An assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Old Dominion University, Allyn Walker, recently went online to discuss removing the stigma against adults who are sexually attracted to children.
Walker’s intentions were meant to prevent child molestation, but rebranding people with serious issues is taking the ideals of “acceptance” and “diversity” well beyond their definitions.
This non-binary assistant professor’s book, The Long Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity, and ideology are supposedly meant to protect minors. But the reality of putting it into practice will directly cause children more harm because how we use language is directly linked to our actions and empathy can only go so far before it becomes destructive.
Over-Empathizing with Dangerous People Is Dangerous
The term Minor Attracted Person, or MAP, began gaining support before the pandemic. On Twitter, users witnessed the “love is love” slogan being used by self-identifying MAPs without repercussion. Some people are now going so far as to declare being a MAP as just another sexual orientation.
Allyn Walker isn’t concerned about that debate. Walker is more focused on empathizing with non-offending pedophiles in the hopes that these individuals seek help before it’s too late.
The assistant professor argues that “It’s important to use terminology for groups that members of that group want others to use for them.” But, in doing so, those who change their language to accommodate the mentally ill or clinically dangerous are showing these potentially harmful people that they have power over others. Giving power over others to humans with mental issues sets them up for failure as they further test their boundaries.
It also confuses children. The word pedophile is easy to understand and avoid. Minors have underdeveloped brains. They’re not physically or mentally equipped to protect themselves from being groomed or abused.
We have harsh words to describe harsh realities because they arm us with the proper knowledge.
We have harsh words to describe harsh realities because they arm us with the proper knowledge. With Soft Language terms like “minor attracted person,” or MAP, children (and even some adults) don’t fully process what that terminology means. It makes it more palatable.
Instead of being served the bitter truth, it predisposes people to accept a warped version of reality on someone else's terms. Whether we sympathize with others or not, verbal communication is limited, and we must have clear words and phrases to help us develop solid boundaries so we’re able to properly understand every situation.
Without those harsh terms and boundaries, children are more easily groomed, abducted, and abused.
Removing Stigmas Allows Normalization
Sex before marriage used to be stigmatized. So were having children out of wedlock, or getting blackout drunk in public.
Those stigmas made those acts less socially acceptable and so they were less common, and when they occurred it was a private matter, not something to be celebrated or advertised. Over time, lines were crossed, blurred, and removed completely and now we have a society that has little to no concern for these acts – even though all are known to hinder one’s ability to have successful relationships, careers, and communities.
Walker did note that “Child sexual abuse is never ever okay”; however, Walker’s approach to prevention is based on untested philosophies that pedophiles hide in the shadows because they don’t want people to call them “monsters” or be told that they’re evil.
Normalizing pedophilia will draw out more abusers and give them the power they need to victimize children.
But if we remove the stigma and allow them to correlate goodness with their sexual perversion, what will hold them back? If we normalize attraction to minors and say “it’s not that bad,” they may remain abstinent for a time, but as the lines get blurred and children are no longer warned as harshly, it will be easier for pedophiles to act on their desires and THAT is the main concern here.
Just as looting was normalized and encouraged in the summer of 2020 (as offenders were set free without legal repercussions), normalizing pedophilia will draw out more abusers and give them the power they need to victimize children.
Including Pedophiles in the LGBTQ Community Hurts the Movement
Everyone wants acceptance, but that doesn’t mean they deserve it. There is nothing illegal about being gay, bi, trans, and so on, and people who are attracted to children but don’t act on those desires aren’t criminals, but would you feel safe living next door to a man who openly expressed a desire to rape you? Wouldn’t you keep your distance – lock your doors and arm yourself just knowing that they think about it?
Prevention is key, and unfortunately, Walker has found that there are currently no government organizations dedicated to the prevention of child sexual abuse. Walker’s theory of removing the stigma against pedophilia to prevent offenses is still new and untested, and that’s what makes it so controversial. In fact, Walker was placed on administrative leave shortly after participating in the online discussion due to the public's reaction.
But for years now, self-declared MAPs have voiced their “pride” on Twitter. While individuals expressing unpopular political ideals were suspended and banned for doing nothing wrong, pedophiles were “coming out of the closet” and declaring themselves a part of the LGBTQ+ community under the banner of “love is love.”
There’s a massive difference between two consenting adults and an adult and a child.
And shockingly enough, very few members within that community decried them. Twitter itself did nothing; if anything they encouraged it.
The pressure to uphold the bonds of solidarity with anyone who proclaims themselves a part of that community is apparently more important than speaking up when someone crosses into dangerous territory. It’s for this very reason that the movement is losing support. There’s a massive difference between consenting adults wishing to do as they please with their bodies, and celebrating sexually identifying as someone who is attracted to children. But if the LGBTQ community can’t make that distinction, then they have nothing to be proud of.
The Safety of Minors Should Always Be Our First Priority
Children are not ready to protect themselves against predators. They need us to look out for them and set clear boundaries.
Imagine if they’re taught that “love is love” by the public education system, that Minor Attracted Persons aren’t bad people, and then their teacher acts sexually towards them. Would the child even know how to say “no”? It’s difficult enough as things stand right now.
Softening the language defining pedophilia, and removing the stigma surrounding it, will leave kids more confused than they already are and prep them for grooming, abuse, and victimhood.
If children are taught that MAPs aren’t bad people, then how will they even know how to say “no”?
Walker tried to distinguish that pedophiles and MAPs are not the same on a minor technicality because, by definition, pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children, whereas MAPs are sometimes attracted to minors who have gone through puberty. This completely overlooks the mental processes of puberty. Just because a child’s body has reached maturity earlier than others doesn’t mean they’re mentally prepared for a sexual relationship. That’s why there is a legal age of consent, and it is set at the age at which the human brain is ready as well as the body.
The safety of children and the prevention of sexual abuse should always be a top priority. Allyn Walker is seeking that, but unfortunately, this college professor uses flawed logic and dangerous techniques to do so.
We should never confuse stigma and dehumanization. Stigmas help us develop clear boundaries between right and wrong; dehumanization allows people to objectify others and act as if they have no feelings or rights.
Pedophiles are people. About 35% of offending abusers were molested as children themselves, and we should recognize that. Not all pedophiles offend, but changing the words defining them and their acts won’t change the dangers or harms they pose.
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