Thursday, 30 June 2011

Child molesters: Can they be cured?

As a medical diagnosis, pedophilia is defined as a psychiatric disorder in adults or late adolescents (persons age 16 or older) typically characterized by a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (generally age 13 years or younger, though onset of puberty may vary). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders pedophilia is a paraphilia (sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals) in which a person has intense and recurrent sexual urges towards and fantasies about prepubescent children.

As many as 89,000 American children were sexually abused in 2002, and the numbers are unquestionably far higher considering the fact that many children won’t tell anyone about what child molesters did to them.

This is the most detested form of sexual deviation. Among convicted pedophiles, especially those attracted to boys, the recidivism rate is high. The abusers target children because they are more pliable than adults. Generally, pedophiles don’t physically attack the children but instead, they befriend them and persuade their victims into having sex with them.

There have been on occasions where pedophiles have murdered their child victims in order to not be discovered however, fortunately that is very rare. The worst thing that a child victim can do is tell the pedophile that he or she is going to report them to their parents or the police. This can put the pedophile into a panic mode which could then result in the death of the victim.

Hard-core pedophiles engage in this sexual activity from puberty while other pedophiles use children as substitutes for adults later in life after an adult relationship has failed. Then there are the ‘situational molesters’, who have ongoing contact with children because of their work, and thus may be drawn into situations in which they use their charges for their own sexual gratification. Priests, coaches, child-care workers are situational molesters.

What causes pedophilia?

Pedophilia is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Several studies have confirmed that pedophiles are very likely to have been victims of violence and sex abuse as children, in a victim-to-perpetrator cycle. If the victims of the perpetrators are neglected and lack supervision, along with abuse by a female, and witness violence among family members (as it often happens), they are more likely to develop into being a real pedophile later as they grow older thereby becoming the sexual aggressor as an adult.

It is difficult to absolutely establish one way or another as to whether or not a pedophile can be born this way. If you doubt that possibility, consider the fact that many people, especially those who have gay or lesbian tendencies believe that they were born this way.

It has long been established for example that the human fetus in the last month it is in the womb, can hear what is going on outside of its mother’s womb. If for example the child will be born a male but while in the womb, it hears its mother constantly saying to others that she hopes that her baby will be a girl, it is not conceivable that the baby will have that event permanently planted in its brain and when the baby becomes a child, he may begin showing signs of femininity which will later turn him into being permanently gay?

Does it not follow that if the fetus while in its mother’s womb is aware of family aggression, it will have its pedophiliac tendencies jump-started during that time it is in the womb? Needless to say, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that because of what it hears in the womb it will later automatically be a pedophile. Think of a how you start your car. You can turn the ignition key which will turn the crank but if your tank is empty, the car will go nowhere. In other words, irrespective as to what the fetus heard while in its mother’s womb, if the young boy grows up in a happy and safe environment and later is sexually aroused when he sees girls his age or older, it is highly unlikely that he will grow into being a pedophile.

In some cases, pedophiles experience such deep-seated sexual anxieties that they cannot develop normal sexuality. What may drive pedophiles to act as child molesters can be a lack of inhibition determined by psychosis, poor impulse control or alcoholism. Pedophiles indeed present different action patterns in the frontal lobe compared with normal men, a brain region critical for impulse control. This fact alone may be proof that some pedophiles may be wired this way. Proof of this is obvious when you consider that pedophilia can also have biological causes, like brain trauma before the child is six years old since accidents have also been associated with lower intelligence. (Of course, not every early brain trauma causes pedophilia).

Scientists also suspect the existence of genes provoking brain defects that render the individuals more prone to pedophilia. Researches found higher rates of pedophilia inside some ‘pedophilic’ families members than among the families of non-pedophiles. This of course could be because a family member has sexually molested a younger family member who then develops the tendencies of pedophilia.

When I was doing group counseling with mentally ill prison inmates, (some who were pedophiles) I was convinced then as I am now) that pedophiles for the most part actually like their child victims and for this reason, they really don’t want to physically harm them in any way however the pedophiles I counseled admitted that sodomy is not only harmful but is also painful to their sexual victims.

What kind of treatment can be given to a pedophile?

