Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Around the World – Should Castration be Used Against Sex Offenders?


Different countries treat and react to pedophila in different ways. I have already mentioned how Canada deals with the issue. While Canada and many countries – such as England, France, and the United States – impose jail sentences and mandatory rehabilitation programs on child sex offenders, there are some countries that deal with the problem of child sexual abuse in very unique ways. For example, in some parts of Europe, physical castration is a way to deal with pedophiles. It has actually been proven to be quite effective thus far, with the number of sex offenders dropping quite drastically. Castration can be either physical (often done through surgery) or chemical (through the use of drugs or injections). When males are castrated, it means they lose the use of their testes; castration causes sterilization and significantly decreases the production of certain hormones such as testosterone. In females, castration involves removing a woman’s ovaries (thereby removing female estrogen). Castration is a procedure that is used on humans to decrease the libido of sex offenders. With regards to sexual offenders, some countries see chemical castration as a much more preferable alternative to penalties such as life imprisonment or the death penalty. This is because castration reduces or eliminates the chance that sex offenders will reoffend.  

         While most states within the United States do not allow castration (and instead impose jail sentences on offenders), there are some states that do. California is one state that allows the use of chemical castration as a punishment for those who are guilty of serious sex offences against children. California law states that anyone convicted of child molestation with a minor under the age of 13 can be treated with chemical castration and that they cannot reject the treatment. There are at least 8 other states that allow chemical castration within their laws, including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Lousiana, Montana, Oregon, Texan, and Wisconsin. While Canada does not allow castration and instead believes in rehabilitation, rehabilitation programs do not seem to have a significant impact on preventing sexual predators. I think that chemical/physical castration is something that should seriously be considered and enacted into law. Given the fact that many sexual offenders do reoffend (even after undergoing rehabilitation) and endanger the rights and safety of their victims, castration should be an established punishment. Jail sentences are not enough – more needs to be done. Furthermore, not only should castration be used against child sex offenders, it should also be used against rapists. No innocent human being should have to live in danger of having their fundamental rights violated by a sexual predator. The harsher the punishment, the less the chances of people having their bodies be inhumanely violated. 

Here is an interesting video discussing the use of castration:


 

Countries that allow castration:

·         Poland passed a law in 2009 to allow forcible chemical castration of child molesters – this is a very important law to protect children against sexual predators. The law states that anyone who is convicted of raping a child under the age of 15 can be subject to chemical castration to reduce their sex drive (and thereby decrease their change of reoffending)

·         Moldova passed legislation in 2012 for the chemical castration of child molesters

·         Estonia also has included chemical castration of sexual offenders in its law since 2012

·         South Korea enacted a law in 2011 that gave judges the power to sentence sex offenders with chemical castration in cases where they attacked a child under the age of 16

·         Russia, in 2011, passed a law that allowed for the use of chemical castration on convicted sex offenders who attacked children under 14 years of age

When it comes to chemical castration, research has shown that it is very effective in reducing sex drive and has made a significant impact in reducing the sex drive of male sexual offenders. While there are some side effects (such as osteoporosis, blood fat levels, changes in blood pressure, symptom’s that mimic women’s menopause, and changes in cardiovascular health), chemical castration is still important because it actually works in protecting innocent children. The practice of chemical castration in cases where the sexual offender disagrees to being castrated has been called “inhuman treatment” by Amnesty International. However, I personally feel that the practice is acceptable and even necessary. Criminals do not want to be punished through jail sentences or harsh fines – yet these are accepted and necessary punishments for those who break the law. When a child’s fundamental human rights are so grossly and monstrously violated by a sexual offender concerned with nothing other than satisfying his/her desires, then punishments against offenders in the form of practices such as castration cannot be undermined and delegitimized by calling them “inhuman treatment.” While I am a staunch supporter of Amnesty International, I am against its decision to label the castration of sexual offenders as “inhuman.” The only thing that I feel is inhuman is the fact that the rights of children – the most vulnerable citizens within every society – can be violated by sexual predators who often have little to worry about other than a few years in jail. Chemical castration is a necessity to protect the rights of children.  

How do you feel about the topic of castration? Are you in favor of it or against its use? Please share your thoughts.

