Thursday, February 10, 2005


A couple of things I got round to reading: first, 'The Making of a Molester', Daniel Bergner, NYT Magazine, January 23, 2005
What are the causes of child sexual molestation, which is committed against perhaps 20 percent of girls and 5 to 10 percent of boys under the age of consent in the United States, according to David Finkelhor, the director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire. (Finkelhor, who has examined the studies extensively, added that the numbers range widely from 10 to 40 percent for girls and 2 to 15 percent for boys, depending on definitions and methods. The victims are preadolescents about as frequently as they are older. Most are abused by someone they know, often by a member of their family.) What parts are played by biology, by an abuser's own childhood, by aspects of isolation in his (for males make up around 90 percent of offenders) current life...
''We want there to be the clear line; we want there to be the sloped forehead,'' David D'Amora [head of the Center for the Treatment of Problem Sexual Behavior] has said ..., ''It just doesn't exist. We want them to be the few, the perverted, the far away. Most are not.''

What research has been done seems to back this up. Dr. Richard Green, a psychiatrist at the Imperial College School of Medicine in London and professor emeritus of psychiatry at U.C.L.A., wrote two years ago in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior about a 1989 study: the psychologists John Briere and Marsha Runtz found that ''in a sample of nearly 200 university males, 21 percent reported some sexual attraction to small children.'' Specifically, ''9 percent described sexual fantasies involving children, 5 percent admitted to having masturbated to sexual fantasies of children and 7 percent indicated they might have sex with a child if not caught. Briere and Runtz remarked that 'given the probable social undesirability of such admissions, we may hypothesize that the actual rates were even higher.''' Green wrote as well of the work done in 1970 by the researchers Kurt Freund and R. Costell. Forty-eight Czech soldiers were hooked to a ''penile responsivity'' meter known as a plethysmograph. Viewing a series of slides, ''28 of 48 showed penile response to the female children age 4-10.''


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