ABC Tells Reporters to Avoid Using the Term ‘Pedophiles’ When Referring to Child Sex Abusers Because Not All Pedophiles Abuse Children

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The ABC has told reporters to avoid referring to child sex abusers as “pedophiles” because it marginalizes people with pedophilia.

According to The Australian, a leaked email sent from a senior producer to all news staff in Tasmania this week advised against using the term “pedophile,” even when describing serial child abusers.

The email followed “a discussion between a reporter and a local Sexual Assault Support Service last weekend,” The Australian said.

This was “prompted by reporting on alleged pedophile nurse James (Jim) Geoffrey Griffin, who killed himself in October 2019 while facing multiple charges relating to child sex abuse and producing child exploitative material,” the outlet added.

The email noted the Sexual Assault Support Service’s (SASS) concerns about describing Griffin as a pedophile and advised reporters to avoid using the word.

“We should avoid it,” the email said. “Unless we know he had a clinical diagnosis of paedophilia and instead use serial sexual offender / predator, or a sexual abuser of children and young people.

“SASS says another consideration is from their point of view, there are a lot of paedophiles / people with paedophilia who do not act on those impulses, especially if they reach out for and receive professional psychological help… describing (perhaps technically inaccurately) Griffin as a paedophile could discourage those people from seeking help, making it more likely that they go on to abuse children.”

These sentiments are nothing new. In 2014 The New York Times published an op-ed piece arguing for an end to the stigma associated with pedophilia because it prevents pedophiles from seeking treatment to help manage urges.

In the years following, TEDx hosted lectures in which academics set forward essentially the same argument, suggesting society has to “break taboos” and stop hating pedophiles in order to solve the problem of child sexual abuse.

The rationale here is that children are being sexually abused due to the social stigma associated with a sexual attraction towards minors. A stigma that shames pedophiles into hiding, leaving them untreated and, therefore, more likely to commit crimes.

One lecture, which was eventually removed from YouTube for violating the platform’s Terms of Service, even claimed “pedophilia is a natural, unchanging sexual orientation.”

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