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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon
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March 2014
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Vasaris, the Fuzzy Dragon [userpic]
Once upon a time...

I worked for a psychologist who treated sex offenders. Specifically, he treated pedophiles who had been caught and turned over to the wheels of justice.

There are more of them than one might think. Many of them actually pose a fairly low risk to society once they've been treated -- assuming, of course, that they work with the program.

You might be surprised by the number of them that want to work with the program. It's easy to write off pedophiles as evil bastards who are just out to satisfy their own desires and hurt children.

What one doesn't see is the enormous frequency with which said pedophiles not only know that their desires are wrong -- they want help and have nowhere to turn for it. I can't count the number of psych evaluations I typed up over the period of about two and a half years that involved men going to their pastors (or others) to confess that they were having inappropriate ideation only to be told... pray, God will help you. Exercise some control -- simple willpower will see you through.

And, of course, ewww -- you sick bastard!

And the guy who *knows* he's a sick bastard -- and wants to get treatment so he's no longer a sick bastard -- finds himself with utterly useless advice and being abandoned by those he seeks help from... because he doesn't want to hurt anyone.

Pedophilia, from what I learned in that time, is not a simple issue of willpower. It is a psychological dysfunction that requires in-depth aversion treatment (among other things) to control. Note that word -- control -- because, like alcoholism, it cannot be cured. With training and treatment it can be managed and/or redirected -- it is possible to give these people *help* so that they won't create new victims such as the vast majority of pedophiles themselves were.

But society makes it almost impossible for them to seek it.

There was a young man -- college age -- who went to a campus counselor when he realized that he was having inappropriate ideation about very young boys. Fantasies that the young man did not want but couldn't seem to control. The campus counselor, of course, didn't have the appropriate training to deal with it and came to my boss for help. Everyone involved would have liked to get the kid into the appropriate therapy...

...except, of course, unless my boss was going to do it for free, three $80/hr visits a week, plus $35/session group therapy twice a month was a bit beyond the kid's means, especially as the general prognosis is for several years worth of therapy to try and be sure that the training in ingrained and holds. Instead, the kid made do with group sessions and hasty-consults between the therapist at the university and my boss.

Hopefully, it worked. I sincerely hope the kid never offends because he sought help... and luckily for him he had a vague notion of where to go. He got lucky in his therapist, too, who knew the name of the local psychologist who did sex offenders and was willing to ask for help.

I think it says something rather sad about our society that the kneejerk reaction to sex offenders in general -- and pedophiles in particular -- is "Kill 'em all!" instead of trolling pedophile websites and saying 'Here's a list of psychologists who can help you. Please seek help before you harm someone. We know you can't do it on your own. You have options.' Many of the offenders I typed evaluations up for would have sought help on their own if they'd had any idea of where to go for aid.

I'll not say that there aren't unapologetic pedophiles -- I'll never forget the eval where the guy basically said "I like f**king little boys and I'll never stop doing so if I'm free. I don't want treatment, because I like me the way I am." Him strapped to a table with a lethal cocktail sounds fine to me. The 20-year-old boy who'd been raised so strictly that he barely knew what an erection was, had only the faintest notion of how it was supposed to be used, and got trapped in the shower by a horny 14-year-old girl with better information about sex than he had? Not so much. I'll not say that he wasn't responsible for his actions -- he should have had better self control, as he was raised to think physical pleasure was a no-no -- but he honestly had no notion of what the hell was going on.

The dozens who prayed, almost hourly, to have their inappropriate desires taken away... who compulsively found themselves unable to stop, despite their guilt and shame and self-hate and self-abuse? Who have well meaning (if clueless) religious types telling them that they're not praying hard enough if they're still experiencing horrid little fantasies. Do they deserve to die, or do they deserve help?

The ones who knew in a vaguely intellectual sort of way that most people find sex with children wrong, but as they'd grown up with numerous adults and older children using them (their siblings and their friends) for sex when they were young didn't really believe it -- and, when you think about it, how can one blame them? All the evidence they had pointed at that societal rule as being one that only deserved lip-service. Is society better served with them dead or re-trained?

*shakes head* Pedophilia is an understandable trigger for most people, but damn it, we as a society aren't doing much to help men (primarily) come forward and say "I have a problem, I need help" before their problem becomes someone else's nightmare. Thus, don't we all bear some responsibility for what happens?

And yes, the preceding was sparked by something on childfree.


Many agreements. It's not something you can talk about, and it's hard to know how to handle it. I ran up against this one myself, when I crushed hard on a boy who was about five years younger than me. I met him when I was about 16 as part of a children's theater. He was tiny, and I thought he was funny and enjoyed being around him, but had no problems because he was definitely a kid then. Two more summers of plays later, fast forward to a hiking trip as part of Scouts, and I'm totally crushing, because he's funny and intelligent and still tiny, but not so much of a kid. Fast forward to four years later, and he's in a high school play and now I'm totally pervy because I seriously want him. To the point of getting him to sit on my lap (he was still small, although finally growing into his features) when there was no room in the vehicle. And that? That specific memory? Makes me want to scrub my brain out with a brillo pad.

So, yeah. Wish there was a way to talk about these things and figure out how to cope with them.

Ouch. I bet it does. *hugs*

And that's such an obnoxious age-range too, as it's perfectly acceptable for the average 11-16 year old to crush on a person older than them -- just about any age gap allowed for those schoolchild crushes -- but for the older person to crush back is "sick" and "wrong" and "horrible." (Of course in many cases it actually is.) Honestly, this doesn't sound as horrible as you might think -- sounds like you were crushing on the *person* and not the body... and I expect it isn't every 11 to 15 year old you meet.

So I'm thinking -- forgive yourself for your little lapse in willpower ;) It's not okay, precisely, but it was human and as long as you actually caused no harm, I expet there's no foul. And remember that within about, what, three years of that, the age difference would not only have been normal, it would have been considered natural generally.