Many causes for paedophilia

Dr Gan Chee Kuan
Psychiatrist at Permai Specialist Clinic Dr Gan Chee Kuan.

KUCHING: There are many contributing factors that may influence the preference of a paedophile, says Dr Gan Chee Kuan.

According to the psychiatrist at Permai Specialist Clinic, among the factors are the propagation of child pornographic materials on the Internet, the income generated from child pornography, child pornography as a form of entertainment, as well as mental illness, and an abusive family environment.

“Paedophiles may choose this deviant sexual behaviour as a coping mechanism for their own childhood trauma, or stress that they are facing, and this is similar to any other forms of addiction out there,” he said on Monday (Sept 20).

Dr Gan indicated that one of the motivations for having sexual interactions with children could be to overcome the humiliation and powerlessness one had as a child when sexually abused by an adult, as the victim positions are reversed.

“Projection of unmet affection needs during childhood onto those children could be another motive of paedophiles. They may feel loved and remediate the lack of affection when they are ‘loving the children physically’.

“Besides, childhood experience with emotionally abusive, judgemental, and rejecting adults may lead paedophiles to have low self-esteem and anticipate rejection when having intimate relationships with adults.

“Children, on the other hand, are generally naive, emotionally responsive, having genuine affection, and openly accepting them, thus become the ones that they prefer to have intimate relationships with.”

When asked what more could be done to protect the children from paedophiles, he mentioned the need for sex education to educate the children on the physical boundaries between them and other people.

“We (parents, schools) need to teach the children what should they do to protect themselves when encountering adults who tried to violate their physical boundaries.

“Relevant parties should also provide support and treatment to the victims to prevent them from becoming future offenders. Trauma-focused and child-parent psychotherapy could help the young victims to be better at coping with their past sexual abuse.

“Meanwhile, law enforcement should be tightened and all suspected cases of paedophilia must be investigated and charged promptly.”

On the arrest of a paedophile in Lundu recently, Dr Gan termed the incident as a wake-up call for everyone on the issue of sexual child abuse.

He hoped that the occurrence would draw attention to the issue and raise awareness among parents and caregivers about the significance of sex education for young children, as well as prevent their children from becoming the next victim.