Remember the time when dystopian novels written by George Orwell and Ray Bradbury—1984 and Fahrenheit 451, respectively—were but fantasy books to be read within the thrill of teenage solitary confinement?
Apparently, the dystopia referred to in these books is the here and now.
True enough, albeit missing the forecast, give or take, by a few decades, we are living today in a dystopia reminiscent of past dictatorship, complete with the attendant preferences for draconian policies, such as the total contempt for human rights, indifference to sovereign claims in exchange for capitalist gains, and disregard for human dignity as demonstrated by the emergence of refugees via the culture of displacement.
A worldwide exodus of refugees has commenced through wars, deprivation, and violence, beginning with the Rohingya and continuing in the lives of our very own lumad communities.
But another more subtle dystopia threatens to catch us off guard: paedophilia being peddled as a “sexual orientation”. Recently, “experts” claimed that paedophilia is better understood or appreciated as a ‘sexual orientation’ than what it was previously believed: a sexually deviant behavior.
I’m not familiar with its Foucauldian perspective. I have been told that philosophers Michel Foucault, as well as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Slavoj Žižek, had once argued in favor of lowering substantially the age of consent, a move, some say, that indirectly favors pedophilic behavior.
What I do know about sexual orientation comes from the dictionary. I like Oxford because it doesn’t list sexual orientation down as sexual orientation; rather it uses the traditional word sexuality to convey the same. For the sake of brevity, not tradition, I think it’s only proper not to split in two any word that we can define and understand using only one.
Sexuality. n. people’s capacity for sexual feelings and a person’s sexual orientation or preference.
Oxford defines paedophilia simply as sexual feelings toward children. That, I guess, is apt to a certain extent. But to fully grasp the psycho-social significance of this claim, one must venture into its meaning more deeply.
Psychology Today defines paedophilia as “a paraphilia, a condition in which a person’s sexual arousal and gratification depend on fantasizing about and engaging in sexual behavior that is atypical and extreme [emphasis, mine].
“Pedophilia is defined as the fantasy or act of sexual activity with children who are generally age 13 years or younger. Pedophiles are usually men and can be attracted to either or both sexes. How well they relate to adults of the opposite sex varies.”
The official website adds: “Pedophilic disorder can be diagnosed in people who are willing to disclose this paraphilia as well as in people who deny any sexual attraction to children, despite objective evidence of pedophilia. For the condition to be diagnosed, an individual must either act on their sexual urges or experience significant distress as a result of their urges or fantasies […] The prevalence of pedophilic disorder is unknown, but the highest possible prevalence in the male population is approximately three to five percent. The prevalence in the female population is thought to be a small fraction of the prevalence in males.”
Paraphilia is a psychiatric term which means “a condition characterized by abnormal sexual desires, typically involving extreme or dangerous activities”.
To summarize, paedophilia can be properly defined as an overwhelming sexual attraction by older people to extremely younger people aged 13 and below, characterized by fantasies carried out with the young, one typically marked by extreme or dangerous behavior all because children—a pedophiliac’s object of sexual arousal—do not yet possess a developed or mature sexual identity, leaving these children extremely vulnerable to dangerous and extreme sexual experience.
Psychology Today hazards to also define paedophilia, in passing, as a “sexual orientation,” but one that is flawed when read in the context of its own definition of paedophilia being a paraphilia or “abnormal sexual desires”. There are those, the website says, who live their paedophilic fantasies only in their minds, but never carry them out.
If you ask me, these sexual urges alone are dangerous even when left in the realm of fantasy. Paedophilia, being a pathological condition, already puts the sufferers on the brink of living out the aforementioned fantasies should these same fantasies become unbearable.
And they will become unbearable in the long hau l. Michel Foucault, in the introduction to the first volume of The History of Sexuality, associates sexuality with power, and thereafter concludes that “there is no escaping from power, that it is always—already present constituting that very thing which one attempts to counter it with.”
The more serious problem regarding the discourse on pedophilia’s acceptability as a sexual orientation is the experts’ total disregard for the other side of the “relationship”—the children.
Apparently, the child’s condition, feelings and state of development matter little, if at all, to these pseudo-experts. They simply focus only on the emotional, sociological, and psychological backlash pedophiles suffer under.
The goal, it seems, is to build a melodramatic take on the deviant behavior to make it akin to loneliness, if not depression, or some natural physiological or hormonal condition involving sexual orientation.
