that parts that says there was a Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Mohammed, and Aisha, and the ages are pretty much correct.

    Either way, for the people who believe in it, I wonder if they think Mary was a stupid little girl and Joseph was an evil pervert???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  88. August 20, 2008 at 18:32

    I think the most important thing of beeing a child is: Playing or spend time with peers and not only with adults. Society doesn’t want to bar the children of having sex…but when children at the age of 9 or 10 are among each other they arn’t intressted in having sex. So we mustn’t enforce the children’s desire of having sex.

  89. 89 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 18:33

    @ Anthony, this is getting off topic, but I hav ea feeling if Joseph were a lot older than Mary, then he’s also quite a fool for believing when she said “i swear I didn’t cheat, I think God got me pregnant” when she broke the news to him. Maybe people would buy that sort of think 2000 years ago.

  90. 90 Christopher, Akron, Ohio, USA
    August 20, 2008 at 18:33

    The fact that Martijn refuses to grasp the irrefutable fact that children generally lack the capacity to consent and, by their nature, look to their elders for advice and guidance, plays directly into the hands of the paedophile, is disturbing. There simply is no manner by which to justify the behaviour that Martijn espouses.

  91. 91 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:33

    @ Stephanie

    If you were born in the UK or USA 150 years ago, you would be married and having sex at 10 or 12.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  92. 92 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 18:34

    Can I ask this question of everyone one here. If the age of consent for girls was reduced to 11 years of age, do you think that the majority of men would be believe this to be ok?


  93. 93 Roberto
    August 20, 2008 at 18:34

    Now tossed into the hysterical salad we have “images of children.” No images shold be illegal in a free society

    ——— Where is this utopian free society you live in?

    The one I live in has way too many laws that could be simplified and it costs me dearly in taxes.

    One simplification would be to put a proven pediophile to death upon conviction. I’m am generally against the death penalty, but some crimes are so grevious that there should be no chance for those offenders to have another chance.

    I’m beyond disgust that it should be legal to look at images of children that support proliferation of the crime. The fact that it is neccessary to even have the discussion is proof the criminals have advanced their cause and are proliferating.

  94. 94 Anthropologist
    August 20, 2008 at 18:35

    The one issue that I think needs to be addressed is that ideas such as ‘maturity’ or ‘sexual consent’ are culturally derived. The entire topic of psychology and sexuality is going to be different, sometimes drastically, when comparing cultures. So, Martijn’s points about the topic being made ‘heavy’ in our social context is accurate. Sexuality is different and understood differently in different cultures. There is not universally damage to children involved in sexual activities across all cultures. However, we’re talking about western civilization (UK, Canada, USA, etc) and these groups typically share ideas about sexuality and childhood meaning that the sexual acts ARE damaging in this socio-cultural context when informed consent is not given. Moreover, in our culture(s) informed consent requires a certain amount of psychological (cultural) maturity. As a result, under this system, in this social context, it is very inappropriate to engage in sexual activity with children meaning that it’s just too bad for those people with such urges and they must either live with it or deal with the consequences (prison etc). They can not be released into society freely because if rehabilitation was possible within all of these constraints we wouldn’t have recurring incidents.

  95. 95 jade
    August 20, 2008 at 18:36

    I have 3 questions for M from Netherland on the panel. Did he enjoy his childhood? Was it a long childhood or short childhood (when did he lose mental childhood innocence)? Why should children be protected and from what?

  96. 96 Tony, Cologne
    August 20, 2008 at 18:36

    I’d like to congratulate you for having this discussion (sex & children). There is far too much hysteria about it last night a German TV crime film foregrounded positively a cop denying a “paedophile” his civil rights, threatening him etc. I happen to have views about use of “hard drugs” that also engender hysteria, and might lead to job-loss & harassment. I think one can take opiates / cocaine / amphet.s & “dance drugs” in a positive way.

  97. 97 Dan
    August 20, 2008 at 18:36

    @ Helen
    Yes!!!…..except for my Daughter.

  98. 98 Adam
    August 20, 2008 at 18:37

    Maybe if you tried imagining what it was like to be a pedophile you wouldn’t feel so upset. What I mean is, try to be EMPATHETIC, even though this is a really difficult subject. Basically, all you have to do is imagine the feeling you get when the world thinks you’re “weird” or “different” in some way. Think of the feeling of helplessness that comes with it (and the rationalization process you go through).

  99. 99 Rachel
    August 20, 2008 at 18:37

    I am a survivor of child sexual abuse, living in Portland, Oregon in the United States. Programmes like this one are often annoying to me because I feel they miss the point. Here in the US, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men are abused by the time they are 18. The majority of these people are abused by family members or other people known to them. The focus on convicted sexual offenders, and extreme cases like that of Gary Glitter, I think obscures the reality that most abusers are out and about in everyday society.

    To me, sexual abuse of children is a public health problem that deserves a focus on prevention and treatment. Instead of treating those abused as children as permanently broken, and those who abuse as monsters fit only to be locked up, I’d like to see us examine the montivations of those who abuse, ways we might prevent abuse, and getting access to treatment for both those who abuse and those who are abused. Discussions like these do very little to prevent further abuse, and simply create fear rather than understanding.

  100. 100 Keith
    August 20, 2008 at 18:42

    Considering that a pedophile is someone who LIKES children, and hasn’t necessarily done anything criminal….yes.

  101. 101 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:42

    @ Rachel

    Where did you find these statistics??? Please provide a link, because all the stats I’m finding online is at the most 3%.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  102. August 20, 2008 at 18:42

    But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
    To the pedophiles I say: You won’t be able to avoid the judgment of God.

  103. 103 Ron in America
    August 20, 2008 at 18:42

    One of your guests said that whether a person is heterosexual, homosexual, or a pedophile, the difference is simply wiring in one’s brain. Decades ago, homosexuality was considered deviant behavior, but now it is considered “normal” by many. Will there ever come a time when pedophilia is considered normal and simply an alternate lifestyle? If not, what’s the difference?

  104. 104 Roberto
    August 20, 2008 at 18:42

    If the age of consent for girls was reduced to 11 years of age, do you think that the majority of men would be believe this to be ok?

    ——– Very few people in the world can speak for the majority of anyone, but there will always be a certain class of male that would take advantage of above and another class that already does.

    Some women are notable offenders as well, but less so. Let’s keep in mind all the 3rd world children who have no choice, maybe a million or more girls and boys sold off by poor parents to prostitution rings. That’s why this guy Glitter was where he was.

  105. 105 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 18:42


    No it would not be OK.

    the problem with our society is that everything is sold with sex, and this already at a young age. just look what kids wear these days. i have nothing against provocative sexy outfits, but not at the age of 12 to 18. hell, let kids be kids and have fun on an equal basis. i remember in my youth we were hanging out with boys and girls and nobody even remotely wanted to get off with one another. ok you had your “favorite” boy or girl, but all was very much platonic. some of my best friends over 20 years later are girls from that time.

    any older person preying on young people is not cabable of forming a lasting relationship and abuses his/her interlectual advatage over these children. and no they cannot be integrated.

  106. 106 Louis in Japan
    August 20, 2008 at 18:43

    I am not a pedophile. I would like to bring a question into this forum. How do your guests feel about Japan a very old culture having legal age for having sex is 12 years old.

