By Kendall Tietz (DCNF)University professor Allyn Walker wrote a book about people who are attracted to minors, a group he believes is misunderstood and should be destigmatized.
Walker is an assistant professor at Old Dominion University and author of the book, “A Long, Dark Shadow: Minor-Attracted People and Their Pursuit of Dignity.” Walker’s book challenges the “widespread assumptions that persons who are preferentially attracted to minors—often referred to as ‘pedophiles’” and looks at the “lives of non-offending minor-attracted persons (MAPs),” a term used to describe the group because it is less stigmatizing than a word like “pedophile,” according to Walker.
In the interview with the Prostasia Foundation, Walker made clear that abuse should not be tolerated and argued there is a distinction between a sexual attraction and acting on that sexual attraction.
“From my perspective, there is no morality or immorality attached to attraction to anyone because no one can control who they’re attracted to at all,” Walker said in the interview. “In other words, it’s not who we’re attracted to that’s either okay or not okay. It’s our behaviors and responding to that attraction that are either okay or not okay.”
The Prostasia Foundation is a non-profit that focuses on child protection along with an “evidence-based approach to child sexual abuse prevention with its commitment to human rights and sex positivity,” according to its website.
“I want to be extremely clear that child sexual abuse is never ever okay,” Walker said. “But having an attraction to minors as long as it isn’t acted on, doesn’t mean that the person who has those attractions is doing something wrong.”
Walker argues this group of people, referred to as non-offending MAPS have an attraction “they didn’t ask for” and “would do anything to change.”
People in the study for “A Long Dark Shadow” have not acted on their attractions and the research does not answer whether or not attraction to minors should be considered a sexual orientation, Walker said.
“Pedophilia” is a clinical term that refers to an attraction to children who have not undergone puberty, Walker said. But it does not automatically mean someone has committed a sexual offense because there is a difference between MAPs and child sex abusers, he added.
“MAP refers to someone who has preferential attractions to minors, and that can include children who have gone through puberty or not,” Walker said. “And child sexual abusers are people who have committed a sexual offense against a child,” and while some are MAPs, “many child sexual abusers are not MAPs,” according to Walker.
People attracted to minors are “universally maligned” and the stigma surrounding MAPs is a problem, Walker said. Therapeutic intervention to get rid of MAPs’ attraction is “not really an option,” Walker said, but “affirming therapy” is an option to help with “strategies for non-offending.”
Walker and the Prostasia Foundation did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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