The BBC site had an interesting article called “Are There Women Paedophiles?”, which addresses the question of “Women pedophiles”. My initial thought upon first seeing the article was “How stupid, of course there are women pedophiles”, however as I read the article the realization of there being people in this world who think that “minorities” cannot be racist made me ask the question of “Why can’t some people think that there are no women pedophiles?” This thought made me want to explore the “Pedophiles and Women” issue.
First, let’s discuss some words and terminology!
I hate it when I use words or terminology I think people should understand and find out that I have to provide definitions because the people don’t know, or ignore, the true meaning. I hate it even more when I use a word or phrase that I think I know only to find out I am in error. I found that whenever I am discussing important issues, if I add some basic definitions for the words and phrases I plan to use… the conversation doesn’t get sidetracked by arguing over the terminology being used because of a thing I call “Personal Definitions”.
What is a “Personal Definition”?
People have a tendency to define words and terms according to what they think they mean… or “how” they want to define the words and terms being used. Whether a person is simply mistaken in what they think the word or term means or they alter the word’s meaning intentionally to make the word or term mean what they want, the end result is the same… it causes confusion in the conversation and may cause arguments because the whole idea being expressed is altered in some way. These ‘changes’ in the meaning of the word to suit oneself are a part of what I call “Personal Definitions”.
Pedophilia and Pedophile:
I use the dictionary at Answers.com often due to the site giving results from several different sources. It often saves the time and trouble of having to search multiple sites for a definition. Answers.com defines the word “Pedophile” as meaning “An adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children”.
I decided to visit the Merriam-Webster website next, I found they defined the word “Pedophile” as “one affected with pedophilia”. This caused me to search the Merriam-Webster site for the definition of the word “Pedophilia” and I found that it meant “sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object”. So basically Merriam-Webster is saying that a “pedophile” is “a person who has the sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object” or “A person who is sexually attracted to a child or children”. I figure the meaning of the word “Pedophile” for both dictionaries mean about the same thing.
The problem is when one is defining terms where the law is concerned then sometimes the meanings are a little different, so I like to provide a legal definition for certain words and conversations. The Law.com website tells us that the word “Pedophilia” is “an obsession with children as sex objects. Overt acts, including taking sexually explicit photographs, molesting children and exposing one’s genitalia to children, are all crimes. The problem with these crimes is that pedophilia is also treated as a mental illness, and the pedophile is often released only to repeat the crimes or escalate the activity to the level of murder”. I then went to the Duhaime.org website, which is another legal dictionary site, and found “Pedophile” defined as “A person afflicted with pedophilia, a sexual perversion in which children are preferred as sexual partner”.
I am sure that everyone sees the reoccurring trend for the definition of “Pedophile” and “Pedophilia” in these definitions, so I see no need to search any further for definitions. We can say that a “Pedophile” is a person who has a sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual partners.
The next word to define is the word “Child”.
“What is a Child?”
It seems really dumb to have to define the word “Child” for a normal person would most likely think that everyone should know the definition, however while doing my research on this subject I found out that some people have different ideas over what constitutes “a child”. In some forums and articles people claimed that a child was ‘anyone under 18’, in other places I’ve found that some claimed that a child was “someone not yet an adult’ or a ‘Juvenile’”. I even ran across a person saying that a child is “someone who is immature’. Upon looking up the definition I found that a “Child” had two definitions, as follows:
a. A person between birth and puberty.
b. A person who has not attained maturity or the age of legal majority.
Uh-oh … just wonderful! So what do “Puberty”, “Maturity” and “Legal Majority” mean? I simply know that I, or someone else, would muck up one or more of these definitions. It’s inevitable due to the fact that the definition should be obvious and these things are a vital part of the topic. Sometimes it’s a pain being such a believer in Murphy’s Law.
Puberty is the period of human development during which physical growth and sexual maturation occurs. Answers.com gives this description for the word “Puberty”:
“Beginning as early as age eight in girls—and two years later, on average, in boys—the hypothalamus (part of the brain) signals hormonal change that stimulates the pituitary. In turn, the pituitary releases its own hormones called gonadotrophins that stimulate the gonads and adrenals. From these glands come a flood of sex hormones—androgens and testosterone in the male, estrogens and progestins in the female—that regulate the growth and function of the sex organs. It is interesting to note that the gonadotrophins are the same for males and females, but the sex hormones they induce are different.