  107. 107 Keith
    August 20, 2008 at 18:44

    by the way, what I mean by that is that for some reason everyone keeps talking as if pedophile = sex offender….when the latin meaning does not suggest that they have taken any physical action.

  108. 108 Crispin, Edinburgh, Scotland
    August 20, 2008 at 18:44

    I thought today’s item on paedophilia was rather cheap and perverse.
    It seemed to be prompted by some of the worst hysteria seen recently in the British press. The presenter suggested in her opening remarks that ‘in some cultures having sex was permitted at nine years of age’.
    This was a very ignorant remark. Thus it used to be common for children to be married at ages as low as 9 in India, but this was normally to another child of a similar age. They did not even start living together until well after the onset of the girl’s puberty – even if the man was older. I was also alarmed by comments suggesting that paedophiles should perhaps never be released from prison or
    (impractically) should be required to see a psychiatrist every week.
    The next thing that may be suggested is that they should be prevented from having a family (eugenics). Why should paedophiles be treated differently from any other perpetrator of rape and/or violent and aggravated assault? The tone of this discussion is completely irrational. At worst, one fears it might be inspired by some sort of covert christian evangelical agenda, as with the ritual abuse scares in the UK of a decade ago.

  109. 109 Mena, Antwerp, Belgium
    August 20, 2008 at 18:45

    I’m in shock, on Martijn webpage he wrote “It was a pity that I never met a “sexual predator””
    He should be registered as sex offender not allow him to work of be with kids at all. I cannot believe he even has his own party! It is a crime!

  110. 110 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 18:46


    Honest answer Dan, and I agree with you.

  111. 111 Michael in Austin, Texas
    August 20, 2008 at 18:47

    I am a psychologist in Texas who specializes in Sex Addiction. I hear your guest making two key assertions.

    1. Children are not generally harmed by sexual relationships with adults even when force and cohesion are not involved

    2. Children are able to make free and informed consent to sexual relations.

    If a trained professional who understands child development and is not themselves attracted to children made these assertions based on some evidence base more objective than their own experience that would be worth of a list. My concern is this. The representative of PNVD has, as we say in Texas, “Has a dog in this hunt”. That is to say, he has a vested personal interest in the issue. As such, even without intention, his perceptions and conclusions are likely to be affected.

  112. 112 Adam
    August 20, 2008 at 18:47

    There needs to be an attempt to get these people off the street the moment they commit the abuse. And in order to prevent the abuse from happening, we need to educate children to recognize what sexual abuse actually is. Many abusers are family members or family friends and schools are the only fail-safe institution to teach this sort of thing to young children because families (as state above) can be part of the problem. Our society also needs to be educated more thoroughly on how to look at these “offenders”. They shouldn’t be vilified and emotions of the “abused” shouldn’t prevent “offenders” from ever being released because there are some instances in which an offender can be “cured”. Offenders should be rehabilited and viewed with more compassion — but smart compassion, the kind that doesn’t allow these people to get away with abuse again.

  113. 113 "still hurting" in Oregon
    August 20, 2008 at 18:48

    As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse from both my mother and a friend of hers I feel I can safely say that that the pedophiles who kill the child are by far kinder than those who allow them to live.

  114. August 20, 2008 at 18:48

    Hi WHYSers!

    @ Rachel,

    I will agree with you about the emotive nature of this topic, which can sometimes result in alarmist responses. Like you, I share the concern that the over reaction might miss the point. I agree that there is need for study of the reasons why as a way of preventing further abuse of children. But, there is something in the back of my mind which tells me it is still risky to let convicted felons of any kind walk around freely, even after release. Some type of monitoring programme might be a more useful approach, I think….Just a thought.

  115. 115 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 18:49


    i bloody well do not hope so. you have to look at the intelectual capabilities of a 12 year old vs a 30 year old. who do you think can manipulate and abuse the inoscence and naivity. i can tell you one thing if i had a kid and it would have been abused by another person, the perpetrater would have just signed his own death warrent and the death would not be quick…….

  116. 116 Cheryl
    August 20, 2008 at 18:49

    Sex with children is exploitation. A pedophile, by definition, will never form a life partnership with a child because children grow up. They are only intent on satisfying their desires and are therefore selfish.

  117. 117 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 18:49

    on Grooming:

    The problem that I have with the concept of “grooming”, is that it is a subjective interpretation of the contact between an adult and a child. If the adult is a pedophile, then it is thought that therefore every action that he takes towards children, is to abuse the child in the end. This is a very non-subjective way to look at the issue, and in practise, it’s pretty much always wrong. Nearly all pedophiles have friendships with kids, and (having spoken to MANY of them), none of them actually are after sex. You forget that the emotional feelings play a massive role for them to maintain these friendsips.

    As for those that in the end do abuse children: how do you know that this was their goal all along, rather than it being an unfortunate series of events?

  118. 118 Solomon, Salt Lake City, Utah
    August 20, 2008 at 18:51

    But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
    But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
    To the pedophiles I say: You won’t be able to avoid the judgment of God.

  119. 119 Martijn
    August 20, 2008 at 18:51


    No, starting a party is not a crime. Political parties are part of the freedom of expression and no silly party will stop that. He never offended and he merely said he wishes he had had a sexual experience at an early age. He wanted it back theen, that is possible.

    He nowadays does not have contacts with children, not on the web nor in real life.

  120. 120 Vladimir
    August 20, 2008 at 18:52

    The trouble with the discussion is that it generalises too much. When it is said that children can’t enjoy sex, what children are we talking about? Should we say that children enjoy playing chess? In our society, the only way a child would have sexual contact with an adult would be in secret, and therefore it could be harmful most of the time. Nobody will be able to ask the child if he or she would like it.

    When I was a 13 year-old boy, I was sexually attracted to good-looking adult women and men up to their thirties. If one had approached me, I might have enjoyed that sort of contact very much, but had it been known, they would have been to prison, regardless of whether I liked what we did together or not.

    The “victim” of Roman Polansky says she’s always been fine about the sex they had when she was in her early teens. The courts didn’t care, so isn’t there hypocrisy about saying it’s all for the children’s sake? “It’s for your own good we’re locking up your lover.”

  121. 121 Robert
    August 20, 2008 at 18:52


    Homosexuality is between two adults old enough to give informed content. Paedophiles though abuse the lack of informed consent by the kids and take advantage of them. That is the difference between the sexual preference and peadophiles and why the two should never be compared.

  122. 122 Sheila from Oregon
    August 20, 2008 at 18:53

    My comment is not referring to sex which is forced upon a child by an older person.
    But isn’t the problem with pedophilia one that is derived from the culture in which we live, which views sex differently from other cultures where sex with young children is normal and is thus, not damaging to them?

  123. 123 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 18:53


    i see absolutly no attraction in anybody younger than 25. i need an intelecyual interaction with a person to be attracted to her. granted a 20 year old might look very attractive but that is it.

  124. 124 Adam
    August 20, 2008 at 18:56

    But laws will always generalize in order to combat arbitrariness.

  125. 125 Kari
    August 20, 2008 at 18:57

    I find this conversation very interesting. I in no way want to belittle the experience of folks who have been sexually abused, but there is another side of the issue that is not being addressed. Conversations such as this one add to the new witch hunt of sexual abusers: assumed guilty when charged, not looking at each side of the issue, lengthy prisoner sentences that do not reflect the nature of the crime and a stigma attached to the “abuser” that can never be erased.

