i’m a Youth Worker, I’m a Paedophile
The idea of a paedophile working with children is, perhaps understandably, pretty controversial. This is the story of how I realised my attraction, learnt to live with it and why I’m going to keep working with kids.
I grew up in a coastal town in the UK with two very loving parents and my two younger siblings. I never had many friends and I was bullied a lot, but every week I went to a youth group. I always felt welcomed there. It gave me a safe environment in which to learn, grow and develop as a person, especially in my self confidence. My time there influenced me as a person more than anything else.
I’d already decided by age 10 that I wanted to give back and volunteer there as an adult. I took up a volunteer role when I turned 14 and it’s the best decision I ever made. Sure it’s a lot of work, sometimes it’s like a full time job and it’s only voluntary, but now I get to help children to grow and develop. I couldn’t ask for more than that.
Shortly after starting in my volunteer position I realised I was a paedophile.
My sexuality developed pretty normally at first. I started to notice other boys my age when I was 8. Around 11 years old I figured I was gay. Fortunately at the time public attitudes toward homosexuality were changing pretty quickly and my close family was pretty openly accepting of gay people, so I was able to accept myself relatively easily.
But a year later I started to notice something was up. I was still attracted to boys six?—?or sometimes more?—?years younger than me. Why? It didn’t make any sense to me. Fortunately I was still attracted to enough of my peers that I could ignore it. So that’s what I did for two more years.
It wasn’t until I was 14 that I really started to realise the nature of my sexuality. I’d been getting older, but the boys I was attracted to hadn’t got older with me. In fact by this point all the boys I was attracted to were younger than me. I couldn’t ignore it anymore, I had to start accepting that this was the way I am.
To this day my attractions haven’t changed, I’m still attracted to boys from 4–13. I had no choice in the matter, I was born this way, but I did choose never to act on it and never to harm a child.
I was always a pretty scientifically minded kid. When I realised I was gay I asked myself why I was that way, what it was that made me different. Asking those questions it was pretty obvious to me that my sexuality was an unchosen and unchangeable part of myself. If it can’t be changed and it isn’t hurting anyone then I should just accept it and make the best of my situation.
I went through a very similar thought process when I realised I was a paedophile, so accepting it was pretty easy for me once I stopped trying to deny it. As long as I never hurt anyone what was the problem?
But there was a problem. My only knowledge of paedophilia was based on what society had always told me. Society was constantly telling me that I was doomed to be a monster. I knew I wasn’t a monster; I didn’t want to hurt a child and I knew I never would.
I went online to see if I could talk to others like me. Unfortunately the only other paedophiles I could find were pro-contacts, people that believe children can consent. I knew they were wrong, I’d heard about the damage CSA caused, I didn’t want to be like them and I didn’t want to associate with them, but I was bullied, depressed, suicidal, had no friends and desperately wanted someone to talk to about my attraction. So I talked to them. For many years they tried to push their beliefs onto me, but fortunately I never believed it.
I’d be lying if I said I was never tempted by them though. The idea that it’s okay to act on your attractions and that it’s society that causes the harm can be quite appealing. Especially to a young, depressed, suicidal teenager. Fortunately I always knew that what they were saying was wrong; I couldn’t ignore what I knew to be true: CSA causes devastating lifelong harm.
There was always the fear that someone would find out. What if someone did? I’d be hated by everyone, not even my family would accept me. I’d seen plenty of news stories about what people do to paedophiles. Harass them, beat them, even burn them alive just on suspicion of being a paedophile. If someone found out my life could be in danger. I had to keep this hidden from everyone in my real life. I couldn’t risk losing everything if someone found out. Even now, no one in my real life knows.
One day, early this year, I came across an article about people who called themselves “virtuous paedophiles”. This was a group of people like me that were paedophiles but were against all sexual contact with children. I started doing some reading and after a couple of weeks decided to join VirPed. I’d finally found a community that understood my attractions and shared my views. It was quite a relief; if only I had found them when I was 14.
Turning this into something positive
I’ve accepted my attractions and I know I will never harm a child, but now I’m in a position to help others. I’ve now joined a number of online communities for non-offending and anti-contact Minor Attracted People (MAPs), to help people trying to come to terms with their attractions, to show them that they aren’t monsters.
The hate, death threats and suicide bait non-offending MAPs see every day is staggering and sickening. Young teenagers are seeing those messages, internalising the belief that they are monsters; sometimes the hate pushes them over the edge. They often either kill themselves or get indoctrinated by pro-contacts which can lead to them being abused themselves, abusing kids or viewing child pornography. I want to show them that there is another way, before they get indoctrinated by pro-contacts, or give in to the hate.
Hopefully I can educate a few people along the way too and help to reduce the stigma surrounding paedophilia. When you are constantly told that you are destined to hurt a child it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Contrary to popular belief, helping paedophiles accept themselves is helping keep children safe from abuse. The current stigma just forces paedophiles to hide and prevents them from seeking help if they need it, just increasing the risk they might offend. Demonizing paedophiles might make you feel good, but it’s not helping anyone.
Should I still work with kids?
Most people would say that a paedophile should never be around kids because we are just looking for opportunities to abuse them. That’s completely false. I’ve been working with kids since before I even realised I was a paedophile. I do it because I enjoy it. I have no ulterior motives. I know that my main job is to protect the children in my care and keep them safe; that is what I do. The absolute last thing I want is for a child to be harmed.
Being a paedophile doesn’t mean I lack the normal, protective instincts people have towards children. This is a very common misconception, but if anything, my protective instincts towards children are stronger than most people’s. I find I care more about them and I’m more interested in their well-being.
I love kids, I love working with kids, I’m very good at what I do, I do it because I want what is best for them and I want them to become the best people they can be.