What is pedophilia and how to spot it

Pedophilia is considered a mental disorder that involves an adult whose sexual desires involve young children. A person who has this disorder is called a pedophile and they take advantage of unsuspecting children and coerce or force them into fulfilling their sexual fantasies. This is sexual abuse and it’s illegal. Here’s more.

What is a pedophile?

A pedophile is someone who has sexual urges towards young children and teenagers. They can be attracted to children of the same or different ages and although there are debates around this, a lot of people believe that people who become pedophiles were abused themselves as children. This doesn’t justify this act or make it right, however, the abuse of children is a serious offence that should be prevented and reported if it does take place.

Things like watching child pornography, touching or speaking to children in a sexual manner, exposing children to pornography and sex as well as purposefully teaching children words and language that’s sexual are all behaviours related to pedophilia. 

Signs of a pedophile

Although they may not always be easy to spot, because they often hide in plain sight, there are certain behaviours that most child predators show. These include always being around children. A lot of child predators choose to work in environments where there are children and easily earn children’s trust by being overly kind, giving them gifts and showering them with attention. It’s important to look out for strangers who try to take pictures of children who aren’t theirs or have one-on-one conversations with children without their parents or guardians present.

Getting help

We can’t always prevent this behaviour since child predators look like normal people, but it is important to make sure we teach children not to speak to strangers and monitor teens’ behaviour. Forming friendships with adults as a child or teen should be a cause for concern since it may be a sign of grooming, and being careful about who we allow near children and teens is vital.

Here are some helplines you can call if you suspect or know of a child predator or have been abused by them in some way:

Childline: 0800 055 555

Department of Social Development: 0800 220 250

South African Police Service (SAPS): Crime Stop number 08600 10111 or SAPS 10111

GBV Command Centre: 0800 428 428 or *120*7867#

Protecting children and teens is everyone’s responsibility and when we have the right information, we’re better able to spot the red flags and report child predators.

Remember if you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Messagea Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).