Pedophilia (sexual assault on children): in the mind of the pedophile

the sex crime it is perhaps the most rejected form of crime in our society. Helpless or weak victims such as children or women experience violation and transgression of the most intimate aspect of the person, leading to psychological torture more despicable and undeserved.

  • “14-year-old Indian girl catches fire after rape in the group” ABC; 2015.05.22.
  • “Actor Stephen Collins Confesses to Sexually Abusing Minors” THE VANGUARD; 2015.04.23.
  • “Jail for elderly man for sexually abusing his partner’s eight-year-old granddaughter” Antenna 3 news; 2015.04.15.
  • “Detained a teacher accused of having abused seven minors” COUNTRY; 2015.03.12.
  • “A man accused of having abused and of having made a girl pregnant: ‘I was in love’.” THE WORLD; 2015.02.19.
  • “Mike Tyson admits he was sexually abused at the age of seven.” News four; 2014.11.02.

These headlines are just a brief overview of the many sexual abuses committed by minors. According to Noguerol (2005), reported cases represent only one sixth of all existing cases. But really, how much sexual assault and / or abuse of minors does our society suffer ?; What is pedophilia, what are its characteristics and typologies ?; Is there a psychopathological profile of the pedophile?

Epidemiological data: sexual assault on children (pedophilia and pedophilia)

It is alarming when professionals refer to epidemiological data. In 1998, a European seminar “Breaking Silences” was held in Valencia, where it was concluded that 23% of girls and 15% of boys in Spain suffer from various types of sexual abuse; among them, only 40% receive assistance. Between 7 and 13 years old, it is the most frequented age; and between 25 and 35% are under 7 years old. For each minor child victim of sexual abuse, there are 3 girl victims (Vázquez, 2004).

As with many other problems, we are victims of sexual abuse and assault as if it was never going to happen to us; neither to us nor to our neighbors. But as the statistics show; the sexual abuse of minors is a criminal act which, being quite common, is most of the time sometimes invisible. This means that it is not reported and sometimes not revealed to another person.

The relevance of addressing this question is not only marked by the degrading and humiliating act, but also by its consequences in the short, medium and long term. Variable consequences for each person, as well as differences between crimes. We are talking about modality (Like the typologies mentioned in the article), duration in fact or facts, degree of seriousness, of the person who abuses (known, familiar, figure of authority or trust, unknown), vulnerability of the victim … A series of variables that converge from the moment of the facts to the past, have primary victims of very serious abuse to overcome or not, as well as existing cases of mild abuse that remain internalized.

like that, each sexual abuse can cause a number of traumas sexual and emotional disorders that interfere with and will have adverse effects throughout the life of the victim. (In the video attached at the end of the article, we can get closer to understanding some of the traumas suffered by victims of childhood sexual abuse).

Psychopathological profile of the pedophile’s personality

Approach to the concept, characteristics and types of pedophile acts

the pedophilia it’s a paraphilia, Where the adult feels sexual interest in the minor. There are currently two types of pedophilia: primary and secondary. the primary pedophiles they are characterized by avoiding and / or fearful of sex with adults, as well as difficulty interacting with their peers due to low self-esteem and marked anger towards other adults . the secondary pedophilesOn the contrary, they can have sex with adults while fantasizing with children (Vázquez; 2005).

The diagnostic manual DSM-V (American Psychiatric Association, 2013) includes in section on paraphilic disorders, pedophilia; adult sexual attraction to minors. To be diagnosed with a pedophilia disorder under the DSM-IV, the person must meet the following criteria:

302.2 (F65.4). Pedophilia disorder

  • For a period of at least six months, intense sexual arousal and recurrent derived from fantasies, irreversible sexual desires or compartments involving sexual activity with one or more prepubertal children (usually under the age of 13).
  • The individual has realized these uncontrollable sexual desires, or uncontrollable sexual desires or fantasies cause significant discomfort or interpersonal problems.
  • The person is at least 16 years old and at least five years older than the child or children in criterion A.

Note: Do not include someone in their late teens who has sex with another 12 or 13 year old.

Pedophilia has been chronic since its inception.

It usually begins in puberty or adolescence.

Profile of the pedophile

“According to a collection of English and American studies by Hollin (1989), sexual abusers are Men, Rape is usually at the victim’s home, Frequently at night and on weekends ”(Ortiz-Tallo, et al., 2002). Garrido, conducted a study of sex offenders in which he concluded that sex offenders had a profile between 26-30 years; they did not have skilled work; although if educated; mostly single; and they had previously committed only 20% of the crimes.

Statistical data according to the Ministry of the Interior in December 1999 reveal that out of 30,661 men imprisoned, 1,440 are serving sentences for having committed sexual crimes. In other words, that is to say 4.6% of all males they were due to a sex crime. However, only 25 of the 2,742 women imprisoned were sex offenders; or 0.91% of the total number of women. This small number of women is what leads to many investigations of sex crimes (as in studies of pedophilia), to focus on samples with men. (Ortiz-Tallo, et al., 2002). According to Vázquez (2005), women as child molesters are anecdotal; being involved in these crimes as accomplices by way of submission by others. In addition, for 1 minor child victim of sexual abuse, there are 3 child victims (Vázquez, 2004).

Again every pedophile has his preferences with regard to the characteristics of the children (age, sex), its journey has been chronic since its creation; being that normally starting in puberty and adolescence of the pedophile (although some may develop it in more adult stages). Vázquez (2005) states that more and more adolescents are abusers of younger children.

