It is not uncommon for information to be published from time to time in the media concerning cases in which one or more adults have been detained for pedophilia or for aspects relating to the practice of sexual activities with minors.
It is a phenomenon that is not so isolated: it is estimated that between 10 and 25% of the adult population has suffered at some point in their childhood suffered throughout their childhood certain types of sexual abuse (one in four girls and one in eight boys).
This is why psychology, criminology and other disciplines have analyzed the characteristics of those who commit such abuses: pedophiles. Although due to the great variability of cases there is a large number of cases to consider, below are a number of features and elements that were frequently found when establishing a ‘a psychological profile of the pedophile.
Pederasty: defining the concept
Pederasty is considered to be a situation in which a minor is sexually abused by an adult. This includes all types of behavior or behavior in which the child is used as a sex object, taking advantage of the difference in maturity, age or power between the child and the other subject.
In general, these subjects tend to have preserved mental capacities, being able to discern on a cognitive level between what is right and what is not. This is why they are considered to be fully aware and responsible for their actions, and therefore responsible.
Types of pedophile
Attempts to classify behavior and establish a basic profile of pedophiles and pedophiles have led to the development of certain typologies in this regard. Specifically, the presence of two basic types was reflected.
1.situational or accidental pedophile
This type of sexual assailant does not have a sexuality reserved for minors, often having a partner with whom he can establish relations normally. This type of individual has no particular preference for one type of victim, but takes advantage of opportunities to abuse.
It is not uncommon for such pedophiles to have suffered abuse as a child as well. They are the most common type of pedophile and the most likely to attack members of their own family.
These types of pedophiles usually have a higher number of victims. They establish a number of characteristics that attract them more than others, and they usually have a life more tied to finding their object of desire..
They usually do not have a partner or use it as a blanket, and generally tend to dedicate or locate near places accessible to minors. They tend to behave more compulsively than situations.
Common aspects between this type of subjects
While the circumstances surrounding each case are unique and not all characteristics apply in all situations, there are a number of elements common to various types of pedophiles.
1. Gender and age
Generally, the typical profile of the pedophile is that of a middle-aged or advanced pedophile subject.. These are usually males between the ages of thirty and fifty, although in many cases the criminal behavior begins in adolescence.
Although they are predominantly men, there is a certain percentage of cases varying between 10 and 25% in which the aggressors are women. For the most part, male abusers tend to assault victims between the ages of eight and thirteen. In the case of sexual assaults committed by women, it has been particularly found that the victims tend to be either under five or teenage girls.
2. Personality characteristics
As with rapists, pedophiles generally do not tend to exhibit strange behaviors. Their behavior is typical and common in most areas of life.
However, if it is possible to observe, in particular in pedophiles of the preferential type, the existence of certain relatively coherent personality patterns.
In general, the presence of very low self-esteem and low stress tolerance stands out. In many cases, the behavior is carried out impulsively, as a way to get rid of psychosocial type stress. Outraged, many also exhibit feelings of inferiority, difficulties in their interpersonal relationships (Although it’s not something defining), and a certain level of immaturity. They are generally reserved and reprimanded.
3. Lack of empathy
Although it could be included in the previous section, this feature deserves a special mention, and that is that as a rule, pedophiles have a significant lack of empathy, In the sense that they are not able to connect with the suffering that their action generates in the attacked minor or they voluntarily choose to ignore this fact.
However, this lack of empathy is usually only expressed in certain cases, not in all the types of social relationships they have. Somehow, they stop empathizing with certain people at their convenience, depending on their goals and motivations.
4. They are usually related or related to the victims
In the vast majority of cases, the aggressor and the mistreatment maintain some sort of bond., Usually within the family, work or neighborhood, it is rare for the act of pedophilia to be committed by a stranger.
Indeed, it allows you to create a kind of pact that binds both parties and offers some security, protection that will make it harder for alarms to be triggered and for authorities to find out what is going on.
5. They seek contact with minors
In connection with the previous point, as a general rule, pedophiles and pedophiles tend to seek frequent contact with their object of desire, minors. This is why, in many cases, they are linked to the world of education or seek to reside in places easily accessible to minors.
In fact, pedophiles are generally able to invest months, if not years, of almost daily contact with boys and girls before committing a crime. An alibi is createda in the eyes of acquaintances and neighbors, so that at first it does not seem strange that they surround themselves with minors, and at this point they minimize the risk that can be detected in them. Thanks to this strategy, they are more and more likely to be alone with the little ones, because they have the trust of third parties and they take advantage of it.
6. Previous traumatic experiences
Although not a determining fact of pedophilia it is not uncommon for subjects who engage in such behavior to have in turn been abused and abused in childhood. This can lead to a learning of the stimulating situation in which the child ends up associating sexuality with the abusive situation, reproducing the same situation in adulthood.
7. They don’t usually use violence
While in some cases there have been sadistic and cruel elements in the practice of their sexual activities, usually the result of previous traumatic experiences or the product of other mental disorders, as a rule, pedophiles generally do not use not violence.
Its modus operandi is generally based on approaching and establishing a relationship of trust with the youngest victim of abuse.This is especially evident when you consider that the vast majority of known cases have occurred in people who already knew each other in advance. They gain access to minors through their work, their blood ties or through networks (phenomenon known as grooming), making them understand the vital circumstances of the child and arousing in them curiosity and affection, trying to approach little by little.
In fact, in many cases the victims themselves do not initially experience the abuse as such, being manipulated into such a way that they come to think of it as some kind of game or game. in a way to relate to that adult in question.
8. They tend to justify themselves
While in many cases detained pedophiles have expressed some relief in being detained, especially in cases where they feel guilty, as a rule, pedophiles tend to downplay the importance of the act or the harm done to the victim.
Often indicate that the relationship is not detrimental to the child, that it is accepted and / or desired by him or that there is an emotional bond that legitimizes the act, no remorse for the abuse committed.
- Cáceres, J. (2001). Paraphilias and rape. Madrid: Editorial Síntesi.
- Echeburúa, E. and Guerricaechevarría, C. (2005). Child sexual abuse: victims and perpetrators. A clinical approach. 2nd edition. Ariel, Barcelona
- González, E .; Martinez, V .; Leyton, C. and Bardi, A. (2004). Characteristics of sexual abusers. Tower. Sogia; 1 (1): 6-14.
- Marshall, W. (2001). Sexual abusers. Studies on violence. Ed. Ariel. p. 107.
- Pereda, N. & Forns, M. (2007) Prevalence and characteristics of child sexual abuse among Spanish university students. Child abuse and neglect, 31.