Part 5: Discussion about Ethics
1. Introduction paper by Frans:
This text is a part of the Background
article I wrote for the Paris Congress.
De links are external links to that web site
Over the course of time, we have given it the name "the
four principles and the P.S." This is described in my article "I
didn't know how to deal with it", in an
article by the Dutch psychiatrist Gerard Roelofs and in Dutch
psychiatrist Frank van Ree's article "Are
there criteria for a positive experience?". I will give these four
principles and the P.S. here in full from my article:
Children must always have it in his or her own power to regulate their
own sexuality, their relationships with others and their own lives.
Even in a later stage of the relationship, it is always the children who
make the choice to have sex.
At any moment within the relationship with an adult, children must have
the freedom to withdraw from the relationship. (Dependency in sexual
relationships limits their freedom). Love and dedication must be
unconditional. Sex is never allowed to be a bargaining tool.
The child should not have to carry unreasonable secrets. One has to take
into consideration how the child lives with its own sexuality. This openness
depends a great deal on the quality of the relationship, and the support
from the adult(s).
The local mores and customs also play a role, as openness about
children's sex lives is not always appreciated. Children often have to be
sexual in secret. Homosexuality is for many youngsters a big taboo. This can
bring many problems and insecurity. If the sub-culture in which they live is
relaxed and strong enough, then children can find support in that
This was the text, made and discussed in a group. I continue
my article by remarking:
"I notice that as an adult one can realize the first
three principles, Self-determination, Initiative and Freedom.
However, I have to come to the conclusion that the fourth principle of Openness
can as the result of the present moral pressures not be realized any longer.
Nowhere is discussion possible. Support is only available, from infants onwards,
for heterosexuals; sometimes a very, very little bit of support is given to the
homosexuals but only when they are in their late teens or their early twenties.
For pedosexual relationships there is no support at all for
the younger partner: not in the family, not at school, not in the play-ground,
not in public and not from the mental care agencies
And now let us talk about secrets. The essence of a nice
secret is that you can tell all about it, but that it pleases you to keep
it to yourself. If you are not allowed to talk about it, it is not a nice secret
any longer. I am aware that at least one of the four principles can in this day
and age not be realized any more."
The Dutch psychiatrist Gerard
Roelofs mentions more or less the same principles - the numbers in the
[brackets] are added by me to refer to the principles here above.
"[Roelofs] has developed five criteria for a healthy
[1.] There should be no coercion;
[2.]the child should be able to stop [the interaction] at
[3.] At third, sexuality should be [only] at the
psycho-sexual level of the child. In other words: the intimacy has to fit in
the sexual feeling of the 12 to 16 year old youngster. ‘One can think
about mutual masturbation, but not about real hard sado-masochistic games,’
"Two other conditions however, will in most cases form an obstacle for
the actual generation of pedophiles: in Roelofs opinion,
[4.] the parents of the child should know about the
relationship [and the sexual aspect of it].
[5.] Also is a condition that the child can talk about
the relationship in his [social] environment, without meeting
disapproval. [Refers to principle #4]
[The P.S.:] "With these conditions, Roelof’s
opinion will only be a theory nowadays. No ‘good parent’ shall give
permission for a sexual relationship of his or her child with an adult
nowadays. Just as Roelofs himself must confess. "But after twenty years
one could find such parents."
Also the Dutch psychiatrist Frank
van Ree refers to the four principles:
1. Who is in charge?: the child should always be in charge of his or her
2. Initiative: the initiative for sexuality should always come from the
child him- or herself.
3. Freedom: the child should be able at any given moment to remove himself
or herself from the situation.
4. Openness: the child may not be burdened with a secret.
"This is not the place to discuss all four criteria, but in closing I
will give some attention to the fourth, concerning openness. The necessity for
this is clear enough. But, as Gieles himself indicates: ‘there is no place
where these matters can be discussed. (...) I find,’ continues the writer, ‘that
this fourth criterion now, in this time and this society cannot be met (any
longer).’ And he closes, ‘This implies that I do not allow myself to have
sexual contacts with young people.’ An extremely conscientious conclusion and
one worthy of respect, based on a realistic analysis of the present reality.
But... this conclusion means in fact respecting and maintaining an unwanted
It's in this taboo that our clients have to live with and to find their own
way. Factually, a clinician or counselor can only advise the clients to live in
celibacy. Most of them do so. But there is more: one can socialize the
desires. One can go about with children in free time activities, clubs,
education or care. Having support from the group or circle, one can do this in a
responsible way. That's why the support circles are named "Circles of
support and accountability". Also Heather
Peterson mentions this solution of socializing the desires from the
groups she studied. The article Zur
Notwendigkeit pädophiler Selbsthilfegruppen describes (for those who
can read the German text) the same process of growing in responsibility.