9. Conclusions and Recommendations
The stated goal of this pilot study was to capture the self-concept characteristics, sense of well-being, and feelings of being under stress of pedophilic men from general as well as differential perspectives using quantitative and qualitative methodologies.
The results make it clear that the social status of primarily pedophilic men is, in the long run, an untenable situation, which is presumably even more brutal than that which faced homosexuals in the 1970s. Although sexual science's theoretical viewpoint on and assessment of the phenomenon are quite different matters, many authors have called for a more constructive social approach with this marginal group. In the final analysis, with any change in approach the highest priority would be given to the presumed well-being of the child, which would be the decisive factor.
The conceptual framework underlying this study, that of operational psychology, suggests that pursuing an exclusively interventionist approach -- moving away from making improvements in act-regulatory capabilities and general well-being -- is inadequate. If they are to be taken more seriously, it would of course be a good idea to provide locally-based and anonymous offers of therapy to pedophilic men. Albeit slowly, the first steps toward this have already been taken (Berlia's pilot project at Charité).
A more effective and constructive approach with this marginal group would, however, only be possible if the social circumstances were also addressed, and the conditions of isolation were overcome. Both pedophilic persons as well as -- indirectly -- the effected children would thereby be helped. Implicit in the operational psychology conceptual framework is an assumption that because it is too much for him or her, a child can potentially be primarily or secondarily harmed by a sexual advance as well as the circumstances surrounding it (the child becomes the bearer of secrets).
Under current conditions, the risk of secondary harm to children is presumably such higher that it would be if the phenomenon were dealt with in a more objective and intercessory manner (e.g., extra-juridical resolution, mediation). This point of view is also increasingly present in the English speaking realm. The argument is typically along the lines that because there would thereby be greater controllability, the best prevention would be the social integration of this minority. (Silverman & Wilson, 2002).
In the author's opinion, it is incumbent upon a humanistic-oriented sexual science to contribute to the de-demonization of persons with this sexual orientation. Important starting points for this endeavor lay in the areas of teaching, research, and politics.
In the several years of a psychologist's training, university curricula should devote at least a few hours to considering the phenomenon and its attendant social problems from various perspectives. Insofar as it is possible, it would be a good idea to invite those concerned to be interview partners in these sessions, so that each student can also get a personal impression of these individuals. To the extent that it actually has been addressed, chiefly by psychology faculties in Germany, there has not been one word as to the differentiability of this sexual science topic.
It would be helpful to have additional empirical research whose stated aim is to provide discernible benefits to effected children as well as pedophilic men. The finding of the present work suggest that it would be interesting to classify a larger number of pedophilic men who are living abstinently in terms of their sense of well-being and feelings of being under stress and then compare them, via interview, with reference to individual mastery-styles. Such a research plan would encompass ideas relating to prevention, while simultaneously supplying important suggestions for counseling or therapy directed towards the population of pedophilic men. This could provide an answer to the question of which abstinent, individual lifestyles, under what conditions , are more likely to be saluto-genetically favorable or unfavorable.
A clear improvement in the life-situation. of pedophilic persons can be attained chiefly trough a de-pathologization of the phenomenon on the sexual-political level. (APA, WHO) When the point of reference is the norm of compulsory heterosexuality and the psychoanalytic paradigm, there are among pedophiles -- just as with gays and lesbians -- real psychodynamic peculiarities in the sexual sphere, with important psychical functions. In the sexual sphere they are simply differently and immutably oriented.
As Rauchfleisch (1996) makes clear, a pathologizing approach leads to exclusion and stigmatization. This should not be the psychologist's job. For purely pragmatic reasons, the deletion or de-listing of the primary form of pedophilia (the same applies to transsexuals) in the international diagnosis system ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR is to be demanded (See Green 2002).
Whether it is a form of pathology or not cannot, in the final analysis, be answered by supposedly 'objective science'; rather, it is, as in the analogy to homosexuality, a morally and ethically influenced values question which is socially constructed. It has simply become politically correct to not declare homosexuals disordered on the basis of their sexual orientation. The same should apply to persons with a pedophilic orientation.