*For more information on the use of castration, please follow the link below:

Papua New Guinea’s Sambia Tribe


While pedophilia is seen as a disturbing problem in many industrialized countries, there are still parts of the world that allow and accept pedophilia as part of their culture. For example, while countries such as the United States, Canada, and Britain ensure that no minor is taken advantage of by an adult and that the rights of children are protected through government laws, this is sadly not the case everywhere within the world. A sad reality of this can be seen in the Sambia tribe in Papua New Guinea. In the Sambia tribe, older men force young boys outside of their homes to begin their “masculinization process.” The young boys are taken away from their mothers at very young ages (from the age of 6 to 10) and forced to perform oral sex on much older men. Rather than denouncing pedophilia, the Sambia culture promotes and openly practices acts of pedophilia. I am shocked and disgusted that such appalling behaviour is allowed. No matter what arguments one may make about “culture” or “tradition,” this practice is a gross violation of these young boys’ bodies. I would even say that it is a form of rape – these young boys are taken from their homes and forced to perform oral sex acts on much older men. They do not choose this. Moreover, any boy that tries to escape this dehumanizing and inhumane practice of forced sex is cruelly punished. Sadly, allowing such practices to exist means that they are repeated again. The young boys who were essentially raped by the older men become adults themselves and go on to practice the same ritual on other young boys. The victims become the rapists and perpetuators of this barbaric act which violates the basic rights of the poor young boys. You may be wondering where the women stand within this culture – well they have as little rights as the young boys. They are seen as subordinate to the Sambia men and have little to no voice.*

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comment section.

*For more information on the Sambia tribe, please refer to the research done by Gilbert H. Herdt. The following references should be useful:

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Herdt, Gilbert H. (1981). Guardians of the Flutes: Idioms of Masculinity. New York: McGraw-Hill.

<!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Herdt, Gilbert H. (1982). Rituals of Manhood: Male Initiation in Papua New Guinea. Berkeley: University of California Press.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pedophiles in Canada and Sexual Tourism


In my last blog, I talked about how the Criminal Code of Canada is the legislation that deals with child sex offenders in Canada. While some of the jail sentences and penalties against those who violate the rights of children seem acceptable within the legislation, I personally do not feel that they are enough. I’ll tell you a story that will give you some insight into why I am opposed to light sentences against pedophiles (who commit offences against children) and child sex offenders. Before I go on, however, I feel it is necessary to note that not all pedophiles are child molesters. In other words, not all pedophiles act on their impulses (meaning they are able to control their desires). The people whom I think should be subject to the strictest penalties under the law are pedophiles and sex offenders who actually do commit acts against children that put the safety of the child/youth in jeopardy.

            Now I shall tell you my story. I have a friend who works within the police force in Canada. He told me that, from what he has personally witnessed, child sex offenders do not stay in jail for a long enough time. After a few months or years, they are let out again. However, the problem is that the chances of these sex offenders reoffending are often very high. Does this mean that Canada’s Criminal Code, which appears to impose harsh penalties on criminals, is not enough in preventing sex offences against children? This definitely appears to be the case. It is extremely sad reading stories and news articles about children who were sexually violated or whose images were misused by pedophiles/sex offenders. Another fact that my friend shared with me was that, while the traditional image of pedophiles is that they go to parks to lure children, this is not the only place they go. One of the top places visited by pedophiles is the public library. This literally sent a shiver down my spine, as I always thought of libraries as safe places for children. As a kid, I remember going to the library alone to read books and borrow videos. If my parents had known this, they would never have let me go to any library alone. And when I do decide to have children of my own, there is no way I’d ever let them wander in the library alone either.

            While I was reading about how pedophiles are dealt with in Canada, I came across something else that I found very sad and both disgusting and disheartening. This is the fact that many Canadian sexual predators actually travel abroad to abuse children. This is one of the most negative aspects of the increasingly globalized world within in which we live. Cambodia, a third-world country within Asia, is a haven for sexual predators. Alongside there being many unsupervised children walking the streets in Cambodia, authorities in the country have little interest in protecting children against the crimes inflicted on them by foreign tourists. While Canada fortunately has a law that permits Canadian police to punish sexual offenders who commit crimes against children abroad, the number of convictions is sadly very low compared to other countries with similar laws. This is because the RCMP has been slow in responding to crimes committed against innocent children abroad, according to governmental organizations such as Action Pour Les Infants (an organization dedicated to protecting children).*

Here is a link to a very interesting documentary on sexual tourism:

How does Canada Deal with Pedophiles?





