Pedophilia

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INTRODUCTION

Child abuse and neglect can produce serious and long-lasting damage. The range of actions classified as child abuse or neglect is constantly changing as a result of social and economic conditions, political ideology, advances in medicine, improvements in communication and melding of cultures. Today, child abuse and neglect is widely recognized as a major social problem and policy issue throughout much of the world. During the last 50 years, the United States and many of the world’s nations have responded to child abuse and neglect with legislative efforts, a variety of programs and interventions, and organizational efforts to identify, respond to and prevent the abuse and neglect of dependent children. Today, there are innumerable local, national and international organizations, professional societies and advocacy groups devoted to preventing and treating child abuse and neglect.

Significance of the Study

One case related to child abuse and neglect is pedophilia. Pedophilia affects children of a certain sex and within a certain age, usually under the age of 15 or 16 years. Most pedophiles are not violent toward children, instead leading and enticing children to willingly perform sexual acts, although some are violent to the point of rape and murder. In 1974, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment act was passed which provides federal funding at the state level for prevention and response to child abuse. With this act, many states strengthened their response to child abuse and established child statutes in which parents may be prosecuted for abusing their children. Regardless of the legal response on pedophilia, it is clear that much cases never comes to the attention of the criminal justice system and is, unfortunately, never dealt with. This serious and alerting case should be fully characterized and understood for the good of the concerned children, especially the adolescents.

What is Phedophilia?

As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is typically defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger). In contemporary Western societies, the subject is highly contentious and fraught with strong feelings. The strength of the feelings is readily explained by concern for the welfare of the children and for their healthy, unimpeded development. The child must be at least five years younger in the case of adolescent pedophiles. However, the term pedophile is often used to refer to any adult who is sexually attracted to males or females below the legal age of consent. While there is considerable psychological and sociological literature about pedophilia, philosophers working on the philosophy of sex have given relatively little attention to the subject. As pedophilia is seen as a paradigmatic case of sexual perversion and is generally viewed with strong moral revulsion, it might have been expected to generate more philosophical interest. Experts believe that most pedophiles are males. Some female adults are sexually attracted to boys or girls, but these children are usually at or beyond the age of puberty. Sometimes, however, females sexually abuse children in concert with males, or they will knowingly allow males to abuse their own children or other children. This is more likely to occur if the women are abusing drugs and/or alcohol. Pedophiles may believe that their behavior is normal and that it helps teach children how to become loving and affectionate. Such individuals avoid such words as pedophilia, preferring to use such terms as adult-child sex. They believe that others who do not understand their behavior are unreasonably rigid. Some organizations of pedophiles claim large memberships and actively support the practice of pedophilia. Pedophiles may fail to consider the short- or long-term consequences of their actions; for example, in one case, a pedophile was told by...
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