  126. August 20, 2008 at 18:57

    I hope SOS Morocco can get a chance to share the horrible trend of Chid Sex Tourism that has taking over Morocco in your program.

    Driss R. Temsamani
    Founder & President
    SOS Morocco
    PH#: 786.301.3915

  127. 127 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 18:57

    @ Robert

    Thats true, but have you ever talked to high school girls today??? I remember I had a 15 year old freshman begging me to have sex with her. She begged and begged and tried to explain what she wanted me to do to her and visa versa. If thats not consent, I don’t know what is. (I didn’t by the way)

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  128. 128 Pam
    August 20, 2008 at 18:58

    I think this topic should be discussed by those who have been victims of this type of abuse. They are the ones who have experienced it first hand and have something worthwhile to add to the discussion eg. ‘Still hurting’ and ‘Rachel’

  129. 129 roebert
    August 20, 2008 at 18:58

    Re: Mary, Joseph, Aisha, and all the rest of it; it’s a fact that children were sexually active (or, rather, were taken as sexual parters, also in marriage) in the classical period of history, and right down to the late nineteenth century. It still happens today in certain primitive societies.

    What was acceptable in this regard in early Greece and Rome would be viewed as criminal today, and the fact is that, given our developed understanding of how intensely harmful these practices are, they certainly deserve to be criminalized.

    Paedophiles (including the clergy, please note) should be compelled to attend weekly rehabilitation sessions for life, and should be treated by the justice system as lifetime parolees. The thing is; they can’t be rehabilitated, so they need to be watched over like any other incorrigible recidivist. I think that any paedophile who seriously wants to stay on the right path would accept this sort of treatment as being helpful rather than viewing it as a torment.

    Having said all that, educating and protecting our children is the only real way of preventing child abuse. Sexuality can be subject to all sorts of neurotic manifestations, and children should be educated in the basic scenarios to be shunned and reported on, including harassment within the family circle.

  130. 130 Devra Lawrence
    August 20, 2008 at 18:58


    I strongly believe they should NOT be released safely in society. In Jamaica, if a paedophile is found by members of a community and he is caught, he is usually beat to death if the police do not get to him before the people do!

    That is not necessarily make it right, but I think it is a very sensitive topic.

  131. August 20, 2008 at 18:59

    The United Nations International Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) released a report in 1997 estimating more than 1 million children, overwhelmingly female, are forced into prostitution every year because of sex tourism.
    While much of the initial international attention on sex tourism of children focused on Thailand and other countries of Southeast Asia, Morocco has become a favorite destination where economic difficulties contributes to the alarming growth of this industry. A group of concerned Moroccans and Morocco lovers, united to say “No to Children Sex Tourism in Morocco”.
    Our hope is to attract the international attention and appeal to the the purest level of the human human being hoping to stop the individuals who partake in Moroccan sex tourism.

  132. 132 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 19:00

    Yes everything nowadays is sold on sex. I think this is very sad really. The messages sent out to young people about sex is so different from when I was young.

  133. 133 Tom D Ford
    August 20, 2008 at 19:02

    @ Jennifer 6:21 PM

    I agree.

    It seems that humans have evolved to be capable of reproduction right after puberty but the human brain has evolved such that it is not fully psychologically developed until the early twenties. So really, setting an age of consent is an attempt to protect young humans who are not yet ready and capable to make wise and informed decisions about their sex life.

    Evolution has left us with a sexual paradox.

  134. 134 becausebuddhaallahsaidso
    August 20, 2008 at 19:03

    as a more than half a century old man in the west, i think that all child sex offenders no matter what gender or age should have the ultimate sharia law applied to them. in other words, they very existence should cease on the day it is determined they are guilty of the nefarious act. while most have been focusing on males, there is also the element of female abusers as well. as a queer gent, i find it rather disgusting that mothers would be focused due to economics circumstances to sell off there under 25 year old daughters to some male who is old enough to be the child’s grandfather. i am equally appalled by any considered adult male [over 19/20] of any gender affinity [straight, queer, whatever] having any sexual relations with a kid under 18.

    Societies of any nation or religious creed should not waste resources on rehabilitation, they should just get rid of the offenders point blank.

    @mohammed ali – in my allah eyes, adult [over 25 years of age] are not homosexuals are not the problem. But those men who marry girls under 25 years are the problem.

    @troop – one’s so-called war on terror maybe another so-called war of freedom. More child abusers exist in the western societies due to the proliferation of pornography in the west. the general populace in pakistan and afghanistan may not have the electric power grids nor disposible capital to support the pornography industry and in some cases it is contrary to their societies. As a local case point, i have recently stumbled across about 5 gents in my office loo focused on the glow from their 2 inch screens of their ipods and/or PDAs, checking email or stock quotes naw… but looking at porn in the loo.

  135. 135 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 19:04

    @ Robert

    “Homosexuality is between two adults old enough to give informed content. Paedophiles though abuse the lack of informed consent by the kids and take advantage of them. That is the difference between the sexual preference and peadophiles and why the two should never be compared.”

    That’s actually a weak argument, because anti homosexual laws could make it that people of the same sex are deemed incapable of consenting to homosexual sex acts, hence sodomy would be illegal. Remember, 18 is just an arbitrary age, picked. Kids at age 16 can have a driver’s license, I did. That means I had to be responsible enough to get the license, make car payments, insurance payments, and gas payments. Why coulnd’t the state arbitrarily pick that only heterosexual consent is deemed consent? They could if they wanted to.

    A good analogy to making something unconsentable is murder. You cannot consent to being murdered, despite how horrifically ill you may be, no mater the motices of the person tokill you, your consent has no legal bearing on the prosecution of the other person. That’s why Jack Kevorkian is in prison right now, becuase the consent of the “victim” was irrelegant. So antihomosexual legislation could be drafted the very same way.

  136. 136 Adam
    August 20, 2008 at 19:05

    Yeah, I have friends who were sexually active in middle school (11-13 years old). Some people are just a lot quicker than others. But those aren’t the people who we necessarily have to be worried about. Let them go crazy and have a kid. The real pscyhologically disturbing cases are the ones in which the kids aren’t mature enough, but are being seduced by adults who can’t effectively control their pedophilic desires.

  137. 137 steve
    August 20, 2008 at 19:05

    @ Helen

    parents share most of the blame on that. Who is paying for a 12 year old girl to have “Juicy” written on the seat of her sweatpants? Most likley mommy and daddy. They even have thongs for 7 year olds. Parents really need to do their part.

  138. 138 gary
    August 20, 2008 at 19:08

    Paedophiles can likely never control their sexual urges, so thnking they may be able to halt their sexual behaviors depends upon how much society may trust in them. While I am practically opposed to capital punishment, I am not opposed to substantial, even severe, limitations of freedom. Paedophilia damages that at once most vulnerable, yet most maleable and important part of society, its children. Membership in society implies mutual benefit and responsibility. A society may still owe a paedophile life; but it does not owe this person the opportunity to damage the physical and mental well-being of a single, additional child. The damages they do are beyond apology, beyond restitution. Perhaps ever after, the paedophile must be considered beyond societal trust.

