A researcher has seemingly admitted to being a paedophile and has argued for an end to stigmatizing ‘minor-attracted persons‘. Writing in an academic journal under a pseudonym, ‘Brecht Vaerwaeter’ detailed his experience of being attracted to young boys.
He graphicly details multiple incidents of a sexual nature with children, such as bringing a 15-year-old into his tent where they sucked his finger and sneaking up on a sleeping 13-year-old while having a ‘painful’ erection.
Mr Vaerwaeter argues that paedophilia should be recognised as a legitimate sexual orientation and people like himself should be accepted by society.
The Journal of Controversial Ideas, which he published his controversial essay in, is edited by academics from Oxford University and Princeton University in the US, with an editorial board featuring dozens of prominent academics from both countries.
Mr Vaerwaeter’s 10,000 word article was originally published in April but only came to light recently after a piece by the feminist website Reduxx.
It follows scientific outrage earlier this month over another paper by a University of Manchester PhD student, who detailed how he masturbated to drawings of children.
Should paedophile be more accepted by society? This is is the controversial argument penned by a scientist in an academic journal
In the article itself, Mr Vaerwaeter states he first realised he was attracted to children when he was 17 living in Belgium in the 1990s.
‘During gym classes I enjoyed the smooth calves of the second-year boys,’ he wrote.
He states he then volunteered to supervise young boys at a school retreat where he sexually fantasied about them.
Even worse when he was 19, and therefore an adult, he joined a summer youth club and began to develop a relationship with young boys.
One, Cédric, was 13 at the time with Mr Vaerwaeter recounting how he was desperate to touch the child at night.
‘I carefully crept a little closer. We were practically in a spooning position,’ he said.
He described how he had a ‘prolonged, in the end even painful erection,’ during the incident, which he said was ‘highly unwelcome and inappropriate.’
Later that summer Mr Vaerwaeter gleefully accepted a proposal by the youth to spend the night in his tent.
‘As I had hoped, it was not just about sleeping, since he was not averse to some wrestling and mutual tickling from time to time,’ he said.
Another interaction, this time with Jeroen, a 15-year-old boy breached even more ethical boundaries.
‘That evening, in the tent, he asked me if there was any room next to me, because he would like to come and sleep there,’ Mr Vaerwaeter recalled.
‘He grabbed my hand and pressed it onto his face.
‘Overcome with emotion I started stroking his face, and then he opened his mouth a bit and sucked my finger for a while.’
In his article, titled ‘The Paedophile as a Human Being: An Autoethnography for the Recognition of a Marginalised Sexual Orientation’, Mr Vaerwaeter said he has never had sex with a minor, nor he does encourage it.
However, he argues for the broader acceptance of paedophiles in society.
‘I feel that paedophilia should explicitly be recognised as a sexual orientation by anyone who deals with issues of sexual identity in any way,’ he said.
Mr Vaerwaeter added that paedophiles deserve ‘recognition and attention to their emotional problems’.
‘Rejecting paedophilia as a sexual orientation is unethical and intellectually unfair,’ he said.
However, he did draw the line at defending ‘members of the paedophile community’ who engage in sex with children or use child pornography.
But Mr Vaerwaeter added more needed to be done to help the ‘tens of thousands of young people’ who have ‘paedophilic feelings’.
He looked to the LGBTQ+ community to provide a base for this movement.
‘Pedophiles are a particular sexual minority,’ Mr Vaerwaeter wrote. ‘[They] face the same problems of stigma, discrimination and social isolation as other members of the LGBT community, albeit to a greater degree.
‘If the community is to be inclusive, then it must live up to the meaning of the ‘+’ in its acronym.’
Mr Vaerwaeter claimed more acceptance would both help paedophiles themselves by offering them mental support and potentially prevent the abuse of children.
‘Explaining to them that they are not alone, that they are not destined to abuse children, and that they can find someone to talk with, can avoid the worst of harm, and can also prevent child sexual abuse,’ he said.
Increased acceptance of paedophilia has been touted by some experts before.
Some groups have been mired in controversy, such as the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), a British organisation which campaigned to lower the age of consent in the 80s.
Several Labour politicians were linked to PIE’s campaigning due to its then affiliation with the National Council for Civil Liberties.
But others have argued that making paedophilia more socially acceptable would encourage people who are sexually attracted to children to come forward and seek mental health support.
Mr Vaerwaeter details his own struggles with ‘isolation’ being unable to discuss his ‘sexuality’.
‘I continue to find it distressing and problematic that in the kind of environment I work in, which is populated with openminded, highly educated people, I cannot be open about my own sexuality,’ he said.
The Journal of Controversial Ideas is edited by Professor Jeff McMahan an expert in moral philosophy at the University of Oxford, and Professor Peter Singer, an expert in bioethics at Princeton University.
They established the journal in response to ‘cancel culture’ and allow academics to publish ‘offensive, immoral, or dangerous’ papers under a fake-name if they wished.
The journal does have some rules, stating it would not publish information on the creation of biological weapons for example, and said the final decision would rest with the editors.
‘What does and does not count as dangerous will be determined by the editors, in consultation with the editorial board and, if necessary, external experts, on a case-by-case basis,’ their publication policy reads.
The journal, was contacted for comment regarding the publication of Mr Vaerwaeter’s piece.
This latest article comes off the back on another controversial academic paper concerning potentially paedophilic content.
Earlier this month Karl Andersson, a PhD student at the University of Manchester, was criticised by academics and the public alike for publishing a paper detailing how he masturbated for three months to Japanese comics featuring young boys.
Publishing the piece in the journal Qualitative Research, Mr Andersson said he was researching a genre known as shota, which he describes feature drawings of ‘young boy characters in a cute or, most often, sexually explicit way’.
He wrote that after ‘hitting a wall’ in his studies of people who enjoy this genre, he decided to interact with the subject matter in a more hands-on fashion.
‘I therefore started reading the comics in the same way as my research participants had told me that they did it: while masturbating,’ he said.
Qualitative Research’s editors have since retracted the paper following an investigation and have acknowledged the ‘harm’ caused by its publication.
The University of Manchester has launched its own investigation and while that is ongoing they said they suspended the student involved as a ‘precautionary measure’, though Mr Andersson is still listed as a researcher on its website.
A statement from the University also said Greater Manchester Police has opened an investigation into the matter, and they are assisting this.