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There is too much sanity lurking in your questions. It is misplaced here on this topic. :) Sexual child abuse, like rape, usually is not so much about sex as about domination.

The wikipedia article I linked to has some info in English on the different groups of perpetrators. Then there is the link to the article on a study which analysed cases of convicted child abusers in the court district of Stendal, in German. I am sorry that so many of my links are in German, and I couldn't translate much (or else I still wouldn't have finished the diary). I can sum up this one a bit, though, from the findings of the article that I took the picture on relationships between perpetrator and victim of: 20% of the perpetrators are strangers. In this group a significant (but unfortunately unspecified in the article) subset is mentally disabled/has an extremely low IQ: men who cannot have normal relationships with other adults, but are sexually attracted by them. They seek sex with children, who are intellectually their equals, as a substitute. This subset probably comes closest to the description you have in mind with your questions.  

80% of the cases are committed by persons who know the child well. They are close relations, who are in a position of power. The incest taboo is obviously working: stepfathers are more likely to sexually abuse children than biological fathers. A large portion of sexual abuse happens in dysfunctional families where a man batters and rapes wife and children. Nothing to do with paedophilia, this is violence against persons he treats as property. The motives of siblings, grandfathers and uncles fall into the same category: domination. Children are chosen as victims because they are helpless and cannot even judge the situation as wrong (many abusers tell their victims that all fathers/brothers/whatever do this to children, that it is normal). The satisfaction of the perpetrator is in the power relation. 42% of the perpetrators belong into this group, and I don't see paedophilia as a motivation here.

The last group (38%) are acquaintances of the child or its family. Neighbours, baby-sitters, teachers, priests belong here, too. Positions of power and trust. We can't be sure how many paedophiles seek these positions in order to find victims or how many perpetrators find themselves in these positions that they then exploit to exercise power over children without being particularly sexually attracted by them.  

So, plenty of motives for sexual abuse of children. Paedophilia is only one of them, and all evidence points at that it is the motivation for a minority of the cases. The focus on paedophilia does not help then.  The danger for children is in "exploitable power". That's for instance families with a violence problem. And that's teaching children that there are particular groups of people who can be trusted as a whole, like teachers or priests. Strategies to protect children are more likely to be successful if they come from the angle of "power" (and authority, trust) instead of "sex" (and body). That's why I insist so much on differentiating between paedophiles and child abusers.

by Katrin on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 08:41:35 AM EST
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Some time ago I read an article by a psychologist who had worked with convicted sexual abusers in prison. He described it as them often being unaware of why they did what they did, seperating - and often hating - the abuser part of themselves. He saw the paedophile scaremongering as unhelpful because it contributed to the seperation and lack of self-understanding, which made the problems worse.

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by A swedish kind of death on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 09:18:20 AM EST
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a study which analysed cases of convicted child abusers

No study based on convictions can be accurate.

Rape conviction rates are tiny. It's a given child rape conviction rates are far tinier, because most cases don't get to trial. Of those that do, it's far easier to secure a conviction when there's independent corroboration - for example, in a family - than it is to convict those in a position of authority.

The latter get dual protection. Not only is the abuser able to use a position of power to silence victims, but if accusations are made, the abuser can rely on higher political or religious authority to cover up the abuse.

This is exactly what happened in the Catholic church, in many of the UK's music schools, in the BBC, which seems to have been very good at protecting some of its entertainers, and is currently happening in Westminster, where serious questions based on written evidence - or sometimes the mysterious disappearance of written evidence - are being asked about important political names.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 09:20:56 AM EST
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ThatBritGuy:
No study based on convictions can be accurate.

Sure. That's why I used expressions like "evidence points at" and so. There simply aren't studies with representative samples of all detected and undetected child abusers... The evidence we have still points in one direction. Do you doubt that the wish to dominate, not paedophile disposition, is the motivation in the majority of the cases? If so, may I ask what reasons you have for your doubts?

by Katrin on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 09:51:51 AM EST
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Do you doubt that the wish to dominate, not paedophile disposition, is the motivation in the majority of the cases?

Adults are so powerful that if domination were the goal, sexual domination is redundant. It's simply unnecessary when it's so easy for adults to intimidate and manipulate children in other ways.

Besides, sexual dominance/submission orientations have been understood by psychology for well over a century. I'm not aware of any literature or research that suggests they're synonymous with paedophilia, or even that there's significant overlap. Are you?

Given that the dictionary definition of paedophilia is 'sexual attraction to children', it seems odd to suggest that sexual attraction to children isn't the point.

Paedophiles say as much themselves. The BBC published this history of paedophile organisation PIE.

The quotes make it clear that paedophiles feel the same attractions that adults feel, but with a focus on underage children instead of other adults.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 11:02:56 AM EST
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But sexual dominance/submission orientations are also uncorrelated with adult rape.

So rape and child sexual abuse must require an additional ingredient distinct from sexual orientation.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 11:59:11 AM EST
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Yes. And there are for instance heterosexual men raping men. It is not (at least not necessarily) related to sexual orientation.
by Katrin on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 12:25:49 PM EST
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I'm not disputing what paedophiles feel. I am not disputing that a subset of them commits acts of paedosexuality. I am disputing that all the perpetrators of paedosexuality are paedophiles, and there I am in accordance with all sources of scientific literature on the topic . The evidence we have has convinced me that only a minority of them are.

I don't know what the history of PIE is meant to prove on this point.

by Katrin on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 12:22:14 PM EST
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Anecdotal evidence (probably statistics too but I'm too lazy to go looking for them) suggests that many (most?) perpetrators were themselves victims of paedophilia.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 09:48:59 AM EST
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It's not so easy, unfortunately. There is a clear link between growing up in a violent family and likelihood to use that learned behaviour later in life as a parent. Unsurprising. But with sexual abuse there is mixed evidence.

Who abuses children? - Resource sheet - Child Family Community Australia

Evidence indicating whether those who are sexually abused in childhood are more likely to sexually abuse in adulthood is mixed. In a US study comparing the developmental experiences of child sexual abusers and adult sexual abusers, 73% of the child sexual abusers in the sample had experienced child sexual abuse themselves (Simons, Wurtele, & Durham, 2008). However, in a longitudinal study in the United Kingdom, only 11.6% of a sample of 224 former male victims of child sexual abuse had subsequently committed a sexual offence toward a child (Salter et al., 2003).
by Katrin on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 10:21:21 AM EST
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Interestingly, these two studies are not symmetrical, therefore not necessarily contradictory :
  • Of the US abusers who got caught (and could therefore be studied), a big majority had been abused
  • Of the UK victims who were detected, and subsequently kept track of, only a small minority committed abuses.

Being a child victim of sexual abuse messes you up. It's not necessarily about violence. Affection, protection and sex can become closely associated.  

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Thu Feb 27th, 2014 at 10:35:18 AM EST
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