What is the Pedophilia?


a.Two types of pedophilia are distinguished.
b.Personal and social traits of the subject.


1.Social perspective
2.International level. Child prostitution
3.Family level. Incest
4.Community level. Pederasty
5.The circumstances
6.The aggressor´s personality
7.The judicial system

2.Psychological perspective
2.1Sophocles´ Greek legend
2.2The triangular structure of pedophilia

3.Ethical perspective


1.The place of the child in society
2.Adult´s attitudes towards children
a)The child as subject
b)The child as object



It´s regarded as those fantasies or behaviours involving sexual activity between an adult and a child.

Pedophilia takes different forms: as for the sexual leaning, it can be heterosexual, homosexual or both; as for the object, this can be purely pedophile or not.

Pedophile acts range from simply exhibitionism to penetration. The adult usually earns the child´s trust and affection in order to carry out his/her purpose.

a. Two types are distinguished:

We can distinguish between “sentimental homoerotic” and "aggressive heterosexual” pedophilia. In the first group we find adults with little interest in women who focus their sexual capacity on boys with caresses that produce orgasms. Those in the second group try to satisfy their desires with girls through methods ranging from seduction to violence.

b. Personal and social traits of the subject:

Pedophiles are mainly men, less aggressive than rapists and many of them are alcoholic or psychotic men of clumsy or non-social minds. They´re between 30 and 40 years old; generally with strong religious beliefs, weak, immature, lonely and full of remorse.

Typically, the middle aged or old aggressor is a lonely being who finds it difficult to get normal heterosexual relationships; he has a low self-esteem and little strength to face stressful situations and frequently takes lots of alcohol and drugs. Generally, he doesn´t show any psychopathologies; however, it has been showed that two thirds of the mature pedophile inmates displayed this kind of behaviour when faced with stressful situations.

The pedophile doesn´t get close to adults for fear of being castrated by them who represent the pedophile´s parents, towards whom he aims his incestuous instincts.
The pedophile feels identified with his mother and mixes with children the same way he would have liked to mix with his own mother; That´s why the target are children who might represent himself. The fear of castration intensifies his narcissism because of the need to protect himself.

Little is known about the causes, but it´s said that one of them is the learning of negative attitudes towards sex, such as sexual abuse in childhood, feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem and difficulty to make personal relationships, all of which make the adult-child relation easier.

The masked desensitization technique is beneficial in some pedophilia cases. Through this technique, the stimulant factors of the subject are associated with aversive situations resulting from the expression of his impulses. During treatment, patients are trained to imagine attraction for adult women.

Frequently, less attraction towards girls and even less attraction towards women is observed.

The First World Congress against Child Abuse held in Stockholm between August 27th and 31st 1996, established joint-action measures between different countries and police forces worldwide. However, the base issues concerning the significance and causes of pedophilia remain unsolved.


Taking into account three perspectives, social (1), psychological (2) and ethical (3), we´ll give an overview of child abuse in society and will introduce a new understanding of the "sexual victim" child, with the possible preventive and therapeutic implications.

1. Social Perspective

Child abuse can take place within the family (incest), within the community (pederasty) or at international level (child prostitution)

1.1 International Level- Child Prostitution

In the Stockholm Congress help was demanded for the two million sexually abused children worldwide as well as a stop for the new sophisticated forms of this criminal industry against humanity which handles loads of millions annually. Asia is the most affected continent with nearly 600 thousand children prostituted in the Philippines, 300 thousand in India, 250 thousand in China and 30 thousand in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

This disgraceful international network spans from Brazil, with 500 thousand children prostituted, and the USA with 300 thousands, to European countries such as Belgium, where the terrible pedophile Marc Dutroux recently shocked the world with his basement of torture and sexual aberrations against children.

There are no published statistics in Portugal, but it´s estimated that almost 900 children from deprived sectors either prostitute themselves both in the outskirts and in big cities or are part of the international network of child prostitution.

In most Eastern European countries there´s no written legislation whatsoever against child prostitution. In Bucarest thre´re nearly 2 thousand children in the street who would prostitute themselves for a dollar or for three hamburgers. In Hungary, girls aged between 13 and 14 wearing make-up prostitute themselves in highways to foreigners form western countries.