Which is why I ask: in defending pedophiles, would they be ready to offer their children, say three years old to five years old, as a paedophile’s sexual partner? To be more blunt: would they have their children touched, caressed, molested, even penetrated by a pedophile? Because if not, they had better shut up.
The debate ends where a child’s consent is raised. Consent, we all know, is not consent without a plethora of other factors attached to it: free and intelligent choice; a level of acceptable maturity; knowledge of what he or she is getting into with full understanding and disclosure; and what the sexual pathology actually requires—all of which a child will not be in the position to grasp or accept given the child’s immaturity, and a state of mind that leaves much to be desired.
If paedophilia is a sexual orientation, then it must include in the equation the reality of somehow, somewhere getting into a ‘relationship’ to give a pedophile’s sexual urges some satisfaction. Sex is a key part of the human make-up and condition, allowing for socially accepted practices such as having a partner.
This is where the problem lies. Apparent from the justifications posited by these pseudo-experts is the fact that they totally disregarded the child. And relationships, sexual or otherwise, are based not only on love but also consent, and the enjoyment of the sexual experience by both partners.
If, for argument’s sake, paedophilia is accepted as a sexual orientation, then who among the two has a greater proportion of understanding or enjoying the situation? The adult whose decisions and consent are limited by the pedophile’s pathological urges (one he couldn’t control) or the child, whose decisions and consent are subject to question given the state of his or her maturity in body, mind and emotions?
As to the enjoyment of the sexual experience, would the three-, five-, eight-, ten-year-old child have a say on how sex should be carried out?
Relationships demand that both must have equal footing as regards decisions, consent, and how the relationship ought to be carried out. In this case, both the pedophile and the child are incapable of making the decision and giving that acceptable consent. My question then is this: who will offer consent for them?
Without any possibility of the child consenting intelligently and appropriately to the pedophilic relationship under these conditions, there is no way for paedophilia to be regarded as an ‘acceptable sexual orientation’.
What these experts want is for us to look at pedophiles with some sympathy while they disregard the child’s state of maturity altogether. The ‘sexual orientation’ these experts are advocating is a one-way street where the child, at once vulnerable and weak, is left open to attack. Yes, attack.
Calling it a sexual orientation also indirectly diminishes the legal consequences of child rape. Consent or no consent (as any sort of consent wouldn’t matter legally under pre-pubescent conditions), sex with a child is a heinous act under our laws.
The criminal nature of such an act shouldn’t be diminished only for the sake of political correctness (which, in my opinion, doesn’t even square with or justify the actual crime of child rape).
Speaking of child rape, allow me to give you a bit of an overview worldwide. According to a report by International Business Times, one child is raped and abused in Africa every three minutes. This was based on a 2009 report by Solidarity Helping Hand.
“A 2009 survey by the country’s Medical Research Council found that one in four men admits to raping someone, 62% of boys over 11 believe forcing someone to have sex is not an act of violence and a third believe girls enjoy rape, the Independent reported.
“More than 67,000 cases of rape and sexual assaults against children were reported in 2000, according to the Telegraph. Some of the victims were as young as six-months-old, a number of whom died from their injuries, while others contracted HIV.”
India, based on a 2013 report by the Asian Center for Human Rights, faced “more than 48,000 child rape cases” spanning 2001 to 2011. “India saw an increase of 336% of child rape cases from 2001 (2,113 cases) to 2011 (7,112 cases).
“Imagine 48,838 children raped in just 10 years and you have a small measure of how deep the inhuman phenomenon of child rapes runs in India,” correspondents Nishita Jha and Revati Laul wrote last year on a Tehelka blog” (https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/child-sexual-abuse-top-5-countries-highest-rates-1436162).
Here at home, one woman or child is raped every hour, according to Center for Women’s Resources. The organization pegged rape statistics at 7,037 reported rape cases in 2016, about 2,000 of these cases involving the rape of children in just the first quarter according to the Department of Social Welfare (http://opinion.inquirer.net/110825/evil-child-rape).
Novelist Neil Gaiman once wrote, “In a perfect world, you could fuck people without giving them a piece of your heart. And every glittering kiss and every touch of flesh is another shard of heart you’ll never see again.”
Anyone who says we live in a perfect world where you can have sex with a child without being guilty of rape and abuse is a fool and a criminal.
Paedophilia is child rape—period. G