There are no words I can say that could convey my feelings, so I will just present this article:
- By ANNE HENDERSHOTT
- Last Updated: 12:38 AM, January 16, 2013
- Posted: 11:36 PM, January 15, 2013
Attorneys for convicted child sex-abuser Jerry Sandusky last week went to court to get their client’s 30- to 60-year prison sentence overturned, while other Penn State officials may yet escape prosecution for failing to protect young boys from Sandusky. But the real outrage on the child-abuse front is occurring in academia — a drive to redefine pedophilia as innocuous “intergenerational intimacy.”
J. Michael Bailey of Northwestern University last year published a paper in the Archives of Sexual Behavior arguing that “persuasive evidence for the harmfulness of pedophilic relationships does not yet exist.”
The revisionists even argue that efforts to protect children are the real danger. In her 2002 book “Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex” (University of Minnesota Press), Judith Levine offered a “radical, refreshing and long overdue reassessment of how we think and act about children’s and teen’s sexuality.” In interviews, she claimed that, while “we do have to protect children from real dangers, that doesn’t mean protecting some fantasy of their sexual innocence.”
This redefinition of childhood innocence as a mere “fantasy” is key to defining away the deviance of pedophilia. Drawing upon the language of postmodern theory, those working to redefine pedophilia are first redefining childhood by claiming that it is not a biological given. Rather, it is socially constructed — a historically produced, social object.
As far back as 1990, the Journal of Homosexuality published a double issue on what it termed “Inter-generational Intimacy.” In one article, David Thorstad, former president of New York’s Gay Activists Alliance and founding member of the North American Man-Boy Love Association, wrote that “boy-love occurs in every neighborhood today.”
The American Psychological Association also helped to define down pedophilia in 1998 when its Psychological Bulletin published “A Meta-analytic Examination of Assumed Properties of Child Sexual Abuse.” The study’s three authors (Bruce Rind, Phillip Tromovitch and Robert Bauserman) suggested that such abuse does notcause harm and recommended that pedophilia should instead be given a “value neutral” label like “adult-child sex.”
NAMBLA quickly posted what it called the “good news” on its Web site, gushing that the “current war on boy-lovers has no basis in science.”
But NAMBLA is hardly the only non-academic enabler of this poisonous nonsense. The ACLU rushed to NAMBLA’s defense against a 2000 federal civil-rights lawsuit. The $200 million wrongful-death suit claimed that writings on NAMBLA’s site caused NAMBLA member Charles Jaynes to torture, rape and murder a 10-year-old Boston boy. The ACLU’s intervention eventually helped persuade the murdered boy’s parents to drop the suit.
And now there are media enablers, too. In the wake of Britain’s outrage over Jimmy Savile, the late BBC mega-star music host who has been accused of sexually abusing “hundreds” of children over the past four decades, the Guardian this month published Jon Henley’s article “Pedophilia: Bringing Dark Desires Into the Light.”
Henley cites a long list of experts, including many mentioned above, who argue that adult sexual attraction to children is “part of the continuum of human sexuality.” He claims that “there is a growing conviction, notably in Canada, that pedophilia should probably be classified as a distinct sexual orientation, like heterosexuality or homosexuality.”
It seems unimaginable that the likes of Henley will ever change our near-universal abhorrence of pedophilia, but the drive to redefine it may yet influence elite opinion or the courts. Without a doubt, NAMBLA and its academic enablers will continue their campaign to define down this vilest form of deviance.
Anne Hendershott, distinguished visiting professor of public policy at the King’s College in New York City, is the author of “The Politics of Deviance.”