Talk with your kids about Molestation
How to Talk to Your Child About Molestation
Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?
Oregon Trends - 10/22/20 (Sexual Abuse)
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Talk with your kids about Molestation

If it hadn’t been for the watchful eye of my older sister, I may have been a victim of sexual molestation.

Growing up, when I was about seven-years-old and she was around 12, we had neighbors who had children around our ages and on any given day our parents could find us at one of several houses. I distinctly remember that the older boys, who were around my sister’s age, would try to coax me into an empty room in the basement, a bathroom or closet. My sister would snatch me up so fast and storm us home, and to me, it seemed for no reason. She was mad, furious at times, and I didn't know what I had done wrong and why she wouldn’t ever talk to some of those guys again. She knew the boys were curious about things that weren’t even on my radar at the time.

As I grew older, I understood that she was protecting me from situations that could’ve been traumatic and ultimately life-changing. We spoke about those times many years later and she laughed it off: “Oh yeah, he wanted to show you something, alright! You were such a freaking ditz as a kid.”

Now that we’re both parents, we often talk about how absolutely necessary it is establish a level of comfort with our children so that we can have open dialogues about our bodies, strangers, personal space, and yes, molestation and how to prevent it.

As with anything else, the best thing is to educate and communicate with your child. We spoke with Atlanta-based behavioral specialist, Mike Conner, and she gave us a few pointers on discussing molestation with children. "Children are trusting by nature, so you have to educate them," Conner explained. “First and foremost, parents should understand that victims of child molestation have been targeted and the offenders usually place themselves in unique positions to target their victims. So this could be schools, recreational sports organizations, community youth clubs and things of this nature – this does not exclude family members, neighbors or babysitters."

Conner stresses that a sexual predator could be anyone your child comes in contact with every day. "They don’t necessarily look scary or threatening," she explains. "It could be someone they know, have met before and maybe close to. The most important thing to stress is this - not every authoritative figure is right or justified in their actions and no one has the permission to touch him or her in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, no one has permission to touch their private areas and they most certainly do not touch anyone else’s.”

When my son was about three-years-old, he started pre-school. In the weeks leading up to his first day, during bath time I would have him wash himself, and the first time I referred to his private area as his “privates” he was floored with confusion. “Pribates?” I felt like I was robbing him of his innocence but he needed to know that he has areas no one is allowed to touch. “Yes, your privates, sweetie. They are yours and no one should be touching them.” Once again, he’s a little confused. “You can touch my privates, Mommy?” he asked. I explained that I do because I bathe him, wipe him and the like, and he took over the conversation for me. “So, Dad and Grandma and Aunties are okay too because they give me baths and wipe me?” Ah, yes! He caught on quick and his father and I were relieved. He even came up with his own name for his private area – “no-no parts.” We were fine with whatever he decided to call his area as long as he knew that no one was to touch him there and if anyone ever did to tell us immediately.

During this teaching time, we also made a point to stress the fact that there are no secrets between him and any adult under any circumstance and today, at 11-years-old, he still remembers that conversation and is very comfortable expressing to us when someone “gives me the creeps.” Our advice, "trust your gut and keep your distance." I find great comfort in knowing he knows appropriate and inappropriate interaction between himself and others.

“Trust that you know your child well enough to know how to pilot this conversation,” Conner adds. “The last thing you want to do is upset or scare your child by having this conversation, nor do you want to spark an overreaction within them to a point where everyone is a threat. Awareness is key here and a set of united parents cannot go wrong when they talk to their children and more importantly listen.”

How to Talk to Your Child About Molestation

It's difficult for most parents to talk to children about this emotionally laden subject. How can we warn children of potential dangers without destroying their basic trust of people or upsetting their view that this is a good world? We may shy away from the topic because we don’t think it’s possible to discuss the negative aspects of sexuality, such as adult exploitation of children, without giving disapproving messages about healthy physical affection or sex in general.

But children are bombarded every day with media events and stories involving murders, burglaries, kidnappings, rapes and molestations. We need to help interpret these events for children and put them into perspective. We must talk to our children about precautions they can take to thwart a potential molester. It may be easier for you to use news reports as a way of leading into this uncomfortable topic.

Child molestation can occur in any neighborhood. The offender can be of any age, race or economic level. In most cases, the offender is not a stranger, but a relative or an acquaintance of the family. The victim can be either male or female. Molestations very seldom take place in a child care program. They occur much more frequently in a home or neighborhood setting.

To help your children protect themselves, consider the following suggestions, adapting them to your own personal style.

•Teach children their full names, addresses and phone numbers as well as your workplace and neighbors’ phone numbers. They should also know how to use the 911 emergency phone number and how to call the operator.

•Talk to your children about their bodies, including vagina, penis and breasts. Teach them that these parts are private.

•Tell your child that if anyone tries to touch or look at his/her private parts, shows them pictures of private parts, or tries to photograph their private parts, then the child needs to tell you, a teacher, guardian or caregiver as soon as they can.

