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Where do Pedophiles Come from?

By JoAnn Hamilton
February 27, 2006

Where do pedophiles come from? This has become a key question nation-wide as NBC's Dateline program has run three programs called "To Catch a Predator."


Before each program, people went online as young teenage guys and gals. Predators on the web quickly picked them up. The language moved rapidly to sexual talk, most of which wasn't appropriate to repeat on the show. A meeting place was established and appointments were made. In three days -- during the third program -- 50 men showed up at an appointed house to molest what they thought was a young teen.  


Instead, Chris Hansen was there from Dateline with his camera, and police picked up the predators as they left the house. Some were professional people, one was a schoolteacher, another one worked in a day care, one was a professional counselor and still others were pedophiles just out of jail. Why did they come? They were compelled by the addiction.


Hansen's message to the public was to keep kids out of chat rooms and away from instant messaging systems. He also urged parents and kids to talk about these issues. Most parents don't even know that their child has been approached. Children need to understand the danger involved.   


Oprah Winfrey interviewed a young man who had been lured into pornography. His parents had no knowledge of what was happening in his l if e. The young man's advice to parents was, "Don't buy camcorders for your teens! Don't have the Internet in their rooms, and talk to them about what they are experiencing in their world and on the Internet."  


Where does addiction come from? Where do pedophiles come from? How come there are so many? What is happening?"


Some of the pedophiles had no prior knowledge of sexually pervasive behavior. So where did they get it? We need to understand that these are learned behaviors. I believe most pedophiles were sexually abused or shown pornography as a child or teen. They told no one, received no help and the addiction grew rapidly. Some moved from pictures to people.  


Child sexual abuse is on the increase and will continue until families and kids understand that a sexual swimsuit image can create sexual feelings in a child or young teen. Soon that image has no affect. To get the same feelings, the youth needs more explicit material. With the Internet, a person can easily find more explicit material, and so things accelerate and some become abusers.


Movies, magazines, videos, television programs, video games, etc., are desensitizing our children. Sexual addiction comes in less than three months and sometimes in a single exposure of Internet pornography. Some of our children are just curious and try out what they have seen on siblings or other children. The desensitization of our children, the ease with which porn can be obtained, i.e., any evening on television, the lack of understanding by parents and children is creating an environment for the increase of addiction and the increase of pedophiles.


Can offenders overcome the problem? Dr. Fred Berlin, who founded the John Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic, said that out of 600 men in an intensive treatment program, only 10 percent were re-arrested over a five-year period. This addiction is d if ficult to work with, but it is possible to help these people. People working with the problem understand that the brain is actually wired d if ferently as people become addicted. We need to teach that to our children. This compulsion is strong but possible to work with.

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