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B4U-ACT News Update – May 2014

Media

A Harvard University graduate/Human Rights attorney recently completed a six-week cross-country trek interviewing minor-attracted people (MAPs) — including a member of B4U-ACT’s volunteer staff — for a documentary film focusing on their day-to-day lives. The finished product will be pitched to major cable networks.

Research

The results of a Northwestern University survey for which B4U-ACT helped recruit participants are currently being compiled for submission to scientific journals.

A Towson University (Baltimore, Md.) graduate student is presently collecting the results of an Internet survey/thesis project developed in collaboration with B4U-ACT.

DSM-5

It’s been nearly a year following the publication of the DSM-5 (The 5th edition of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association), which initially saw several hopeful revisions to the diagnostic entry on pedophilia, among them:

  • Noting a similar developmental course for those attracted to children as those attracted to adults; specifically in terms of awareness of attraction at puberty, stability throughout the lifespan, and decreased attraction later in life
  • Pointing out that a significant number of males may be preferentially attracted to children: “The highest possible prevalence for pedophilic disorder in the male population is approximately 3%-5%.”
  • Acknowledging that the sexual attraction to children, in and of itself, does not constitute a disorder (p. 698)
  • Removing an inaccurate, stigmatizing list of motives and behaviors once considered standard-issued to the minor-attracted populace
After spending two years during the DSM-5 revision process imploring the DSM-5 Subcommittee on the Paraphilias to expand the scientific literature review on pedophilia to include non-criminological studies, to meet face-to-face with freestanding stakeholders willing to speak honestly about being sexually attracted to children, and to consider that firsthand perspective when updating diagnostic criteria, we were delighted the Subcommittee gleaned and, more importantly, published the above insights.

Unfortunately, the revised diagnostic entry sent many a conservative pundit reeling, so much so that the APA, instead of correcting critics’ fundamental errors and using the backlash as an opportunity to educate the public about how progress in the research led them to the above conclusions, issued a social control message while sacrificing any mention of therapeutic goals for MAPs. B4U-ACT is currently working on an effort to establish communication with, and educate, the APA regarding this issue.

Professional Outreach

For the past five years, at the behest of university professors intent on placing the next generation of psychologists and social workers in direct contact with hard-to-access client populations, B4U-ACT began dispatching representatives to speak with graduate and undergraduate classes in Clinical Psychology, Social Work, and Human Sexuality. B4U-ACT reps have participated in student Q & A sessions at Widener University in Pennsylvania, Howard University in Washington D.C., and Northwestern University in Chicago. Time and again, students have responded with overwhelmingly positive feedback, thankful for the opportunity to weigh the nuances and complexities of actual people against textbook caricatures.

In memoriam

This July 15 marks the fourth anniversary of co-founder Michael Melsheimer’s death.  B4U-ACT is the result of Mike’s stubborn insistence on “outing” himself as a MAP (i.e., “living in truth and dignity”), his recognition of the importance of people coming to know MAPs on a personal level in order to understand what it is like to grow up as a MAP, and his insistence that there be welcoming and respectful mental health services for MAPs who are coming to realize their sexual-age orientation so that they can be supported in finding ways to deal with their orientation without breaking the law.

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