•Children should also tell you if an adult wants them to keep secrets. Emphasize that these kinds of secrets are never allowed.

•Let them know that people who want to do “secret touching” might try tricks to get children to do what they want, like giving them candy or gifts, or threatening them with punishment or separation from their family. Tell children that this is wrong and that people who do this will get in trouble for their behavior.

•Children need specific ideas of what behaviors to watch for, and permission from you to say NO and to leave a situation which makes them uncomfortable.

•Below are some conversational examples to help you:

“There are some people who may want to touch your body in ways you don’t like. Sometimes they may want to touch your private parts such as your penis, vagina, breasts, or have you touch their bodies. You have the right to tell someone they can’t touch you in a way that makes you uncomfortable.”

“They may want to show you pictures of naked people or try to convince you to go along with them.

These people can be strangers or even people you know. You may never meet such a person but, then again, you may.”

“Talk to me if you have any concerns or if you are confused by things that happen to you or your

friends. I'm here for you. Don’t be afraid to tell or ask me anything.”

•Throughout the year, play a “what if...” scenario with your children. For example, ask your child, “What if someone offered you a video game in exchange for something you were uncomfortable doing?”

•Encourage children to stay with their friends, especially on outings or in deserted areas, such as public restrooms.

•Never leave children alone in your car. Instruct children never to get into a car with a stranger or accept rides or gifts from acquaintances without your prior permission. Tell your children that you will never send a stranger to pick them up without first letting them know.

•Children should know that just because someone knows their name, it doesn’t mean that person can be trusted or knows you. They could have learned a child’s name by eavesdropping or from a personalized jacket or lunch box. Tell your children to get away from a suspicious situation — run, shout, seek help from neighbors, storekeepers, police, etc.

•Get to know your neighbors. You can form a neighborhood watch group and/or invite a member of local law enforcement or child abuse prevention program to a neighborhood discussion group to learn more about this issue.

•Monitor your child’s Internet activities. Use a screening device to keep pornography off your compute. Explain that chat rooms are places where some adults try to meet children to take advantage of them. Tell your children never to give out personal information online, such as their full name, address, phone number, etc.

•Take children's stories seriously. They rarely make up tales of sexual abuse. Check out the information and take action when necessary. Call an agency for help if you’re unsure and want help in evaluating a situation.

Suspicious incidents that occur in your neighborhood, school, child care setting or family, should be communicated to the appropriate people – police, your physician, school principal, director, or Alameda County Children’s Protective Services, 259-1800 (24-hour hotline).

Share the information with members of your community, through phone trees, online groups or fliers, as a way of mobilizing for safety. Remember to assure the privacy of any family whose children have been involved. Some schools have sent warnings to parents when suspicious incidents have occurred and parents have welcomed these notices. This kind of communication should be encouraged.

There are children's books to help you with this topic. Whatever you choose to read, consider the following: will it help you and your child or will it increase your fear and confusion? Do you feel comfortable with the approach? Does it seem right for your child’s age? Does it emphasize self-confidence and healthy physical contact? Does it say where you can turn for help?

Child abuse prevention programs also need to approach this topic with great care. Parents should always know ahead of time when such a program is visiting their child’s child care or school classroom. Review the materials and approach being used, as well as the backgrounds of the individuals involved. Signed parental consent forms should be obtained for every child included in the presentation.

This is just the beginning of exploring this topic. How to talk with your child if a molestation occurs requires all your parental wisdom and skills. If something occurs in your family, your initial response is especially important. Try to remain calm and not transfer your own panic and sense of horror to your child. Spend the first moments reassuring your child and getting the specifics, calmly, as best as your child can give them to you. Try to avoid leading questions; let the child tell you what happened in his/her own way. It’s important for children to be reassured that whatever happened was not their fault. There are community organizations to help you, should you find yourself in this dilemma.

Are Gays A Threat To Our Children? A discussion of gay sexuality and homosexual molestation

“...Evidence showing that pedophilia is in fact a common part of the homosexual lifestyle is staggering. Homosexuals, while representing perhaps 2% of the population, perpetrate more than one-third of all reported child molestations.” — Colorado For Family Values 1

“Individuals from the 1 to 3 percent of the population that is sexually attracted to the same sex are committing up to one third of the sex crimes against children.” — Timothy J. Daily, Family Research Council 2

“Our laws and social policies should protect children, not cater to the whims and sexual desires of sexual predators. We must oppose homosexual activism ‘for the children’s sake.’ ” — Traditional Values Coalition 3

When men molest little girls, they’re called “pedophiles” or “sexual predators”; heterosexuality is never blamed for the abuse. But when men molest little boys, they’re simply called “homosexuals”, as though sexual orientation were responsible for driving these men to their crimes. 4 Gays are singled out for suspicion of molesting children in numbers far out of proportion to their presence in the general population.