Furthermore, given the fact that most of those effected find them helpful, the question arises as to what extent pedophile self-help groups are worthy of social support (e.g. making space available, club memberships, etc.). In the media, pedophile self-help groups are sometimes categorically characterized as criminal rings. Based on the author's experience, there are some serious pedophile self-help groups which incorporate expert psychological care (e.g. in Frankfurt) that certainly do not constitute criminal organizations, and which are worthy of support. This is also Dieth's (2004) impression.
Partly due to the pedophile emancipation movement, the demand for sex with children has been brought out into the open with a vengeance. Such demands are counterproductive and are likely to foster prejudice against the pedophile minority, making the former even stronger. There is no doubt that the inner views of a major portion of pedophiles are simply not comparable to those of the average citizen.
It should be emphasized that there is no general perceptual disorder among those affected. In personal conversations, respondents were clearly in a position to recognize potentially harmful aspects for the children; among 'dark number' pedophilic men, there is no lack of reflective ability per se. The SSF results also speak to this. However, when criminally convicted pedophiles are considered part of this 'clear number' -- which is normally the case -- additional aspects such as the 'perpetrator-responsibility defense-system' (Deegener, 1995) and 'self-exchange actions' (Berner, 1985) must also be considered when assessing perception. Under these conditions, a pedophile would not behave any differently from any other sexual delinquent ('of course they wanted it'), which has to do with justification pressures.
Pedophilic men's inner view -- that sexual contacts with children do not automatically lead to detectable harm to the boy or girl -- is in fact anchored in reality.
A different approach to this subject will strike many people as provocative, and will obviously arouse strong fears about the decline of moral values. (Jenkins, 1998*) Due to the high degree of downright hatred directed towards this minority, great significance must be attributed to projective mechanisms.
Phallometric studies show that there is a large number of men with secondary pedophilic tendencies. (Berner, 2002) Moreover, a large number of female victims exist. Both influence factors bolster this assumption.
What in more recent times has become a classic example of the manifestation of a panic
over the decline of traditional values are
the reactions in the United States to the large meta-analysis by Rind,
Tromovitch & Bauserman (1998). This study, adjudged
Those reactions can be explained in terms of mechanisms and assumptions which Jenkins (1998) and -- above all -- Jost et al. (cited in Stöcker, 2003), describe, 'particularly in a strongly Christian-imprinted country with a real and palpable tendency towards encroaching religious fanaticism (Chomsky, 2004).
On July 3rd, 2003 in the German parliament, a proposed law to strengthen reporting requirements, which would have criminalized scientific studies in the area of pedosexuality, was rejected.
It is the view of Grandt & Jamin (2002) that the nature and
ways in which sexual offenses are dealt with governmentally, in research
in this area, and in media reports represents a
Differences in the understanding of democracy between the U.S. (see, e. g. , "Megan's Law") and 'Old Europe' are still discernible. However, there is, in our country [Germany], also the following problem: Researchers who do not condemn this phenomenon from the very beginning make themselves targets and have in the past sometimes been slandered by colleagues, which has not contributed to a constructive discussion of the topic. Perhaps it might be necessary and sensible to establish definite rules for dealing with one another via the [German] Professional Association of Psychologists (RDP).
At present, as far as the
subject of pedophilia is concerned, it would appear that sexual science
has been turned into the "whore of politics." (see Gigi 1/2006.)
A discussion aimed at improving the social situation of pedophilic
men and the children effected can, moreover, only be conducted constructively
if the demand by representatives
Even if harm is not always empirically detectable, it will,
with great certainty, remain a utopian dream to believe ,that
pedosexual contacts would ever be legalized at such-and-such time or
place. The pedophile minority really has scarcely any chance of crawling
out of the air completely. Clinging to this Utopia is,
however, obviously important to many pedophiles, while at the same
time also constituting -- looking at it in
A more humane and constructive approach to this marginal group should be developed. The author concurs with the option of Schmidt (1999), who writes of the tragedy of pedophilic men: