Although the etymological derivation expresses love for children [ [1] ] , since the term pedophilia entered the Italian language in 1935, its meaning has been restricted to the field of erotic attraction and harassment towards children . In the 1960s R. von Kraft-Ebing called it “a perversion in which a person feels erotically attracted to children of both sexes”; in more recent times, the DSMIV [ [2] ] has given a broader definition by inserting it in the context of paraphilias , a term introduced by Stekel to express a disturbance of sexual arousal which, in this case, is made possible only by stimuli details considered sexually abnormal by society [ [3]].

The essential characteristics of paraphilias are in fact represented by fantasies, sexual impulses or recurring and intensely exciting behaviors that generally concern inanimate objects, particular or atypical situations, the suffering or humiliation of oneself or of the partner, non-consenting people or, in the specific case, children. The word “pedophilia” is often misinterpreted. According to the “Great dictionary of the Italian language” (Utet), “Pedophilia is a sexual deviation in which there is an erotic interest in male or female impubious children , sometimes limited to the desire or attempt to seduce, or combined with exhibitionism, to sadism, fetishism “. We emphasize the word “impuberi”: the pedophile is interested in children who have not yet reached puberty; this does not exclude, however, that, for example in the family, perverted behavior does not continue towards children who have become adolescents. Pedophilia is not synonymous with pederasty or homosexuality. “Pederasty” means having sex with boys. This term, now in disuse, was usually used in Italian literature with a derogatory meaning, indicating the erotic relationship between an adult and a teenager. While the word “pederasty” therefore has a very precise meaning, the word “pedophilia” indicates a series of behaviors that the adult has, or requires, towards the child, using it and arousing it to get excited sexually: sometimes pedophiles, seriously disturbed psychically, they are not limited to caresses, masturbation or fellatio but even go so far as to pretend to penetrate the child, with sometimes serious consequences, given the anatomical differences. But this must not be misleading: the pedophile knows how to use violent invasive methodologies with techniques and methodologies aimed not to leave apparently evident signs. When pedophilia is also incest, the consequences of violence on the child are particularly devastating. Statistics reveal that pedophiles mostly belong to the child’s intimate circle. As we have seen from the monitoring results, they are often close relatives, such as the father, mother or both parents, grandparents, uncles, cousins, older brothers: therefore people in whom the child had placed his total trust and who betrayed him , instead of giving him a protective shield. The father, and the mother, or in any case a family member, who knows and is silent, and who perhaps repudiates the confidences of the child, culpably increases his despair. Pedophilia, as our statistics also show , is practiced by individuals with different characteristics: elderly, adults and young people, uncultivated but also cultured. There is no type of pedophile just as there is no single type of pedophile [ [4] ]: pedophilia is a multifactorial trait in which mental, institutional, activity, sex education, violence, control and control aspects come into play drives. However, there are factors that we could define as facilitators, without however being decisive:

– being raped or treated with cruelty in childhood, in particular by one’s parents (to overcome the anguish of being at the mercy of a person who humiliates and abuses, a child can take his oppressor as a model and wish to have his power; this “identification with the aggressor” will later lead him to adopt the same type of behavior this time, however, from a position of strength). Many convicted of pedophilia said they had been abused during their childhood. However, fortunately, a large percentage of victims of violence manage to be an adult and a parent respectful of the rights of children and indeed, these adults very often show qualities of sensitivity and responsibility towards minors superior to those who do not violence has suffered;

– having been isolated children who felt excluded from other children and adolescents who envied the vitality of their peers (as adults they can try to possess, plagiarize and capture those same children whose vitality they have admired and envied);

– having lived in broken family environments, not necessarily degraded;

– having witnessed violent and destructive actions on family members without having had the opportunity to intervene to improve the situation or to somehow cure their own and others’ psychological injuries.

According to many psychologists and psychiatrists, pedophiles have an immature personality, relationship problems or inferiority senses that do not allow them to maintain an adult love relationship, “on an equal footing”: individuals with narcissistic disorders and fragile self-esteem, focus on children because they can control and dominate them and with them they do not feel feelings of inadequacy.

