• sheilavdhc

Dear Journalist

Updated: Oct 30, 2019

#journalism #media #journalist #news #photojournalism #sexabuse #pedophile #pedophilia


Did you know that pedophiles are people? Did you know that when you misuse the term “pedophile”, people get hurt in various ways? Dear journalist, please stop making your living by hurting other humans.

Selling your work is important—we get that. You need to eat, too. But using a word in a hurtful manner is not the way to sell your work. Not only are you hurting pedophiles and society at large, but you’re increasing the risk to kids. Yes, children will pay because you want to misuse the word “pedophile”.


Dear journalist, this is your job

Journalists provide news (i.e. new information and current events). The purpose is to keep society up-to-date with information that won’t travel quickly enough—or accurately enough—by word-of-mouth.

When writing about pedophilia and/or child sexual abuse, you don’t seem to be too interested in news. You conflate the two topics. You rely on old wives’ tales and unsupported facts to sell your article. You use the “deadline” excuse for sloppy research, getting the fastest quotes from the “experts” who are (funnily enough) always available rather than waiting for a real expert to get back to you. You allow their personal values to shape your work, leaving your articles biased and fit for a rag.


Dear journalist, what’s (not so) new?


Dear journalist, here’s the problem with misusing “pedophile”

1. It’s the wrong word. It doesn’t mean “child sexual abuser”. You wouldn’t say “convicted straight guy”, would you?

2. It perpetuates stigma. This is the big problem.

a. Pedophiles and other minor-attracted people get “pedo-hunted”.

b. Non-offending pedophiles can’t get therapy, if they need it.

c. People who are thinking about offending go deeper into hiding—and we know that people hidden in closed rooms don’t think clearly, so this could lead to either a sexual offense or self-harm/suicide.

d. Society keeps looking at the wrong people. They’re looking for people who will sexually offend, but you keep them looking at the people who are not likely to. Only about 1/3 of people who sexually offend are pedophilic.


Dear journalist, where do your quotes come from?

There are a whole slew of really great researchers doing excellent work with people who have sexually offended, including the ones who are sexually attracted to minors. These awesome researchers have assistants, and those assistants have students: loads of sources. Some of them are even (so very) articulate, and the quotes they give you will be utterly brilliant.

But all these researchers are working with people who have sexually offended. All of them. This is great if you’re writing about people who have sexually offended... but you don’t want to use “person who has sexually offended”, right? You really want to use the term “pedophile”.

The researchers currently can’t get funding to work with people who are not likely to ever offend. The studies on non-offending MAPs just don’t exist yet.

You can’t get quotes from therapists who work with pedophiles and other minor-attracted people because the stigma society (including you) has created means it’s often not safe for the therapist to admit to treating non-offending pedophiles. The therapist will be “pedo-hunted”, as will their clients. They’re not likely to risk harm. Bodies on the premises are not a good thing.

You, dear journalist, may find yourself quote-less.


Dear journalist, please talk to these people

...and they are people. If you want to write about pedophilia, please talk to a pedophile. There are many of them (an estimated 1%-5% of the population ).

They can give you quotes.

The cool thing is that you can talk to them on Twitter. Twitter is the best place to find a non-offending, anti-contact minor-attracted person. You can even get quotes from a hundred of them.

Are you not on Twitter? Fill out the form on our Contact page, explaining the topic of your article, and we'll get the appropriate people in touch with you.

If you need quotes in languages other than English, just ask. There are people from all over the world who can fulfill your need for “own voices” quotes.


Dear journalist, you need to help prevent abuse, too

We all agree that being sexually abused is horrible. We all agree that such a thing happening to a child is... perhaps there isn’t even a word equal to it. Preventing 100% of child sexual abuse is the goal.

What makes you think you don’t need to contribute to the prevention, too?

Why do you get to write “convicted pedophile” and “billionaire pedophile” while the rest of us explain to children that abuse exists?

Why can’t you write a piece explaining to parents that they need to teach their children not to rape as they get older?

Why can’t you write a piece explaining to pubescent kids that they can’t look at exploitative images if they’re attracted to prepubescent kids?

Why can’t you write a piece explaining how providing education and safe housing and consistent sources of food is a great way to prevent the first sexual offense?

Why can’t you write a piece explaining to parents that they need to support their children when the children come out as minor-attracted?


Dear journalist, play with something else

Pedophilia is not a toy. It’s a sexual orientation that affects the lives of billions of people, yet it has been maligned and ignored and misattributed and misused for the benefit of media.

It’s time for you to accept your role in protecting children from sexual abuse, in protecting people from being “pedo-hunted”, in protecting society from misinformation. It’s time for you to educate yourself so you can educate others. It’s time for you to read this site and talk to the appropriate people.

It’s time, dear journalist, for you to write something new.


Related "A MAP's Journey" Podcast: "Why It's Important For Journalists To Use Proper Terminology"

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