Submitted 18 Jun 2006
It's true. There is no safe way to seek counselling. I for one have been lucky enough to make a friend who is also attracted to boys and we have been friends for years. We have little in common but our plight. Having somebody to talk to who understands makes a world of difference.
Our community needs a safe support group. I have no illusions about the ones that do exist. Anything that requires my name is just as likely to be harvested by law enforcement because of the "risk" we pose.
Submitted 18 Jun 2006
May I recomend you contact Stop It Now (1-888-PREVENT). They run a confidential hotline for people in your situation. They don't trace calls under any circumstances. The people who answer the phone understand the intrinsic nature of your feelings. They will explain what you can and can't say to a therapist.
Submitted 20 Jun 2006
I need to caution you about calling Stop It Now. Because of the extreme taboo surrounding attraction to children, very few people, even professionals, are aware of the psychological research on the characteristics of boys and men attracted to younger boys (such as that found here). My understanding is that many (perhaps almost all) professionals believe innaccurate myths: that we are all violent, compulsive, devious, psychotic, lacking in conscience, etc. If Stop It Now holds such beliefs, or refers you to people with such beliefs, it could be very destructive to your mental health.
Also, if they refer you for treatment, my understanding is that the only treatment available is juvenile sex offender treatment. Abusive practices based on faulty assumptions have been well-documented, and I've heard many horror stories. Treatment may require you to admit to violent sexual behavior and mental defectiveness that you do not have. There was the program in Phoenix a few years ago that used plethysmographs attached to genitals and ammonia aversion therapy on children, leading them to violent and suicidal tendencies. Even though the Phoenix program was discontinued, its director (Robert Emerick) continues to work with JSO treatment programs, and his colleague Gene Abel advocates the use of ammonia aversion therapy on young teenagers. I've met two young men who as boys were put in treatment programs that were physically or sexually abusive, one which used plethysmograph and aversive conditioning. This was in spite of a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conference which said "use of involuntary aversive treatment is a clear violation of ethical standards." The problem is that boys who are sexually attracted to younger children are considered the worst of the worst, even if they have no aggressive tendencies or behaviors. Few people, if any, will stand up for them.
I suppose the real issue is that your reason for wanting to talk to someone may be completely different from their reason for wanting to talk to you. While you may want and need acceptance, understanding, and someone to express your feelings to, professionals (including those at Stop It Now) may see you only as a potential "child molester" and only want to change your feelings and control your behavior. Their role may be adversarial rather than supportive, and they may find your desire for acceptance and understanding to be irrelevant.
I have emailed Stop It Now to to find out how they respond to boys who contact them about their attraction to younger boys, and what kind of information or referrals they provide. I'll post their response here.
Age Taboo staff
Submitted 21 Jun 2006
I received a response from Lisa Mintz of Stop It Now. As you read it, you'll notice that Tim was mistaken: they are not equipped to accept calls from teenagers. They instead refer them to other organizations, who do not offer confidentiality. (They say they offer confidentiality to adult callers, but I'm sure the call does not stay confidential if they believe the adult may have engaged in illegal activity.) Also, they do not acknowledge the existence of abusive treatment programs. They show no evidence of capacity to provide understanding or compassion for anyone (including teenagers) attracted to younger people. They see us one-dimensionally as a danger to children, not as whole people. Thus, it would seem very unsafe to contact Stop It Now and tell them about your feelings.
Age Taboo staff
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2006 15:47:10 -0400
From: Lisa Mintz
Subject: Response from Stop It Now!
Thank you for contacting Stop It Now! with your questions. Stop It Now!'s public policy, public education, and research programs are established to protect children by emphasizing adult and community responsibility. These programs reach out to adults who are concerned about inappropriate sexualized behavior in another adult, adolescent, or child, and to adults who are concerned about their own thoughts or behaviors. We believe that adults, not children, are responsible for preventing the sexual abuse of children.
Because our work is primarily focused on adults, we are not set up to accept calls from children or teens at this time. If minors do contact our helpline we try to help them find a trusted adult with whom they can share their concerns, and we refer them to resources and hotlines that are better equipped to respond to the needs and concerns of children. As you may already know most of these other lines do not offer confidentiality to their minor callers.
If we are contacted by someone whose primary sexual attraction is to children we will speak to them about how acting on that sexual attraction will put them in an unsafe situation - both for themselves and for the younger child. If a caller is thinking about sexual interactions with a child, helpline staff will assist them in finding the help they need to keep themselves and children safe. Child sexual abuse is sexual activity with a child by an adult, an adolescent or an older child. Child Sexual Abuse Includes Touching and Non-Touching Behaviors. Not everyone who has sexual thoughts about children will sexually touch a child but we encourage callers to seek help if they are having recurrent or disturbing sexual fantasies about children.
We offer a toll-free confidential helpline for individuals who have questions or concerns about child sexual abuse. We do not use caller ID and for callers who choose not to disclose identifying information we can offer them a completely confidential call.
The Helpline receives calls from adults who have sexually abused a child, adults who are at risk to interact with a child in a sexual way, as well as calls from concerned friends and family members. We also receive calls from friends and family members of victims as well as from parents of children with sexual behavior concerns.
All calls are confidential and will be answered by a trained staff member. Our line is not answered by clinicians. The helpline is available Monday-Friday, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM (EST) at 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368)
If you have further questions about how our calls are handled or how our organization might be of help, please access our website at www.stopitnow.org
Lisa Mintz, M.Ed.
Stop It Now!
Together we can prevent the sexual abuse of children.
351 Pleasant Street, Suite B-319
Northampton, MA 01060
(413) 587-3500, Ext. 13
(413) 587-3505 FAX