Germany has the greatest number of sex tourists and the highest demand for pornographic material. There follow the USA, Australia, France and New Zealand. More than 60% of young prostitutes in Berlin come form Eastern Europe and, many times, they´re satisfied simply with a clean bed, some food and a hot shower as payment.

Pedophiles worldwide keep in touch through images provided by sophisticated means, such as the Internet. Among the causes for pedophilia mentioned in the Stockholm Congress are: poverty, which makes many parents prostitute their children for survival, no urban planning, migration, family breakup and fear of AIDS contagion.

1.2 Family Level- Incest

Children´s sexuality is a cause of concern for parents.
Adolescents pubescent manifestations arouse non-solved problems in parents about their own adolescence.

Whatever happens in adolescence in terms of sexuality, happens likewise in parents´middle age crises but in a reverse way.

To the bogeyman song in spring corresponds the swan song in autumn. The melody´s the same; it´s desire what´s different. The incestuous act happens within this difficult family context which is worsened by family breakups, early sexual activity in children, power abuse from adults and parents´ behaviour disturbances. Incest is sexual violence that infringes family life laws and disturbs parent – child harmony. It´s an event that destabilizes the affective and sexual order between the victim and the aggressor.

Incest commits family members to remain silent under breakup threats. It´s estimated that 65% of women were, at some time during childhood, victims of incest.

The most frequent type of incest involves fathers and daughters and it has destructive affects.

In childhood some of these effects can be: school failure, behaviour disturbances, phobias related to sexuality and sexualization of relationships (pervertions, sexual precocity, etc).

In adolescence, there can be problems related to feminine identity, rejection of body identity, serious depressions, eating disorders (anorexia) among others, delinquency, prostitution, etc.

In maturity, we can find frequent affective crises, depression, sexual dysfunction (frigidity, vaginitis) and a projection of own incestuous fantasies on children´s sexuality.

In old age some of the effects are: outbreaks of distress and suicidal depression, mainly at the beginning of menopause. In a sample of 95 cases of incest (the USA, 1989) 42 involved father and daughter, 26 siblings, 17 grandfathers and granddaughters and 10 cousins and others.

1.3 Community Level- Pederasty

Pederasts´ sexual abuse in the street is traumatic but rare, And it is very seldom organized the way incest and child prostitution networks are.

In this kind of sexual violence, the circumstances, the aggressor´s personality and the judicial system play a very significant role.

a. The Circumstances

Most of the children victim of urban or suburban sexual abuse are captured in public parks, outside schools or in grounds in ruins. The relatively low rate of adolescent victims can be partly explained by the percentage of couples who get together incidentally to conceal the rape. The child is curious and has no experience of the outside world; therefore, can be easily attracted by the proposals and attitudes of a different and apparently friendly adult. Sometimes, family problems lead the defenseless child to wander the streets in search of imaginary parents who are dramatically found in a pedophile.

b. The aggressor´s personality

Pedophiles cut across social class. Certainly, the most dangerous ones are those whom the child naturally trusts, such as a maid, a family friend or someone whom the child idealizes such as a priest, a teacher, a firefighter or a police officer. These people´s evil doings leave deep scars in the child´s soul which take the shape of guilt and distress. The least dangerous pedophiles are, form a psychological point of view, the down-and-outs, the exhibitionists. They act form the outside, as compulsively as a thunder does, and are then punished and sent to prision, which greately alleviates the child. The image of the “beast” is irreversible but the brutal effects of his acts disappear with time. “In the end, he´s a moron who doesn´t know what he does”.

c. The judicial system

Legal intervention is a must for the well-being and relief of individuals. However, the way in which cases are legally handled is, most of the times, traumatic because of the poor psychological qualifications of justice officers. Simply having to reconstruct the events in detail and undergo medical and psychological examinations is per se a second trauma for the child who is forced to relive what was the cause of great suffering for him/her. Whereas a psychologist is an understanding professional who tends to ease down the dramatic situation, the judge is an obsessive professional who overdramatizes events in name of justice.

How can these two apparently opposing situations be reconciled for the sake of the child when the judicial one tends to blame the child and the psychological one to sublimate?

