I have chosen the topic of pedophilia mostly for personal reasons. First off, I wish to pursue a career in the field of mental health and I see myself dealing either with abused children, substance abuse counseling, or adolescence with major mental illness. I suppose this desire is derived from my personal history. I come from a very dysfunctional family. My biological mother suffers from bipolar disorder as well as alcoholism and has abused other substances. She has never held a steady job and from what I remember from living with her, we never lived in one place for too long.
One of the earliest memories I have, is my mother telling me to go over to a neighbor’s house one late summer night, and ask if I could have something to eat, because my mom forgot about making diner. My dinner that night was a Swiss cake roll. My mother was also abusive and clumsy when she wasn’t under the influence of god only knows what, and the abuse was worse when she was. When I was five years old, I remember rough play fighting with one of my cousins in the living room at their house.
We ended up pushing each other on our butts to the floor back and forth. We laughed every time we fell, but my older cousin thought I was being a bully by playing this way since I was a little bigger than the cousin I was pushing, (although the cousin I was pushing is a year older than me) ran to the adults and told my mom on me. My mother had not been drinking for very long that day since it was either late morning or early afternoon. She was very angry regardless as she came storming into the room and shoved me to the floor.
My arm somehow broke from hitting the floor heating register, and not long after that last incident, I was taken away from my mother and put into the custody of the father I never thought I had. Besides for missing my mom, occasional spankings for wetting the bed, and bladder surgery, life was a lot better. I learned to call my father’s wife mom, and got used to having three much older brothers that would rather sit around, smoke marijuana, and play video games than build a house of Legos, color with me, or play hide and seek.
By the time I was eight, my brothers were all grown up, out of the house, and two had even gotten married. My father spoiled me and often got me what I wanted even though my step mother said no. I loved all the attention and affection he gave me up until the age of thirteen. When that magic number popped up, things started to change real fast. I had started to develop and my father had taken notice. My father was generally helpful as well as kind others, hard working for his family, and a reliable friend, but I started to realize at some point, that he was also very flawed.
My father had always been a heavy drinker of hard liquor, very racist, sexist, hateful and unaccepting of other’s spiritual beliefs, quick with his temper, and at this time in my life, quick with his fist if I had done something to upset him, or was in his way when he got home from work. I had learned that my father was many things, more of which I now thought were bad things, but never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that my father was a pedophile or would end up molesting children, let alone his own thirteen year old daughter.
My brothers were married and had children of their own that looked up to me as an older sister and less than an aunt. After putting up with the abuse for a couple of years, I decided to tell my doctor everything and my father was finally taken away and put in jail for two years. This may seem like a cut and dry happy ending, but like I said, I come from a very dysfunctional family. My step mother was in denial or refused to believe me even when my father finally told her the truth. My brothers believed to some extent, but thought that it didn’t require telling the police and having their father thrown in jail.
The night my father went to jail was also the night my step mother said she hated me and told me to pack a bag and call around to find someone else to live with. I have not seen my step mother, father, brothers, nieces and nephew in over four years. I used to have such anger and hate for my father and found myself wishing he was dead many times over. Now that I am in a much better place, where nothing like that will happen to me again, I wish to know what caused my father to become a pedophile and child molester.
What makes any person a pedophile? Is someone born destined to be a pedophile through genetics? Does a person become a pedophile because they were sexually abused as a child? I hope to answer these questions in my report and gain a better understanding of why my father and why any one feels sexually drawn to children. Pedophilia and when it may begin A person with pedophilia is considered a pedophile. Pedophilia is “the condition of being sexually attracted to young children. ”
Pedophilia is also a paraphilia. A paraphilia is a disorder that is characterized by recurrent intense sexual urges and sexually arousing fantasies generally involving: nonhuman objects; the suffering or humiliation of oneself or one’s partner (not merely simulated); or animals, children, or other non-consenting persons. ” People with this psychosexual disorder prefer the fantasizing or actually engaging in sexual relations with a child in order to achieve sexual excitement and or gratification. Some pedophiles may be attracted to children of the same sex, the opposite sex, or they may be non-discriminant.
Pedophilia normally occurs during the teenage years. This does not mean that the adolescent is necessarily acting on his or her abnormal sexual urges and fantasies, but this is normally when the fantasies and urges begin. “Occasionally pedophiles may begin acting on their fantasies and sexual urges during middle age, but this is said to be very uncommon”. Then again, “In the United States, about 50% of men arrested for pedophilia are married. ” Description of pedophilia and pedophiles “The focus of pedophilia is sexual relations with a child.
Many courts consider the reference of child, to mean children that are not yet of age eighteen. “However, most mental health professionals encase the definition of pedophilia to sexual activity with prepubescent children,” (meaning those that are not yet physically developed or are just beginning to physically develop) “who are generally age thirteen or younger. ” “Sexual behaviors that are based on pedophilia involve a range of sexual activities that may or may not use force. ” When acting on sexual urges with a child, some pedophiles may never end up touching the child. Some may limit themselves to exposing themselves, or masturbating in front of the child, or fondling and or undressing the child, but without genital contact. ”
Then again, others force or coerce the child into oral sex and or “full genital contact”. “There is no typical pedophile. A pedophile can be anyone; young or old, male or female (although most people of the pedophile population are male). ” Sadly enough, one does not have a certain physical abnormal appearance that labels them a pedophile. Some pedophiles are also those professionals who are entrusted with educating or maintaining the health and well-being of children, while others are trusted with the children that are related with them by either blood or marriage. ”
This reinforces the fact that a pedophile can be anyone. The bus driver that is responsible for safely transporting large groups of children back to school every day for five days a week. The teacher that is trusted to provide knowledge, the little league coach that builds up the strength and speed of a child as well as teaches them the value of being a team player.