Child sexual abuse has a profound impact on victims and their families. Because we want to protect our children, we must ask: Are gays disproportionately abusing children?

The Starting Point: What Do We Know?

When it comes to numbers, we know surprisingly little about child sexual abuse. Official statistics are notoriously incomplete because too many cases are never reported. Many researchers believe that many male victims who are molested by men may not come forward because of the stigma surrounding homosexuality. These victims often not only fear the false label of being gay; they may also fear harassment or condemnation because of it. Fortunately, our society has recently shown an admirable steadfastness in supporting these victims when they do come forward, and their example has, no doubt, emboldened other victims to do the same. If anything remotely positive could come from the tragedy of the Catholic sexual abuse scandals, it is this: the stigma of same-sex abuse has been lowered considerably, allowing more victims to come forward. 5

Unfortunately, this picture is very different with boys who are molested by adult women. Sociologists and case workers have noted that many boys who are sexually involved with adult women rarely complain simply because they don’t believe they’ve been molested. In fact, they’re likely to brag about their exploits to their friends, who in turn admire them for being enough of a “man” to have sex with an older woman. 6 In one exploratory study, when men who had sex with adult women before the men were sixteen were asked how they felt about it, fully 88% reported that the experience was a positive one. 7 Such sexual encounters are not only celebrated as a rite of passage, but are glamorized in music videos, advertising and in films. Popular hits like The Graduate, Harold and Maude, The Last Picture Show, and Summer of ’42 are just a few which celebrated the introduction of underage boys to the ways of sex by older women. 8 Because there is very little incentive in our culture to view this as harmful, such encounters in real life rarely turn up in official statistics. Only now is there a slowly growing recognition that when boys are exploited by older women, they are seriously harmed by the experience. 9

“Pedophilia chic” has been a very important part of mass-media for decades, and it is by no means limited to glamorizing young males. Brooke Shields was only fifteen when she announced that “nothing comes between me and my Calvin Klein jeans.” Britney Spears has taught an entire generation of elementary school girls to show their midriffs, and Jon-Bonett Ramsey’s murder introduced millions of Americans to the child-pageant circuit in which parents dressed their little girls as sexualized adults for competition and prizes. Indeed, there is a remarkable lack of shame in our culture surrounding the heterosexual exploitation of young children and adolescents. With pervasive images like these, there is little doubt that official statistics represent a very significant undercount of heterosexual activity between adults and minors.

Against this backdrop, it is impossible to know how many boys and girls are having sex with adults. And it is impossible to know how many adult men and women are having sex with under-aged boys and girls. But among those cases that are reported, males make up about 25-30% of all child molestation victims, with females making up the remaining cases. 10 And as of July, 2000 about 94% of all sexual predators against juveniles who were reported to police were male, 11, although the proportion of female predators being reported has risen sharply in recent years. 12

A Simple Question

So it would appear that according to official statistics, men who abuse boys make up less than a third of all men who abuse children. And we know that the proportion of gays in the general population is very small — certainly much smaller than one-third. Some gay-rights activists claim that gays make up 10% of the population, but this is not supported by modern surveys. Others, especially those who oppose gay rights, claim that the number is much smaller, on the order of 1-3%. While there are many reasons to believe that this range is artificially low, most large-population surveys support a figure of around 3%.13, 14

What does this mean? Well, let’s say that we have gathered 10,000 adults in a stadium and asked them one simple yes-or-no question: “Are you gay?” If our 3% figure is correct, only 300 people in that stadium would answer “yes” to that question, with the remaining 9,700 saying “no.”

And for someone who answers “yes” to that question, what would we know about him? Most people would consider the answer to be obvious: if he’s a man, he dates other men, he is sexually attracted to other men, and because he is comfortable enough to answer “yes” to a stranger with a clipboard, he is probably known by his family, friends and neighbors as being gay. He certainly isn’t married to a woman, nor is he dating women or doing much of anything else to lead anyone to conclude that he is anything but gay. And you can draw the same conclusions for a woman who answer “yes” as well: she dates other women, is attracted to other women, and is comfortable enough to answer the question in the affirmative. In other words, visibly “out” gay men and women are typically the ones who are confident enough to answer “yes” to these surveys.

This point may seem simple-minded, but it is very important to keep in mind exactly who we’re talking about when we’re discussing this three percent. Anti-gay activists claim that upwards of a third of all child molesters who happened to show up at our stadium can be found among these 300 “out” men and women, while the remaining two-thirds would be scattered among the 9,700 “straight” people (or at least, those who claim not to be gay or lesbian). Using just this assumption, Focus on the Family concludes that “a child molester is 17 times more likely to be homosexual than heterosexual.” 15

And how do we know that this three percent represents those who are “out”? It’s simple: these same surveys show that this three percent does not include everyone who is behaving homosexually. Not only does it exclude bisexuals, but it also excludes those who don’t identify themselves as being gay for any number of reasons even though they engage in homosexual behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 57.1% of men who had sex with another man did not consider themselves to be homosexual — or even bisexual.16 Another representative survey suggests that more than 20% of all men say they have had a homosexual experience,17 a figure which, by the way, comes close to closing the proportionality gap of men abusing boys. While this gives us our first clue that the claim made by anti-gay activists is not all that it seems to be, it is far from convincing. But it does show that a lot of people behave homosexually without being among the three percent who identify themselves as being gay.