2. Psychological Perspective

The Delphic oracle told the king of Thebes, Laos, that his son Oedipus would kill him for having married his mother, the queen Jocasta.

Terrified by this premonition, the parents abandoned their son in the mountains where a shepherd found him and took him to the Court of the king Corinth where he grew up convinced that he was the prince heir of Corinth. Meanwhile, the Delphic oracle talked to young Oedipus to predict the same tragedy. Appalled, Oedipus left to Thebes. On the doors of the city he fought with and defeated the Sphinx that wouldn´t let people through. However, he managed to get into the city only after killing a hunter who was blocking his way.

People in Thebes were weeping the loss of their king who had gone hunting and never returned. Oedipus was proclaimed king of Thebes and given Jocasta for wife because he had liberated them form the bloody Sphinx.

2.1 Sophocles´ Greek legend

A Sophocles´ Greek legend of over 2,300 years with a universal and timeless symbology, deeply sensitizes us given that it expresses the reality of our psyche together with its fantasies, wishes, attitudes and behaviours in relation to those whom we love the most. Freud coined the term “Oedipus complex” because it corresponds to the affective and troubled relation that exists between parents and children, between adults and children.

Oedipus´ tragedy, which inspired thousands of poets, writers and artists because of its psychologically expressive and collective character, becomes a required reference to understand human sexuality. The long history of human love, enigmatic by nature, is subject to turmoil and deviation in relation to our beloved ones and it can end up in tragedy. Pedophilia, being an event affecting sexuality, is a tragic way of relating affectively with others.

It´s up to human fate to conveniently solve the oedipal complex before adulthood in order to be at peace with oneself and the others. The pedophile is an Oedipus locked in himself who has perverted the love of his father/mother to ensure his own pleasure.

Unable to relate sexually with an adult, his sexuality remains as polymorphus as that of a child who becomes the target of his reckless impulses. All child abuse is oedipal, not only for its archaic nature, but also for the asymmetry between the two protagonists.

Pedophilia transgresses the law of sexual differences and becomes a breaking of the right to be oneself without the brutal interference of a stranger.

2.2 In the triangular structure of pedophilia we find:

An adult aggressor who victimizes, in a narcissistic way, a defenseless child with his mind blank and prisoner of silence; and adult with guilty fantasies in a sweeping and quite permissive society where the drama occurs. In the case of incest, the aggressor is the father and his victim the child; and we find a resigned and powerless mother.

Finally, in the case of child prostitution networks, aggression begins with an organized sexual industry which, on the pretext of tourism, acts on millions of children in a world o0f poverty and hunger, always under the indulgent passiveness of States and Governments worldwide.

Sexual perversion is already a great problem with great consequences.

There´s a growing number of individuals, groups and families who, immersed in promiscuity, are unable to distinguish affective closeness within distance, the temporality of love within timelessness, the limits of the human heart within the limits of space and time.

Then, life becomes senseless and keep on living becomes absurd instead of being a wonderful adventure.

3. Ethical perspective

From the moral point of view, the pedophile isn´t a mentally handicapped person exempt from responsibilities nor a criminal out of social and family laws (he could be a good professional or even a good father). A pedophile is a person who lives his sexuality in a different way, with his freedom influenced by his personality though responsible for the wrong they do the world, even when they act pedophically.


The fight against sexual violence against children necessarily entails the reformulation of two main issues:

1. The place of the child in society

In wealthy countries ( Germany, the USA, Canada and Great Britain) the number of children who live in abject poverty has increased in the last 10 years.

In those countries, the survival of millions of children depends on factors such as the balance of payments, the economic fluctuations, etc. in Africa and America thousands of children pay the great debts of their respective countries with their own physical or mental integrity.

More than 70% of children in those countries dies of diseases which could be easily cured and prevented such as measles, diarrhea, tetanus, pneumonia, etc.

In countries where child abuse is more intense, such as Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Brazil, there´s a true silent catastrophe: 40 thousand children die daily of malnutrition and other diseases, even AIDS because of contagion from western sexual tourists; 150 thousand fight desperately against hunger or its aftereffects, and 100 thousand school age children simply don´t go to school.