Most pedophiles try not to mistreat children they can approach, both because of the attraction they feel towards them, and because they are not animated by impulses, they say, malicious and because they try to prevent them from speaking. , complain or reveal the crime. According to several psychoanalysts, pedophilia itself must be underlined: however distorted, deviated, pathological, the attraction that the “real” pedophile feels for the child is not only sexual. It is, in its own way, a form of love in which there is affection, tenderness, understanding even if the adult’s inability to contain the sexual drives can represent, for the child, a great psychophysical risk. The pedophile can use violence to a child in subtle and mean ways that are far from the common sense of the term understood by the community. The most “good” pedophiles are paradoxically also the most dangerous because they blend in with perfidious cunning among the so-called “respectable” people.

Treatment methods
The pedophile is a perverse; what he calls “love” for the child is an obsession that makes him recidivist so that even when he ends up in prison, as soon as he goes out, he falls back on us. From this consideration emerges the pressing need to identify treatment methodologies that aim, on the one hand, to “recover” the subject and, on the other, above all to guarantee the protection of the child.

The therapies tested and being evaluated follow two non-alternative ways:

1) psychological: pedophilia is a disorder of sexuality but, as is known, sexuality is an expression of affectivity, that is, of the individual’s ability to establish sentimental relationships, therefore there is a need to analyze the pedophile’s personality in order to promote the removal of those obstacles that have blocked their emotional and therefore sexual development. This can be done with psychotherapy, a therapeutic relationship that allows pedophiles to “rework” their childhood life. Most pedophiles, however, are not collaborative: few accept accepting treatment, many do not consider themselves ill or deviant at all, on the contrary they claim the legitimacy of their approaches, claiming that there is abuse only when there is violent compulsion . The chameleon-like ability to blend in, professionals. There are very rare cases of admission of guilt, even in the face of sentences that have become executive. Overall, the conversion of pedophiles is far from simple.

2) pharmacological: a) with antidepressants, anti-obsessives and antiphobics: the pedophile has a forced, mechanical ideation: everything revolves around the idea of ​​finding a child and using it affectively and sexually. It is an idea that it is difficult to contain. From this point of view, the pedophile is therefore obsessive and from this point of view it should be treated with antidepressants, which block the obsessive drives, modulate anxiety, decrease libido and stabilize mood;

b) with antiandrogens: testosterone is a hormone that is not only responsible for the development and maintenance of male sexual characteristics. It also comes into play in the control of sexual impulses, aggression, cognitive processes, emotions and characterization of the personality. His contribution to desires, fantasies, sexual behaviors and their deviations is fundamental. Reducing its secretion, or completely inhibiting it, can therefore help to keep paraphilic impulses under control. This result is also known as chemical castration.