The baby-sitter that is paid for being responsible for the child while the parents are away at work could be a pedophile. Even close family, or loved ones that you’ve known all your life could have sexual fantasies about children. Causes and different theories There are many different theories or thoughts that exist as to what causes pedophilia. Some researchers connect pedophilia to biology. They believe that “testosterone, one of the male sex hormones, predisposes men to develop deviant sexual behaviors. As far as genetic factors are concerned, as of 2002 no researchers have claimed to have discovered or mapped a gene for pedophilia.
“Most experts however, regard pedophilia as resulting from psychosocial factors rather than biological characteristics. Some experts believe that pedophilia is the result of having been sexually abused as a child. Then there are others who also think that it comes from the person’s interactions with their parents in their earlier years of life. ” Arrested emotional development is when the person has never matured psychologically; some believe that this is why pedophiles are attracted to children. Unfortunately, there are not yet any solid leads on what exactly causes pedophilia.
Understanding MRI Research on Pedophilia “In the past two years, researchers have begun studying pedophilic men by using MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), improving our ability to identify brain mechanisms potentially involved in the development of pedophilia. ” (Cantor,2008) Although there are many types and subtypes of MRI that have been invented, these researchers only need to refer to two major types; Structural MRI and Functional MRI. “Structural MRI allows us to measure the sizes of many (but certainly not all) of the individual structures that make up the brain. (Cantor, 2008)
“With structural MRI, researchers can determine, for example, whether the hypothalamus (a brain region shown by animal research to relate to sexual behavior) is larger or smaller in pedophilic men than in non-pedophilic men. ” (Cantor, 2008) “The functional MRI or FMRI, provides information about the activity of the brain. ” It identifies which regions of the brain react to certain stimuli (such as speech or sexual images). Unfortunately, right now it has very few medical applications. “FMRI can be thought of as a movie, which is a series of still pictures taken over time.
A key difference between an individual frame of an FMRI movie and a structural MRI image is that the structural MRI image will be much clearer. Even though the structural MRI is clearer, the FMRI can reveal sudden changes in the brains’ activity, which is invisible to structural MRIs. ” In one study, researchers compared large groups of pedophilic men with men who committed non-sexual crimes; they found that the pedophilic men had a lot less tissue in the wide spread regions of the brain. “These two regions are the superior fronto-occipital fasciculus and the right arcuate fasciculus.
Researchers were not expecting to find this. ” (Cantor, 2008) “Instead of dominating one specific function of the brain, such as self-control or sexual response, these two regions are made up of axons (or ‘cables’) that are connected with other regions of the brain. ” (Cantor, 2008) These “cables” suggest the possibility that sexual attraction to children, over adults is not due to any one specific part of the brain, but instead, how the many regions work together.
Neuro scientists call this partial “disconnection syndrome. Cantor goes on to say that, “the brain differences found is more likely to be causing pedophilia than for pedophilia to be causing the brain differences. ” In the second part of their research it also suggests “that brain differences are not effects of pedophilia is that pedophilic men have up to three times of the odds of being left-handed (or being ambidextrous) than do non-pedophilic men” (Bogaert, 2001; Cantor Blanchard, Christensen, Dickey, Klassen, Beckstead, Blak, & Kuban, 2004; Cantor, Klassen, Dickey, Christensen, Kuban, Blak, Williams, & Blanchard, 2005).
Handedness is determined by brain organization and is determined mostly before birth (fetuses show a hand-preference for thumb-sucking that is observable on sonograms). ” This means that some important differences in the brain existed long before the pedophilic person was even born. “The structural MRI differences were reliable enough for studying groups of pedophiles for research, but they were not reliable enough for the assessment of individuals for clinical purposes. Although, it is still possible, however, that functional MRI could be used clinically to distinguish pedophilic from non-pedophilic men. (Cantor, 2008) “A certain set of brain regions become active when a person under study perceives something that is sexually arousing, but remains, for the most part, inactive when the person perceives something that is not sexually arousing. ” (Safron, Barch, Bailey, Gitelman, Parrish, & Reber, 2007)
This is suggesting that FMRI could be used for distinguishing pedophilic men from non-pedophilic men. Researchers believe that the “relevant brain regions of pedophilic men would respond when they are shown pictures or a video of children, but not when they are shown pictures or a video of adults. Cantor states positively, “Although there are a great many technical challenges to conducting such research, I feel confident in predicting that we will see such studies coming out within the next few years. ” Effective treatment for pedophilia Like many other diseases, there is no known cure for pedophilia. At the moment, treatment mainly revolves around preventing further offenses instead of trying to change the sexual orientation. Yuli Grebchenko, MD, has done a lot of research on pedophilia. He notes that it is “a life-long disorder” and says that, “It needs lifelong treatment” (Lamberg, 2005). According to recent studies, psychotherapy as well as pharmacotherapy (meaning the use of subscribed medication) can be used together to be the most effective way to treat someone that is suffering from pedophilia” (Kersebaum, 2007).
“The standard medications used for treating pedophilia are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH), and leuprolide acetate (LA)” (Briken, 2003). These all target selective hormones and chemicals in the body, but like any other medication, they all have different side effects. SSRIs are effective in less severe cases and clients most often just go through sexual side effects” (Kraus, 2007). “For more serious cases of pedophilia, LA is used to reduce testosterone down to very low levels in addition to pedophilic urges. This has been proven to work very well, although it is considered a bit dangerous” (Schober, 2005). “LHRH, which is the newest of the three treatment drugs, lowers neural responses to visual sexual stimuli, and the side effects are also small” (Briken, 2003).