  139. 139 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 19:10

    @ steve

    NICE!!! I hate that!!!

    “Are you looking at my 13 year old, just because she’s showing of her C-cups, and wearing those tight pants with “Juicy” on the butt in high heels doesn’t mean you should be looking!!!”

    Those are the kind of parents who have been buying their daughters “Bratz” dolls.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  140. 140 jade
    August 20, 2008 at 19:12

    @ Martijn,

    Adults can be attracted to children as art enthusiasts to art: a thing of natural beauty, because they are STILL innocent, inquisitive, un-manipulative, harmless, possess all the good, real, beautiful things that adults have lost.

    But, can adults have a normal friendship with a child? Yes, if the adult really thinks and feels like a child or the child really thinks or feels like an adult. An adult can be childlike but childishness would be a form of stupidity. Man and his dog are not true friends, just companions, because they cannot communicate deeper than basic, instinctive needs.

    Consider the child’s perception of you when the child grows up.

  141. 141 Alex J
    August 20, 2008 at 19:15

    Aside from the discussion of when someone is capable of any sexual relation without mental harm, how well is paedophilia itself understood beyond anecdotal reports from law enforcement and clinical studies involving habitual offenders? I’m not sure we’re as effectively addressing it as we could. I’m assuming there’s no assurance that these people can anonymously participate in research and get counseling without fear. So they may live as virtual pariahs for years, or end up acting out and going to prison, before society pays them any attention beyond public media discourse.

  142. 142 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 19:16

    67 Jonathan (August 20, 2008 at 6:12 pm) “No images should be illegal in a free society.”

    Jonathan, my first reaction is to disagree with you. What is referred to as child pornography does span a variety of images. Not all of them involve nudity or sexual acts. However, it is my understanding that the source of lightly suggestive child pornography and unquestionably sexually violent child pornography is the same. If my understanding is correct, wouldn’t it be better to treat each of these kinds of child pornography as a paper trail to take legal authorities to the sources of abusive rings? I have heard that the children thus photographed suffer unspeakable pain that is not always depicted in the pictures that are published.

    Are laws regarding statutory rape effective? It seems that they result in more mishaps than help and deflect attention from what Luz María has pointed out to be the real problem: predators close to home. We never like to admit that the monster lives in our closet, do we?

    Luz María, what are some of the things to beware of in child care providers, and things that children should be on the watch for?

    There have been many thoughtful and intelligent comments about ways to control the behaviour of child abusers and how to integrate them into society as functional citizens. Much to think on, here, a good amount of food for thought.

    Number of words: 235

  143. 143 Ron
    August 20, 2008 at 19:19


    I’m not even talking about consent. I’m just asking the question whether pedophilia, like homosexuality, will ever be considered mainstream. According to many psychologists, they both start with the same root: a difference in the brain; and like most homosexuals, most pedophiles will say, “It’s not a choice. I can’t help the way I am.”

  144. 144 Jonathan
    August 20, 2008 at 19:21


    Please tell me your 4:45 comment was not literal?

  145. 145 Tom D Ford
    August 20, 2008 at 19:22

    @ 85 Stephanie August 20, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    “This is the most enraging discussion I’ve ever heard on WHYS.. I’m literally shouting at my radio in anger. I cannot abide by that “man” on the radio saying that children at 12 years old are old enough to decide to become sexually active. That’s ROT. Pure ROT. It’s not cultural, it’s not positive, it’s rape of innocence. Just because one culture allows it doesn’t mean it’s right. Disgusting people like that obviously have no problem scarring a child for life for the sake of their sexual satisfaction. People who children are told they should trust, people who take advantage of children who are vulnerable and desperate for love and protection. It’s the most selfish, disgusting, piggish thing in the world.
    :::so angry her head is going to explode:::”

    That is exactly the way I feel about Religionists and what they do to children!

  146. 146 Angela in Washington
    August 20, 2008 at 19:25


    I completely agree. I know several people who were active in middle school. I remember this girl who was pregnant in 6th grade and I think her boyfriend was just a year older or so.


    There are some clothing that people should not allow their kids to wear, but years ago kids wore halters and little sun dresses and no one said anything. Today people are afraid to have some kids wear clothes that they wore when they were that age. I think it depends on how it is worn, some of the clothes are cute for little kids and don’t mean anything but people are so concerned that they might be attracting perverts.

  147. 147 Shaun in Halifax
    August 20, 2008 at 19:28

    @ Jonathan

    Re: Age of Consent (waaaaaay near the top)

    That’s a damn shame isn’t it? It’s almost as if parents are so uncomfortable with the thought that their adolescent children are having sex (*gasp* not sex!!) that instead of sitting them down and talking about it, they decide to make it ‘illegal’ to have sex before 18. That solves the problem so nicely!!

  148. 148 Shaun in Halifax
    August 20, 2008 at 19:30

    @ Shriley

    In any society that claims to have free speech, you MUST be prepared to take the good with the bad. Free speech isn’t free if there are things you aren’t allowed to discuss. Either it’s all good, or none of it is. Censoring some things while allowing others is a slippery slope to Orwell.

    And besides that, who on earth is arrogant enough to think they can dictate what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’?

  149. 149 Dennis
    August 20, 2008 at 19:31

    @ paedophiles can never be released into society without MANY safeguards to protect society….


  150. 150 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 19:31

    It is a lot to do with the parents. Buying bras and thongs for young children is wrong. Bras are to support breasts, little girls don’t have breasts.

    I don’t blame the young generation for the state of things. It is the adults who make the decisions of what is ok to be published or shown on TV etc.

  151. 151 Pam
    August 20, 2008 at 19:36

    Nice, so now some of you are pointing a finger at the parents and how they dress their children. And please, what has Bratz dolls got to do with it, Barbie has been around for years and influenced little girls. I doubt if paedolphiles care about how children are dressed. How about asking some victims of child abuse eg Rachel and Still Hurting. Does a paedophile care if he rapes a two year old still in diapers? I doubt it.

  152. 152 Robert
    August 20, 2008 at 19:45


    It won’t become mainstream because of the consent issue. Homosexuals give willing and knowingly their consent and so it is just sex between them. But with children it is abuse because they can’t give an informed consent. Because it is abuse it will never be acceptable to the mainstream.

    Perhaps the age may drop at which is deemed acceptable (the UK age is 16 compared to 18 in the US) but obviously there is a limit which society will never tolerate (probably around 15/16 as the responses here seem to hit on)


    I agree that the age is arbitrary, but can you think off how we could do a sex license for teenagers akin to the drivers license? I can’t, it has to be arbitrary until somebody can have a brain wave.

    As for defining say nobody could ever give inform consent for a homosexual act, you would have to show that there is a legitimate issue with the act that no gay man or lesbian women could understand. None has been found to date and therefore such a law represent a restriction on the rights of the individuals rather than something to protect them. I know that some use the spread of HIV as such an example, but HIV is now more prevalent in heterosexuals than homosexuals so you would have to say nobody could ever give consent to unprotected sex rather than just homosexuals own their own.

  153. 153 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 19:48


    i agree, there 12 year olds that look like hookers. who buys their cloth……..?

    buy those kids outdoor gear and go hiking with them show them that there is an alternative to cheap tv, under age drinking and meatmarket club scene

  154. 154 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 19:55


    I don’t think any one is pointing the finger at parents regarding paedophilia.
    Some of us just got a little off topic earlier on.

