Monday, June 18, 2012

What makes a pedophile tick?

Time Magazine   In a study published in Biological Psychiatry, Martin Walter and his colleagues found that the hypothalamic regions of the brains of pedophiles, a region heavily involved in sexual identity and behavior, are not stimulated by erotic images of adults the way that nonpedophiliac brains are. Neurologically, pedophiles don’t identify adults as sexually attractive. Other brain-imaging works by James Cantor and colleagues published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research and Kolja Schiltz and colleagues writing in the Archives of General Psychiatry confirm that pedophiles have impairments to brain structures involved in sexual development. Put simply, the brains of pedophiles are different from those of other adults.

More research will continue to clarify the origins of a behavior that is extremely difficult for most of us to understand and is deeply repugnant. One common misconception is that victims of childhood sexual abuse are highly likely to later become abusers themselves. Most of the studies that supported this view were retrospective studies of offenders asking them whether they had been abused. The problem is that many perpetrators see claims of their own abuse as a potential mitigating factor that will lead to leniency. However, even such retrospective studies like one published in the British Journal of Psychiatry in 2001 find that the majority of abusers do not report having been abused themselves as children. And a longitudinal 2003 study, a better standard for assessing risk, made clear that the vast majority of sexual-abuse victims do not become abusers. Those few who did tended to experience other forms of neglect and violence within the family. The victim of sexual assault who is otherwise cared for by his or her family is highly unlikely to become a future predator. Like many abnormal behaviors, pedophilia likely stems from a biological predisposition combined with exposure to a harsh environment. Child abuse is horrific; but the fact that it doesn’t produce an endless chain of future abuse is something we can take small comfort in.


  1. There is still a preponderance of professionals who have acquaintance with the scientific data who believe there is a noticeable history of abuse as a victim that is found in perpetrators. As is common to society, it takes many people with "kleine kepelach" who misunderstand a position taken in the scientific world and misuse it to disastrous results.

    It was not too long ago that parents of a 14 year old yeshiva bochur reported that they were called to the out of town yeshiva and told by the menahel that the boy must leave. He had been molested by a goyishe worker in the neighborhood of the dormitory. The reason given was not that he would need therapy, and being closer to home might be preferred. Instead, the parents were told that this boy, having been victimized would now pose a risk of abusing others, and this was a threat the yeshiva would not accept.

    The studies cited above suggest the validity of the abusee becoming an abuser is not necessarily that great. But if we assume this to be fact, this menahel misused this information in a most damaging manner. He essentially revictimized the victim, convicting him of something he never did or would be likely to do. That is chutzpah. That's what happens when people in power assume their role gives them information and knowledge which they never studied. Such people should NEVER act on their own.

  2. I think this research - if scientifically confirmed - is very significant. It shows that people have a biological disposition to experience strong sexual urges which society demands that they suppress. This could be a strong refutation to one of the moral arguments against prohibiting homosexuality. People argue that if people are born with or develop SSA, it is immoral to tell them to restrain those urges their whole life. Well, here we have evidence of a biologically caused desire to engage in intimacy with children, which nobody considers permissible. (I understand there's a difference between minors and two consenting adults, but one aspect of the moral argument falls.)

  3. Science has also proven that a child who was constantly beatin by his parents growing up will eventually become a bully. So why didny the principle throw out haf the school for fear of the good kids suffering


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