Monday, September 16, 2013

Life on the List ... Can a Boy Next Door be a Sex Offender?

So Is there a difference between the guy that exposes himself at the park to urinate and the grandfather who molests his granddaughter while babysitting?

From Brooke Shields; to Jodi Foster; to top models, our culture has taken advantage of children to promote sex.  So, is child sexuality acceptable in our culture?

After all, we have child beauty pageants where the kids parade around in glamour gowns with hair spray and make up.  With parental approval and parental supervision. We have Jusin Bieber now bouncing around showing his teeny bopper six pack?  So, is it fair to say that child sexuality is becoming normalized within the photographic arena?

Lately I have been in situations where the sensitive topics of sex offenders and pedophiles have presented themselves in various work, social, and unpredictable settings. This type of issue is often not just "eeky" but creepy eeky. Sex offenders. Before we react I should say that I think we all have an opinion about this subject. There are some of us who will judge and be at a firm platform of offenders deserving the highest legal consequence possible. Regardless of your thoughts my goal here is to have you listen to Josh Graven's story. I think his life will help us learn about people in general. So, the question is what do we do when you are not a creepy person but still on the list? What do we do when your brother, your boyfriend, your spouse, your son or your close one is on the list?

I learned in my graduate studies several years ago that there are, yikes-dare-I-say-it, different pedophiles. As stated earlier, there might be many reactions to this topic. One question that raised my think radar was this discussion in a classroom setting.

Case study A: Is there a difference with pedophile A who is a 19 year old male, who is having a relationship with a 17 year old mature teen. The 19 year old knows the 17 year old's family. He has been over to the family's home, and had dinner. Now she becomes pregnant, and the dad who has never been fully okay with the relationship wants the boy out of his daughter's life because he wants the daughter to get an abortion so that she can go to college. The daughter wants the baby and the relationship and wants to get married. The 19 year old never agreed to all of this conflict and for him it is getting "way to complicated" and has been under the assumption that the 17 year old was using birth control contraception. The 19 year old says he and the girlfriend had used condoms each time they had sexual relations. The boyfriend has a heated argument with the dad saying that a child will ruin his college plans and that he suspects the girlfriend has been cheating on him and that the child is not his. The father reacts angrily hitting the 19 year old. The boyfriend storms out of the house saying that he is not taking care of a child that is not his and that the father is a jerk and that he should never have gotten involved with his girlfriend. The 19 year old calls the 17 year old later that week saying he was hot headed and that he wants to work it out with her and that even if the child is not his he wants to work things out. Later that day Child Protective Services comes by the 17 year old's home. Later that week the police come to the 19 year old's home. The father had placed a call after the heated argument. Is there room for discussion in this case? Guilty, off to jail or no?

Case study B: Is there a bias in our American culture with privilege? Let us discuss the 24 year old powerful successful self made millionaire adored by everyone and who was a known lady's man. He meets an American teenager and he adores this 14 year old. I could go on with the demographics and details of this story but the dating in this story goes on for several years. This self made millionaire lady's man was one of America's most successful entertainers. Elvis Presley. He met Pracilla in Germany at 14 years of age and courted her for several years and ultimately married her.

So with the above mentioned, we now start to see a break down of erotic age orientation. The hebephile is a relatively rarely used word to define people who display
a sexual preference for children at the onset of puberty, between the ages, generally speaking, of 11 to 14 years. The pedophiles, in contrast, show a sexual preference for clearly prepubescent children. I think my mother's generation termed the "philes" as just "dirty ole men." But now we are seeing women, such as Mary Kay Letourneau, who are perceived as predators entering into the peccadilloes domain.
There are also ephebophiles who are mostly attracted to 15- to 16-year-olds. Moreover, teleiophiles pertain to those attracted to 17 years of age or older. Lastly, we are now hearing about gerontophiles, someone whose sexual preference is for the elderly. Our media generally associates child sex offenders as the single classification of pedophilia. However, biologically, psychically, and culturally speaking it is far more scientific and intricate. As of this writing, there are discussions to include an additional category of infant pedophilia, or “infantophilia.” In fact, there are arguments exploring propagation and procreation's relationship to a male, and culture’s, sexual peccadilloes.

What is interesting in the discussion of a person’s sexual peccadilloes is that mythology and history gives a wealth of information into the arena of youth and its power and destruction of people who are unable to recognize innocence's subtle seduction. Moth to the flame. Greek mythology, American film and contemporary legend all help us explore this taboo that is now getting attention.

It is not for me to say what is "good or bad" but I am curious to know your thoughts about Josh Gravins. Of note, the images shown above were from major modeling ad campaigns which were found on general searches!  Now that is somewhat disturbing. The images and photos were easily accessible and endorsed by major advertising companies.

Read more about Dr. Strayhorn's practice and philosophy...

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