It should be no surprise that minor-attracted people are regarded extremely negatively by most non-MAPs. In a survey of both German- and English-speaking non-MAPs, feelings of fear, pity, and anger were prominent, even when MAPs were described as non-offending (Jahnke, Imhoff, & Hoyer, 2014). Respondents expressing anger and fear in particular seemed to have harsh reactions against non-offending MAPs (Jahnke, 2018). In the fields of psychiatry and psychology, where normally stigma is thought to be undesirable, the focus on offense prevention may increase stigma by appearing to imply that pedophiles are not as capable of self-regulation as other client populations (Houtepen, Sijtsema, & Bogaerts, 2015; Jahnke, Philipp, & Hoyer, 2014; Beier et al., 2007; “Pessimism about pedophilia,” 2010). In many places, the terms “pedophile” and “child molester” are still synonymous despite mounting evidence that MAPs and offenders are separate categories, though they may overlap. Researchers have seen success, however, in altering perceptions of MAPs; some methods include narrative humanization and online interventions that combat stigma (Harper, Bartels, & Hogue, 2016 ; Jahnke, Philipp, & Hoyer, 2014).
Beier, K.M., Neutze, J., Mundt, I.A., Ahlers, C.J., Goecker, D., Konrad, A., & Schaefer, G.A. (2007). Encouraging self-identified pedophiles and hebephiles to seek professional help: First results of the Prevention Project Dunkelfeld (PPD). Child Abuse & Neglect, 33, 545-549.
Houtepen, J.A.B.M., Sijtsema, J.J., & Bogaerts, S. (2015). Being Sexually Attracted to Minors: Sexual Development, Coping With Forbidden Feelings, and Relieving Sexual Arousal in Self-Identified Pedophiles. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 00(00), 1-21. doi: 10.1080/0092623X.2015.1061077.
Jahnke, S. (2018). Emotions and Cognitions Associated with the Stigma of Non- Offending Pedophilia: A Vignette Experiment. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 363-373. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-017-1073-7.
Jahnke, S., Imhoff, R., & Juergen, H. (2014). Stigmatization of People with Pedophilia: Two Comparative Surveys. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(1), 21-34.
Jahnke, S., Philipp, K., & Hoyer, J. (2014). Stigmatizing attitudes towards people with pedophilia and their malleability among psychotherapists in training. Child Abuse & Neglect, 40, 93-102.
Pessimism about pedophilia. (2010, July). Harvard Mental Health Letter.