Byline: Janice Shaw Crouse, SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The vast majority of Americans are outraged at the recent accusations of child rape by a former member of the football coaching staff at Penn State University and the seeming cover-up by the university's president and legendary head football coach. At the same time, a small, radical organization, B4U-ACT, is lobbying under the radar to convince the American Psychiatric Association (APA) - publisher of the bible for identifying abnormal behaviors, the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) - to declare that pedophilia should not be included in the list of abnormal behaviors. Members of the APA need to listen to the public outcry and disregard members of B4U-ACT. Raping a child, sexually exploiting a child, destroying a child's innocence, and psychologically and physically damaging a child are abhorrent crimes. Media coverage has downplayed the physical trauma abused children often suffer from sexual assaults. Contrary to the views of some on the radical fringe, the criminal is not the victim; nor is that person to be protected and the crime covered up while the abused and sexually exploited children are left to suffer the consequences and later, endure the years of psychological rehabilitation that is required before they can be restored to normality.
B4U-ACT is a small group of mental health professionals and pedophile activists who seek greater tolerance for minor-attracted persons (pedophiles). Indeed, those involved in the lobbying want to decriminalize, even normalize, pedophilia. They are working to change public perceptions so that raping children is acceptable behavior. Among the academics lending respectability to these efforts by speaking at the recent conference in Baltimore were researchers from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University and the universities of Louisville and Illinois. The fringe activists promise to disrupt future meetings of the APA until they are successful in normalizing pedophilia, a strategy successfully employed in the 1970s to get homosexuality removed from the DSM - not because of new scientific evidence, but because of political pressure by a small group of activists. For instance, in 1990, the Journal of Homosexuality published a special double issue devoted to adult-child sex, calling it male intergenerational intimacy.
All of this reminds me of Daniel Patrick Moynihan's warnings about defining deviancy down and cultural disintegration. I paraphrase his advice this way: Win the battles over language and you win the culture war.
Now the pedophilia activists are flexing their political muscles and with some success, changing the culture through changing the language of social science and medical terminology. To be released in 2013, the DSM proposes subtle yet significant revisions to its featured section on paraphilic disorders. The term paraphilia encompasses a wide range of aberrant sexual urges and behaviors, including but not limited to pedophilia, exhibitionism, fetishism, sexual sadism and masochism. In every version of the DSM, such forms of sexual deviance have been classified as paraphilic disorders. But now, radical fringe groups with a bully pulpit are arguing that people with atypical, culturally forbidden or religiously proscribed sexual interests should not be labeled ill, and they are putting tremendous pressure on the APA to comply. …