  155. 155 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 20:04


    no we are not pointing the finger at the parents. we are pointing the fingers at a society that sells everything with sex. we are pointing our fingers at tv shows where 12 year olds are dolled up etc.

    it is of topic but part of the grander sheme of a disturbing trend. i am by no means a prude person, but there are limits which should be respected.

  156. 156 Pam
    August 20, 2008 at 20:17


    yes, I would certainly agree that most of the regular bloggers got off of the subject. Also they have seem to have centred their discussion around children the age of 12. They forget that babies also get abused and raped.

    And another thing,

    they should be inviting into the conversation is the two bloggers who where abused. They have probably not continued in the conversation becaue the regular bloggers seem to be a clique and when an outsider joins the conversation with a really good point of view or have experienced first had the topic, they are dismissed or their point of view is stripped to threads.

    Sorry guys but that is how I see it and I guess I will get a lot of @’s back at me!!!!

  157. 157 Helen
    August 20, 2008 at 20:29

    I am new on here, first time today, so I am not sure how things work, re regular bloggers and cliques.
    I agree everyone’s opinion is important.
    Gary Glitter seemed to aim at the 12-13 age group—but what about the ones who target babies and toddlers.
    The age of consent has no place here.

  158. 158 roebert
    August 20, 2008 at 20:41

    In the light of all that’s been said above, what are we to do with a book like Thomas Mann’s ‘Death in Venice’? How are we to understand what is being said in it, in such chaste language? And what about Mann’s ‘Holy Sinner”? and so forth…?

    In other words, how subtle is the whole matter actually?

  159. 159 Pam
    August 20, 2008 at 20:42


    You’ll soon figure out who the regulars and the cliques are. I don’t join in very much but I do read the comments. The regulars get very defensive!!!
    and yes, the age of concent has nothing to do with the topic.

    Jens, appreciate your comment.

    Got to go.

  160. 160 Pangolin- California
    August 20, 2008 at 21:30

    When ex-wife got her first teaching assignment at a rural middle school she had five girls out of twelve report to her that they had been, or were being sexually abused. By the end of the year it was fairly obvious that several of her 11 and 12 year olds were hiding their “mature” relationships with boys in high school. All of these girls lived in deep poverty.

    Is every life valuable or only childrens? Maybe it’s only white childrens? I once worked with a Cambodian who told me a few horror stories about the Khmer Rouge camps. I’m sure that similiar stories are valid in Burma and Mexico right now. We’re not feeding clothing or housing these kids but we want them protected form sexual predators? How does that work?

    Pedophiles don’t just pop up in the middle of a clean field like mushrooms but rather there are cultures and subcultures that promote certain attitudes about the value of human life to children and adults within them. People do what they feel they have to do to survive.

    We value every life or none. When you pick and choose things go bad.

  161. August 20, 2008 at 22:13

    @ Anthropologist,

    Cultural relativity stops at the border. Yes, it’s perfectly normal for a 40 year-old man in Papua New Guinea to have a wife who is in her teens – even younger in some cases. Legally speaking, he can’t be a pedophile, since in his culture, his marriage to a girl who we would consider a minor in the West, is considered desireable, as are plural marriages. But it also happens in context of the political structure, whereby relationships between families, clans, villages and moieties are solidified. In such an extreme patriarchy in which so little material wealth exists, a man’s wife (or wives) and children are as much counted in his assets as his garden or his pigs. And in Papua New Guinea, I can accept that 12-year old girls might have to marry a man they don’t particularly like, because – crazy as it sounds – it’s normal there.

    What it is NOT for the Mae Enga or any other group in Papua New Guinea, is a compulsion – a piece of low hanging, forbidden fruit that they need only to reach out to pluck – a thought that drives them mad by the knowledge that even thinking of such behavior is taboo. This problem is exclusive to civilization. And while we can argue as to whether the age of consent in the West is, like so many laws , truly arbitrary, I would call into question any scientific evidence (should any ever be presented), which suggested that adults having sex with children – willing or otherwise – was anything but harmful.

  162. 162 Rachel
    August 20, 2008 at 22:34

    @ Anthony

    The stats come from Generation Five, an organization in San Francisco; here’s their stats page. http://www.generationfive.org/index.asp?sec=2&pg=44

    I also recommend people look at the rest of their website. It was this organization that introduced me to the concept of looking at child sexual abuse as a public health problem. Their name relates to the goal of ending child sexual abuse in five generations.

    @ Pam – thanks!

    @ Rawpolitics… I didn’t mean to suggest that convicted felons should be released without monitoring. I think there should be continued monitoring of convicted sex offenders, and that treatment should made available to offenders – a big issue here in the US where access to healthcare (especially mental health care) is a problem. I think that US sex offender registry laws tend to focus on “naming and shaming” rather than rehabilitation, ultimately further isolating offenders. Moreover, such registries often fail to distinguish between various degrees of abuse, so that someone convicted of statutory rape can be treated similarly to a repeat abuser of children.

    However, I do think that in focusing so much attention on convicted offenders and high profile cases, governments and media outlets obscure the larger problems of unreported sexual abuse, the need for prevention, and the need for broad access to treatment. There are a lot of victims/survivors out there, and a lot of abusers too, who never enter the criminal justice system. I think it is easier for people to focus on the “stranger danger” and cases like Gary Glitter than to come to terms with the likelihood that someone they know might have sexually abused a child.

    @ The World Have Your Say team and listeners.
    Many thanks to WHYS for giving me the opportunity to speak today. Speaking publicly about my experience of abuse is not something I’ve done very often, and having someone call me back within minutes of my email was gratifying.

    I encourage other abuse survivors to talk about their experience (as I have in more private settings) when it is comfortable for them. If others had not done so before me, my recovery would have been much more difficult – because of them, I knew I was not alone.

  163. 163 Jens
    August 20, 2008 at 22:35


    no worries, just wanted to make sure that we were on the same page

  164. 164 Luz Ma from Mexico
    August 20, 2008 at 22:39


    “What are some of the things to beware of in child care providers, and things that children should be on the watch for?”
    (I´ll try to make it short)

    Some things to consider when choosing child care providers:

    -Regularly (at least in Canada, I suppose is the same in the States), child care centres managers require their workers to give proof of non-criminal record. You should check if your child care provider is enforcing this measure.

    -Always ask for references. My two daughters went to childcare centres that had good references from reliable sources.

    -Look for childcare centres that have “open restrooms or changing rooms”. The two childcare centres where my daughters went have these. Everyone in the room could see when kids go to the bathroom and babies are changed (diapers) in front of everybody. I know it sounds gross, but the openness of the bathroom is in fact a “safety measure” to avoid child molestation.

    -Be always close to the childcare centre. By this, I mean, talking several times during the day to know how your child is doing, know your child teachers or educators, and go to activities organized by the centre. Child molesters/abusers regularly choose children that are somehow “abandoned” by their parents.

    -Use your intuition. If something seems “fishy” be vocal about it. It is better to be labelled as an “overprotective parent” than to put your child at risk.

    Things to say to your children about sexual abuse:

    -Always refer to their private body parts with the correct name (penis, vagina, etc.).

