Stereotypes

Think for a moment what comes to mind when you hear the word, “pedophile”.

Perhaps you think of an older man with a creepy smile. Maybe he has the classic “pedo glasses” or “pedo ‘stache”. He doesn’t have a lot of friends (if any) and he hangs out in the park or where ever kids are, promising them free candy or toys or a puppy if they come in his windowless van. Whatever he’s doing, he’s always thinking of one thing – entrapping children.

Now think for a moment of someone else. A pretty young teenage girl. Long blonde hair. She’s very popular at school. She’s involved in a lot of different extracurricular activities at school and in the meantime she’s working at a kid’s club. A boy compliments her and she laughs and blushes.

This girl can also be a pedophile.

A lot of people don’t realise this because of a thing called stereotyping. But stereotyping happens to every major group of people, and if that group is being oppressed or vilified in any way, you can be sure that people will only see the ugliest, most horrible stereotype possible.

Just look at the way suffragettes, Jewish people, Romani, among other stigmatized people have been portrayed in the media. Even though we now know they aren’t like the propaganda we see, they were once portrayed as vile and unattractive people, and people believed it. Even closer to home, we can look at how gay people were portrayed in the past in the retro cautionary film from the 1960s, Boys Beware.

Boys Beware on YouTube

Here, they are portrayed as pedophiles are portrayed today. Nowadays, people know that most gay people are not like the predatory figures you see in this film. They do not, however, know that most pedophiles are not like the predatory figures you see in this film, and it appears that this “creepy” identity has been cut-and-pasted right onto pedophiles.

Most people of today would believe that Boys Beware is an inaccurate representation of most gay people, but an accurate representation of most pedophiles. In reality, this is simply not the case. This film is more likely to show the predatory behaviour of a stalker or would-be rapist. Remember that many researchers have confirmed that most sexual offenders against children are not pedophiles, but situational offenders. (Blaney, Paul H.; Millon, Theodore (2009). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (Oxford Series in Clinical Psychology) (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. p. 528.)

Now think for a moment of someone else. Someone you know. Someone close to you.

Why I am writing this blog (I can hide but I can’t run)

Maybe some people would wonder, “Why would you write a blog about this stuff?” “Shouldn’t you just ignore your attraction?”

The truth is, I probably would ignore it if it was possible. The problem is that when I leave this community behind and step into the “normal world” to do normal things, ignorance and animosity surrounds me, and it hurts.

Not all pedophiles are not child molesters, and most child molesters are not pedophiles. But “pedophile” is probably just as negatively registered in people’s minds as “child molester”, because most people think that pedophiles are the ones out there molesting children. Because of that, pedophiles are branded as one of modern society’s biggest enemies, up there with terrorists, serial killers and rapists. Criminal actions are  put on the same level with an unchosen attraction. It makes me disappointed that more people can’t see that. I can’t even watch a video on YouTube without seeing  comments saying things like “what if a pedophile kidnapped her?” or  “that guy was a creepy pedo” or something equating pedophiles as child molesters, or as creepy, dangerous and disgusting. And these were just normal videos that I was watching that had nothing to do with pedophilia, but lo and behold, I can’t escape it. Even when I try to stay away, I’m never allowed to forget how hated I am.

No! I don’t want to rape or molest.

No! I never have.

No! I never will.

I, just like so many other pedophiles.

But many people treat us as if we are rapists, or at the very least, want to rape someday, when for most of us, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

“Kill all pedophiles” is a phrase that I can try to run from, but I’ll end up hearing it anyway.

That’s what makes me extremely sad, but it also scares me to think what would happen if people were to discover this facet of me. Countless pedophiles have lost their friends, family, and jobs simply from people discovering that they are what they are.  It’s painful to know that other people who have done nothing wrong other than having an unchosen attraction, and being too honest, are being hurt from this.

That’s why I need to write. I am not a rapist. I am not a child molester. Pedophiles are just people who happen to be attracted to children – NO action implied. Nothing more, and nothing less.