Canada is an industrialized country with a population of almost 35 million people. When it comes to sex crimes against children, Canada’s Criminal Code is the legal document that protects the rights of children and makes abuses against minors illegal. The sections within the Criminal Code of Canada that pertain to sexual offences against children and youth are sections 151, 152, 153, 155, 170, 171, and 172 (child pornography is dealt with in section 163).

            I have found some of the specific sections from the Criminal Code of Canada that relate to sexual offences committed against children and youth. Read over them and let me know what you think. While some of the sections are a bit long, I wanted you to be able to view the actual text of the legislation that governs how pedophiles are dealt with in Canada. Is Canada harsh enough in the penalties it imposes on those who commit unjust offences against children? Or would you argue that Canada is too strict? Personally, I feel that Canada needs to impose harsher penalties on those who commit sexual offences against children. While the Criminal Code of Canada is an important document that protects the rights of children, much more needs to be done. There have been too many incidents in which child sex offenders were let out of jail only to reoffend. Children need to be protected – the only way this is possible is through stricter penalties that discourage potential crimes against children.
Criminal Code of Canada (sexual offences against children and youth):

 

151. Every person who, for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of a person under the age of 16 years

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

 

152. Every person who, for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a person under the age of 16 years to touch, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the person under the age of 16 years,

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

 

153. (1) Every person commits an offence who is in a position of trust or authority towards a young person, who is a person with whom the young person is in a relationship of dependency or who is in a relationship with a young person that is exploitative of the young person, and who

(a) for a sexual purpose, touches, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, any part of the body of the young person; or

(b) for a sexual purpose, invites, counsels or incites a young person to touch, directly or indirectly, with a part of the body or with an object, the body of any person, including the body of the person who so invites, counsels or incites and the body of the young person.

 (1.1) Every person who commits an offence under subsection (1)

(a) is guilty of an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

 

163.1 (1) In this section, “child pornography” means

(a) a photographic, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not it was made by electronic or mechanical means,

(i) that shows a person who is or is depicted as being under the age of eighteen years and is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity, or

(ii) the dominant characteristic of which is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of eighteen years;

(b) any written material, visual representation or audio recording that advocates or counsels sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this Act;

(c) any written material whose dominant characteristic is the description, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this Act; (d) any audio recording that has as its dominant characteristic the description, presentation or representation, for a sexual purpose, of sexual activity with a person under the age of eighteen years that would be an offence under this Act.

 (2) Every person who makes, prints, publishes or possesses for the purpose of publication any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

(3) Every person who transmits, makes available, distributes, sells, advertises, imports, exports or possesses for the purpose of transmission, making available, distribution, sale, advertising or exportation any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years less a day and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months.

(4) Every person who possesses any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

(4.1) Every person who accesses any child pornography is guilty of

(a) an indictable offence and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months; or

(b) an offence punishable on summary conviction and is liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than 18 months and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days.

 

170. Every parent or guardian of a person under the age of eighteen years who procures the person for the purpose of engaging in any sexual activity prohibited by this Act with a person other than the parent or guardian is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) to imprisonment for a term of not more than 10 years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of one year if the person procured is under the age of 16 years; or

(b) to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months if the person procured is 16 years of age or more but under the age of 18 years.

 

171. Every owner, occupier or manager of premises, or any other person who has control of premises or assists in the management or control of premises, who knowingly permits a person under the age of eighteen years to resort to or to be in or on the premises for the purpose of engaging in any sexual activity prohibited by this Act is guilty of an indictable offence and liable

(a) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of six months if the person in question is under the age of 16 years; or

(b) to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years and to a minimum punishment of imprisonment for a term of 90 days if the person is 16 years of age or more but under the age of 18 years.

 

172. (1) Every one who, in the home of a child, participates in adultery or sexual immorality or indulges in habitual drunkenness or any other form of vice, and thereby endangers the morals of the child or renders the home an unfit place for the child to be in, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years.

