Paedophilia Is A Crime

2013-03-18 10:05

The recent statement by South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier describing paedophilia as a psychological “illness, not a criminal condition” is very disturbing and alarming. (SA cardinal: Paedophiles not criminals, News24, March 16).

Defending paedophiles just because they have been abused as a kid is disingenuous. Other criminals like rapists and murderers can also make such statements or claims in order to avoid heavy sentencing or prison terms. An individual who is sexually attracted to children and does not seek professional help and commits sexual abuse deserves to be incarcerated in a psychiatric prison.

Agreed, paedophiles could have a psychological problem, as many psychologists believe that sexual abuse knows no demographic boundaries, and is not bound by class, culture, job, profession or geographic location. But that does not forgive or clear paedophiles from facing the criminal aspect of the abuse or exploitation and subsequently getting punished. They are criminals and need to be held accountable for their transgression.

Child molestation or sexual abuse is a very grave evil that can happen to any kid. Determining if a child is actually being molested is a huge challenge and requires careful investigation. Sexual abuse includes a wide range of behaviours that range from pornography, indecent exposure or touching of the genitals to rape.

In the very strictly “confidential conversations” that individuals have with each other, some very frightening and scary allegations are heard about folks involved in child molestation.

Our conscience should never allow us to rest on the secure, at times false, belief that it is about “somebody else’s child”, “not of mine or my community”. And among affluent communities the trend is that those nearest and dearest to the victim is in total denial of such an occurrence.

There is sufficient medical evidence to suggest that abusers of children can come from all walks of life.

Treating child molestation as an internal family matter or sweeping it under the carpet, or to protect the individual or institution is not the solution and is very dangerous. How could the child feel safe when confronted by his/her abuser? What about the irreparable psychological damage done to the child? Why should the child or victim grow up with the pain? Why should the abuser get away? What about allowing the abuser to continue with the cycle of abuse and molestation?

Taking strict and quick action towards paedophiles or sexual predators is compulsory, not only to ensure it won’t happen again, but also the child will have a better chance to recover.

We need to take the bull by the horns and take an active and vociferous stand against this scourge in order to try to eradicate it.

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