Reader Reaction to Column

 I just read your column in the Ottawa Citizen:  All debate aside, pedophilia is wrong.

I agree with you.  I believe that there are actually 3 separate issues when considering sexual activiites with children, and various combinations might apply in different circumstances:
Is it illegal?
Is it wrong (immoral)?
Is it harmful?

Sexual abuse may be illegal and immoral but not necessarily harmful.  This is where people get all emotionallly wound up, because they misinterpret 'not harmful' as therefore being ok or condoned.  I think the data is overwhelming that a signiifcant amount of sexaul activity between children and adults does not appear to have long-term adverse sequelae - most children are resilient.  When there are negative outcomes, they appear to be assorted and ideopathic.
Clearly while this does not condone the activities, it has important implications with respect to treatment.  In my world, 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'.  This is particularly important given that I know of no outcome studies that demonstrate that sexual abuse counselling is effective. 
Worse still, there is no research into the possible detrimental effects of giving such treatment to someone who has not suffered any sexual abuse.
Keep up the good work! 
Kind regards, Felicity

Dr Felicity Goodyear-Smith
Research Fellow
Department of Psychiatry & Behavioural Science
University of Auckland
PB 92 019 Auckland
New Zealand