Stigma and non-offending pedophiles

Ian McPhail

People who have pedophilic interests and do not act on these interests present a complex challenge to clinicians.  There is growing evidence that a pedophilic orientation is associated with pre-natal factors, suggesting this orientation may start with events present prior to birth.  On this blog, we were fortunate enough to have the co-founders of Virtuous Pedophiles write a post about the existence of non-offending pedophiles and some of the painful challenges these individuals face due to having a sexual orientation they did not choose.  As part of the shame and fear of disclosing pedophilic interests, some non-offending pedophiles do not make these disclosures, even to mental health professionals.  A consequence of not feeling safe to disclose a pedophilic orientation, these people are left to cope with and manage their sexual attractions on their own.  As a budding mental health professional, I find this state of affairs unacceptable.  There are a number of reasons why I am unsatisfied with this status quo, but one I find pressing and that research is beginning to examine with non-offending pedophiles is stigma.

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Towards a more universal understanding of “grooming”

Ian A. Elliott

So could that explain how terrorists groom children for political violence too?

That was the question (paraphrased, admittedly) that I posed to terrorism gurus John Horgan and Mia Bloom, with whom I shared a corridor at Penn State, during a brainstorming mini-summit back in 2012. They were shaping the ideas that would form Small Arms, their upcoming book on the recruitment of children for political violence. We had engaged in a number of conversations about the similarities between recruitment processes in violence and terrorism and the “grooming” processes described in the sex offense literature, and had come to preliminary conclusions that there was likely to be some universal process that underlies those preparatory processes in both. I had just briefed attendees to our small meeting on the existing models of “sexual grooming” and set forth my initial half-baked ideas that would eventually become a newly-published attempt at a holistic model.

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