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This blog is all about all the things that make me up. I am a Mother, I am a Pagan Witch, I am a Wife, I am a homemaker, I am a student, I am Spiritual, I am a Teacher, I am Liberal Hippie, I am a Voter, and I am extremely opinionated! Plan to see it all! If you don't like what you see, feel free to leave! However, chances are, if you stick around, you'll find more to love than hate!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Pedophile Gene?

Italian researchers believe they may have discovered a gene connected with pedophilia. But what would this actually mean? Would it mean that child molesters the world over would now have a viable excuse in court? Would it mean that people would start to excuse their behavior? Would it lead to the legalization of child porn or molestation? Or would it create a world were we tested everyone and simply force treatment on all who show this gene in their tests - even if they don't commit a crime?  The entire idea seems to open a myriad of questions and possibilities, none of which are particularly positive!

Personally, I'm not worried! Sexuality studies have shown over and over again that sexuality is NOT genetic. Instead, it's related to brain chemicals and function. Now, I'm not saying there isn't a gene that makes ones brain act the way it does, but so far, we haven't found it - not even in heterosexuals. And since there have been MANY more sexuality studies done on heterosexuals and homosexuals than there have on pedophiles, my confidence is that if there were such a gene, we would have found it in one of those groups first.

It does however raise the question of "What happens if we CAN identify pedophiles with a test?" I for one, see this as a very slippery two sided slope!  Would there be benefits to society? Yeah, of course. But would there be a price to pay? I'm thinking it's a bigger one than we're wanting to pay!

First there's the issue that not all Child Molesters are Pedophiles! Contrary to popular belief, simply molesting a child does NOT make one a Pedophile. In fact, Pedophilia is considered a mental condition where one is sexually attracted to minor children. Many child molesters are, however, sexually attracted to adults, but they molest children due to other issues - usually it's a cycle of abuse which mirrors abuse they themselves underwent as a child. So even if pedophilia were detectable with some test, it wouldn't actually stop the problem of child molestation and rape! Instead it could create an environment where those without such a verifiable condition could be passed over during investigations OR where the wrong - innocent - person would become a target of an investigation based simply on a positive test.

And second, we would have to consider whether or not it's appropriate to force testing on everyone to detect such a condition in individuals before they offend. Because, frankly, what's the use of such a test if it doesn't prevent child abuse? But conducting such a test forcibly when only a great minority of the population possibly has the condition, are we really ready to go down that road?  And when would we test? Would parents really want to know that their child was a pedophile even before they were old enough to know what sexuality was? Would we force questionable treatments on them or would we simply throw them in to mental institutions once they reached sexual maturity? None of that even sounds like an option in my mind!

Third, we need to look at what would happen if this "gene" or some other test would be able to show that someone was a Pedophile... Would that create a viable defense for them in court? It very well could. Mental illness is, under law, protected as a viable defense for crime! If you are BiPolar (for example) and in the throws of a manic episode lash out and shoot your lover who you just found out was leaving you for his secretary, you can, in fact, be found not guilty - even if you say "Yes, I did it!" And I can only imagine finding an affirmative defense for child molestation would bring the same type of pleas. "Yes, I molested that child, but I couldn't help it, I'm a pedophile - Look, I have proof!" I don't know about you, but that's not a path I ever want to go down!

Finally, we have to consider the absurd idea that simply because someone is attracted to someone else that they can't contain their feelings or control their actions. I would think that nearly every person on Earth has been sexually attracted to someone and had to refrain from acting upon it. And when we look at the number of people who willingly enter in to a life without sex, it's even harder to understand why people assume that simply because one is attracted to children that they would be a threat. Personally, I am extremely attracted to Gabriel Byrne, but I'm not going to throw myself at him, even if I were to meet him.

Not that I don't understand the fear. I do. And I'm uncomfortable with the idea of leaving a child with a  pedophile even one who hasn't ever touched a child. But at the same time, I do NOT believe that simply because someone is attracted to someone else that they are unable to control themselves. And I believe to punish someone for something they haven't yet done is wrong.

Now I'm not defending child molesters here. Frankly I believe we are WAY to soft on these people! Child molestation should be a mandatory life sentence, in my book! Child rape should carry a death penalty! In some ways, I am a firm believer that child molestation, rape and abuse are WORSE than murder! When you kill someone you end their life, they aren't in pain any more... But when you harm a child in these ways, you damage their body AND their mind - and you kill their spirit! You have essentially created a person who will never be able to be fully "okay" again... Their pain doesn't end... it goes on and on... And the punishment should reflect that! So do not take my reasoning here to defend monstrous behavior in ANY way!

No, I'm not defending them. Instead I'm simply trying to see the issue objectively. I've been reading comments on a few articles about this issue where people think the idea is wonderful. One woman said "Good, test them all and lock them up." Another said "We could medicate them and there would be no more child molestation." While a third said "It's a cop-out!" And I think on some level, they're all right... And they're all wrong! It's a hot topic subject, but it's also one people won't fully think through before making statements or judgements about... Creating a lot of noise, but no real points.

I suppose it's all moot if it turns out there is no such gene in the first place - which is really my belief. At the same time, if there IS some kind of genetic test or brain scan that can show who is and who isn't a pedophile, all that drama, could easily spill off the internet and on to the streets - which is truly a terrifying idea!


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