    -Tell them that NOBODY can touch their penis, vagina, etc.

    -Tell them that NOBODY can ask them to touch their private body parts.

    -Ask them about their day at school. Try it to make it a long and deep conversation, without being pushy.

    -Tell them that they can ALWAYS talk with you about anything. Keep a family environment of open communication and trust.

  165. 165 Anthony
    August 20, 2008 at 22:51

    @ Rachel

    That websites pretty flimsy. I can find a ton more stating that Aliens are real, 9/11 was caused by Bush, and that Elvis and Tu Pac are still alive.

    I was looking for the 1 in 3 thing and could find it NOWHERE ELSE.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  166. 166 Rachel
    August 20, 2008 at 22:57

    @Still Hurting in Oregon
    I am so sorry that you were abused, and I truly understand the despair that comes through in your email. I hope that you have access to a good counselor, and that you have friends you can trust to support you. (If you have a bad experience with one counselor, don’t give up – try another til you find someone you feel comfortable with).

    I hope most of all that you can begin to see yourself as a survivor, who found the strength to get through the abuse alive and who can use that strength to build a happy and healthy life, no matter what came before. We were victims then, we were too young and too vulnerable to stop what happened to us. But we are adults now, and we can take our lives back. In my darkest days, it was my anger that helped me most – because it made me fight to ensure that whatever else my abusers had taken from me, they were not going to take my future.

    I am now in my mid-30s, and it has been 18 years since I first began to deal with the abuse I suffered. I have gone to counseling at various points, particularly in the first few years. At times it felt like my recovery took all my energy and all my focus. I was diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and it took quite some time to get to a place where I could cope with those issues and feel like I had a ‘normal’ life. These days, there are times when things come up – for example, the unexpected jealousy I felt watching a male friend interacting with his young daughter, because she had a dad she could trust. But the abuse no longer impacts my daily life. It will always be a part of who I am, but it does not define me. I have a good life, and I’m proud of what I’ve done to build it. And I am grateful for the good fortune that made it possible for me to get treatment and to have supportive friends who have helped me through at every stage.

    I don’t know if any of the above is at all useful to you. I just wanted to offer my own experience, because so often we who have been abused are portrayed as permanently broken by what we’ve gone through. We were hurt, no question. But we can survive, and even go on to thrive.

  167. 167 Rachel
    August 20, 2008 at 23:48

    @ Anthony:

    Well, a few minutes of looking online revealed a study reporting that approximately 32% of general population females and 14% of males reported childhood sexual abuse. That would be about 1 in 3 females and 1 in 7 males. In various publications I’ve commonly seen 1 in 4 females used, and 1 in 6 for males – obviously, reporting problems make this a difficult statistic.

    The article:
    John Briere and Diana M. Eliot, “Prevalence and Psychological Sequelae of Self-Reported Childhood Physical and Sexual Abuse in a General Population Sample of Men and Women,” Child Abuse and Neglect 27, no. 10 (2003): 1205-1222. Link: http://www.johnbriere.com/CAN%20csa%20cpa.pdf

    And, lest you think that there’s only one such study giving the 1 in 3 figure, I quote from the article, so that you can do your own further research and decide for yourself.

    “The sexual abuse prevalence figures described above are somewhat higher than some general population studies (e.g., Bagley & Ramsay, 1986; Finkelhor, 1984) but in the same range as others (e.g., Bagley, 1991; Finkelhor, Hotaling, Lewis, & Smith, 1990; Wyatt, 1985).” The full references are listed in the bibliography.

  168. 168 Shirley
    August 20, 2008 at 23:57

    Child Pornography
    Shaun, I am not talking about family pictures of the day at the beach, or even photo shoots along the lines of Miley Ray Cyrus. I am talking about an underground industry in which children are somehow obtained so that they can be photographed in sexually suggestive situations and the resulting pictures distributed. The people who take those pictures do not necessarily have the same ethical or moral values as photographers for major entertainment magasines. The children who are thus photographed are often subjected to abusive treatment that may or may not also be photographed. To me, it does not matter if someone wants to sit in his house and stare at pictures of children so much as it matters that the children in those pictures have already been abused.

    I used to be ambivalent about the issue of obtaining pirated media such as music CDs and movies unti I saw a documentary on PBS that explained the link between that seemingly innocent purchase and the underground drug, arms, and slave trade. I think that just as there are connections between priated movies and an illegal underground arms trade, connections also exist between the pictures on a pedophile’s computer and the children on the other side who are absued in the process of obtaining those pictures.

    @ Rachel
    You’re awesome. I didn’t get to hear you on the radio, but I do want to applaud your courage and your determination to recover.

  169. 169 michael appiah-duku
    August 21, 2008 at 00:51

    yes of course.if convicts can be reformed in prison so that they are easily integrated into society why can’t paedophiles? let the world give them a chance!

  170. 170 Mike
    August 21, 2008 at 02:17

    Of course they can’t. That’s why they should all serve life terms, as should murders, arsonists, burglars, bar brawlers. I do draw the line at J-walkers. I think some of them should be given a second chance.

    But seriously, there isn’t the prison space and there isn’t the prison budget. And questions like these are really about getting people upset and stoking witchhunts, not about reasonable social policy questions.

  171. August 21, 2008 at 02:45

    When it comes to the youngest and most vulnerable members of society, there should be NO HOLDS BARRED to their safety. It is the sacred duty of all peoples, private citizens and authorities alike, to keep children safe to grow up wholesome and not twisted, abused and traumatized.

    So, can children be kept safe from paedophiles? Can paedophiles be rendered harmless? YES! to both.

    Please face facts. As our numbers grow, everything declines, or haven’t you noticed? As population numbers and densities increase, standards, mores, morals, values, decency and law and order decline and decrease. A paedophile in a village of 1000 is soon identified and stopped. In a city of 1 or several million, he disappears.

    Where children are at risk, which today is everywhere, sex predators cannot be allowed to be. For the safety and well being of BOTH, I have one foolproof flawless remedy. It’s an old law: “If you abuse it, you lose it. If you misuse it, you lose it.”

    First, catch the offender.
    Then let the paedophile be tried and found guilty.
    Then, no prison. A lobotomy to kill the will to harm; Surgery to remove the offending organ(s).
    No second chances!
    Abused children, traumatized innocent kids don’t get second chances. They’re scarred for life. That is their challenge and their burden. That is also our shame and our guilt, not to have prevented it.

    There is one sure way to keep society safe from predators and our prisons uncongested with their presence. Set them free, but first MAKE THEM SAFE TO BE FREED. Two simple and safe surgical procedures guarantee that those found guilty will not offend again; and perhaps give second thoughts to those not yet caught.


    In a world in chaos, with a global population run amok and global transport and communications easily available, sex predators and offenders, habitual criminals and those who habitually endanger the weak and vulnerable must be rendered harmless. No killing. No death. No burden of imprinsonment. Just render them harmless, permanently and effectively in a painless way and set them free. What they lose is only what they abused and misused.

    Cruel because it is irreversible? So is the experience of the abused child. Irreversible and undeserved. But measures possible in a world of few people have been made useless in ours. Sooner or later, these people will be set free, free to do more of the same all over again. No go. Not acceptable. Our world is in a big enough mess already. The future is in children’s hands–it is they we must now protect and shelter, keep safe and educate.

