'This is an important discussion...'

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Since we've been talking about the Reform Sex Offender Laws Campaign a lot and their relationship with NAMBLA, anyone would have thought that they would be keeping pretty tight lipped about the whole thing, at least on the topic of pedophilia; but that would be giving them more credit than they deserve...

In our previous post, we introduced BoyChat member and owner of the "Male Homosexual Attraction to Minors Information Center," Richard Kramer. Here he is talking on BoyChat:
We have to examine our audience and our message. As for the former, we have to do triage. The antis (including the mainstream media, politicians, etc.) are a waste of time. Life's too short and our emotional resources are too limited to get into arguments with people who can't change their minds about us or have vested (political or financial) interests in perpetuating the lies. Then there are the people who already understand (mainly us, but there are a few non-MAAs who understand).

We need to identify the middle group: people who don't know us but who we have a chance of helping to understand. These are people who:
- are oriented toward compassion, understanding, and acceptance of marginalized people
- aren't easily frightened about sex, different perspectives; and
- are skeptical of the conventional wisdom.
It's also important that they have some kind of influence in society in order to maximize the effect of our contacts with them.

As for our message, it's silly and counterproductive to argue a pro-sex position. That's not even the real issue. Society needs to believe we're dangerous in order to justify their hatred. THE HATRED COMES FIRST. Trying to address any issue without addressing the hatred is like treating the symptoms without treating the illness. The gay movement knows that. Very little of the pro-gay literature actually talks about sex. It's all about accepting differences, not hating, stereotyping, and doing violence to people for a characteristic they did not choose, and caring for children and teenagers who are growing up in a society that rejects them.
Then yesterday, Alex Marbury published a post on the RSOL Blog on Richard's behalf, titled:

"Pedophilia: What Does It Really Mean"
By Richard Kramer
Posted on 14.03.2009
Link to this blog entry: [0121]

Comments should refer to Blog No. 0121 and be sent to the above address, with a copy to alexm60@fastmail.fm.

The author of this blog is actually commenting on several earlier blogs. This is an important discussion we need to have within RSOL. We urge you to send him your reactions.
Alex Marbury

Several of the posts on the RSOL blog indicate what I believe is a disturbing and counterproductive approach to advocacy. In fact, the writers--unfortunately some of them RSOL leaders at the state level--are making the same mistake they accuse the politicians and media of making. I'm hoping that it's due to a lack of knowledge which they'll be willing to rectify.

Here are some examples:

Blog 0120 (anonymous): "Its clear the same mentality of Sex Offender means pedophile is just as strong as it ever was. Its very discouraging. Sometimes its hard for me to see this nightmare ever ending...its overwhelming."

Blog 0118 (mary ): "But guilt by association on the Sex Offender Registry labels them all as a pervert, a pedophile and a predator for life...People that are not child-molesters, pedophiles and perverts have all been bucketed into one massive Registry and must endure a lifetime of shame."

Blog 084 (Derek Logue ): "One of the prevailing myths in society is that everyone on registries are all violent rapists or pedophiles."

Blog 047 (anonymous): "In America the majority of people believe if you are a registered sex-offender then you are a child molester and pedophile."

Blog 042 (Margie Furlong ): "The reality is teenagers are having consensual sex...The tragedy is that many states consider this a crime with the possibility of the older teen facing lifelong punishment...Does anyone think that would be a good thing for Ms. Palin, her baby and her husband-to-be? Her husband-to-be certainly is not a pedophile."

Blog 022 (anonymous): "I am not talking about 'pedophiles', I am talking about your son or daughter becoming sexually active while under 18 and having to register for life or wear a GPS for life..."

I would ask that these blog writers consider this: Recently I received an email from a 14 year old boy who had admitted at an online discussion board that he was struggling with sexual attraction to younger children. Not knowing how to deal with this, he had been turning to drugs and alcohol and cutting himself with razor blades. He needed someone to talk to, and tried to get support at this discussion board. Of course, he received nothing but condemnation and threats from the others on the board.

Before RSOL participants and other SO activists talk about "pedophiles," they should learn what "pedophilia" is. Although the dictionary definition and the clinical definition are not quite the same, they both refer to FEELINGS of attraction to prepubescent children. Pedophilia is NOT the sexual abuse of children. One need not ever molest a child to be a pedophile, and in fact most pedophiles I know do not molest and have never molested a child. Well-constructed studies consistently show that pedophiles are NOT violent and exhibit no psychopathology (other than the attraction, which is defined as pathological). (See http://b4uact.org/facts.htm)

Studies show this attraction involves feelings very similar to those that most adults have for adults: not only sexual attraction but also feelings of "falling in love." Of course, the media, politicians, police, and the public almost never use the word "pedophile" correctly, just like they have little understanding of the phrase "sex offender."

No one chooses who they are attracted to, and people attracted to children usually realize it in puberty. Right now there are young teenagers age 12-16 getting the impression that they are "deviants" and "pedophiles" and that even "enlightened" people who advocate for humane and just treatment of SOs would never extend this consideration to them--even if they have never hurt a child sexually.

While their peers are dating and exploring their romantic and sexual selves, these kids are coming to believe their feelings of love, tenderness, and sexuality are disgusting, sinister, inhuman, and evil. So they cut themselves and attempt suicide, and NO ONE CARES. We know this happened (and still happens) with less stigmatized gay youth.

Because of the hatred and severe stigma promoted by society, there is no way these kids (or adults) are ever going to seek help. In fact, it appears that most people WANT these kids to commit suicide. The belief that these people are animalistic scum prevents researchers and professionals from learning about them and even attempting to help them. No one wants to "help a predator." This is supposed to protect children?

I am involved with a non-profit organization in Maryland (http://b4uact.org/index.htm) that is bringing together mental health professionals and people who are attracted to children or teenagers in order to disseminate accurate information and to make services available for "pedophiles." In order to do this, we must drastically reduce the false stereotypes and stigma directed toward people who are attracted to children. But this is made much more difficult by SO activists who feel the need to demonize "pedophiles" to make their message more palatable to the general public. Like anonymous wrote in blog 0120, "Its very discouraging. Sometimes its hard for me to see this nightmare ever ending...its overwhelming."

What if one of these activists' own kids turns out to be a "pedophile"? Remember that no one has a choice in this, and most parents of pedophiles never find out; the stigma is so huge that few people would admit this to a parent.

Contrasting the "good" sex offenders with the "pedophiles" perpetuates the idea that those people who are attracted to children are animals ("predators") and therefore DESERVE to be treated in the barbaric way that the public wants to treat all sex offenders. This is identical to the attitude of the Nazis toward Jews, gypsies, and yes, sex-offenders (including gay people). What purpose does calling someone a "pervert" or "predator" serve anyway, other than to express contempt and hatred? How is this productive? It certainly doesn't protect children.

I would urge all SO activists to listen to their own message: Stop buying into and promoting false stereotypes. Stop demonizing a whole class of people, and start learning the facts.

Richard Kramer
B4U-ACT, Inc.
P.O. Box 1754, Westminster, MD 21158
They've since deleted the blog post, but luckly enough we were able to grab a screenshot and copy of the post to share with you all.
Alex Marbury describes pedophilia as an important discussion that needs to be had within the Reform Sex Offender Laws Campaign. While the sex offenders (and their family members) which have signed their names to the petition may not like the current sex offender laws, they need to consider what else they're signing their names to and whether that's something they want to be a part of.
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