I am an advocate for the primary prevention of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). I suppose I should start at the beginning. A little over a year ago I stumbled across a community of “Minor-Attracted People” (some are pedophiles, some are not) when I was scrolling through Twitter. At first I was a bit shocked to see people talking about something so taboo. Being the curious person that I am, I decided to dive into the rabbit hole and observe their community and also learn everything I could (a lot of them were sharing links to scientific articles about, not just pedophilia, but also child sexual abuse). The more I read and learned, the more I realized that everything I thought I knew about pedophiles and even “sex offenders” was a lie based on misinformation and fear-mongering. I decided that I wanted to become active in advocating for the prevention of child sexual abuse — society has done a pretty terrible job at it and I believe we are capable of doing a much better job.
The short answer is that it is the right thing to do. The longer answer is that society’s stigma against minor-attracted people potentially causes more child sexual abuse to occur by making it almost impossible for mental health resources to be available if a minor-attracted people needs it — ironically to deal with the depression and isolation that occurs because of the stigma. Did you know that the majority of sexual abusers of children are not attracted to prepubescent children, and therefore do not fit the criteria of being “pedophiles”? If we continue to perpetuate the myth that only pedophiles sexually abuse children, and only go after pedophiles, we are essentially ignoring the >80% of child sexual abusers that are not pedophiles. In my opinion, that seems to be a really ineffective way to prevent sexual abuse. Additionally, our current focus for sex crimes is punitive (waiting until after abuse happens and reacting to it) instead of preventative (preventing abuse before it happens). Sexual assault is preventable, not inevitable!
There is a more personal reason about why I am supportive of the majority of minor-attracted people that are decent, law-abiding citizens, not harming kids. I’ve never been quiet about the fact that I am autistic. In case you’ve been living under a rock, autistic people are another group of people that gets targeted with hatred just because we exist. Just because we were born different. I believe the experience of knowing what it is like to be part of a group of people hated for its existence is what allows me to have empathy for other groups of people that get hated for their existence. I also believe being autistic allows me to think more logically about subjects like this that most people are unable to think about without their emotions getting in the way. At the end of the day, it doesn’t make any logical sense to hate someone because they exist, because they were born. After all, nobody gets to choose to be born — it just happens.