Sunday August 24, 2008
—–Inline Attachment Follows—–
Dear Dr. Alice Miller,
After coming across your works yesterday and quite agreeing with many of your arguments, I would like to know your sincere feelings about the phenomenon known as pedophilia. As you are child advocate, the phenomenon should, I assume, interest you greatly, even if it is an interest with great distaste.
The subject has been brought up here and there on your site, but I feel it has largely been avoided. I assume it is has been avoided on purpose. The whole subject is so taboo. Far more taboo than “intervening on behalf of a child in a public place.” It is rather an egregious sin in our society to have anything less than utter contempt for pedophiles. But would you deny that a world with no shortage of pedophiles is one of the greatest issues facing children?
It’s an issue that no one wants to deal with. Exploration of the subject is something not even you will touch with a ten-foot pole. One of your readers wrote in with particularly relevant question: “My research on the subject of helping pedophiles has shown that no one is taking this subject seriously. My friend thinks that there is no cure for being a pedophile. Can you please tell me what I need to do? I would like to help my friend. Can a pedophile be cured?” This was a perfect opportunity to expound on the issue, but your response was tragically short. You suggested he blame his abusers.
There is some importance for recognizing the past and recognizing one’s own emotional truth. But in blaming his abusers, is he not simply justifying his own abusive desires? Is he not just rationalizing his problems, when energy needs to be directed at solving his own internal conflict? An end to the circle of violence must be pursued. And the violence did not begin with the pedophile, it began with society’s persecution of the pedophile. Addressing the pedophile is the first step. But no one dares. Just as you talk about silence or inaction as a decision with positively detrimental results on children, you’re quick to diagnosis the pedophile, but otherwise give him little attention. Isn’t this also an act of disservice to a victimized child of society?
Just subsequent to your reader’s question, she made an incredibly revealing statement about herself: “I was also sexually abused as a child. I did not become a pedophile but I did suffer a lot with the idea that I liked and attracted the abuse.” Your reader is suggesting she had sexual relations with an adult. But reread her statement closely. The word “abuse” in this case is used in a purely legal sense, not in reference to a violent act. She suffered, not from the sexual relations per se, but from the fact that she “liked” and possibly wanted it. So is your reader suffering from the affects of intergeneration sexual relations? Or is your reader suffering from a societal view that blindly repudiates actual love between an adult and a minor?
You made reference to pedophiles on your site in an article entitled “What is Hatred?” In the article you write, “Every pedophile openly displays his “love” of children and has no idea that deep down he is avenging himself for the things done to him as a child.” You place quotations around love meaning that “every” pedophile is misinformed as to the “true” nature of his or her attraction. I can agree with you that a great deal of sexual abuse occurs as a result of past violence or repressed emotional problems. But I can assure you my love for boys is not what you call a “latent hatred cemented in a different kind of perversion.”
I was not abused in my childhood, nor molested or beaten. My childhood was sexless, and my years of puberty were full of angst and private shame. I have no need to dominate, no desire toward violence. I’ve been close with many boys, even alone with them in empty houses, and never once have I forced them into anything. So you think I tricked them, or brainwashed them, or took advantage of the situation? You’re wrong; I’ve never even kissed a boy. But I won’t deny that I’d like to.
You see, everyone has this image of the “ensnared pedophile” in their mind: the unsightly, overweight, undignified, unshaven, pathetic beast of a man. These are the pedophiles who end up in jail. The pitiful idiots who wreak havoc upon our reputation. And then there are the pedophiles who are not reported, because the children they “love,” love them back. But really it’s a miracle I exist, if I had the luck of most men in my situation I would have been persuaded to shoot myself by now thanks to you and people like you. And If I hadn’t shot myself, my life should have affectively ended when you and the rest of society stripped away my dignity and revoked any right to self-worth. It should be a surprise when any pedophile arises with confidence and self-respect and even self-restraint amidst a society that persecutes them.
In your article about the importance of enlightened witnesses in society you wrote: “Sex criminals stop their depredations if they manage to overcome their amnesia and mourn their tragic fate, thanks to the empathy of an enlightened witness.” Will you be my empathetic and enlightened witness, even if I’m not a criminal? May I be an empathetic and enlightened witness to you, so that you may halt your own depredations?
Even if you can’t understand me, can’t you at least admit that there are some people who do, indeed, love children, just as there are some people who do not possess a love for children? Wouldn’t it be appropriate to call these people pedophiles by the literal translation of the Greek word parts: child-lovers? I will be so bold as to guess you are one such “pedophile,” considering all the time and energy you give to advocating for children. The actions of men are never without motivation! But I suppose, there’s always the chance you’re just working for the money and the glory of it all. But if you’re sincerely a child advocate, as I am, then you must love children. This, at-least, should be our common ground. Using that common ground as a starting point, I sincerely hope that we may have a continuing and enlightening dialogue.
From the Team: Norman: Alice Miller does not avoid the issue of pedophilia, but addresses this issue openly in many of her books. You have the nerve to write to her after having come across her works only one day before (!), and the arrogance to bring up the most absurd ideas in relation to her work, when obviously you did not understand her views at all. Society does not persecute pedophiles; on the contrary, everywhere a blind eye is turned to their deeds, and the TRUE victims are repeatedly blamed and misunderstood. Pedophiles are no longer the helpless victims they were in childhood, but adults who engage in criminal activity, regardless of the children’s “consent”. They call their crimes “love” and protest that they are persecuted unjustly, because they are repeating the lies that they had to learn from their perpetrators — lies that you have clearly learned very well yourself, although you do not remember what had so obviously been done to you. Unfortunately, now you are trying to teach these lies to boys whose innocence you exploit, and whom you unknowingly manipulate and betray.