Chemical Castration ( our opinion )
According to the WHO (World Health Organization), pedophilia is a real disease * and therefore it is necessary to cure and re-educate according to the examples of legislation such as the English and Danish ones. The preferred treatment is psychotherapy, suggested as very effective, chemical castration being rather barbaric. However, we need to reflect on the methods that are most appropriate to achieve the primary purpose: the protection of the most defenseless and first of all the victims, the Children. It has already happened, for example, that the perpetrators of child abuse were later the results of the impotent, but this did not prevent them from doing violence. We must not stop at the concept of violence commonly understood as regards the pedophile: this can abuse a child even without the use of the sexual organ. Episodes of abuse of minors in which the abuser “pleased” even just to watch, to make others perform, to photograph, or to use violence with foreign bodies and objects belong to the news and testimonies. There are women, although belonging to a very low percentage, convicted of pedophilia. The pedophile gets excited just by smelling the skin of a newborn baby. There are several controversial aspects, which cannot be passed over in silence, to the use of chemical castration. The first, of a medical nature: we know that the intake of chemical substances affects libido as long as the cure exists, only to cease all effects following the suspension of therapy. So either the treatment continues throughout the life of the pedophile or is ineffective. The second aspect involves precisely the psycho-motivational aspects. In the United States, a person judged to be dangerous or ill can choose a rehabilitation procedure that includes both pharmacological intervention and psychotherapy. Could thus proving to be a convenient choice to shorten detention; while we know how essential personal motivation for change is. And this motivation can possibly arise only after a period of repair and “rightly appropriate” (prison, forced, tso etc.) in relation to the actual damage caused. The third critical point, perhaps the most complex for us all, concerns the ethical aspects. For better or for worse, even the most cautious opinions reflect the culture of belonging. Overseas, if something works, it is used with enthusiasm: risks and damages, as long as they are contained, take second place. In Europe, and in Italy in particular, on the other hand, one is generally more careful, sometimes even inconclusiveness is risked for wanting to dissect a question. In this specific case, however, it seems right to me to ask ourselves more in depth: we must not be satisfied with castration, chemical but still castration. All this evokes obscurantist practices, little in line with an evolved civilization. Instead, more effective interventions are needed. We believe the need to inform and train individuals on the culture of childhood, family relationships, through all available channels, from school to family to the mass media in general, cannot be postponed. It is necessary to create, on all means of communication, including the Internet, but also and above all among young people a culture of prevention that becomes an insurmountable barrier to the spread of the phenomenon and to possible contacts between pedophiles. You must learn to listen to the boys, but above all knowing how to dialogue with their problems and their anxieties in disturbing problems that go beyond the specific nature of pedophilia for the dangers of violent and erotic media, negative messages conveyed, from advertising to the press, from TV to the Internet, expanding the possibilities of intervention for a counterculture, against the exploitation and commercialization of the child. Furthermore, as the pedophile is normally lucid and responsible for his own actions, it is necessary to increase control, strengthen investigations and make penalties much more severe, but above all to realize the certainty of punishment, not exclusively in prison, such as, for example, to prohibit them perpetually from take care of, power and from any possible contact with minors, both in the family and in the social sphere. Forcing them, with mandatory treatments, to therapies, studies and analyzes that are a source of knowledge for professional experts in order to implement prevention strategies in favor of minors. Last but not least, our main objective must be to protect children before the violence occurs. Pedophilia does not currently have effective treatments that can guarantee real “healing” and the percentage of recovery of pedophiles attempted both in Europe and in the world is very low, equal to 3-5%. The only attempts to contain the phenomenon available today are knowledge and before the violence occurs. Pedophilia does not currently have effective treatments that can guarantee real “healing” and the percentage of recovery of pedophiles attempted both in Europe and in the world is very low, equal to 3-5%. The only attempts to contain the phenomenon available today are knowledge and before the violence occurs. Pedophilia does not currently have effective treatments that can guarantee real “healing” and the percentage of recovery of pedophiles attempted both in Europe and in the world is very low, equal to 3-5%. The only attempts to contain the phenomenon available today are knowledge and prevention. and in this the family and the school are the most important training venues. Certainly it would be more “comfortable” for many to adhere to similar theories, because with immediate effect, even if not decisive, while training and preventive action is much more demanding and involving even if, in the long term, in our opinion much more incisive . Considering that, according to various studies and experiences, it is common ground that it is extremely harmful for children to suffer violence in childhood, society certainly has a duty to protect itself from these dangerous criminals. But even if the proposal for chemical castration were accepted, we would still implement a late and inconclusive strategy because in any case such intervention, which does not prevent, would be possible to damage already caused. As with all minor protection actions, even if in some competent and professional cases, which deal only with the “taking charge” of the minor victim of violence, even this kind of actions are insufficient and inadequate. It is therefore a duty not to waste time in researching chemical solutions but to intervene in those mechanisms that our human mind triggers when we do not know how to control our anxieties, our fears, prejudicing any serious “prevention” aimed at protecting children.


* According to a sentence of the Court of Cassation, pedophilia is not a mental illness that attenuates the ability to understand and want: pedophilia, as a modification of the sexual object in the direction of minors, while ordinarily presenting a habitual character, for criminal purposes does not exclude or it reduces the ability to understand and want and, consequently, the criminal responsibility for sexual abuse against minors.

(Court of Cassation, Criminal Section III, sentence 12.11.2003 No. 43135