I've been researching pedophilia
as part of a longer, seperate essay. it is proving difficult. If you want statistics
all you have to do is simple google search
using the terms "murder statistics". I did that and within minutes found myself at a web site where i could access any number of studies by the Justice Department
, and even one place where I could design my own statistical analysis of said studies, and run crosstabs
and a multiple regression
But if do the same seach using the term 'pedophilia statistics' you get page after page of Christian Fundamentalist web sites. The data they provide does not exactly inspire confidence. i have enough experience with strongly ideological people to know they studiously avoid any information which contradicts their tender sense of reality. In other words, there's a whole lot of bearing false witness going on. Consider this little tidbit: the bold assertion that "100% of all child molesters are homosexuals" which led on to a rant about why gay people should not be allowed to teach school.
That was typical. i found a lot of information on child pornography, almost all of which spoke of strong correlation between the use of child pornography and child molestation.
Duh! I've been to gay bar or two with my brother. I remember one where they were showing this soft-core pornography of young, muscle-bound men dressed in togas and leading horses around. It was pretty darned funny. I have enough curiousity to pick some gay magazine and page through it to see where they are coming from. But as a heterosexual male the probability of me subscribing to Blueboy is precisely zero. On the other hand, the odds of my subscribing to Playboy is pretty darned good, as i purchase a subscription about once every decade.
The problem with using a raw correlation between two variables as proof of causality is simple, it's the old 'chicken and egg' question. Which comes first? While a significant correlation is necessary to establish causality, correlation alone says nothing about causal ordering.
in other words, putting the egg before the chicken.
A person may seek out child pornography in order to satisfy a pre-existing prediliction. Saying that child pornography drove someone to pedophiliia is logically identical to saying that my heterosexuality comes from my Playboy subscription. No one would argue that Playboy drove me to chase women, yet such statements are often repeated with regards to pedophilia or any other form of perceived sexual deviation.
More serious researchers seem to suggest that pedophilia is really a 'third sexuality''; that the attraction is not to man or woman but child.
If so this is very troubling. Homosexual sex between adults is not inherently harmful, but then adults are quite capable of giving informed consent. Children are not, and having dated a couple women who were molested (by a male parent), I've gained a real appreciation of the damage that sort of betrayal entails.
The 'third sexuality' argument might add some credence to the weaker claims of the radical right, that a disproportionate number of child molestations takes place between and an adult and a child of the same gender. But not for the reason the New Right thinks; Rather the issue is probably one of access. In America, sexual segregation is very common when raising children. Women are often left in charge of children of all ages and genders, but men are generally left alone with boys. If the adults break down evenly by gender, men get the boys, women with the girls.
This simply makes it easier for the pedophile to establish trust with an intended victim of the same sex. And molestation requires privacy. Orgies just don't happen. If pedophiles can only get close contact with their own sex, then their own sex is what they will molest.
A further problem is raised. if pedophilia is a third sexuality, then how do you deal with it? Christian fundamentalists argue all the time that homosexuality can be cured, though the evidence they offer to support this characterized primarily by its weakness. If homosexuality cannot be 'cured', then why should we expect any more from pedophilia? If there was a real attraction to adults of either gender, then perhaps something might be done.
But if pedophilia cannot be 'cured' as I suspect, then what can we do as a society to deal with a group of people whose attraction we can all agree is harmful? The answer to that question will take a lot more research.