I have worked with paedophiles and their victims and I have empathised with both. As a therapist in Broadmoor, my patients committed some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, yet there are few that I would describe as “monsters”. But, there’s a difference between differentiating the person from their actions and down playing those actions, which is what Glenn Wilson did in his article, “Not all paedophiles are bad people“.
Among the clinical team that I worked with at Broadmoor, we shared the consensus that paedophilia is a) an aberration and b) cannot be cured, only managed. I am disturbed by any discourse that seeks to normalise what is a deeply dysfunctional psychological illness that preys upon the most vulnerable in our society, children.
As well as the idea that paedophilia is deemed “normal” by some professionals, as Wilson claims, there are other myths peddled in the article that need to be challenged. Wilson claimed that paedophilia is benign because many don’t act on their thoughts. But firstly, the reason paedophilia is so difficult to cure is precisely because many paedophiles cannot control their impulses. Their brains are often hard wired in such a way as to render them impermeable to most counselling or CBT. Many of the individuals I worked with recognised this and asked for medication to suppress these impulses, which can work for some.