The Right to Know

The Right to Know (1)

Most of us would agree that paedophilia / pedophiia, hebephilia , and, depending on age of consent variations ephebiphila, is wrong.

All three are medically recognised psychiatric disorders.

All three can cause irreparable damage, and because of this individuals who have such a condition need to be monitored carefully with appropriate treatment , to minimise or negate any potential injury, death, or trauma within the wider community.

All of this I agree with, and therefore it might be expected that I would fully support the likes of Sarah’s Law and Megan’s Law. My problem is that I cannot do so.

I agree with the law itself, I agree that society needs to be protected from such disorders, and I fully empathise with any apparent of a child who has been abused when they state that they would like to see all perpetrators killed. There is a problem though, for such laws cannot be applied in isolation from the world around them, and once placed in an open environment, factors come into play that make such laws  almost impossible to fairly deploy.

Why so; well consider the following:-

  1. Paedophilia is  a recognised psychiatric disorder
  2. It can be a disorder born out of abuse when the sufferer was a child
  3. Medical treatment and patient confidentiality are often at the centre of worldwide health practices
  4. There is no real cure for Paedophilia
  5. The therapy success rate is still very low
  6. It is highly debatable whether or not disclosed information can be used with the care given to that information by the professional medical and law enforcement agencies
  7. If an individual has a disorder or disease which we find unpalatable as  a society, does that give us the right to withdraw the confidentiality and medical privacy that all of us enjoy

At this point I am sure some readers will be saying-“how dare I say this”- but if we fail to deal with such issues properly, then how can we possibly expect to find  a solution or cure. It is hard enough to deal with all the physical ailments which at times beset us, so I really cannot blame the doctors for failing to find a cure;-if there is one-so maybe it is time for us to grow up as individuals and as a society, and accept that, as things stand at the moment, we cannot be trusted, or adequately trusted to enact such a law.

This is the first of two posts that deal with our right to know certain bits of information, and I make no apologies for my stance , and for those who feel that such a position is wrong or untenable I would ask them to look at the following scenario.

A child is abused by a paedophile, The child receives psychological counselling and grows up to be an adult. That adult marries and, within a stable marriage, raises a child. As his or her child grows up, the adult, to their horror, begins to develop and unhealthy sexual interest in the child, to the extent where incest or inappropriate behaviour occurs.

How would you feel if you were that child/adult in question, and how guilty would you feel if the trauma from the original incident had never been fully resolved, and that you had been told that there was little hope of a cure?

Finally how would you feel if a self styled vigilante group in your area found out what had happened, and had come knocking on your door?

This happens.

This is not uncommon.

How would you feel?

Part 2 coming up shortly


Categories: Growing pains

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

6 replies

  1. Hello, I appreciate your willingness to address how we treat pedophiles and sex offenders. However, I don’t think you understand pedophilia quite as well as you think you do. Granted, that isn’t the focus of your post, but I’d like to clarify a few things anyway.

    It is true that people who abuse children are often victims of prior abuse themselves. However, sexually abusing a child doesn’t make someone a pedophile. In fact, it is estimated that over half of all child sexual abusers are non-pedophiles. I agree with most of what you said about the abusers, but the word “pedophiles” is not an accurate categorical description. Pedophiles have a sexual attraction towards children that is functionally equivalent to an orientation. These feelings do not determine how they choose to act.

    As for therapy and a “cure” for pedophilia… therapy has shown to be successful in helping pedophiles refrain from acting on their attraction. Those who are at a higher risk for offending may benefit from hormone reducing drugs (to reduce sex drive). However, therapy cannot change who the individual finds attractive — doctors currently believe it to be hardwired in the brain, like other sexual orientations. (Similarly, the cause, while unknown, is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most sexual abuse victims do not grow up to be pedophiles, and many pedophiles, like myself, were never abused as a child.) So, it is possible to treat sex offenders, and preventative therapy can reduce the risk of an initial offense, but pedophilia itself is not something that can be effectively altered.


    • Thank you for your comments on my post regarding the treatment, within society, of pedophiles. I’m not an expert on these matters and I am delighted that you have chosen to respond to the post and given some excellent clarification.

      I must admit that I was unaware of the categorical distinction, which, upon further investigation, has proved very interesting, but them , as you say, the main thrust of the post was to highlight the problems about making certain information available to the public.

      In light of your comments, and in light of your stated position, may I be so bold to ask what is your opinion of Sarah’s law and Megan’s law, and have you known disclosures resulting from such laws to be beneficial or harmful?