To better understand what is going on, we need to look much more closely at those men who are abusing children. Fortunately, the professional literature is loaded with such studies.

Are Gay Men Abusing Boys?

In the 1992 campaign for Colorado’s Amendment 2 (which would have prohibited anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation), the group supporting the amendment, Colorado For Family Values, repeated the charge that 3% of the population was responsible for 30% of all child molestation cases. By constantly repeating this charge, they were able to persuade voters to approve the amendment (It was eventually overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court). But Denver-area doctors, case workers and investigators knew something wasn’t right with this charge based on what they were seeing in their daily work.

This lead Dr. Carole Jenny and her colleagues 18 to review 269 medical records of Denver-area children who were sexually abused by adults. Of the 50 male children, 37 (74%) were molested by a man who had been in a heterosexual relationship with the child’s relative. Three were molested by women, five were molested by both parents, and three others were molested by non-relatives. Only one perpetrator could be identified as being possibly homosexual in his adult behavior.

Let’s consider what this means. If these men who abused boys in this study were in our stadium, all but one would have answered “no” to the question “Are you gay?” More importantly, if authorities were on the lookout for gay child molesters, they would have missed 49 of these 50 sexual predators because they would have been hidden among the 9,700 in our stadium who said they were not gay. And not only did they say they were not gay, they were married, had girlfriends, or were otherwise known to have sexual relationships with women. If law enforcement had been looking for the perpetrators among gay men, they never would have found them.

Dr. Jenny and her associates concluded that even if you use the worst case possibilities in their sample, no more than 3.1% of child sexual abuse cases reported to the Denver clinic were abused by someone who could be identified as possibly being gay, a proportion that is not far from the number of gays in the general population.

Two Types of Predators

As surprising as this may be, it only confirmed what Dr. Nicholas Groth, one of the leading experts in the study of child sexual abuse, demonstrated some sixteen years earlier. In 1978, Dr, Groth and Dr. Jean Birnbaum published a study of 175 convicted male child molesters in which they determined:

“The child offender is a relatively young adult either who has been sexually attracted to underage persons almost exclusively in his life or who turns to a child as a result of stresses in his adult sexual or marital relationships. Those offenders who are sexually attracted exclusively to children show a slight preference for boys over girls, yet these same individuals are uninterested in adult homosexual relationships. In fact, they frequently express a strong sexual aversion to adult males.” 19

Dr. Groth identified two classic types of child molesters that he labeled fixated and regressed. 20 The fixated molester is one whose development is “fixated” at childhood. In other words, he has never grown up. He typically lives a Peter-Pan existence, in a Neverland of childlike identity and behavior. Even though he is physically an adult, he continues to identify himself with childhood and with children. He does not form adult relationships easily, or if he does, the relationships tend not to be very stable; instead, he sees children as his peers. He surrounds himself with children and is most comfortable with them. Other adults often see him as being “very good with children”, which allows him to obtain a position of trust, possibly as a role model, leader, caretaker or guardian.

Because his primary sexual interest is in children and not adults, he offers us the classic definition of a “pedophile.” Because he is fixated on children, he could not properly be considered to be either heterosexual or homosexual — the idea of having sex with an adult of either gender is often repulsive to him.

The regressed molester is very different. His attraction to children is usually more temporary. It is sometimes a matter of convenience, at other times, a matter of violent control or punishment. Unlike the fixated molester, the regressed molester’s primary sexual attraction is toward other adults. But stressful conditions that go along with adult responsibly or difficulties in his adult relationships may overwhelm him, causing his sexual attraction to “regress” towards children. This regression sometimes serves as a substitute for adult relationship, and his attraction to children may vary according to the varying stresses he encounters in his adult life demands.

In some cases, he may temporarily relate to the child as a peer, much as a fixated offender relates to children. But more often, he is simply lashing out or relieving the stresses in his life, and the child becomes a vulnerable and convenient target. He may find a sense of power in his sexual relationship with a child that he is unable to obtain with adult, and in these cases it is not unusual for this relationship to become coercive or violent. But regardless of the nature of the relationship, the gender of the child is often irrelevant — it is easy access and vulnerability that makes the child a target.

