Wednesday, May 15, 2013 09:12 PM +0100
Our approach to pedophilia [sic] isn’t working
"By focusing only on punishment, experts say we're putting more children at risk
Ariel Castro, in court for his initial appearance in Cleveland, Ohio, May 9, 2013.
As a teenager, I was groomed by a 76-year-old man with a penchant for the company of adolescent girls. He wore zip-up cardigans and looked like a normal grandpa. He wrote poetry, bought us gifts, and talked sagely about the importance of waiting for a special relationship before having sex.
He crossed many boundaries, many times, in ways which make me shudder looking back. He was too frail at that stage of his life to ever attempt anything more than a kiss in return for money, but police later told me that other victims from his youth were not so fortunate.
I don’t believe in monsters, or the devil, or the concept of evil. Dehumanization is counterproductive: The guy who groomed me was just one of many millions of screwed-up human beings with serious issues. And maybe (for the sake of his victims) if someone had tried to help him in his early life, hundreds of young girls could have been spared from those depraved compulsions.
“I am a sexual predator. I need help.” These are the chilling words in a letter penned in 2004 by Ariel Castro, the man accused of abducting three women and holding them hostage in his Ohio home for 10 long years.
In the handwritten note found by law enforcement officers at Seymour Avenue, Castro claimed he was abused by his parents and raped by his uncle as a child. The question is, should we care? As a mother, I think we should.
I’m not a pedophile [sic] apologist, to be clear. But vengeance for the loss of a child’s innocence is distracting us from the crucial search for preventive measures. Our collective disgust of pedophiles [sic] means we are distancing ourselves from gaining any understanding of them and pushing the problem further underground. If we want to protect our children, we need to know how."
"While Megan’s Law is certainly useful in soothing our paranoia, it does little to protect the 90 percent of child victims who are abused by a trusted adult well-known to them."
"As Stevens argues, most pedophiles [sic] “are nice people but with terrible, secret compulsions and addictions. When those come to light, the ‘nice’ switch flips into the ‘off’ position in our minds and they’re all evil predators. The only thing to do with perverts is to throw them all into prison. That attitude may make emotional sense, but it’s doing little to solve our problem.”"