      I’m glad that you appreciate my reasons for airing this topic, one which most individuals would shy away from, and I sincerely hope that my comments haven’t caused you any distress. It is a sensitive issue, but one which I have always thought should be aired.

      So all I can say is please feel free to reply, or comment on any post that I have written. I have no bias for or against anyone is society, and, as far as is possible within the limits of common courtesy, I am a great believer in everybody’s voice being heard


      • Thank you for your gracious response. Do not fear, you have caused me no distress. I make a habit of addressing people’s misinterpretations of what it means to be a pedophile, so my encounter with you was quite pleasant.

        Sarah’s Law and Megan’s Law are sex offender laws. I am not a sex offender, so I don’t have any personal experience with these laws. I have doubts about their effectiveness and I share the concerns about privacy that you expressed. That said, I find provisions in the Adam Walsh Act to be very troubling — particularly the part about civil confinement AFTER time served. Louis Theroux’s “A Place for Paedophiles” is an interesting documentary that touches upon this subject.

        Generally speaking, I think sex offender registration laws are a bit unfair when you put things into perspective. I can easily look up all the people in my neighborhood who have served their time for a sexual offense, regardless of the situation. If their privacy is not worth protecting here, then why not create a registry for people convicted of any type of assault? Surely if your neighbor has a history of home invasions, that’s in your interest to know, right? What if I don’t want my children hanging around the houses of former drug dealers? Shouldn’t I be able to look that up too? Wouldn’t you want to know if your neighbor was guilty of weapons charges? Public drunkenness? Solicitation? Traffic violations? You can think of reasons to want to know about ALL of these things… so why are the registries only about sex offenders? If committing the crime forfeits their right to privacy, then why aren’t other criminals treated this way? I mean, I know people who are on sex offender registries for the simple act of possessing child pornography. Not making it, just having it. That’s a completely non-violent crime that doesn’t directly harm anyone*, yet this crime will likely follow them for the rest of their lives.

        Recidivism rates for sex offenders committing more sex offenses are significantly lower than general rates of criminals re-committing other crimes (except murder), and recidivism rates for sexual offenses against children are much lower than general sex offenses. So, if the registries were based on public safety, then one would think they would consider the risk of re-offending, and some of the things I listed above are far more likely for an ex-convict to do.

        So, again I ask: Why do the registries apply to sex crimes and not crimes with higher rates of recidivism? (And don’t say that they are more ‘serious,’ or ‘worse’ than other crimes, because then I’ll ask why there is no registry for those convicted of manslaughter.)

        I can’t say for sure, but I suspect ‘disgust’ has a large role in this. I have recently read Jesse Bering’s new book “Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us,” and it was a bit of an eye-opener to me on how much of an effect sexual disgust has on us. Jesse doesn’t talk about registry laws in the book, so I’d be curious to hear what his take on that is. Perhaps I will ask him on twitter, though chances of getting a detailed response are slim to nil. “Harmful to Minors” by Judith Levine may be a more applicable title to recommend. In the book, Judith talks about sex, laws, the politics there of, and related topics as they pertain to minors. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, but I know she has a chapter or two in there about sex offender laws and the politics, history, and hysteria that lead to their formation. The material is a little dated (it’s about ten years old), but history doesn’t change, so it is still an informative read.

        This reply has turned out to be longer than I planned…. oh well. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.

        *(For the record: I do believe that the children pictured ARE harmed both in the production of such material and in the privacy violations committed by those who view the material; but the act of viewing material does not cause the victim to feel said harm unless the victim is told about it.)


        • I am more than happy to post such a response at anytime, and equally happy to air such views and positions as your own. It takes a certain degree of courage to discuss such an area as this but, as stated in my initial post, I think it is critical that such topics are discussed with as much openness as possible. Therefore to have your contribution to this topic, or any other topic you wish to respond to is a joy. In my experience it is quite difficult to get others to recognise the problematical or sensitive areas of life that surround us, let alone discuss them,but it is my intention to keep on addressing such issues (as can be seen by my other posts), so I will always welcome any sensible or well considered replies.

          All I can say in closing is to wish you well, have a good Christmas and new year. Such balanced voices as yours need to be heard, as such voices can dispel ignorance and prejudice within a community. Well done and keep oN posting



  1. The Right to Know (2) | Let me tell U a story
  2. Follow up post to “The Right To Know” (1) | Let me tell U a story

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