Another marked characteristic of the pedophile is his cognitive distortions or erroneous thoughts devoted to justify their behavior of life. The chronicity of the disorder, as well as the cognitive distortions and the interpersonal relationship established between the child and the pedophile (manipulative and destructive; therefore lack of resistance) often leads to a child sexual abuse, Insidious and progressive. By progressive we mean that, unfortunately, this type of abuse lasts over time, gradually increasing the severity of events. Unlike what can happen in sexual assault on adults, where it usually occurs on an ad hoc basis, limited in time and among strangers. The pedophile generally knows his minor victim and abuses this relationship (there are few cases of abuse of unknown minors).

The actions of pedophile

Types of sexual acts on children committed by pedophiles:

  • Exhibitionism (Intense sexual arousal resulting from the exposure of the genitals by the pedophile to the child. This is one of the most common paraphilias).
  • Voyeurism (The pedophile finds intense sexual arousal by observing the naked or naked child, without his consent or knowledge. Masturbation).
  • caresses.
  • Rubbing (The pedophile finds sexual pleasure in touching or rubbing his genitals against the child).
  • masturbation in the presence of children.
  • Oral sex.
  • Anal or vaginal penetration (From pedophile to child).

Pedophiles, in exchange for aggressors or sexual aggressors of adult victims, they don’t use force. Pedophiles follow a number of strategies psychic manipulations towards the child, which involves him in sexual activity. These strategies can manifest as attraction: liking, buying or giving things away, showing excessive interest, or showing childish behaviors. Many of them justify these acts by giving an educational or fun value to the children, that is, they argue that the child needs this learning or this pleasure for his own good. This highlights the manipulative nature of pedophiles.

1. Clinical study: psychological profile of sex offenders

Ortiz-Tallo et al. (2002), argue that adult sex offenders are different in nature from pedophiles. Sexual crime with adults is usually committed by rape by intimidation or by force (as opposed to what usually happens with children). As for adults, there is more violence; thus expecting similar behavior and personality to those imprisoned for assault and intimidating robbery of adult sex offenders.

In a comparative study between three groups: sex crimes in adults, sex crimes in children and non-sex crimes, Ortiz-Tallo et al. (2002) found the following results:

  • The non-sex offender group had a profile of more altered personality and more serious, with higher alcohol and drug use than sex offenders (adults and minors).
  • The juvenile delinquent group was shown as the group with fewer personality disorders. Higher score on dependent, phobic and compulsive personality traits.

Pedophiles have fewer personality disorders and less serious personality traits than other types of sex offenders.

The personality of the pedophile

Ortiz-Tallo et al. (2002), describe pedophiles as people with interaction difficulties; seek social acceptance; they fear rejection, contempt and / or humiliation from their peers; with difficulty in assuming mature and independent roles and responsibilities.

These are people with rather little capacity for empathy and intimidation; incapable or with great difficulty establishing an emotional relationship with adults, Leading them to resort to deviant affective and sexual relations with minors. Therapeutic strategies should therefore aim to improve their social skills as well as reduce their social withdrawal and fear of peer relationships.

2. Bibliographic review: Personality pathology in pedophiles

Although studies in this area are rare and their results are extremely inconclusive, Becerra-García (2013) exposes in a current review personality traits and disorders predominant in pedophiles according to different clinical trials. In summary, we can underline in the personality of the pedophile who makes control groups:

  • Higher scores on the scale inconsistency, psychopathic deviation, paranoia, schizophrenia and obsession. Use less mature coping mechanisms.
  • Best scores on obsession I sexual dysfunction. Pedophiles who had been sexually victimized in childhood showed higher levels of hostility, sexual dysfunction, personal discomfort, and less empathy for their victims than those who had not been sexually abused.
  • The emotional suffering of pedophiles is linked to their high levels of neuroticism and cognitive distortions on children’s sexuality with its obsessive characteristics.
  • Higher levels of neuroticism i rigidity. But less impulsive behavior and an ability to respond to their needs than violent offenders.
  • Higher scores on scales of borderline personality, Histrionic and especially obsessive-compulsive.
  • They present a style of less secure condition (Avoidant and anxious-ambivalent style), than the control group.
  • The authors find a marked personality pathology in pedophiles: lack of assertiveness, High sociopathy and cognitive distortions; and find deviations in their sexual behavior: alterations in arousal, discrimination, desire and thought inhibition.

Witnesses of victims of sexual abuse

In 2003, nearly 4,000 cases of child abuse were recorded, almost half of the final percentage of existing cases. In this documentary, victims will talk about the harmful consequences they suffered as a result of the abuse they suffered as a child.

Bibliographical references:

  • American Psychiatric Association. (2013). DSM-V Diagnostic Criteria Reference Guide ᵀᴹ. Madrid: Panamericana.
  • Becerra-García, JA (2013). Is there a characteristic profile of personality psychopathology in pedophilia ?. Notebooks of psychosomatic medicine and liaison psychiatry, (105), 5.
  • Ortiz-Tallo, M., Sánchez, LM and Cardenal, V. (2002). Psychological profile of sex offenders. A clinical study with Th MCMI-II. Millon. Journal of Psychiatry of the Faculty of Medicine of Barcelona, ​​29 (3), 144-152.
  • Vázquez, B. (2005). Manual of Forensic Psychology. Madrid, ed. Synthesis.

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