In the previous article, I wrote a few tips about online safety and avoiding pedophiles. I envisioned this one as just kind of a reminder of follow-up on that, but as I began to think about some of the situations that have occurred recently between teachers and students, I began to wonder – can we make any distinctions between men (and women) who are attracted to children (4, 6, 8 years old) and those who are attracted to teenagers?
I think so. To me there’s definitely a difference. The mindset of someone who is sexually attracted to children is just beyond my comprehension. On the other hand, I don’t consider it freakish for an adult to find a fifteen or sixteen year old boy (or girl) attractive. Hell, teenagers are amazingly attractive! To me they’re among the most beautiful creatures on Earth. They radiate potential and promise and new, untested sexuality. I think anyone who doesn’t find that attractive is just in denial (or possibly dead). The difference between what I consider a perfectly normal attraction to the beauty of adolescence and a pedophile is that a pedophile wants to put themselves into the picture sexually. To me that’s like the difference between someone who admires a beautiful flower growing in a field and someone who admires that same beautiful flower, but then can’t help ripping it out of the ground and taking it home. The thing that both types of pedophile seem to have in common is control. They don’t feel comfortable or in control with people their own age, so they seek out young people that they can dominate and manipulate. It’s the complete antithesis of the parenting urge, which is to help nurture children, and later teens to grow into happy, well-adjusted adults. Pedophiles, on the other hand, only use children (or teens) to satisfy their own needs, which have been perverted at some point, usually from being abused themselves.
Why am I bothering with any of these distinctions? Well, it’s because to me the situations between children and a teenagers are different. The country is moving toward a “throw away the key” mentality for all pedophiles, a trend which I tend to agree with in many cases given the percentage of pedophiles who re-offend. However, I maintain that not every adult who engages in sexual activity with a teenager is a pedophile. Teenagers, after all, have considerably more choice, both to say no, and also to say yes, or even to instigate the activity themselves. I’m not saying any of this to justify that kind of behavior. I think it is unequivocally wrong for adults to seduce or to allow themselves to be seduced by teenagers and the law agrees with me. I bring it up only to point out to all of you that you all have a certain amount of allure, as well as power, and along with that power comes certain responsibilities. In any encounter between an adult and a teen, the onus is definitely on the adult, both legally and morally, to keep things from going too far. But adults have vulnerabilities too, and moments of weakness. I’ve seen some of you posting the fact that you have crushes on your teachers, or other adults in your lives. This is a perfectly normal part of growing up. Just remember as you debate whether or not to “go for it” and pursue a romantic or sexual relationship that the consequences for the objects of your affection could be absolutely devastating. One such mistake could ruin their lives, and brand them forever as a sexual predator. So no matter how crazy your crush makes you, do him of her a favor, and keep it in the realm of fantasy. If you really love this person, show them that you love them by keeping their best interests in mind and confining your confessions to Oasis. If you find that you’re attracted to older people as a general rule, that’s perfectly fine. There are plenty of older people out there who are into younger people. For their sake, though, find one who is not in a position of power over you and wait until you are at an age where the older person can’t be sent to prison for returning your affections. Remember, a part of true love is a willingness to sacrifice. If you’re not willing to make sacrifices for it, then it isn’t love – lust maybe, infatuation certainly, but not love.
Now on the other hand, if an adult has no reservations at all about engaging in a personal (and private) relationship with you, or if one tries to initiate such a relationship, red flags should pop up all over the place along with a big banner that reads – PREDATOR. It’s good to trust your instincts about people. Instincts can be a very good and reliable indicator; but remember that hormones are to instincts like magnets are to compasses: the first tends to throw the second way off kilter. So always keep in mind the fact that a responsible adult will always put plenty of safeguards in place to keep their interaction with you acceptable and proper. If they do not, take my advice and get away from that person, no matter what your instincts tell you (or what they themselves may tell you). If you ever feel that you are in a situation that is beyond your control, get out in any way you can, then go and tell an adult that you trust what’s going on. Don’t try to shoulder the responsibility yourself. If you have no one you can trust, go to Oasis and tell me. I’ll try to put you in touch with a resource that can help you.
Do you see what I’m saying here guys and girls? It’s a complex issue, but it really boils down to this: Hands off the grown-ups, and make them keep their hands off you. The exceptions to this rule are very few and far between and chances are that your situation isn’t going to be one of them. So do the right thing, and if any adult around you isn’t doing the right thing, steer clear and tell someone you trust about it. There are plenty of adults out there that truly love and care about young people. I happen to be one of them. So take this to heart and be careful out there, okay?
Peace and hugs (innocent, well-chaperoned hugs!) to you all.