Project title: The experience and effects of hatred of people with pedophilia
Adults attracted to minors are among the most despised groups in contemporary societies. If this sexual/romantic attraction is aimed at specifically prepubescent children, it is termed pedophilia. Acting on this attraction is a criminal offense. Although someone can have pedophilia without having acted on their attraction, the term pedophilia is often mistakenly used as a synonym for someone who has committed the crime of child sexual abuse. The term “pedophile” has passed from sexology and psychological discourse into the media and popular language while becoming demonized. Different studies suggest barely half of those who have committed contact sexual offenses involving children have pedophilic motivations. Also, many of those attracted to minors refrain from offending and seem socially well adapted. Yet, considering people with pedophilia (PWP) as the primary and only actors of child sexual abuse remains a common misconception. Misreadings of pedophilia increase stigma and feelings of shame and fear among non-offending PWP, deterring them from seeking help.
This project aims to understand the hatred and stigma experienced by PWPs, and to explore how this knowledge can help them live productive, offense-free lives, and contribute to the prevention of child sexual abuse.
Azadeh Nematy is a PhD researcher in Trinity College Dublin, Department of Psychiatry. She holds an MA and BA in clinical psychology in Iran also a post-graduation in gender and sexuality studies at the University of Leeds. She has worked as a clinical psychologist for 6 years. Azadeh has collaborated with several NGOs over the past ten years advocating for sexual rights and health of LGBTQI+ community and abolishing conversion therapies. Her research interests focus on gender, sexuality, stigma, and social construction of “mental illness”.