In the United States, the first sign of puberty occurs on average at age 11 in girls, with menstruation and fertility following about two years later. Boys lag behind by about two years. Puberty may not begin until age 16 in boys and continue in a desultory fashion on past age 20. In contrast to puberty, adolescence is more of a social/cultural term referring to the interval between childhood and adulthood.”
Once again I wanted more of a “Legal Definition” for the word “Puberty” and at the ‘Lectric Law website I found this definition:
“In the civil law, the age of a man was divided as follows: namely, the infancy of males extended to the full accomplishment of the 14th year; at 14, he entered the age of puberty, and was said to have acquired full puberty at 18 years accomplished, and was major on completing his 25th year. A female was an infant – til 7 years; at 12, she entered puberty, and acquired full puberty at 14; she became of fall age on completing her 25th year.”
Age of Maturity/Age of Majority/Age of Consent
I like to use Wikipedia, unlike numerous people I have known on the net, for the reason that Wikipedia is often a good place to start or get leads for further research. I may cringe at having to use Wikipedia for my only factual evidence in anything, but that doesn’t make the online encyclopedia worthless. Wiki informs us about a term called “The Age of Consent”, it says “In the United States, the age of consent for sexual activity can vary by jurisdiction. Some states are as low as 16 years of age, while others are set at 18”. Wikipedia also tells us “The age of consent is the age at or above which a person is considered to have the legal capacity to consent to sexual activity. Both partners must be of legal age to give consent, although exceptions may exist when both partners are within a certain number of years in age. Persons below the age of consent may not, by law, give consent, and sexual relations involving such persons may be punished by criminal sanctions similar to those for rape or sexual assault. Non-violent sexual contact with persons under the age of consent may be punished as “statutory rape” or a similar legal term.”
According to ‘Lectric Law, there is a term known as “The Age of Maturity” and it tells us the age of maturity is “The age when a person acquires all the rights and responsibilities of being an adult. In most states, the age is 18.”
Nolo.com tells us the following about the “Age of Majority”:
“Adulthood in the eyes of the law. After reaching the age of majority, a person is permitted to vote, make a valid will, enter into binding contracts, enlist in the armed forces and purchase alcohol. Also, parents may stop making child support payments when a child reaches the age of majority. In most states the age of majority is 18, but this varies depending on the activity. For example, in some states people are allowed to vote when they reach the age of eighteen, but can’t purchase alcohol until they’re 21.”
Even though a person may attain the age of majority, he or she may still be subject to age-based restrictions (such as the right to stand for elective office, act as a judge, and many other matters).
Age of Majority vs. Age of License
Wikipedia has an entry about the Age of Majority, which tells us the “Age of majority is frequently confused with similar concept, the age of license, which also pertains to the threshold of adulthood but in a much broader and more abstract way. As a legal term of art, “license” means “permission”, and it can implicate a legally enforceable right or privilege. Thus, an age of license is an age at which one has legal permission from government to do something. The age of maturity, on the other hand, is legal recognition that one has grown into an adult”. Wiki adds “For example, in any jurisdiction, the age at which an individual is allowed to exercise the franchise (vote), leave school without taking a diploma, enter into legally binding contracts (other than for necessaries, to which no age of license applies), operate a motor vehicle, purchase and consume alcoholic beverages, and so on – these are all ages of license, at which the law permits an individual to perform certain acts and exercise certain rights, with or without any restrictions.”
Let’s return to the discussion…
The article, “Are there women pedophiles” opened up with the following comment:
“Paedophiles are invariably thought of as men and they mostly are. But do women commit sexual abuse against children, and if so, why is it rarely discussed?”
The Perception of Pedophilia
The perception of what constitutes a “Pedophile” may differ from one person to the next for a variety of reasons. Let’s outline a few examples of what different people may think classifies another as a pedophile. As a special note, the word “Child” also includes teenagers up to 18 years of age.
The Moral Person: A person may define the word “Pedophile” in accordance with their degree of morality or ethics. For example: A person of strict morality may view anyone speaking of a ‘child’ in any way that he or she deems as ‘inappropriate’ as a Pedophile, whereas another person may be of the mindset that only the act of touching a ‘child’ in a sexual way makes one a pedophile.
The Agenda-guided Person: A person with an agenda of making it acceptable and legal for adults and a ‘teenager’ may view a pedophile as a person who expresses the desire to have sex with children under the age of 12 years old. A person with the agenda of making it legal, and/or acceptable, for adults to have sex with child may have the stance that there is no such thing as a pedophile.