Research has shown time and time again that regressed offenders are very typically heterosexual in their adult relationships. Unlike our three percent sample, they date women and marry them. They often are parents, stepparents or extended family members of their victims. By all appearances — and by their own self identification — they are straight. Drs. Groth and Birnbaum emphasized this point, saying:

“In over 12 years of clinical experience working with child molesters, we have yet to see any example of a regression from an adult homosexual orientation. The child offender who is also attracted to and engaged in adult relationships is heterosexual.” 21 (Emphasis in the original)

Are These “Straight” Abusers Lying?

You’re probably shaking your head right about now. Why would a man who claims to be straight molest young boys? How could he not be gay, even if he refuses to admit it?

This concerned Dr. Kurt Freund and his associates at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto, where many convicted sexual predators were sent for treatment. Dr. Freund devised a test to determine whether their supposedly “straight” child abusers were lying. Using an instrument connected to the subject’s penis, Dr. Freund and his colleagues measured changes in its volume while the subject looked at pictures of nude men, women and children. These phallometric (penis-measuring) tests, while exceptionally controversial for many reasons, 22 nevertheless supported their conclusion that as a group, gay men were no more likely to respond sexually to male children than straight men. Furthermore these tests supported these sex offenders’ statements when they claimed to be gay or straight:

“These studies show that only rarely are sex offenders against male children diagnosed as androphiles [homosexual in adult orientation] and that phallometric diagnosis of gynophilic [heterosexual in adult orientation] and androphilic volunteers almost always corresponds to their claimed erotic preference.” 23

So, they are clearly telling the truth — at least according to how they responded physically to the nude pictures. 24 When they say they are straight, they respond to pictures of adult women, and when they say they are gay, they respond sexually to pictures of adult men. Yet Dr. Freund and his associates determined that gays are no more attracted to young boys than straights.

How Could “Straight” Men Be Attracted To Boys?

If these molesters aren’t lying when they say they’re straight, why would they abuse boys? What could possibly be the attraction?

Dr. W.L. Marshall and his colleagues conducted a similar set of phallometric tests on a sample of gay and straight men, except this time they used more photos of young boys and girls covering a wider age span. They noticed that for those gay men who were attracted to males under 18, they tended to be attracted to young men who were well past the age of puberty (age 15 or older), with fully-developed adult genitalia and other features that were characteristically masculine. But heterosexual men, when they showed an attraction towards younger males, tended to be attracted to pre-pubescent males (ages 9-11). Dr. Marshall and his colleagues noted:

“Amongst the heterosexuals, the commonest remarks concerning attractive features of the victims, were that the young boys did not have any body hair and that their bodies were soft and smooth.” 25

In other words, it was the feminine characteristics of the young boys that straight child molesters found attractive. This explains the apparent contradiction of straight men abusing young boys. They really are straight, and when they abuse young boys, they are responding to the feminine qualities of pre-pubescent boys, qualities that the gay men in the study didn’t find appealing. After all, gay men are, by definition, attracted to men; the feminine characteristics of young boys were a turn-off to them.

“Homosexuality” and “Homosexual Molestation”

Part of the confusion between homosexuality and the molestation of young boys comes from the terminology used by researchers themselves. If an adult male molests a young boy, that type of molestation is typically called a “homosexual molestation”. But when described this way, the term “homosexual” is used as an adjective in its most literal sense — the victim and perpetrator are of the same sex. It does not refer to the sexual orientation of either the victim or the perpetrator. 26

Unfortunately, researchers aren’t always careful with how they use the word “homosexual” in their academic writings. After all, they understand the clinical meaning of the word and how the meaning shifts according to the context in which it is used. “Homosexual abuse” merely describes the same-sex nature of the abuser and victim, not the sexual orientation of either the abuser or victim. They often use the shorthand “homosexuals” to describe the men who abuse boys. But when they go the extra step of determining the actual sexual orientation of child molesters, they tend to be much more careful in their choice of words. Some, like Dr. Freund, prefer the clinical terms “androphile” (attracted to men) and “gynophile” (attracted to women) to describe those who are attracted to adults.

This distinction is a very vital point, one that most anti-gay activists refuse to acknowledge. In fact, some are very hostile to this idea. Peter LaBarbera, of Concerned Women of America, exclaimed, “Who cares if a guy is married? If he’s molesting boys, that’s homosexual behavior. It’s academic nonsense to talk about these people as heterosexuals.” 27

But it’s not nonsense at all. If a man is married, he’s not among the 3% who claimed to be gay in our stadium survey. He’s certainly not among the gay couples who are adopting children or seeking to marry. Instead, he’s among the vast majority who claim to be straight. If law enforcement were to focus their efforts on finding sexual predators among the “out” 3% who claim to be gay, 97% of male abusers of young boys would go unpunished. 28

A Firmly Established Tactic

Yet anti-gay activists insist on spreading this misinformation. Dr. Timothy Dailey (PhD, religion) of the Family Research Council quoted Dr. Freund’s statement of “199 offenders against female children and 96 offenders against male children. This would indicate a proportional prevalence of 32 percent of homosexual offenders against children.” 29 But he ignored Dr. Freund’s clarification in the very same report that:

