One of the key messages of Virtuous Pedophiles from the start was "Lots of pedophiles never molest children". A small portion of the public understands this and quickly adopts a more accepting attitude.


Unfortunately, this is in my estimation a very small portion. For most of the public, there are no circumstances under which they would accept us. In the original "Moral Foundations Theory", we violate the foundation of "Purity". There are no facts we could convey that would alter their judgment.


This means my hope for changing public opinion is very low. But how can things get better?


My answer in short is "the professionals".


Ten years ago most scientists, including specialists in the field, did not believe there were any significant number of non-offending pedophiles. Virtuous Pedophiles and similar organizations have now convinced most that there is a large group of such pedophiles.


Society delegates a group of professionals to deal with populations it sees as problematic, and the group previously designated to deal with pedophiles dealt with them as people who had molested children or were destined to do so. Now that a large population of non-offending pedophiles has been identified, the work of this group of professionals should be transformed, and there are signs of progress.


If your client might well never molest a child, he should be treated not as a criminal but as any other person with a set of life problems. If it was once hard to develop compassion for a group that was thought to be all criminals, it should be much easier when it is known that a large percentage never will be. There arises the opportunity and need for a set of clinicians with specialized knowledge in "pedophiles who likely won't offend." Clinicians who do not specialize in this way should be educated enough to warmly offer a referral to someone who does have this new specialized knowledge.


Such clinicians should listen to the pedophile's life as a whole, which will include many issues other people face, but might well also include the need to keep a big secret, and the prospect of never knowing love or satisfying sex.


There are mandated reporting laws which are fairly easy to apply if a client admits to having already committed abuse. But they are much harder to apply when dealing with the likelihood of future abuse. Individual clinicians could take the brave stance that the situations that would call for such a report are very rare. Groups of like-minded clinicians might promulgate this as a standard for others to adopt, and the commitment to use such a standard is something pedophiles could attend to when choosing an appropriate therapist.


Clinicians could encourage pedophiles to abandon shame around their attractions -- though never at the cost of a significantly increased danger to children. They could explore with their clients whether bathing suit pictures, erotic cartoons, sex dolls, or fictional text-only stories might help them partially fulfill their sexual desires. Their advice should be guided by knowledge of the relevant statutes in their area. It also might be guided by patterns of their enforcement. They might convey to clients the information that investigation for certain classes of illegal material only happens under very specific circumstances.


When clients' lives involve interaction with children, they can help them determine when such interactions are safe, which might not be, and strategies to use to transform the unsafe into the safe. Rules such as "never be alone with a child you are attracted to" might help a lot.


Sometimes clinicians have been known to take on a certain degree of risk for the sake of helping their client. Seeing clients with any history of violence might be one example. They might do the same for pedophiles. A few US states have passed laws making the passive possession of child pornography a mandated reporting offense. A modest step might be to ignore such laws and see what happens in the real world -- how are such failures to report detected and how often are the consequences enforced? A few brave souls might find that the answer is "never".


Clinicians already have in their repertoire helping clients keep things secret. Surely one precedent is helping gays and lesbians stay closeted if that is what the client feels is best. Helping pedophiles keep their condition a secret should also come naturally once you understand the chances of their offending is very low. Clinicians could also help pedophiles decide which specific people they might want to tell.


All of these are things that clinicians alone or in small groups can accomplish on their own, without any need to change the broader society. I am hopeful that relevant professionals will come to adopt such methods, because they are in line with the fundamental goal of their profession: to improve their clients' lives.


Clinicians might also be able to successfully agitate for rather small changes that might not awaken the ire of the public at large. Judges might get the freedom to use more discretion in imposing light sentences on those who possess child pornography, and they might do so. (Judges and prosecutors are other classes of professional whose behavior could be influenced by new information). Perhaps they could agitate for diverting funds currently used to detect child pornography offenders to more productive uses. Perhaps they could help end civil commitment for sex offenders, or shift the burden of proof on future dangerousness to the state.


I am not sure how much progress has been made on theses issues lately, but I think more enlightened behavior on the part of clinicians is a much more realistic approach to bettering the lives of pedophiles than trying to change the views of the public at large.


We won't stop pleading our case before the public, of course. People have to be able to voice their deepest beliefs.


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