Drugs used against depression, anxiety and compulsive disorders can be prescribed, like ‘selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors’. These drugs control their sexual urges, decreasing sexual fantasies, sexual desires and compulsive masturbation in pedophiles and have a positive effect on a person's emotional state. Drugs that decrease testosterone production induce a drop in the sexual drive of the pedophiles. This however can be a real problem if the pedophile is married. The wife will end up going through her married life without having sexual relations with her partner.

These drugs can enable patients to feel sufficiently unburdened to talk openly about their compulsive and often agonizing sexual impairments. But psychotherapist (which I am not one) must help a pedophile find a suitable replacement for the emotional stability he had received from his pedophilic sexual drive otherwise they experience a major personal crisis. However, even when successfully treated, most pedophiles must struggle to restrain their predilections for the rest of their lives.

The ‘cognitive-behavioral therapy’ used to treat sex offenders include a range of treatments from ‘conditioning-based’ approaches to behavior skills training, social, empathy and assertiveness. It's a procedure that teaches pedophiles more normal ways to interact with adults, and address the underlying pattern of sexual arousal.
While electric shocks as aversion therapy are seldom used to associate pain with unacceptable sexual fantasies, Linda Grossman, who studies treatment of sex offenders at the University of Illinois at Chicago says many cognitive-behavioral programs still use aversion therapy. She said, "Now we think it's better to use mental images. We'll have offenders fantasizes a deviant reaction, and when they begin to feel aroused, have them fantasize the consequences of getting arrested, going to prison, and getting raped in prison. That certainly should act as a strong deterrent.

I believe that a pedophile who has a family, a home, a good job, good friends and a good reputation will seriously consider what he will lose if he is convicted of child molestation. That by itself will deter most pedophiles. He may fantasize sexually molesting children but he won't act out his fantasies.On the other hand, the pedophile who has nothing is more likely to continue molesting children if the fear of imprisonment isn’t a deterrent.

A good deal of sex-offender treatment occurs in prison, often using group therapy. The therapist and peers try to break down the denial that offenders typically show, says Fred Berlin, who has studied treatment of sex offenders for many years at Johns Hopkins University. "The group therapy component is intended to confront the denial and rationalization. We do what we call 'therapeutic confrontation' -- set up an environment where people can speak candidly, even though they're all struggling with an unacceptable craving for sex with children."

Denial can run deep in some cases. Sometimes a pedophile, will say, “I fondled this young boy, but he was clearly aroused and he seemed to be enjoying it.” But he can’t get into the young mind and see what kinds of problems he will be subjected to later. When pedophiles experience this kind of craving, it colors their perceptions and for this reason, they can't objectively see the consequences of their behavior.

Lifestyle changes, such as not living or working around children, can prevent relapses into pedophilia. Lifestyle changes can remove the temptation. A pedophile who truly wants to return to normalcy has to realize that he shouldn’t work in a job where he is in contact with children, or for that matter, even live near a school."

Paul Knuckman, a clinical psychologist who counsels sex offender at a Michigan prison, says he looks for risk factors. "What are the issues associated with this offense? What's going on in the person's life at the time of the offense? What kind of stresses is he subjected to? Where did it happen? What made it a safe place to commit the offense? What are the victim's characteristics such as size, age, sex and availability?"

While stereotypes show pedophiles lurking in the bushes, Knuckman says the offender is often ‘the most functional adult in the child's arena. The child turns to the adult for attention, and the adult sexualizes the relationship, and often the child stays silent.’ Unsurprisingly, he says, many offenders have good access to children as coaches, parents, grandparents, uncles, or relatives who move in for a while. In these terms, the current church scandal makes sense, Knuckman adds. "Certainly the priest would be in a position to see vulnerable children who need attention."

Priests also carry great authority, Knuckman says. "If a priest says that sex is okay, and the parents say the priest speaks for God, no matter how scared and confused the kid is, there's authority and reassurance."

While treatment based on psychoanalytic introspection is out of favor, Knuckman says it's still important to help offenders understand the roots of their problems. He said, "I focus on teaching these men that the problem is greater than this particular contact with this victim. It has to do with how they manage their lives, how they meet their needs in addition to sex needs. For many of them, sexual contact with a child is a way to feel competent, powerful, that he has some control over his life."

