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Sexual Crimes Against Children, Essay Example

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There are many theories on why certain adult males prefer children for sexual gratification. One group of theories attempts to explain this preference through the idea of emotional congruence, that certain male’s emotional needs may be a fit for with a child’s characteristics. Theorists like Hammer and Glueck (1957) and Groth and Burgess (1979), for example, talk about pedophiles as experiencing themselves as children and having childish emotional needs. (Araji, 1986) As a result of this arrested psychological development, they wish to relate to children.

Another theory for why certain males gravitate to children for sexual arousal is based on the idea that some special circumstance in early sexual experiences conditioned these males to, later in life, find children arousing. An example of what kind of special circumstance that might cause this arousal is a background of sexual victimization during childhood for the pedophile. De Young, (1982); Gebhard et al., (1967); Groth & Burgess, (1978), all suggest that the traumatic experience may cause imprinting or conditioning. (Araji, 1986)

Clinical studies have led some researchers to the theory that sexual arousal to children may stem from biological factors. This theory results from findings of physiological abnormalities in hormone levels or chromosomal make-up among pedophiles. Success in treating some pedophiles with anti-androgenic drugs, according to Berlin & Meinecke, (1981) and Money, (1981) has also led credence to this theory. (Araji, 1986)

These three theories all have different roots. The first, emotional congruence, is psychological; the second, based on childhood experience, is societal; and the third, is biological. Psychological reasons would mean pedophilia could have resulted from societal factors or biological factors. Early childhood experience would result entirely from immediate societal influence. Biological factors would mean that a pedophile is born with an inherent arousal to children. The first two theories lead to the conclusion that pedophiliac behavior could be counteracted with extensive counseling and possibly hormone correcting drugs. The last theory gives the conclusion that the behavior could be inhibited with medication.

Works Cited

Araji, D. F. (1986). Explanations of Pedophilia: A Four Factor Model. The Journal of Sex Research , Vol. 22, No.2, 145-161.

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