“The observed difference between the proportion of offenders against boys among offenders against children, and the proportion of androphiles [homosexual in adult orientation] among males who erotically prefer physically mature partners, is so large that it should not be overlooked. ...Androphiles actually responded significantly less to the male children.” 30

This clinical language can be condensed this way: There is a big difference between men abusing boys and homosexuality, with gays (androphiles) being “significantly” less interested in male children. This echoes what Dr. Groth reported in 1982:

“The research to date all points to there being no significant relationship between a homosexual lifestyle and child molestation. There appears to be practically no reportage of sexual molestation of girls by lesbian adults, and the adult male who sexually molests young boys is not likely to be a homosexual.” 31

But of course, you don’t see what the research really says in Dr. Dailey’s article. Instead, you’ll find it filled with massive misrepresentations of research findings — including those of Dr. Groth, who denounced Dr. Dailey’s misrepresentation of his work:

“Since your report, in my view, misrepresents the facts of what we know about this matter from scientific investigation, and does not indicate that my studies on this topic reach conclusions diametrically opposed to yours, I would appreciate your removing any reference to my work in your paper lest it appear to the reader that my research supports your views.” 32

But no matter how loudly researchers denounce these misrepresentations, the damage is done. This tactic has become so firmly established, these activists are even willing to lie to the courts. The Family Research Council submitted a friend-of-the-court brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1999 for The Boy Scouts of America vs James Dale, in which they said that “although homosexuals account for less than two percent of the population, they constitute about a third of child molesters.” 33

Easier to Nauseate Than Educate

But no matter how often a lie is told, it is still false. Dr. Michael R. Stevenson conducted an exhaustive review of the social science literature in 2000, and concluded that “a gay man is no more likely than a straight man to perpetrate sexual activity with children,” and “cases of perpetration of sexual behavior with a pre-pubescent child by an adult lesbian are virtually nonexistent”. 34 The research is so strong that the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists 35 and the American Psychological Association 36 have issued statements stating that there is no correlation between homosexuality and child sexual abuse.

Surely anti-gay activists must know that their claims are false. They’ve read the research from the most knowledgeable experts in the field — or at least they claimed to have read it. But if they have, they must know that what they’re saying doesn’t match what the researchers themselves are saying. But it seems they keep spreading their accusations because they know how effective they are. Every parent would consider it his or her worst nightmare to discover that their innocent child has been sexually violated. And anti-gay activists feed on that fear to further their agenda because, as Colorado for Family Values founder Tony Marco observed, “It is easier to nauseate than it is to educate.” 37

And while this lie is horribly libelous to gay men and women, that’s only a small part of the damage. The real harm is to our children. As long as we remain suspicious of the wrong people, predators will continue to have free reign to abuse innocent children. If they remain free from scrutiny because everyone else is focusing on gays and lesbians, more young lives will continue to be shattered and more parents will suffer the agonizing heartache of learning that they trusted someone who destroyed their child’s future. We must not allow the far right to cynically jeopardize our children’s safety to further their agenda. The consequences are far too severe for the next generation.


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3. Traditional Values Coalition, “Exposed: Homosexual child molesters.” (undated), (PDF/218 KB, accessed February 26, 2005). [BACK]

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9. Koch, Wendy. “More women charged in sex cases: Double standard over molestation charges, arrests could be fading.” USA Today (November 30, 2005): 3A. Available online at [BACK]

10. Finkelhor, David. “Current information on the scope and nature of child sexual abuse.” The Future of Children: Sexual Abuse of Children 4, no. 2 (Summer 1994): 31-53. Abstract available online at [BACK]

11. Snyder, Howard N. Sexual Assault of Young Children As Reported To Law Enforcement: Victim, Incident, and Offender Characteristics (Washington, DC: US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. NCJ-182990, July, 2000). Available online at (PDF/129 KB). [BACK]

12. Shakeshaft, Charol. Educator sexual misconduct: A synthesis of existing literature (Washington, DC: US Department of Education, June, 2004). Available online at (PDF/1,141 KB). [BACK]

13. Smith, Tom W. American Sexual Behavior: Trends, Socio-Demographic Differences, and Risk Behavior. (April 2003) Chicago: National Opinion Research Center; shows that in 2002, 3.3% of men and 2.6% of women participated in exclusively same-gender sexual activity in the preceding twelve months. The survey notes that these percentages fluctuate depending the length of time in which the same-gendered sexual activity occurs, (12 months vs. 5 years) and the age of the respondents. For example, 5.1% of all men aged 30-39 participated in same-gendered sexual activity in the past five years, and 3.7% of all women aged 30-39 participated in same-gendered sexual activity in the past five years. This survey also reviewed numerous other surveys between 1970 and 1997 that indicated percentages of adult Americans with same-gendered sexual partners or identifying with homosexual/bisexual orientation ranging from 1.6% to 6.5%, depending on the definitions and methodologies used. [BACK]

