Tuesday, 19 March, 2013
Researching MAPs: the B4U-ACT initiative
"Glen Lamb, Science Director of B4U-ACT, sets out in this guest blog for Heretic TOC the difficult challenge of encouraging better research on minor attracted people. He describes his organization’s developing work in this field and how it relates to differing elements of the MAP community.
Because of previous discussions about B4U-ACT on this blog, I wanted to clarify B4U-ACT’s approach and explain some differences between our approach and VirPed’s (Virtuous Pedophiles). Because I am B4U-ACT’s Science Director, I will do this by focusing on the political difficulties in promoting better research on minor attracted people (MAPs), how we are working to overcome them, and how people can get involved."
"The vast majority of research on MAPs has relied on forensic and clinical populations. These are not representative of MAPs more generally, and people in forensic populations are often not in a position to be honest, leading to inaccurate and unreliable information. In contrast to this, B4U-ACT is committed to promoting the collection and dissemination of accurate information about MAPs.
Because of the inaccurate information and harmful stereotypes that are widely circulated, many researchers believe these stereotypes and are distrustful of MAP communities. Because of negative ways that academics have sometimes portrayed MAPs and because of experiences with researchers misrepresenting themselves to MAPs in the past, many MAPs are distrustful of researchers. This mutual fear and distrust is counterproductive to collecting and disseminating accurate information. To help overcome this mutual distrust, B4U-ACT is committed to working together with researchers and with MAP communities to promote the collection of data from community samples of MAPs. Our work with researchers can take a number of forms including inviting them to our workshops, giving feedback on surveys, contributing research ideas, and helping them to recruit research participants.
Researchers for whom B4U-ACT helps recruit participants shall treat MAPs with the same respect and dignity they would ascribe to any other group of people, and they must act in accordance with the same ethical principles researchers are expected to follow when studying any other group of people. The following principles are required of all researchers for whom B4U-ACT helps recruit participants. Therefore, when people see B4U-ACT posting calls for participants, they can be assured that, to the best of our knowledge, the following are true:
1) The researchers are committed to promoting the well-being of MAPs.
2) The researchers treat MAPs with respect.
3) The researchers are committed to understanding MAPs and have demonstrated a willingness to talk with and develop collaborative relationships with MAPs by working together with B4U-ACT throughout their research process and often by attending our workshops.
4) The researchers will not ask participants about unadjudicated illegal activities.
By helping a researcher to recruit participants, we are not endorsing all assumptions involved in their research. There are a number of controversial issues in this area on which researchers and MAPs alike disagree amongst themselves and on which B4U-ACT takes no position. (For more information, see B4U-ACT’s position piece on issues of agreement.) By helping to recruit participants on a researcher’s behalf, B4U-ACT is communicating that, to the best of our knowledge, researchers are following the four guidelines above."