“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
—Sun Tzu Translation
This was a proverb that Sun Tzu quoted from his time and it is still true today. This blog post is about beginning the process of understanding ourselves.
Now you’re thinking “What the…??? I’m not a pedophile!” Cool. Good. Perfect. Perhaps what I’m trying to do with this blog post is to get you to consider something else then.
The vast majority of the time sexual abuse, assault, and predation is going to be perpetrated by someone who is trusted. In the case of a child it will most often be a trusted adult. Someone who you know and your child knows. Someone in your sphere.
Why? It will always come down to three things: Access, Isolation, and Intent. Access and opportunity to isolate are why it’s probably someone in your sphere.
However, if you’re asking why a pedophile is the way they are…that’s a complex topic that even psychologists don’t have a lock on. Nature? Nurture? Abuse? Disorder? Nobody seems to really agree.
In fact, if you want me to be completely direct with you, psychologists can’t even agree that pedophilia is unhealthy for the child. Let alone that it is abnormal for an adult to want to have sex, sexually assault, or even rape a child. Don’t believe me? Look around. Do some studying.
Think of it like this, psychologists are doctors for your psyche right? We go to doctors to get fixed. Yet psychiatry is not about repairing your mind.
“The branch of medicine that subjectively diagnoses, treats, and studies mental illness and behavioral conditions.”
—The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition (Emphasis is mine.)
Contrary to what you might think, they aren’t repairing your mind, they are diagnosing and “treating” it. In some cases helping you to prevent mental illness, and in other cases just studying it.
They are also regular damn people. They are as jacked up as everyone else. They are doctors “practicing” and trying to understand how the mind works. How all those billions of neurons are firing to create urges, impulses, feelings, actions, etc. It has a basis in science but if we are honest, it’s really just as much art as anything—and some art just isn’t that good.
However, I’m not here to bash on psychologists—most are probably doing good work. I just want to give you a real assessment on why pedophilia and abuse is so much more difficult to prevent than we want it to be.
As I said earlier sexual abuse, assault, and predation require three primary elements: Access, Isolation, and Intent. It’s a very “sciency” sounding approach. Not untrue. But it doesn’t always move us any closer to much value without explanation.
Let me be clear, the three components are really only meant as a way to give us a starting point to deeper understanding. By themselves they aren’t of much use.
In other writing, I’ve done some to explain access and isolation because those are the two components that we actually have the most control over as it regards our safety.
In this bit I want to address the hardest of the three: Intent.
Herein lies the rub; we assume that those around us, are also like us. From my viewpoint I’d say they are, more than we want to admit—and that is exactly the problem. We want the people that are around us to be like what’s good about us. But in fact, they are probably more like us than we care to admit—including the mire we trod through daily and just don’t show.
Let’s pause and look at ourselves for just a moment:
• When have ever wanted to say something that was hurtful?
• When have you wanted to do something that you knew was wrong but would have made you feel good?
• When have you done something that you didn’t want others to know about?
• When have you thought something about someone that was horrible?
• When have you presented yourself in a way that didn’t really reflect the way you felt about someone or some thing?
The point isn’t that we are all pedophiles. The point is that we are all capable of deceit and darkness in our minds. A pedophile is no different with one exception—they’ve let it run wild until the point at which they brought themselves to act on it. We, unlike the pedophile don’t always act on it—or perhaps it’s a less horrible a thing that runs around in our mind.
It behooves us to stop assuming that those around us are just like us and that they value the same things that we do. Most people don’t have our values, interests, and ideas—even those closest to us. We can see that in a thousand different ways and yet we choose not to recognize it. Slight differences by the dozens—which all add up to a different outlook on life, people, relationships, right and wrong, and a host of other things.
Let’s also consider that many pedophiles take months or even years before they act on their thoughts. That is the difficulty of pedophilia. Take away their genitalia and they are still capable of thinking about it. Put them in jail and they are still thinking about it. In some ways still getting aroused by it and further solidifying their intent.
Pedophilia is not an issue of sexual desire first. Pedophilia starts in the mind. First as thoughts that are shunned, then explored, and eventually becoming the intent to do.
The pedophile has chosen to allow their mind to roam around with an idea, freely accepting it—even encouraging it. Until at some point it becomes so accepted that the individual feels the need to take the next logical step of taking action. That is intent. By this point there are emotional and physiological impulses and drives that can only begin to be fulfilled by taking action.
Don’t misunderstand me, the pedophile is still quite aware that the path they have chosen to walk is not good or right. If it were not so, they would do nothing to hide it—yet the do. They’ve just embraced the darkness and the facade they live daily.
They are adepts of charm, lying, living the lie, grooming and other forms of deceit. And not to get overly spiritual but it is Sunday and I do think this Scripture reference summarizes the problem quite well:
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ‘I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds’” (vv. 9–10).
The mind is twisted by the paths we choose to walk within it.
Within that context, here are some things to consider: the pedophile, really any higher operating Criminal is a planner. They spend their time perfecting their plan and the skills to succeed. They are the ultimate manipulators and use every interaction around them as a learning tool.
That includes you. Everyday we are educating the Creeps & Criminals around us.
This also means that they are constantly grooming us to accept them and grooming their victims to accept them. They are hunters, the devils prowling around, seeking to devour those we love or even us.
Just like many of us, the real thrill is not always in the conquest, but the pursuit itself. This drives the next one…and the next one….