On May 5th 2018, a TEDx event entitled “Future of Societys” was held at the University of Würzburg in Germany and featured a lecture by medical student Mirjam Heine on the subject of “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change”.
Heine began her talk with the story of Jonas, a 19-year-old Munich law student who is sexually attracted to girls aged 6 to 12 years old. She goes on to describe pedophilia as an “unchangeable orientation” (the American Psychiatric Association classifies it as a disorder).
Here’s a description of the event on the TEDx website:
One to two percent of the main male population is considered as pedophiles. This means worldwide more than 57 million people. Therefore, pedophilia is not an irrelevant phenomenon we can ignore. It is unrelated to class status and educational level. The medical student Mirjam Heine explains how an appropriate approach to the unchangeable sexual orientation pedophilia might look like. She is mainly guided by the works of Prof Dr. Dr. Beier, the head of the institute for sexology and sexual medicine at the University Hospital Berlin and the prevention network “Kein Täter Werden” (meaning “don’t offend”). Hence, she also believes that no one is responsible for their sexual orientation, for their feelings, but that everyone is responsible for acting upon this sexual orientation. She also inquires how all of us can gain if we distinguish clearly between our feelings and our actions. Since pedophiles can’t change their sexual desires, they must learn to control them to not act upon them.
The talk contained lots of bizarre attempts at rationalization and mental gymnastics.
“Let me very clear here. Abusing children is wrong without any doubt. But a pedophile who doesn’t abuse children has done nothing wrong.”
What about those who download gigabytes of pictures and videos of children being subjected to horrific abuse? Those who encourage these gigantic networks of media sharing and those who produce them?
Then, she equates “child love” to a sexual orientation and compares it to heterosexuality.
“I want to quickly summarize where we are at the moment. According to current research, pedophilia is an unchangeable sexual orientation, just like for example heterosexuality. No one chooses to be a pedophile. No one can cease being one. The difference between pedophilia and other sexual orientations is that living out this sexual orientation will end in a disaster.”
A big part of Heine’s argumentation is that we, as a society must to stop judging pedophiles because it prevents them from getting help. She then adds that:
“For example, they can’t tell their friends that they can’t go the beach because children will be there as well.”
How messed up is this sentence? If we follow her own logic, heterosexuals can’t go to the beach either because there might people of the opposite sex as well.
Heine then goes on depicting pedophiles as victims that should be “treated with respect”. She concludes that, in order to prevent child abuse, we must accept pedophiles as they are and encourage them to get help.
Needless to say, this presentation caused a great deal of backlash and controversy, which lead to the TED organization to release a statement dissociating itself from the event.
An independently organized TEDx event recently posted, and subsequently removed, a talk from the TEDx YouTube channel that the event organizer titled: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”
In the TEDx talk, a speaker described pedophilia as a condition some people are born with, and suggested that if we recognize it as such, we can do more to prevent those people from acting on their instincts.
TEDx events are organized independently from the main annual TED conference, with some 3,500 events held every year in more than 100 countries. Our nonprofit TED organization does not control TEDx events’ content.
This talk and its removal was recently brought to our attention. After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice.
Furthermore, after contacting the organizer to understand why it had been taken down, we learned that the speaker herself requested it be removed from the internet because she had serious concerns about her own safety in its wake.
Our policy is and always has been to remove speakers’ talks when they request we do so. That is why we support this TEDx organizer’s decision to respect this speaker’s wishes and keep the talk offline.
We will continue to take down any illegal copies of the talk posted on the Internet.
However, it is not the first time a TEDx event sends out this message of “tolerance”. On April 18th 2018, the event TEDxSittardGeleen hosted in the Netherlands (with theme “Misbehaving Beautifully”) featured psychologist and criminologist Madeleiene van der Bruggen who asked society to be “be mature about pedophilia”.
The description of the video (which is still online) states:
0.5 up to 3% of our male population has some pedophilic interest. That means that everybody probably knows a person with pedophilic interests. According to Madeleine van der Bruggen, most people don’t act out on it, because they know that it’s illegal. And although they never act out on it, they will also never ever be able to talk about it to anyone. But sometimes they do. Without justifying this, it seems a logical thing to happen. Madeleine argues that this is a public and mental health issue. A shared responsibility for all of us. Let’s acknowledge this problem exists and stop with hate and throwing rocks at offenders’ houses. That is not going to solve this problem! Let’s be a mature society and agree that only when we are open about this topic, people will find the strength to come forward, so we as a society can help.
Under the guise of “protecting children”, the speaker calls, once again, for the acceptance of pedophiles. Once again, the speaker compares the number of potential pedophiles to a large city and adds that it could be your “neighbor, colleague, or even your husband”. She then explains how difficult it must be for these people to never find the love they long for. And, to make it clear, that “love” they long for is towards children who are not physically and psychologically developed to be in “complete” relationships.
There is an agenda creeping through media and it is about normalizing pedophilia. We are witnessing the first steps. The first lines being are crossed as vocabulary changes from “horrific abomination” to “sexual orientation” and from “sex offender” to “your neighbor”. First, they will claim that we should accept them in order to “help” them. Then they will require “rights”. Who knows where that could lead.
Yes, these people should not act out on their desires and they should actively seek help – no matter how radical it is. However, don’t ask for regular people to accept those who lust over their children. I mean, seriously? To be sexually attracted to the purity and innocence of children reflects a sick and twisted state of mind. It is not “normal”. It is the opposite of normal. It is an abomination and an embodiment of pure evil … and that is why those in power are slowly yet steadily pushing for its “acceptance”.
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