30 July 2018Opinion
We live in a divided world. We live in a world where people will disagree on anything, while people fight for their rights, support their politicians and back their own sides; there is few things that we can all agree on. Now, while it is often said that you cannot make everyone happy, and that may be true, what most functioning human beings can agree on whether you’re left-wing or right-wing is that pedophilia is sickening and wrong.
However, Mirjam Heine, a medical student at the University of Wurtzberg, has expressed in a recent (now deleted) TEDx talk that pedophilia is merely a “sexual orientation” and that we should alter our opinions of pedophiles as their sexual orientation is not the problem but rather how we treat and view pedophiles.
Heine expressed during her 13 minute talk that pedophilia is something that people cannot help or choose, and that it should be treated the same as any other sexual orientation comparing it to heterosexuality, in an academic sense. While Heine makes clear that “abusing children is wrong” and that “living out this sexual orientation will end in disaster”, she emphasises that pedophiles are born that way and shouldn’t have to be treated differently or mocked because of it as “anyone could be born a pedophile” and “a pedophile who does not abuse children has done nothing wrong.”
Now, although this may appear ludicrous to many (and it is) it seems that Heine was adamant on perpetuating this obscure idea. The talk has since been removed from TEDx’s website, and it appears that TED, are distancing themselves from the young speaker following backlash releasing a statement on 20 June 2018 that stated TEDx talks are “organised independently from the main annual TED conference.”
However, Heine’s talk can still be found in a variety of locations online and it seems the main focus of her talk is that if we view pedophilia as an uncontrollable “sexual orientation” we can do more to prevent acts of pedophilia from occurring. I do not agree with this statement — labeling it as a “sexual orientation” will only lead to a slippery slope with talks of rights and feelings of isolation occurring in the future. The only label pedophilia needs is that of an illness. If it truly cannot be helped by these people they should seek help regardless of what it is referred to as.
I am all for making as many people as possible feel comfortable and safe within any society and I completely support the idea of a fully inclusive society, however it is in moments like these where I question how far people will attempt to take these ideals.
Even if everyone who sees this talk disagrees with what is being said, many won’t realise the harmful implications merely giving these radical ideas a stand is going to have in the long run. It is great to be progressive and forward thinkers, but ideas like these are absolutely disgusting and should be put to a halt immediately.
This whole situation seems as if it is out of a futuristic dystopian film. Heine herself states during her talk that of the entire male population, only 1-2% can be labelled as pedophiles. Why on earth would anyone agree to normalise a view for such a small minority that would have incredibly horrifying and damaging consequences for a much larger majority — young children.
Pedophiles should feel isolated. They should feel discriminated against. We should be inclusive of people who wish to contribute to society, people who wish to do good, and make the world a better place. Pedophiles do not fit into this category.
An attraction to young children is not something that people should feel comfortable with. We should not consider this just another “sexual orientation” whether it is acted on or not — it is an illness.
There is a massive difference when your sexual orientation is reciprocated and harmless to others — pedophillia is not harmless. No children should have to live their lives with the idea that it is normal for grown men and women to be sexually attracted to them. It should not be put in the same boat as heterosexuality or homosexuality.
Naturally (and thankfully) the talk was met with immense distaste and shock, with a petition titled “Stop the Pedophilia Sympathisers at TedX” being posted on Change.org.
The manner in which Heine spoke on her idea during her talk seemed as if it was some attempt to prey on those who are forward thinking and left-leaning as a means of brainwashing. Heine wishes people to view this similarly to homosexuality, and that we should feel sorry for these people as they are discriminated against for something which cannot be helped.
Anyone who sympathises with the animosity of pedophilia clearly has some issues of their own. There is no circumstance where this should ever be okay or looked at in such a manner again.
Anyone who is attracted to young children should seek help. We should not treat it as a “sexual orientation” but as an illness as it is not natural for fully sexually mature adults to be attracted to not yet sexually mature children, whether you believe you are born this way or not.
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