For the more driven and dangerous pedophiles, chemistry or surgery may be more effective in controlling sexual impulses. Physical castration (removal of the testes) which produce the male sex hormone testosterone when coupled with follow-up hormone monitoring, is a drastic but effective solution to sexual offenses. In European castration studies from the 1940s and 1950s, recidivism rates were in the single digits, probably the lowest of any treatment. However, in Canada and the United States as well as in other countries, physical castration is considered too gross as a means of treating a pedophile. A pedophile is the United States years ago offered to be castrated but the court ruled against his wishes, and rightly so. Further, if a pedophile or a rapist is physically castrated against his will, there could be a backlash; it being that he has developed a hatred towards society in general and that could later create enormous problems for the public at large. For example most rapists sexually assault their victims for the feeling of power over their victims or for the hatred of their victims in general.

Here is a case of pedophilia that is truly revolting.

It's impossible to imagine a more helpless victim, or a more sickening crime than this one I am going to tell you about.

A teenage quadriplegic, brain-injured boy, living in the Sate of Arizona who is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair, was repeatedly molested by his own perverted caregiver George Wilcox who is the boy’s stepfather.

The disgusting deed was caught on surveillance video and police in the United States and Canada are now trying to catch the creep convicted of the crime.

At the time of this writing, it is believed to be hiding in Canada. Wilcox is originally from Calgary and still has relatives there, leading U.S. authorities to consider the city as one of his possible hiding places, in addition to Vancouver, Arizona and California.

"He's wanted for several counts of sexual misconduct with a minor," said Deputy Jason Ogan of the Pima County, Arizona Sheriff's Department. He said that George Ross Wilcox vanished before a Pima County Superior Court could sentence him for the crime after he was found guilty of four counts of sexual conduct with a minor under 15.

It was June 9th, 2009, when Wilcox fled Arizona and a seemingly certain very long jail sentence after the court found him guilty, in part based on the video which documented the pedophile attacks on the child. George Ross Wilcox, 53, was convicted in Arizona of four counts of sexual contact with a minor under 15 years old for abusing his stepson between July 2007 and January 2008.

So keen are police to catch and jail 53-year-old Wilcox, who was born and raised in Calgary, that the case was given top billing on America's Most Wanted, a website and TV show dedicated to catching fugitive criminals.

"Before Wilcox was sentenced, he was released from custody on his own recognizance and he then took off. He is a Canadian citizen and police believe he may have fled the states hiding out in Calgary or Vancouver, Canada," reads the Most Wanted description. From a family with nine brothers and sisters, Wilcox still has strong family connections to Calgary, including his mother, father and many of his siblings. In 2009, police in Calgary had credible information placing Wilcox in British Columbia. They forwarded their intelligence to police in that province since the avid fisherman and computer consultant was allegedly spotted in Vancouver late last year. The police believe that the six-foot-one, 180-pound stepfather might have chosen B.C. as a new place to hide. Wilcox has brown hair, blue eyes and sometimes wears glasses.

Pima County police in Arizona working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, want Wilcox returned to Arizona, where sexual crimes against teens under the age of 15 carry a 27-year maximum sentence which he surely would have received.

"That was one thing they said in court, that there was no lasting harm to the child because he's very much unaware of what's around him," said a relative of Wilcox, reached in Alberta. "Not that it changes anything Wilcox did to him."

A close relative of Wilcox agreed to speak with the QMI Agency on condition of anonymity. She said that she is among a group of family members secretly working with police to turn the fugitive in. The whole case, she says, has divided the family into those who want George Ross Wilcox to face justice in Arizona, and those who are struggling to accept that he's a pedophile, despite the overwhelming evidence. "It was so out of the blue - at first we were all completely shocked that the allegation had even been made," she said. "Never in a million years would we have thought this possible - he's always been around children in the family. Never would I have imagined that this would be the case."

She described her family as stable and normal, without any of the typical triggers that might be found in the background of a future child molester. She describes Wilcox as very clever and cunning, though she also slams the Arizona court for failing to keep him in custody before sentencing. "The judge asked him if he had a passport, but then it wasn't taken away," she said. "It's almost like they were telling him to go."

With nearly two years having passed since Wilcox fled Arizona, she says the family members who want him caught continue to watch for him while updating police.
She says there's little anyone in the family can do to convince him to surrender - even a public plea would just fall on deaf ears. "I don't think there's anything I can say to him now that will make a difference."

Sooner or later this creep will be caught and sent to prison where he will probably spend the rest of his life there.

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