  172. 172 Jonathan
    August 21, 2008 at 03:03

    @ Luz Maria~

    Your 10:39 comment contains so much loving, common-sense (which is anything but common) advice for keeping children safe. If parents followed the steps you outline, it would do a thousand times more good than anything the legal system could ever cook up, even the fevered and unlovely fantasies of lifetime incarceration, castration and/or beheading of sex offenders. Thank you for your calm, practical suggestions. They won’t indulge punitive bloodlust, but they will protect children.

  173. 173 Gary
    August 21, 2008 at 03:25

    There is no such thing as a convicted pedophile. A pedophile is someone with an attraction to children that includes a sexual attraction.

    You can be a convicted child molester, you can be a convicted rapist, but you can’t be a convicted pedophile. Pedophiles are everywhere.


  174. 174 jamily5
    August 21, 2008 at 05:10

    surgical alteration would not help,
    it is not just the sex organs.
    it is also the desire for one to overpower and manipulate another.
    And, no, I know of at least three cases where women were/are pedifiles.

    It has been reported that about 80 or 85% of sex abuse happens within the family.
    (I did not report these statistics, but I will submit to them).
    Doesn’t that make it worse?
    If I knew that “Uncle Lester,” was “my child’s molester,”)as so aptly put) then I would not only be upset at the act, but that both my child and I were manipulated into believing that he was an honorable man who had the best of intentions for my family. .
    and, I would still want him to be put where he could not harm any other children, again.
    judges, teachers, etc can be mentally ill.
    Their intellect does not have anything to do with their illness.
    And, if we term them, “mentally ill,” then, prison would make them much worse and all pedifiles would find themselves in state mental hospitals.

  175. 175 jamily5
    August 21, 2008 at 05:11

    Certainly, I can imagine such things.
    As a disabled person, I have often been thought of as “weird.”
    My “weirdness,” though, did not make me manipulate those younger than me or harm anyone.

  176. 176 jamily5
    August 21, 2008 at 05:17

    Marjn wrote:
    “Nearly all pedophiles have friendships with kids, and (having
    spoken to MANY of them), none of them actually are after sex.”
    None??? I find that quite hard to believe, especially when I talked to child survivors, who report that the sex was not “optional.” .” So, it is not as if
    these adults are just emotionally immature and have a totally innocent friendship with a child.
    then, this relationship deepens until the pedifile can’t tell the diff between it and an adult relationship and mistakenly oversteps his/her boundaries.

    manipulation is quite a large part of their relationships and having spoken to many children who have been manipulated, I can safely say this.
    So, what makes them so honest, now?
    I agree that they bond with children in ways that they shouldn’t and this is due to an emotional immaturity and that this plays quite a role in their psyche. Yet, I don’t think that it is just a situation of “not understanding social norms,” or “emotional immaturity.” Yu say that you have talked to many pedifiles and they have told you that they were not starting the relationship in the hopes of sex. Yet, many pedifiles don’t get caught after having sex with their first child. Usually, they have had sex with multiple children. So, at some point, they do expect to have some kind of sexual contact.
    confessed or not.

    Shelila wrote:
    “which views sex differently from other cultures where sex
    with young children is normal and is thus, not damaging to them?”
    Many children of other cultures have written that they were not ready nor happy to have their sexual experience at such a young age.

  177. 177 Venessa
    August 21, 2008 at 05:49

    Jamily ~

    “Many children of other cultures have written that they were not ready nor happy to have their sexual experience at such a young age.”

    Do you know where you can find any articles about that? I would be curious to see how it compares to what was on the show today.

  178. 178 Baldy
    August 21, 2008 at 07:17

    Whether it is safe to release pedophiles into society depends very much on who is to be kept safe.

    Judging from the comments here, releasing a pedophile into society is rather akin to releasing a lamb into a lion’s den.

  179. 179 Anthony
    August 21, 2008 at 15:57

    @ Rachel

    Interesting report. So if I spanked a girl in Jr. High without her wanting it, then I sexually assaulted her according to the definition. Complete rubbish. I’d rather be interested in the penetration type statistics, crap like that is totally misleading!!!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  180. 180 David
    August 21, 2008 at 17:28

    Nobody can ever be safely released. There are no “safe” people to start with. The question should instead be what is an acceptable risk. It may be uncomfortable to admit there’s such a think as an acceptable risk when it comes to children, but the fact is you CAN be too careful, and cause a lot of collateral damage in the process.

    Personally I think the focus on paedophilia is a big misdirection. As a few (too few) people pointed out, paedophilia is a sexual attraction which is generally regarded as a mental illness, it is not however a crime. So the term “convicted paedophile” is basically meaningless.

    There are many more relevant things to consider in determining whether a person represents an unacceptable risk to society than whether they are a “paedophile”.

  181. 181 Olaf Broers
    August 21, 2008 at 17:58

    The question “can paedophiles ever be returned to society” is quite a sweeping one. What else can one do? Jail all of them, kill ‘m?
    What is a paedophile but a person, rarely a woman, that has sick urges towards children. Where do the urges originate? Well, very often they have been abused themselves and are therefore victims too. To begin with we must treat the young victims intensely and immediately. Trouble is they too are hard to find especially the ones abused over time.
    I think that psychological treatment of paedophilia has no effect. Rape, like child abuse, sets permanent psychological scars. Seen the consequences of the activities of paedophiles and the psychological ‘incurability’ they indeed need to be severely restricted in their movements. But where to settle them but on a childless island? Nobody wants them in their street. Modern electronic ankle-bands might be something, but has society enough capacity to follow up?
    Castration maybe? Again the problem might be deeper. It is not purely physical.
    I think we, society as a whole, have a real problem and should start taking psychological problems way more serious. Consequently use much more resources on psychological issues. Not to control society, but to keep it healthy.
    With other words, I think it is a long-term project to heal society from paedophiles, because it has many facets and is a disease from society.

  182. 182 Rachel
    August 21, 2008 at 22:46

    @ Anthony:

    Finding good statistical data about sexual abuse is fraught with problems. Such abuse is notoriously under-reported, definitions of abuse in clinical studies and law enforcement records differ widely, many government statistics don’t separate sexual abuse from other forms of child mistreatment, and because abuse can be reported to a number of different branches of government (local, state and federal law enforcement, child protective agencies, medical personnel, etc) it is particularly difficult to track incidents and collate the information across several departments.

    I used the 1 in 3 number because I’ve seen it used fairly commonly in reputable sources; I’ve also seen lots that say 1 in 4. You can argue with the numbers or the virtues of various studies, as you see fit; based on what I’ve read, I am comfortable using them.

    FWIW, I think a focus on “penetration type statistics” would be a too narrow definition of abuse. Ask someone who’s been fondled (but not penetrated) by a family member and I bet they’ll define it as abuse. Certainly there are degrees of abuse, and differences in types of abuse. Some children are violently abused; others are abused through coersion. Some are abused as young children, others in their teens. But dismissing one study as “rubbish” doesn’t do much to address the problem that there’s a lot of abuse happening, in a lot of different forms, and our current efforts to protect children from sexual abuse are inadequate.

