The Salient Yet Invisible: Advocacy for Policies Promoting Healing in Individuals with Pedophilia



Pedophilia is classified by the DSM-IV-TR through APA as a sexual interest towards prepubescent children that can be demonstrated through one’s sexual urges, thoughts, behavior, arousal, or fantasies. Pedophilia is a mental health disorder that has severe public health implications in the US and causes distress not only for the individual but also for their social networks. Some of these individuals with pedophilia eventually succumb to their disorder when given no treatment – inflicting not only pain onto themselves but also others – many of whom are children.

Current Environment:

The disorder is so consuming that even after spending time in prison, some of these individuals continue to fail in controlling their pedophilic urges. Although the recidivism rate of arrested sex offenders who have been released from prison is suggested to be about 5% within 3 years, this actually means that for every 100 sex offenders, who had spent time in prison, at least 5 individuals are later rearrested for sex offense! This indicates that simply punishing these individuals with pedophilia is ineffective; rather, the focus should be redirected to advocacy for awareness and treatment. Current policies are not focused on treatment nor informed awareness but rather on punishment and fostering fear through an ambiguous Sex Offender Registry.

Advocacy Stance:

We want to advocate for more informed awareness of the issue instead of misinformation which can foster fear and stigma, which is both harmful to these individuals and the community. From these advocacy strategies, we hope to promote more utilization of treatment and to increase the efficacy of such treatments through evidence-based medicine like pharmacological injections and psychotherapy. We advocate for policy changes to instead paint these individuals with pedophilia as people in need of medical help instead of dangerous perpetrators, waiting to jump out and grab your kids at McDonalds.


One Response to “The Salient Yet Invisible: Advocacy for Policies Promoting Healing in Individuals with Pedophilia”

  1. smlabuda Says:

    Though I agree with your argument for the need for treatment for those with true pedophilia, child sexual abuse is such an already underreported and psychologically damaging experience for victims that any sort of work advocating for the rights of these offenders will be an extremely difficult sell, at least in my opinion.

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