14. Mosher, William D.; Chandra, Anjani D.; Jones, Jo. “Sexual behavior and selected health measure: Men and women 15-44 years of age, United States, 2002” Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics; No 362 (Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, September 15, 2005). Available online at (PDF/1,248 KB). Of men aged 18-44, 90% identified as heterosexual, 2.3% homosexual, 1.8% bisexual, 3.9% “something else”, and 1.8% did not answer. Of women aged 18-44, 90% identified as heterosexual, 1.3% homosexual, 2.8% bisexual, 3.8% “something else”, and 1.8% did not answer. Unknown numbers those who answered “something else” may have objected to the term “homosexual”, preferring “gay" or “lesbian”, as many gays and lesbians find the term “homosexual” offensive. See page 3. [BACK]

15. Larry Burtoft, Setting the Record Straight: What Research Really Says About the Social Consequences of Homosexuality (Colorado Springs: Focus on the Family, 1994): 64-67. [BACK]

16. Mosher, William D.; Chandra, Anjani D.; Jones, Jo. "Sexual behavior and selected health measure: Men and women 15-44 years of age, United States, 2002" Advance Data From Vital and Health Statistics; No 362 (Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, September 15, 2005): 30. Available online at (PDF/1,248 KB). [BACK]

17. Seidman, Stuart H.; Reider, Ronald O. “A review of sexual behavior in the United States” American Journal of Psychiatry 151, No. 3 (Mar 1994): 330-339. Abstract available online at [BACK]

18. Jenny, Carole; Roesler, Thomas A.; Poyer, Kimberly L. “Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?” Pediatrics 94, no. 1 (1994): 41-44. Abstract available online at [BACK]

19. Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7 no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at [BACK]

20. Groth, A. Nicholas; Hobson, William F.; Gary, Thomas S. “The child molester: clinical observations.” In Social Work and Child Sexual Abuse. Edited by Jon R. Conte and David A. Shore. (New York: Haworth Press. 1982): 129-144. [BACK]

21. Groth, A. Nicholas; Birnbaum, H. Jean. “Adult sexual orientation and attraction to underage persons.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 7, no. 3 (1978): 175-181. Abstract available online at [BACK]

22. There is considerable controversy surrounding the use of phallometric devices (otherwise known as plethysmography). Much of the controversy stems from why these devices were developed and how they were first used. One of the early developers of plethysmography, Dr. Kurt Freund, began his work in Czechoslovakia in the 1950’s, where these methods were used to prosecute homosexuals in civil society and to weed out homosexuals in the military. What’s more, phallometic measurements were later used to determine whether homosexual men were cured of their “affliction” often following some of the barbaric treatments which were common at the time. Some of these treatments involve injecting the “patient” with apomorphine, which causes extreme nausea, wretching and vomiting, and the use of electric shock. This inauspicious history has cast an exceptionally dark shadow on the ethics of plethysmography from the very start.

Complaints about the use of phallometric measurements intensified when Dr. Freund continued his work at the Clarke Institute in Toronto, where transgender candidates were referred for psychiatric evaluation and subjected to sexual orientation evaluation. This occurred despite the fact that transgender experience has little to do with sexual orientation or attraction. These experiments were seen as an outrageous invasion of these candidates’ privacy.

Bancroft, John. “The application of psychophysiological measures to the assessment and modification of sexual behaviour.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 9 (1971): 119-130.

Freund, Kurt; Diamant, J.; Pinkava, V. “On the validity and reliability of the phaloplethysmographic diagnosis of some sexual deviations” Review of Czech Medicine 7 (1958): 145-151.

Freund, Kurt. “Laboratory differential diagnosis of homo- and heterosexuality: An experiment with faking” Review of Czech Medicine 7 (1961): 20-31.

Freund, Kurt. “A Laboratory method for diagnosing predominance of homo- or hetero- erotic interest in the male” Behaviour Research and Therapy 1, no. 1 (1963): 85-93.

McConaghy, Nathaniel. “Subjective and penile plethysmograph responses following aversion-relief and apomorphine aversion therapy for homosexual impulses.” British Journal of Psychiatry 115, no. 523 (June 1969): 723-730. [BACK]

23. Freund, Kurt; Watson, Robin J.; Rienzo, Douglas. “Heterosexuality, homosexuality, and the erotic age preference.” Journal of Sex Research 26, no. 1 (1989): 107-117. [BACK]

24. There has been considerable discussion as to the validity of phallometric tests. Like polygraphs, phallometric results are not admissible in a court of law. There are no standards for measuring sexual attraction, and individuals respond very differently from one another. For this reason, phallometric tests are not universally accepted as diagnostic tools — they cannot prove that a given individual is gay, straight, or attracted to children. But they are useful in assessing how large groups of people respond generally to different situations, which is what we are discussing here.

