- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 22, 2011

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I want to thank Janice Shaw Crouse for her commentary on B4U-ACT’s attempts to minimize pedophilia by downgrading how it’s defined in the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM (“Normalizing Penn State pedophilia,” Commentary, Friday).

It is a wake-up call. The abnormality of being sexually attracted to children is not, as they say, based on “culturally forbidden or religiously proscribed sexual interest.” It is abnormal simply because it is wrong. A person sexually attracted to a minor, who is incapable of either returning that interest physically, emotionally or mentally, is abnormal. It is not about intimacy or a healthy relationship; it is about power, control and manipulating someone weaker than the abuser.

You can call it an illness if you so choose; it is still, however, a disorder and as such is abnormal. To dummy down the DSM wording so that pedophilia is an issue only after either causing distress or harm to a child is ludicrous. Waiting until a child is hurt and possibly emotionally scarred for life before calling this attraction for what it is - the desire to sexually control and abuse a child - is demented. It’s no different than saying someone who likes to set fires is normal until they actually burn down a building. No, the desire to burn things down is a symptom of a mental problem; actually setting the fire is a criminal act.

The thought of educated professionals from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and other institutions supporting this notion makes me ill. Yes, we are meant to be a compassionate society. However, the drive to redefine pedophilia this way minimizes the harm done to the victim of such heinous crimes.

I am a survivor of this kind of abuse and I know what I speak of. Dr. Crouse is right; it is up to all of us to be on guard, to ensure that we protect all children. I implore all medical and psychological professionals and every sound-minded person to reject this attempt to make pedophilia sound as if it were just another way of looking at life. Just because someone behaves or wants to behave in a certain way does not make that behavior right.

BOB BURNS

Etchison, Md.

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