    Anthony, I’m guessing from your prior posts that what you are concerned about is what types of behavior are defined as abuse. So tell me, how do you define child sexual abuse? What counts and what doesn’t? What does the victim’s age or behavior have to do with it? Where do you draw those lines?

    And, just for good measure, I’ll give you another link to a study. This one comes from the National Center for Juvenile Justice, using US Department of Justice statistics. http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf

    The study uses the FBI’s categories of sexual assault: forcible rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling. It includes statistics about cases reported to law enforcement in twelve states over the period 1991-96. Keep in mind that these are CASES REPORTED TO LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY and that FORCE is a key requirement of their definition.

    Among its many findings, the report “tabulates that juveniles [under 18] were the large majority of the victims of forcible fondling (84%), forcible sodomy (79%), and sexual assault with an object (75%). In contrast, juveniles were the victims in less than half (46%) of forcible rapes. In each sexual assault category except forcible rape, children below the age of 12 were about half of all victims.”

    Let’s not forget that a lot of this abuse is taking place inside the home – most perpetrators aren’t junior high school kids or predatory strangers, although undoubtedly there are cases of both. The study cited above found that 34% of juvenile victims (ie under 18) were abused by a family member. “Almost half (49%) of the offenders of victims under age 6 were family members, compared with 42% of the offenders who sexually assaulted youth ages 6 through 11, and 24% of offenders who sexually assaulted juveniles ages 12 through 17.” Those figures don’t include other abusers who are not related, but known to the victims – family friends, neighbors, childcare workers, etc.

    Finally (and sorry for being so long-winded), even as we have these discussions trying to sort out how many people are abused, there are discussions I’d really like to see that seem to be even more under-researched – how do we prevent abuse before it happens? How do we give children the tools to help them report abuse if it happens? How do we help people NOT abuse, and how can we rehabilitate those who do?

  183. 183 tabasco22
    August 22, 2008 at 09:34

    The best answer in my opinion was – so far – this one:

    August 20, 2008 at 2:45 pm


    And I also liked Rachel’s August 21-10:46 pm -answer to anthony. Mainly this statement:


    This is a well known fact, though hardly ever disseminated by the tabloid press. Cause the paedophile hysteria could no longer fulfill the function it has in society, i.e. to draw off the public attention from the real problems.

  184. 184 Gary Picket
    August 22, 2008 at 10:56

    How are you defining “paedophilia” (attraction to pre-pubescent children)?

    Much of the research on “paedophiles” focuses on contact sex offenders – people who illegally engage in sexual activity involving children. There is a small amount of research which focuses on paedophilia per se, however such research typically uses a sample of contact offenders rather than non-offenders or non-contact offenders. The contact offenders who are used are frequently repeat offenders who are clearly not in control of their behaviour. This has the unfortunate effect of warping our understanding of both paedophilia and child molestation, because we only begin to understand people who commit repeat contact offences, not people who are simply attracted to children. What we see is a gross oversimplification and conflation of paedophilia, child sexual abuse, and criminal sexual behaviour, which are complex and inter-related yet distinct phenomenon.

    Less educated people believe that all paedophiles must have sex with children because most adult-attracted people have sex with adults, failing to note the myriad of ethical, social and legal issues which govern the behaviour of minority sexualities. For the same reasons that most adult-attracted men don’t rape women or take advantage of heavily drunk women, most paedophilic men don’t engage in sexual activity involving children. Paedophiles who don’t molest children are not dangerous, and no intervention is required; sexuality cannot be altered or “redirected”.

    Contact offending behaviour (child molestation) is a different matter and is typically not a factor of paedophilia (most child-attracted men can be diagnosed with paedophilia based on the interpersonal difficulties and distress induced by social reactions to their feelings, so behaviours are not necessary for one to be diagnosed with paedophilia). Repeat contact offenders typically exhibit lower levels of white matter, which is linked to self-control, which distinguishes them from the class of non-offending paedophiles. Repeat contact offenders are generally less receptive to therapy than other contact offenders, however the overall rehabilitation rate of contact offenders (prevention of re-offending behaviour) is around 90-95% with therapy and 80-90% without therapy.

    According to a study using a random sample of paedophiles (Wilson & Cox, 1983), most paedophiles do not lack self-control, unlike the repeat contact offenders who are used in the vast majority of studies. It appears to be the case that *most* paedophiles are not dangerous to children. Most contact offenders are also not dangerous after therapy

    Most contact offenders are not paedophilic (though some are) and their problematic behaviour can be addressed with effective therapy, so such offenders should be released after receiving a suitable punishment and a sex offender treatment programme. Non-offending paedophiles should not be treated in an advserse manner, as such could potentially lead to the development of psychopathology, which could in turn lead to offending behaviour.

  185. August 22, 2008 at 15:17

    *** 20% of men are sexually attracted to young girls ***

    Has anybody here actually listened to the program?

    A paedophile is not a child rapist and not necessarily a bad person. A paedophile is somebody who feels sexually attracted to prepubescent children. There’s so much taboo around the issue that people don’t realise there may be many men who have paedophile feelings but who never act upon them. Why is the issue never addressed? A study in an American college showed 20% of men would want to have sex with a very young girl if it was allowed. Probably more would do it if it was allowed AND if the girl was consentent.

    As a 13 year-old boy, I was sexually attracted to good-looking men and women in their 20s and 30s. If one of them had approached me, I would have enjoyed it very much but they would have been locked up and shun by society? Why? “It’s for your own good we lock up your lover and have him/her beaten up by fellow inmates because he’s a perverse bastard.”

    Look at the website of the main participant in that BBC debate: http://www.martijn.org

    It has a perspective on attraction to children that most of us have never heard before.

  186. 186 Rashfa
    August 22, 2008 at 18:37

    @ Dan

    well the west doesn’t make it easy for the muslims, do they? im not saying that muslims (in general) does have a problem. there are things that the muslim world need to change and the changes need to be radical starting from implementing court rulings, down to creating awareness on the mind game the west is playing with the muslim community.

    and yes the muslims are suffering very much due to it, with the bad reputaion and all…but one person can’t make a huge impact to achieve those targets, can I?

  187. 187 John in Germany
    August 23, 2008 at 08:49

    Hi all.

    We only hear the bad stories, there must be hundreds that have been released from
    serving sentence that have been able to live normal lives, without returning to their old ways.

    The psychological screening is the problem as far as i can see, it falls down more than is healthy.

    A question. What chance has a person to rehabilitate in a country where his address, and other information is published?. And it cannot be correct to drag his children and family into the dirt, and be punished for his offences.

    John in Germany.

  188. 188 Emile Barre
    August 23, 2008 at 12:45

    The source of Paedophilia (which inspires all paedophiles) is to be found in the use of children in advertising. Stop that and Paedophilia will wither on the vine.

  189. 189 Jim
    August 24, 2008 at 04:26

    Being this the BBC they surely wont mention that Mohammed the Prophet was a pedophile as he married a 9yo girl to have sex with.

    So pedophiles have always been around since the stone age.

  190. August 25, 2008 at 12:04

    from kenyan jails out to the society,these type of people wouldnt be released safely.they would have been beaten by their fellow prisoners who think such a case is for those who cant sit with others and discuss anything……and what about those who have sex with guys 40 yrs older?they must be categorised as those we are discussing here.


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