This is going to be a very unpopular entry. I know it because I know the passion that people feel toward this issue, but the passion doesn't mean that the issue goes away.
I have kept very close tabs on the trial of Jerry Sandusky, and while I'm satisfied with the verdict, I'm very startled by the venom that is being directed his way. I have a bit more experience with cases of molestation and even serial pedophilia than the majority of the reporters out there who are commenting on the verdict in this trial. What shocks me is that the journalists are making amateur statements based on verdicts and other press clippings... nobody's actually bothering to call in an expert on the psychology of pedophiles. And when I say "nobody," I mean the big networks life Fox, CNN, MSNBC and whatever other ones exist out there.
The problem with not having a kind of counter-balance like this has to do with the simple fact that there is no explanation and therefore a Salem Witch Trials mentality is being formed. There needs to be empirical data presented instead of just a steady flow of editorials being disguised as gospel.
Now, I have a very singular point-of-view when it comes to children. I don't consider a crime committed against a child to be any more ghastly than a crime against another. I've never seen the relevance of it, and so I cannot find any rationale for the "protect our children" mentality. It's a social construct... The idea of a "child" is a bit of a social construct simply because, in the past, children were sometimes enrolled in the military or forced to marry long before we would consider it appropriate... Does that mean these societies were abusing the child? Now, I know it's unrealistic to hold current societal standards to those of Roman times or whenever these things occurred... but knowing that a shift has happened can sometimes help us predict the next shift.
Furthermore, since pedophilia has been reported throughout history, perhaps it should be treated with a little bit more consciousness of the behavior. The response is always one of shock, "HOW COULD SOMEONE DO THAT?" Well, I saw some TRULY awful things, people who tortured children... But these behaviors have existed, and I remember sitting in on a conversation where I raised this question to my supervising psychologist about treatment options and she responded with a very canny response. I'm paraphrasing, but it was something like this... Pedophilia must always be punished and it will not be acknowledged as something treatable by the mental health community because then it becomes a recognizable sexual orientation.
That made me wonder, and as I researched into our own history, I came across NAMBLA. While I don't agree with NAMBLA's goals at all, I find it interesting that two of my own heroes in the history of the Gay Rights movement, Harry Hay and Allen Ginsberg, both were ardent supporters of NAMBLA. I read a statement by NAMBLA that was countering a statement by HRC, an organization I totally despise, and it made me wonder something. When a heterosexual man sees a 16 or 17 year old girl that is attractive, does he stop and ogle the girl? Is there any point where he goes through some kind of "shame cycle" for allowing himself to think (NOT ACT) a sexual thought about a minor?
I have been conditioned by society to be totally and completely terrified of my interactions with ANY children of ANY gender. Simply by being gay, I am told that I have a greater propensity to be a pedophile... What science is this based on? What facts are there to support this? Jerry Sandusky was a STRAIGHT MARRIED MAN who abused SEVERAL MALE victims... however, Pat Robertson still insists that people like me, a homosexual male, is the greatest threat to children.
We cannot fault someone for their attraction... this is that controversial part I was talking about. We can fault them for their actions, certainly... But had we fostered an environment where a healthy outlet for this kind of behavior could have been dealt with in a more practical manner, without harming those young boys, and not ruining the lives of Jerry Sandusky's family, I think would have been a more desirable solution.
I know that's not a popular outlook, but pedophilia is REAL. Acting surprised when it comes to life and condemning the people for their attractions ISN'T solving the problem, perhaps we should start a dialogue. Maybe NAMBLA wasn't that far off... I mean, their organization was quite psychotic, but at least they were trying to make a dialogue happen.