Under normal circumstances, girls seem to be more resistant than boys to the slants in their early years. However, in certain countries where there´s sexual discrimination against girls (India, Pakistan) more than a million girls die annually simply for not being born as boys. when it comes to school going, they´re always behind boys.

End-of-century Europe doesn´t look too beneficial for children. Urban planning, the development of sophisticated high technology, the abandonment of children and physical and mental mistreatment have never reached such great proportions: 6 million of the so called “normal” family children suffer from depression.

Parents´ competitive and demanding jobs are altering family life and the relations within it. Having less time for their children and, above all, having less willingness to listen to them, parents feel guilty. It´s rare to find a family where parents and children manage to gather together to laugh, cry, sing or simply spend some time together because of the interference of TV.

New families or families that are brought together after a divorce seldom manage to heal the painful wounds caused on children by their parents´ divorce.

The outcome of this situation is that many parents, either consciously or unconsciously, reject children, mainly when they show their dissatisfaction or suffering. In the parent-child communication there´s an easy move to actions such as mistreatment on the part of parents or psychological aggression on the part of children.
Many times, parents, who find themselves out of inner resources because of a lack of time for themselves, turn to their children for the sexual satisfaction they don´t find in their partners or as a compensation for the deep unsatisfied lacks of their own childhood.

In this changing world, will it still be the child and his inner world one of our main priorities?

2. Adults´ attitudes towards children

There´re two dominant attitudes towards children which become two different ways of sharing the child´s world.

a) The child as subject

Since birth, the child is capable enough to make his life meaningful. Some of the ways of presenting himself as the autonomous master of his own wishes in relation to adults are getting breastfed, playing and taking his first steps.

The evidence of this autonomy lies in the fact that his parents´ words and gestures only become meaningful for the child when he perceives and interprets them his own way.

Babies just learn what they can assume by themselves with a meaning of their own. In school age, the child distances from adults as a certain way of understanding and feeling things is acquired.

His world and life philosophy becomes “his own school” different from that of adults.
In adolescence, autonomy becomes greater through the ability to be alone, build a project of life and feel his own inner world.

The path of this inner process towards autonomy is sexuality with an understanding of the body, the new way of relating to others, persistent curiosity and desire.

When sexuality is disturbed, the whole personality becomes a crisis and there´s no longer a wish to go on living. Therefore, any sexual interference by adults on the child´s body or desires, as it happens with pedophilia, severely threatens his happiness.

The adult who respects the normal process of the child towards autonomy is on the alert for sexual manifestations but far from interfering, tries to help the child make sense of these changes.

b) The child as object

The child is an object for the adult when the latter, unable to control his impulses, unconsciously projects them on the child, turning this event into a carnal pleasure, an affective compensation, a subterfuge when faced to the fear of death. This perverse attitude can seriously damage the child´s relationship with himself, with the world and also with others.

The fact that a child doesn´t move around doesn´t mean that he doesn´t have a huge space for himself. Not speaking doesn´t mean not wishing to communicate. Being biologically immature doesn´t mean not having an own sexual life meant to be respected.

III. Advice for children surfing the Net

Avoid making dates on Internet with people you don´t know. Don´t provide your address, your phone number, your school name nor your photo.

Mistrust even your “cyber friends”. Remember that those with whom you keep in touch through the Net are not always what they seem and might not be telling the truth. Don´t forget that they can´t be seen.

Not all chat rooms are suitable for children or adolescents, even if they´re promoted as “special for children and teens”. If someone writes something disgraceful, wrong or anything that makes you feel worried about, you have to report it right away.

Never write back to someone who has sent you an obscene message with obscene photos or provocative language. Tell your parents about it and make a copy of it because it might be criminal.

We advice you not to display info about your credit card or bank account to strangers or people whose identity you haven´t checked. Someone might use your data to steal you.
Don´t provide your password to anyone because they might use it to pass themselves off as yourself.

Mistrust offers that look too attractive at first sight. Most probably, they´re just a swindle.
Stay away from websites for “over 18”. These warnings exist to protect you. Some of these websites might increase your phone bills and downloading them might affect files on your computer.

Original Source in Spanish: http://www.pedofilia-no.org/
Translated by Detenlos.org

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