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How To Apply The Concept Of Systemic Pedophilia
Applying The Concept Of Systemic Pedophilia: Part 1 of 2.
In Children’s Justice, I define systemic pedophilia as:
“Systemic pedophilia describes the beliefs, culture, practices, language, institutions, and other social systems that allow children to be harmed.”1
The term systemic pedophilia functions similarly to other social justice terms used to describe harmful social systems such as racism or patriarchy. One could look at any aspect of culture and see if that aspect could be described as “racist,” “patriarchal,” or engaged in systemic pedophilia. Even if there is no overt harm being done, if there are cultural beliefs that view certain racial groups or genders as less valuable or worthy of respect, that system could be described as “racist” or “patriarchal.” Likewise, even if there is no overt harm being done to children, if there are cultural beliefs that view children as objects for adult gratification rather than full human beings, that system could be described as engaged in systemic pedophilia.
One can examine any aspect of culture through the lens of Children’s Justice and systemic pedophilia and the same way one could examine any aspect of culture through the lens of other social justice movements and harmful systems (ex: racial justice and racism, gender theory and patriarchy, disability justice and ableism, etc.) These ideas can be applied to any aspect of society. If you search “racism in” followed by the keyword for any topic, you are bound to find articles applying that social justice critique to the niche you searched for. Whereas the issue of racism and racial justice has been explored by many authors, so there are millions of words of writing exploring its application to every aspect of society, the issue of systemic pedophilia and Children’s Justice is a relatively new idea, so there is less writing applying this idea.
To identify whether or not an aspect of culture is engaged in systemic pedophilia, simply one simply has to ask the right questions. How does this system view children? How does it treat children? What outcomes does it create in children? If we view children as their own people with their own needs, and unique interests, and were to look at this issue through their perspective, what would we feel? These are the same questions we might ask if examining any other aspect of culture through the lens of another oppressed group, harmful social system, or social justice movement. Look at an issue from their perspective.
Note that a system engaged in systemic pedophilia will often answer that creates good outcomes in children, but define “good” by what benefits the system or adults. For example, a school might say that it creates “good” outcomes in children, but define “good” as high test scores and children who are ready to enter the workforce and produce capital. If we define “good” by the emotional well-being of the children, a different story might emerge. Is a school that has high test scores at the cost of high stress, emotional issues, and self-medication through drug use actually creating good outcomes? Even a top prep school that places children in Ivy League Universities could be harmful if it creates emotional patterns within children that lead them to believe they are not worthy of love unless they perform.
Often, one can identify a system that oppresses children simply by looking at its impact on their emotional well-being. Children have powerful feelings. Their feelings come before words, object-permanence, and even birth. Systems engaged in systemic pedophilia do not view children as full human beings and are usually unaware of the emotional impact of their actions on children. They frequently have no way to measure children’s feelings and would not even attempt to if they were capable of it. This is because feelings are felt by humans, not systems. Only in relationship can we know the feelings of another, and systems can never have relationships the way human beings can.
The opposite of systemic pedophilia is loving relationships. The opposite of a system is an individual relationship. The opposite of pedophilia, where an adult uses a child for their gratification, is a loving relationship, where the other person serves the interests of the child above their own. One could identify systemic pedophilia simply by looking for what is absent. Where in this system are people who know the child as an individual and care for their unique needs and interests above their own? If the child does not have a personal advocate who knows and loves them, then there is likely to be a system that views that child as a resource to be exploited. Where the child is treated as an object in a system, systemic pedophilia is always present.
As important to define what systemic pedophilia is, it is also important to define what it is NOT. Systemic pedophilia is NOT a term for any one singular issue. Just as slavery, discrimination, police brutality, etc. are racial justice issues, but the term racism is about more than just those issues, although genital cutting, hospital birth, compulsory schooling, etc. are Children’s Justice issues, the term systemic pedophilia is more than just those issues. If someone uses the term “systemic pedophilia” as merely a spicey way to say “genital cutting,” then it is clear that they do not understand the term, the same way if someone was to use the term “racism” to say “slavery,” it would be clear they do not actually understand what “racism” means. Both terms are used to describe a larger system that includes multiple issues.
The term systemic pedophilia can even be applied to beliefs. Just as certain beliefs might be “racist” or “sexist,” they could also be harmful to children or contribute to harm. For example, the belief that “children don’t feel pain” would be a form of systemic pedophilia since it creates false assumptions that allow for children to be harmed. These beliefs do not even have to be directly about children to participate in systemic pedophilia. Children’s Justice views the harm done to children as systemic, meaning that even if an aspect of culture does not directly harm children, it could be complicit in harm by supporting other aspects of culture that harm children. For example, if the school system is engaged in systemic pedophilia, the belief that “teachers deserve more pay” would be complicit in systemic pedophilia, since it supports a system that is engaged in systemic pedophilia.
This concept could be applied to any aspect of society. In Children’s Justice, I say that every aspect of society that is not consciously antipedophile is complicit in systemic pedophilia because if one unconsciously supports the dominant social systems, they are most certainly supporting systems engaged in systemic pedophilia.2 The concept of systemic pedophilia doesn’t single out any one person or group but instead suggests that everyone must become more conscious and change how they collectively and individually treat children. The more this concept is applied to individual issues, the clearer it will become what change is needed in every aspect of society.
Read Part 2 here:
Marotta, Brendon. Children’s Justice. Hegemon Media, 2022, p. 31.
Marotta, Brendon. Children’s Justice. Hegemon Media, 2022, pp. 33-35.