Pedophilia is hatred disguised as sexual drive: Forensics expert

Pedophilia is hatred disguised as sexual drive: Forensics expert

İpek Özbey – ISTANBUL
Pedophilia is hatred disguised as sexual drive: Forensics expert

Pedophilia, a topic that has recently dominated headlines in Turkey, is not an expression of one’s sexual drive but instead is the hatred one feels against children, Gökhan Oral, the head of the Cerrahpaşa Medical School Forensics Department, said on Feb. 25.

“This is not sexuality. This has nothing to do with sexual drive or tendencies. Of course, sexual drive rises [in such instances] yet we cannot say that if we suppress the libido, the problem would cease to exist. [Pedophilia] is hatred disguised as sexual drive,” Oral said.

“It is hatred against the child and the image of the child,” Oral added, saying the criminal behavior is “a sadomasochistic behavior pattern” that brings about the urge to “punish.”

When asked about the type of societies most likely to foster child abusers, the professor said there is no correlation between education level and the tendency to abuse children.

Oral added that religion also sometimes gets used as a “mask” when justifying sexual abuse.

“We have this belief that a devout person fears God... Yet that can be misleading. We cannot imagine a priest doing such a thing, but we know very well that [priests] do,” Oral said, referring to the act of abuse.

Discussing the topic of introducing chemical castration as a punitive measure against the crime, Oral said the system needs to be built well as “it is open to abuse.”

“It could be used under certain circumstances, and would even calm the society down yet it won’t be functional without the volunteering [of the suspect],” he said.

One of the toughest tasks in eliminating such a crime, the professor said, is to protect children from their fathers.

“The one who should protect the child [from the father] is the mother,” Oral said.

“In such cases, there is always cooperation [between the spouses],” he added, saying that mothers can be accomplices in such cases, with some even forcing their daughters to partake in intercourse with their biological fathers.

According to Oral, the attempt to justify the psychology behind child abuse is useless.

“It is easy to say these are persons who were subjected to abuse when they themselves were young, and it is a right step to take in order to get a grasp of the situation. Yet, it is not an excuse,” Oral said.

Don Grubin, emeritus professor of forensic psychiatry at Newcastle University, said he agrees with Oral.

“Among the criminal abusers, those who were subjected to abuse themselves still constitute a minority,” Grubin said, elaborating that suspects tend to claim they were abused in the past or exaggerate an abuse experience of theirs when convicted.

While also saying abusers don’t have a standard profile, Grubin underlined that they usually have weak decision-making skills and are most of the time in need of medical help.

“In most cases, the criminal doesn’t choose to abuse; in many cases, the weak decision-making process is directed by sexual drive,” he said.

“That is why psychological treatment falls short when there is intense sexual drive or sexual thoughts. When these are suppressed, there is a higher chance for the psychological therapy to succeed,” Grubin added.

Christoffer Rahm, a principal investigator for the project Priotab which aims to treat men with sexual attraction to children before they commit an abuse, also expressed his views that pedophilia can be prevented by fixing a chemical imbalance.

“Yes, there are many pedophile patients who seek medical help,” Rahm said.

“They are very well-aware of the fact that what they feel is not accepted by the society and their pedophilic disorder could bring about many negative outcomes for themselves,” he added.

“Any moral value that rejects to lend a hand to these patients should be eliminated.”

The academics’ comments came as Turkey is engaged in a heated debate about the abuse and mistreatment of children after the sexual abuse of a four-year-old in the southern province of Adana made headlines on Feb. 10. 

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) officials have responded to the outrage by bringing the issue to the cabinet’s agenda, as ministers called for a legal change that would stipulate harsher punishments for child abusers.

A commission of six ministers has been formed to work on the legislative package and held its first meeting on Feb. 22.

AKP officials stated that harsh punishments would include “chemical castration,” igniting new debate as castration is currently not in Turkish legislation.