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3. COGNITIVE DISTORTION THEORY
Some theories of paedophilia have a moral-cum-ideological basis. Wyre's views (in Tate, 1990) illustrate this. Such approaches often have little basis in systematic research and theory; nevertheless their capacity to attract publicity makes them influential. They may be advocated during training courses for professionals and thus gain currency away from the public record (Jenkins, 1992).
Wyre argues that paedophiles use whatever means they can to validate their activities -- thus, pornography is a source of reassurance. In pornography, for example, offenders see other adults doing much the same things that they do or want to do. This creates an aura of normality about offending which may disengage their inhibitions against offending as part of an "escalation" process:
He rejects the suggestion that pornography serves as a "safety valve" which diverts sexual energy away from offending. Paedophilia is an addiction, not cured by providing fuel to that addiction.
Among the characteristic cognitive style of paedophiles is minimalization of their offending. Due to this, offenders' criminal records are usually incomplete or inaccurate:
Furthermore, the offender's choice of language may redefine the abuse as something consensual and desired by the child:
Partly for this reason, incest and paedophilia should not be regarded as separate and different phenomena; they are "inextricably linked". All types of offender are "just ordinary men" who are adroit at hiding their sexual feelings.
The excuses also extend to blaming the child. Claims that the abuse was an accident are common:
This propensity to shift the blame has to be confronted in order to begin to control abusers. Professionals (police, psychologists, social workers) may inadvertently reinforce this other-blame due to ignorance:
It is counterproductive to treat the man primarily as part of the family system since this merely allows him more freedom to lay the blame on the dysfunctional family or another family member.