My granddaughter is five. She still sleeps with her favourite purple blanket and believes that she’s going to grow up to be a unicorn, but in some countries her parents might already be looking for a husband for her. Every day, more than 25000 girls under the age of 18 are married worldwide. One in 9 girls in developing countries are married before the age of 15; many by age 8 or 9.
We, in North America, think we’re enlightened. It will never happen here, we tell ourselves. Really? A few decades ago, did any of us expect to see same sex marriage legalized? In 1974, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) removed homosexuality from its catalogue of illnesses. Instead, it became a sexual orientation. Today, there are those who want to see pedophilia treated in the same manner. Until recently, it has been widely viewed as a psychological disorder triggered by early childhood trauma, but no more. Now, many experts see it as a biologically rooted condition that does not change; a sexual orientation. In fact, in the fall of 2013, the latest edition of the APA’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders referred to pedophilia as a sexual orientation for the first time. After inquiries from news organizations, the APA issued a “correction” stating “sexual orientation” is not a term “used in the diagnostic criteria for pedophilic disorder,” but do you see where this is going?
“It should be clear to anyone with any grey matter that pedophilia is just another oppressed sexual orientation or interest, and age doesn’t somehow magically make consensual sex between two people into something evil,” writes one user of a website for self-identified individuals who are sexually attracted to children. So can a 5 year old give consent? What about an 8 or 9 year old? If a man she trusted asked my granddaughter if she wanted to “play” with him, what might she say? Would that be consent? I know this sounds horrifying or perhaps even ridiculous to most, but is it any more abhorrent or ridiculous than the concept of same sex marriage would have been to our grandparents?
Sadly, it isn’t only pedophiles themselves who think that sex with children is okay. A National Council for Civil Liberties (UK) report, written for the Criminal Law Revision Committee in 1976, included the following:
“Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage. The Criminal Law Commission should be prepared to accept the evidence from follow-up research on child ‘victims’ which show there is little subsequent effect after a child has been ‘molested’. The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of pedophilia result in lasting damage.”
With ideas like that floating around, is it really so outlandish to think that we might someday see marriage between children and adults become legal in the western world? Not in my lifetime, I hope, and not in my granddaughter’s!
Personally, I think that polygamy, which is actually already practiced in our country, will likely come first, but that’s a different topic.
What do you think? Once again, I invite all opinions as long as they are presented in a non confrontational manner. You can even tell me that you think I’m crazy, as long as you do it politely!