One point of contention is whether test subjects can fake their physical responses to sexual stimuli. Most researchers who have looked into this have noted that while some test subjects can suppress their response to sexual stimuli (by not paying attention or ignoring the photos and spoken descriptions, for example), it was rare for a gay subject to be able to consciously fake an arousal with in the presents of heterosexual stimulation or vice versa. More information can be found in the following sources:

Adams, Henry E.; Motsinger, Patrice; McAnulty, Richard D.; Moore, Aubrey L. “Voluntary control of penile tumescence among homosexual and heterosexual subjects.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 21, no. 1 (February 1992): 17-31. Abstract available online at

Mahoney, John M.; Strassberg, Donald S. “Voluntary control of male sexual arousal.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 21, no. 1 (Feb, 1991): 1-16. Abstract available online at

McAnulty, Richard D.; Adams, Henry E. “Validity and ethics of penile circumference measures of sexual arousal: a reply to McConaghy.” Archives of Sexual Behavior 21, no. 2 (April 1992): 187-195. Abstract available online at [BACK]

25. Marshal, W.L.; Barbaree, H.E.; Butt, Jennifer. “Sexual offenders against male children: Sexual preferences.” Behaviour Research and Therapy 26, no. 5 (1988): 383-391. [BACK]

26. Newton, David E. “Homosexuals behavior and child molestation: A review of the evidence.” Adolescence 13, no. 49 (Spring, 1978): 29-43. Abstract available online at [BACK]

27. Walker, Ken. “Homosexuals more likely to molest kids, study reports.” Baptist Press News, (May 30, 2001) (accessed July 29, 2005). [BACK]

28. Jenny, Carole; Roesler, Thomas A.; Poyer, Kimberly L. “Are children at risk for sexual abuse by homosexuals?” Pediatrics 94, no. 1 (1994): 41-44. Abstract available online at [BACK]

29. Dailey, Timothy J. “Homosexuality and Child Sexual Abuse.” Insight (May 23, 2002) Family Research Council, (accessed March 28, 2005). [BACK]

30. Freund, Kurt; Heasman, Gerald; Racansky, I.G.; Glancy, Graham. “Pedophilia and heterosexuality vs. homosexuality.” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 10, no. 3 (1984): 193-200. Abstract available online at [BACK]

31. Groth, A. Nicholas; Gary, T.S. “Heterosexuality, homosexuality and pedophilia: Sexual offenses against children and adult sexual orientation.” In Male Rape: A Casebook of Sexual Aggressions, edited by A.M. Scacco (New York: AMS Press, 1982): 132-152. [BACK]

32. Groth, A. Nochilas. Letter to Timothy J. Dailey, Ph. D., Family Research Council. June 10, 2002. Included in the Human Rights Campaign’s press release dated June 14, 2002, While Dr. Groth’s study has been removed from the footnotes, it was still referenced indirectly in Dailey’s article as of March 28, 2005. [BACK]

33. Amicus curiae brief of the Family Research Council. Boy Scouts of America, et al., v. James Dale, US Supreme Court, docket 99-699. p. 23, Available online at (PDF/2,292 KB). [BACK]

34. Stevenson, Michael R. “Public policy, homosexuality, and the sexual coercion of children.” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 12, no. 4 (2000): 1-19. [BACK]

35. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Policy statement: Sexual Orientation and Civil Rights (October 1992). Available online at According to the policy statement, the AACAP “finds that there is no evidence that lesbians and gay men, per se, represent any threat to the development of child or adolescents.” [BACK]

36. American Psychological Association. Resolution on Sexual Orientation, Parents and Children. (July 2004) Available online at (PDF/105 KB). According to the policy statement, the APA states that “fears about children of lesbian or gay parents being sexually abused by adults, ostracized by peers or isolated in single-sex lesbian or gay communities have received no scientific support.” [BACK]

37. Citizens Project. “CFV holds ‘Community Watch’ seminars.” Freedom Watch (April-May, 1993) [BACK]

Source: Jim Burroway,,002.htm


For a child who needs medical attention or counseling services, call the Center for Child Protection at Children's Hospital, 428-3742. Family Paths offers support and counseling referrals for low-income families, 800-829-3777 (24-hour hotline). For additional information or support, call BANANAS’ Warm Line, 658-6046.

The Megan's Law website ( provides detailed information on registered sex offenders. You will be directed to a legal disclaimer before you can enter the site.


For Preschool-age Children

The Right Touch by Sandy Kleven, Illumination Arts Publishing Company, 1998

A Very Touching Book...for Little People and for Big People by Jan Hindman, Alexandria Assoc., 1983

Your Body Belongs to You by Cornelia Maude Spelman, Albert Whitman & Company, 2000

For School-age Children

My Body is Private by Linda Walvoord Girard, Albert Whitman & Company, 1992

For Adults

Identifying Child Molesters: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse by Recognizing the Patterns of the Offenders by Carla van Dam, Ph.D., Haworth Press, Inc., 2001