 

*NOTE: For more information on how Canada's law protects children against abuses, here is the link to the Criminal Code of Canada: http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/FullText.html

Monday, June 24, 2013

Contrasting Views on Pedophila



               
The changing definition of pedophilia certainly does not help in lessening the debate that surrounds the topic of pedophilia. There is not even much agreement over what causes pedophilia – is pedophilia innate or acquired? Researchers at Canada’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health suggested that pedophilia may be connected to brain development and that pedophiles may be “wired differently” than others.[1] Such research suggests that pedophilia is something more innate, it cannot be helped. There is even a growing trend in Canada arguing that pedophilia should be classified as a “distinct sexual orientation” – like heterosexuality and homosexuality (a trend to which I am vehemently opposed). This classification was even testified to in 2011 at a Canadian Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights by two prominent researchers.[2] Moreover, the Harvard Mental Health Letter stated in 2010 that “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges. No intervention is likely to work on its own; outcomes may be better when the patient is motivated and treatment combines psychotherapy and medication.”[3]

In my opinion, the views advocated by the Harvard Mental Health Letter and some researchers are terribly disheartening. How can pedophilia ever possibly be classified as “sexual orientation”? Such a notion seems to place less blame on the pedophile and therefore make his/her actions – for those that do commit abusive acts against children – seem much less monstrous and terrible. In contrast to the views advocated by some in the medical community, child protection agencies and those who work with sex offenders argue that pedophilia is actually “learned behaviour” that can be unlearned. Donald Findlater, a director of research and development at the Lucy Faithfull Foundation (a charity committed to preventing child sexual abuse) stated that “In the world of people who work with sex offenders here, [pedophilia] is learned behaviour...There may be some vulnerabilities that could be genetic, but normally there are some significant events in a person's life, a sexually abusive event, a bullying environment...I believe it is learned, and can be unlearned."[4] I agree much more with this idea. The people who work closely with child sex offenders have a much better grasp, in my opinion, than those who conduct research in a lab for a certain span of time. Those who interact with sexual offenders on a daily basis are able to see and hear the things pedophiles do and say – this is much more “evidence/research” than what someone studying brain waves in a lab can say for the matter.

What are your thoughts? Is pedophilia "learned behaviour" or is it a "sexual orientation"?


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Welcome to my Blog!

               


Welcome all my readers!

I hope you are doing well and having a wonderful day. Before I begin, I have to make somewhat of a confession. Don’t worry, it’s nothing terrifying or horrific! I don’t want to startle you before you even read two lines on my blog (now that would be quite counter-productive, wouldn’t it?). My admission is quite harmless in that respect. Simply, I must admit that this blog is something that I created for one of my courses. While I’m not really used to the idea of blogging (despite their popularity for the past few years), I have to say that blogs offer quite an interesting medium of sharing not only facts, but also one's thoughts and opinions. While I’ve written countless essays on various topics throughout my studies (and pulled many all-nighters doing so), something that I’ve always found restraining is that one’s personal opinion has very little importance when reporting facts. The essays that I’ve mostly had to write thus far simply required me to gather facts and report them. For that reason, I find it refreshing that blogs allow you the ability to share not only factual information, but also your own opinions and beliefs.

With that said, the topic I have chosen to write about is pedophilia. Specifically, I have to answer the following:

 “How are pedophiles dealt with in Canada? Compare to other countries. Best practice? Is rehabilitation possible?"

Pedophilia is something that has been heavily debated over the years. There is debate over what constitutes pedophilia; what the punishment should be for those who commit pedophiliac acts; and, as hard as it is to believe, there is even debate over whether children are really even “victims” (some argue that pedophilia is not wrong and should be allowed).

Before writing about pedophilia, it is important to first define this word. What is “pedophilia”? Pedophilia is abnormal sexual behaviour in which a person 16 years or older is sexually attracted to young children who have not yet reached puberty. In other words, pedophilia is the act or desire, by an adult, of engaging in sexual activity with young children. It is important to note that, while this is the common definition of the word, the clinical definition of pedophilia is still often debated and has changed several times over the years. In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is one of the leading authorities on what is defined and classified as a mental disorder, has previously classified “pedophilia” as a sexual deviation, a sociopathic condition, and a non-psychotic medical disorder.*
While I will be sharing the facts I find and offering my opinion on the matter, I encourage all of you to share your views as well within the comment section of my blog. I am always interested in reading what others have to say in matters such as these.
I look forward to blogging and sharing the information I find with all of you!

*For more information, here is a very interesting and informative article:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/jan/03/pedophilia-bringing-dark-desires-light