Content note: This post deals with themes of child sex abuse, and may be triggering for some readers.
What if your precious boy – the one you butter sandwiches for and kiss on the head at night – grows up to be a paedophile?
It’s a terrifying prospect. According to Dr Sarah Goode, whose research focuses on understanding adult sexual attraction to children, between three and seven per cent of men say they would have sex with a prepubescent child if they were guaranteed to go undetected.
If that statistic is accurate, and proceeding studies indicate it is, at least 362,000 Australian men feel sexually attracted to children.
They don’t live in swamps or creep down alleyways late at night. They exist among us, while concealing their innermost thoughts from the world. You might sit across from them at work. You might be friends with them. Related to them. Married to them.
Before two paedophiles speak, let’s make one thing absolutely clear: Nobody is here to defend people who abuse children. Instead, we will hear from the men who harbour paedophilia, yet have pledged to never act on it. The men who have these feelings and thoughts, but who say they will never destroy a child’s life, and despise those who do.
The men who can tell us – more than any suit-clad politician can – what the hell we can do to protect our children.
This is not an easy article to read. But what if we pushed through what feels unconscionable and demonic, dark and scary, to ultimately create a place that’s safer for our kids?