I have long fought the battle of keeping child sexual abuse and the sexual attraction to children separate. I find that when I use terms like “pedophile” and “pedophilia” people invariably get defensive and insist that pedophilia is sexual abuse, and pedophiles sexually abuse children. To suggest otherwise seems to just break some people’s brains.
So… what if it is these two terms that are confusing people? What if the language being used has become a barrier to keeping the two separate? What if we need a better term or phrase to describe that, pedophiles are not necessarily child molesters, and an attraction is separate from an action? Or do these responses just come from trolls and the whole issue is moot?
I have thought of a few alternatives, but none of them are terribly brilliant or simple. I mean, the first one is minor attraction or minor attracted person (MA/MAP). But to some, that could be objectifying to children. Even the Interpol report on terminology condemns the word “minor” outside of a legal context. So this may not be the best route to go.
So what then? Child attraction/child attracted person (CA/CAP)? Californians might find that offensive, and it seems like code. The CAP wants his CA to go away. I mean… just no, not really workable.
So… Now What?
Indeed. What should we do? Continue fighting an uphill battle to get people to recognize that there is a difference, just as there is with adults being attracted to adults, between having an attraction and acting on it? Do we attach non-offending to the word “pedophiles” for further clarification? What do you think?