Hello Im Mr Kowalski a representative of VirPed. Now before I begin I would like to warn you all I will be covering a sensitive topic and I in no way wish to offend nor discredit anyones experiences or beliefs. VirPed of which I represent stands for Virtuous Paedophiles, an online community claiming to have never sexually engaged with minors and never intending to. Virtuous in this case meaning the capacity to be good people not to be misinterpreted as being better than others or deserving of praise for being non-offenders.
I have come here today on behalf of the organisation to speak to you about what exactly a paedophile is, what help is currently available for them, and what needs to be done further, for it is here during your teenage years many young paedophiles will discover their sexual preferences. Therefore I find it imperative I explain the inequality of life and treatment they face. So can anyone here tell me what a paedophile is? A paedophile strictly speaking is a person who is attracted to prepubescent children, they can be of any race or gender, a member of any religion or creed, and come from all walks of life regardless of age.
So some of you may be wondering what these so called virtuous paedophiles want? Well to put it simply the goals of the organisation are to reduce the stigma attached to paedophilia by letting people know that a substantial number of paedophiles do not molest children, to provide peer support and information about available resources to help paedophiles lead happy, productive lives and our highest priority of preventing the sexual abuse of children.
We at VirPed seek procedural justice, meaning to be treated fairly with equal opportunity and not as a lesser being. Through societies recognition we hope the general public will realise that in fact not all paedophiles are monsters lurking behind bushes waiting to pounce on unsuspecting children as many would have you believe. That many are in fact good people that just so happen to have a sexual attraction they did not choose and cannot change and are perfectly capable of controlling. For not only are paedophiles capable of being good people many are in fact good people.
Paedophiles as previously stated are those with an attraction towards prepubescent children, this attraction from a technical stand point is no different than that felt by heterosexuals or homosexuals, only in this case towards children. Similar to other orientations, paedophiles vary in their tastes, finding some children attractive or unattractive, and as for the popular belief that is if youre attracted to kids you have some sort of unusual degree of urge to go out and attack kids, this simply isnt true. Those who sexually abuse children do so willingly with a full understanding that sexual acts against them is a serious and heinous crime. This is no different from a normal rape, being a paedophile does not affect a persons moral judgment nor distinction between right and wrong, and as such VirPed strongly believes that sexual activity between an adult and a minor is rightfully illegal. Recently the organisation B4U-ACT oversaw an anonymous online survey for the purpose of obtaining information on those who feel sexually attracted to children. 193 individuals from a variety of countries and ranging from the ages of 15 to 70 responded to the survey. The end results concluded that 66% of people who had attractions to children had been aware of such feelings before the age of 18. Furthermore 26% of those surveyed had thought of committing suicide at some point in their lives, and 41% of those who had considered it had done so before the age of 18. Clearly these people are in need of mental health care, and 40% of respondents had expressed an interest in receiving it, but where I must ask would lets say a 70 year old man go to receive this help?, a woman in her 40s?, even a 15 year old boy? where do they go to receive the treatment they desperately need?
Currently there is very little available in terms of accessible mental health care for paedophiles, this at its core displays a severe lack of life and treatment equality and a severe need for procedural justice. Online communities and forums such as VirPed do exist however and serve as a safe space to share ones experiences among peers. Despite this it simply is not enough and government funded clinics to care for the very specific needs of these patients is paramount. Recently in South Australia a support program for child sex offenders called The Circles of Support and Accountability or C.O.S.A. was implemented. This was a nation first and so far seems successful however this program is for individuals who have already committed the detestable act of sexual child abuse. Paedophiles although they can try, rarely seek counselling due to the preconceived notions surrounding them, many therapists will outright refuse to see patients once their secret is revealed. Such was the case with Gary Gibson as a result of attempting to come out to professionals, Gary had to face repeated trauma and prejudice, despite insisting that he has never acted on his attraction to minors. Gary had this to say about the experience “Being dismissed from university based solely on my sexual orientation was certainly most traumatic, being interrogated by the state police and banned from the only hospital in our county was certainly not fun. I was also abandoned by a counsellor without a referral in 1999. As soon as I came out to her, she freaked out and said: ‘I can’t deal with that.’ She refused to meet with me again.” Cases like this can certainly be disheartening and so many paedophiles dont seek the help they desperately need, and its not like a student can put their hand up and say Hey miss I think Im a paedophile. Sammy a VirPed member conveyed such thought processes perfectly in an interview with Vice. “Having feelings for a child without someone to talk to is like being trapped on a deserted island. You are so isolated that you begin to lose your sanity, little by little. Humans are social creatures. We need to talk to people we trust about things that are bothering us. When it’s something this taboo, you aren’t really allowed to talk about it to anyone.” If this is not a clear example of the inequality of life and treatment paedophiles face then I dont know what is, why should they be refused hospital care, refused entry to university, refused the ability to better themselves because of an attraction they never wanted, does that seem right, does that seem just, does that seem fair?
In reality although not all, many paedophiles were victims of sexual abuse themselves. Fellow Spokesperson for VirPed Todd Nickerson was molested by a family acquaintance at the age of 7 while visiting his grandmothers house. Todd was asked to show this man his grandfathers garden and while there the assailant sat down and patting on the ground motioned for Todd to sit next to him. Todd suspects the events that occurred after while not the only thing to affect him, did leave a lasting effect. The paedophiles themselves are not the only ones affected by their attractions either, their families too must cope if theyre even aware that their child, sibling, or parent is a paedophile in the first place. Many choose not to reveal this however as the possibility of losing them to the truth is high. Think for a moment how would you feel? How would you react? if your Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Grandparent, Friend, even the person sitting next to you, maybe even your own kids in the future, told you they were attracted to children?
Now I wish to reinforce that VirPed in no way condones nor wishes the normalisation of Paedophila. The sexual abuse of children is a crime and should remain as such and many members have expressed that theyd rather die than put a child through that kind of trauma. Im only here to inform you the next generation, custodians of our future, of the inequalities of life and in treatment paedophiles must cope with on a daily basis. So that perhaps when you walk out those doors today youll have a whole new perspective on what a paedophile really is or at the very least question it, and maybe just maybe some form of procedural justice will come of this. For even though this class makes up an incredibly small fraction of society, you may recognise that a paedophile, a non-offender with no ill intent is capable of being a good person well that seems like a step in the right direction.