What is Pedophilia and why are child pedophiles such an epidemic?
We asked renowned psychiatrist and author, Dr. Herbert Wagemaker, this and you may be surprised by his answer:
Pedophilia involves sexual attraction/orientation towards children, and usually involves males. Pedophilia is very rare among females. It is characterized by recurrent intense sexual-arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children for at least a 6-month period of time. What this means is that the sexual attraction/orientation of the person (usually a male) is toward a child rather than an adult. It has been estimated that sex offenders are often involved with two or more children, and the problem is often a recurrent one.
Mental health professionals agree that child molesters should never be considered normal, but is a disease.
Four percent of the population suffers from sexual orientation toward children. In 1999, 93,000 kids were sexually abused. 50% of the abusers were parents of the children. 18% were relatives. This means that almost 70% of children were molested by family members, fathers, uncles, and grandfathers – males they trusted.
What causes pedophilia? No one decides, "I’m going to grow up and be a child pedophile."
We know that pedophilia runs in families. Boys who are molested often molest boys when they grow up. Do they molest because they were molested or because they have a genetic sexual orientation toward children?
I feel that there is a strong genetic predisposition in pedophilia. I believe that pedophilia runs in families and seems to be a variant of OCD, which has strong genetic predispositions. In other words, pedophilia seems to be an illness that is caused by abnormal brain chemistry with strong genetic connections.
One of the important questions we must ask is, "How safe are our children when registered sex offenders are living in our neighborhoods?" Most pedophiles are multiple offenders and are involved with a number of kids. The answer to this question revolves around the treatment of pedophilia. How effective is it?
Web MD web site (http://www.webmd.com/ ) states, "Sadly, there is no cure for pedophilia." This is true. There is no cure, but there is treatment.
It has been shown that the SSRI’s, Prozac®, Zoloft®, Celexa®, Luvox®, Paxil®, and Lexapro® , in high doses are also useful in treating this illness. Treatment of pedophilia is difficult at best. Many of these men remain untreated.
Because adults who sexually abuse children are repeat offenders, it makes sense not to allow them to be in close contact with children. According to a study by Abel in 1987, reported in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 2(1), 3-25, offenders against female children had an average of 19 victims, while those against male children had an average of 50. These figures surprised me. Common sense tells us to keep these adults away from kids and out of our neighborhoods.
Pedophilia is an illness that must be treated. If it is not treated successfully, our kids are in danger. We must know where the sexual offenders are. They must be registered and followed closely. My heart goes out to the men and women who are sexually attracted to children. The ones I have talked to hate this. But, even more, my heart goes out to the children who are molested, or are vulnerable to molestation. They must be protected from child pedophiles. All of our children need to live in a safe environment, free of the threat of molestation.
Dr. Herbert Wagemaker
Board-certified psychiatrist and Renowned Author