The Unaware Person: A person who is unaware of the definitions of the word may think anyone having sex with a ‘Child” of 17 or younger is a “Pedophile” because they think that is what the law states.
Is it permissible for an Adult and Juvenile to legally have sex?
I am not a lawyer, nor a judge, but according to what I have read I have found that one of the most common misconceptions is the idea that a person is a juvenile until 18 years of age and anyone under the age of 18 cannot legally give their consent for sex. A parent may find the idea of their 16 or 17 year old being able to have consensual sex could be quite disturbing, but the facts seem to show that (at this point in time) a ‘juvenile” under the age of 18 may be able to have consensual sex with an adult. The whole legality of this depends upon the laws governing the area you are residing. A “Parent” can search the Internet for sites that provides you with the information for the various ages of consent for your area.
What’s the big deal about teens and sex?
Let’s open this up with something I found on the WorldLaw Direct web site:
“It seems to many teens that adults are always making a big deal about people having sex under the age of consent. Many young people think that if they feel ready to have sex and they use protection, it is nothing to do with anyone else. But every teen needs to know the laws and what they mean.”
Reading this reminds me of a saying that I learned a long time ago, it went “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. As a child I could not fathom the adult viewpoint, even though I thought I could at certain ages. The reason for this was due to the fact that I never had experience as an adult when I was a child and teen and even though the adults would provide me with their reasoning… I thought as a child of my rough age bracket would think. At the time my ‘learning” and “experiences” may have seemed vast to me, I didn’t realize just how limited I was. It was not until later in life that I realized how little I actually knew of the adult world around me, yet at the time I thought I pretty much knew it all because I had some experience and learned my lessons from books and school. In this article there were a couple of comments and replies made by the author that are similar to commentary I’ve often heard as a teen.
The first comment is “But our parents say it’s okay….”. The author states “That doesn’t make any difference – your parents don’t make the law. Teens can’t get around the laws for smoking, drinking or driving because their parents say so, and it’s the same with this. The age of consent laws always apply, whether you’re in love, or you’ve been together for ages, or you’ve had sex before”.
I’ve heard teens often say, while growing up, that their parents said they could do certain things that I knew the law said otherwise. The most common thing that the teens were using this comment as justification concerned alcohol and under aged drinking. Since I knew many police officers I knew that it didn’t matter if my parents said I could drink… the law said I couldn’t.
The second comment is “But it’s no-one else’s business. Why do we have these laws?”. The author’s answer is “Although many young people are mature enough to know how to deal with it if someone tries to get them to have sex, some teens are not grown up enough to know what to do. Age of consent laws are there to stop young people from being exploited by adults”.
I’ve tried this argument, when I was younger, and honestly believed in the idea of what I did was no one else’s business… it never worked with my parents, teachers, or the cops. Dad explained the situation rather well when he told me “I am responsible for you until you are 18 years old, everything you do wrong could come back on me and your mother financially and in other ways… so everything you do is ‘my business’, as well as yours!” I didn’t like that response, but I lived with it because he was right.
So can women be a pedophile?
The BBC article says “Women can commit a wide range of sexual offences, he says, including rape. And their victims commonly experience sexual confusion and a fear of intimacy. Anger can manifest itself as violence towards a wife or girlfriend in later life” and it goes on to say “Female offences against teenagers (hebophiles rather than paedophiles) are more of a mystery, he (Professor Kevin Brown) says, because victims don’t come forward, partly because in a patriarchal society boys are even expected to enjoy that kind of abuse, and not admit how scared they are by it.”
Why would a woman become a Pedophile?
There are varying opinions concerning why a woman would become a Pedophile or Hebophile, the most widely accepted reason has to do with control. The BBC article states “One of the issues of controversy is the thinking that if women do this, it’s because men made them do it,” says Ms Elliot. I disagree with that. I think there’s no difference in the motivation between men and women, which is sexual gratification and power over a child. It’s very selfish.”
The question of “Are there women pedophiles?” can be answered in one word – “Yes!” According to the definitions, any woman who has sex with a boy under the ‘legal age’ (as defined by the laws of the area in which they live or the sexual act occurs) is as guilty of being a pedophile as a man who has sex with under-aged females. A woman can no more be excluded as a pedophile due to her sex than a minority can be excluded as a racist due to their skin color.