Slate asks: How should we deal with pedophiles?

The short answer is: Stop seeing them as monsters. An in-depth piece from Slate makes two really important points about child sexual abuse:

(1) “People are notoriously unable to recognize child molesters because people they respect simply don’t fulfill the image they have of ‘monsters’ or ‘predators.'”

(2) There is nowhere for people who are attracted to children to get help: “Contemporary attitudes toward pedophilia [are like] old attitudes about alcoholism, before it was understood as a disease that can be managed with proper support.”

It’s interesting that one other way of preventing sexual assault is absent from this article: that it’s about power more than sex, so we need to change the social structures of power that support sex crime.

No doubt different sex offenders have different motivations and sexual desires, and the research does indicate that many minor-attracted people struggle with their inappropriate desires and spend their lives trying not to act on them. It is well worth supporting those who fit that description, and besides, compared to accomplishing broad structural change, educating the health profession about this and establishing  prevention programs for potential offenders seems pretty easy.

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