As we write about horrible sex crimes committed against children and teenagers day after day we just can't help wondering -- what is up with that? Why would you even want to... ? It's impossible to muster any empathy for adults who sexually molest children. But new research suggests we may at least have an explanation: There may be a pedophilia gene.
According to an Italian study, pedophilia may be caused by a genetic mutation. The Italian researchers gave a 50-year-old man who showing pedophile behavior toward his nine-year-old daughter anti-psychosis and antidepressant medications, and his behavior stopped. So the implications are hopeful: If scientists can prove that there is a pedophilia gene, they might be able to treat it -- before the patient acts on it.
I can see already how such a finding could go wrong. People could be discriminated against if they're found with the gene. Specifically they could be prevented from getting teaching jobs. I think a lot of us would be totally okay with that, but from a human rights standpoint it would pose a problem. (Also -- is anyone else wondering what pedophile behavior you can show toward a child without getting locked up?)
But that aside, I think this is mostly a good thing. More information is almost always helpful -- if you use that information thoughtfully. What if people knew they had that pedophilia genetic mutation? Would they maybe choose different careers? They could get treatment. It could save countless people pain and misery, and I'm including the victims and the perpetrators.
Do you think fewer children would be abused if it were proved that pedophilia is caused by a genetic mutation?
Image via Diego3336/Flickr