Recently, Prof. Dr. Klaus Beier, head of the German Prevention Project Dunkelfeld providing nationwide anonymous therapy to pedophiles, and some of his colleagues published an article for the Australian Psychology Society, which I found quite remarkable (and not in a good way):
In it, Beier compares CSA and CSAM to the global COVID pandemic and argues basically that we should treat it with the same urgency:
The term [pandemic] describes a globally widespread disease and is generally understood to refer to infectious diseases. The public’s familiarity with the term in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity to reconceptualise child sexual abuse (CSA) and the use of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) in a similar manner. This too is a health issue so prevalent worldwide that it has, arguably, reached the level of a pandemic.
First of all, this appears to me to be extremely stigmatizing against victims of CSA. CSA is not an infectuous disease. Survivors of CSA are not in danger of “infecting” others with their “disease”, and implying this is just… horrible.
In too many cases survivors of CSA are stigmatized and excluded from society precisesly because people belive that they are somhow “broken” and might transmit their “disease” to others. This comparison supports this way of treating CSA survivors, because after all, if CSA is a global pandemic, then we should quarantine everyone affected, right?
Not to mention that there is no evidence supporting the notion of a global CSA pendemic exploding the same way we saw the explosion of COVID. While it is true that the number of CSAM cases have increased exponentially over the last decades, this is also due to technological developments, more ressources being put into prosecution and laws getting progressively stricter over the years. There is no evidence that CSA cases have increased on the same level; in fact, in some places they have even decreased significantly.
Later, he even goes on to compare pedophiles directly to a “virus”:
It has long been accepted that we will have to learn to ‘live with the virus’. This also applies to paedophilia as sexual responsiveness to the child’s body pattern, which is classified as a disorder in the World Health Organization’s diagnostic manual (ICD-11: ‘paedophilic disorder’)
Not only is this plain wrong (“pedophilic disorder” as defined in the ICD-11 is not the same as “pedophilia”), but it also invokes rhetorics used in the Third Reich, where it was quite common to compare Jews and other “undesirables” to viruses and infectuous diseases.
Despite only a minority of child sexual abusers and CSAM consumers being pedophiles, he basically blames only pedophiles for the damages caused by CSA (which he estimates to be “between €400,000 and €1.2 million per person affected” based on some study):
not only a significant proportion of sexual abuse acts can be attributed [to pedophilia], but also a substantial proportion of the use of abuse images on the internet
That there are many non-offending pedophiles who (even without his prevention therapy) never abuse a child is completely unmentioned by him.
The scene he paints is that of pedophiles (or “potential abusers”) being like viruses, transmitting infectuous diseases, causing immense damages to society at large, and the only cure being “vaccinations” in the form of the preventive therapy that he offers. It is honestly shocking to me, that this ideology seems to form the basis of the founder of the world’s largest therapy program for pedophiles.