To: donna laframboise <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Fw: Annotated quotes, part 2
Date: Wed, 14 Mar 2001 11:33:00 -0400
----- Original Message -----
From: Louise <mailto:email@example.com>
Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2001 9:30 AM
Subject: Annotated quotes, part 2
[As seen above, this email about Ms. Malenfant sharing space on his website was forwarded to the reporter. Originally, Mr. Schneider's attack on my book grew out of my having opposed his anti-gay hatred promoted on the Internet. I do not believe Ms. Malenfant herself was at all anti-homosexual. (And I certainly knew that the reporter was not.) But Ms. Malenfant was a consummate opportunist, taking any chance to promote herself, hence unfazed by his views.--FC]
I must say you did a very nice job putting the annotated quotes on your
website. It inspired me to finish the job:) [Back]
Re: I just can't say anything about paragraph 3, pg 112 it is just entirely
indefensible, so you check it out. I've changed my mind, and here are my
comments on this paragraph:
Here is how Ferrel treats the problem of child porn, in paragraph 3:
"Finally, what about that special category of pornography that has caused so
much alarm in recent years, that which itself portrays children? This is
another topic that needs far more treatment than can be given here, but a
few things can be said."
Since this is the most serious objection anyone has to pornography, that
being the production of child porn, it would seem to me that more than a
paragraph should be devoted to the subject in a book that purports to
"Once more, there is no evidence that such materials cause a sexual interest
in children, any more than seeing homosexual pornography produces a
I beg to differ, for the evidence in the literature is clear that exposure
to sexual themes and materials do initiate a child into sexual awareness.
An adult viewing homosexual porn is different from a young child immature in
thought and the ability to protect themselves. They need our protection
from views exactly like these. Anyone who says that sexual abuse of a child
is not harmful is deluding themselves.
"As for those who already are sexually aroused by children, for reasons that
have already been discussed, banning it does not prevent them from being so
Christensen seems to say here that society should not even try to limit the
sexual behaviour of pedophiles, since banning their porn isn't going to
Even something as innocuous as the little girl in the old Coppertone ads has
been reported by numerous pedophiles to be highly sexually stimulating.
Note also that in most of the world throughout history, children have gone
naked until the age at which they begin to internalize their culture's
taboos. This is often the case in modern Europe, where complete nudity for
swimming is common for all ages.
We know that pedophiles tend to gravitate toward places where children will
be uninhibited and unprotected, like schools, parks and beaches, but Ferrel
certainly doesn't alleviate any of our concerns with this statement. If
anything, he reminds us that pedophiles don't wear signs on their foreheads,
and we must remain vigilant to the threats that face our children.
"Moreover, even the possibility that overtly sexual depictions of children
elicit child molestation is somewhat disconfirmed by the fact that no
increase in police reports of such acts occurred in Denmark during the years
there when child pornography was legal and widespread."
This seems to be rather skimpy evidence to base such a serious conclusion
on. If child porn was so rampant in Denmark, perhaps the sexual acts
children experienced were not necessarily reported to police. Though
Christensen provides a footnote for his Denmark info, he does not provide
the volume of the journal the alleged article can be found in, rather sloppy
for an academic, and perhaps purposely so.
Hard to believe that all of these comments were contained in one paragraph
of Ferrel's book.
"It is just as wrong to censor portrayals of alternative sexual lifestyles
as it is to suppress those of different political or religious systems. In
all likelihood, given the large range of human differences that exits, the
best system in the present regrd is a pluralistic one that allows
individuals to discover the different modes of living that maximize their
fullfillment (pg 100)."
In other words, if it feels good do it .
"Should we nonetheless try to keep young people from acting on those desires
by preventing positive messages about sex from reaching them? Absolutely
not. The sexual ignorance and guilt traditionally imposed on adolescents
are harmful in countless ways (pg 100)."
Again, Christensen seems to be unable to recognize any harmful effects
arising from early sexualization, but denounces the methods used to slow
down the sexual awakening as cruel and unusual punishment for the young. It
appears that he has done no research at all on the impact of early childhood
"The only moral wrong involved in teenage sex, or any other kind, lies in
taking an appreciable chance in bringing harm to another - not in sexual
activity per se, nor in the desire that leads to it (101)."
According to Christensen, sex at any age is a good thing, and there are no
harmful effects, in his view.
"For whatever it is worth, the majority of investigators evidently believe
that exposure to media aggression produces long term and short term
tendencies toward the real thing(pg 141)"
This statement in Chapter 11 seems to be a direct argument disputing the
thesis of the book, that porn does not cause sexual deviance.
Those who commit coercive or brutal sex crimes evidently fall into various
categories with different types of motivation, but clinicians who work with
them and social scientists who interview them have repeatedly reported the
following fact: among a certain percentage of these persons, a background of
sexual repressiveness appears to be a significant factor in producing their
violent behaviour (pg 148).
Christensen blames the existence of violent sexual predators on sexual
repression in childhood, a rather explosive remark to make, given that he
provides no citation to support this claim. Even a cursory glance at the
professional literature on this issue, not to mention common sense, tells us
that violence begets violence, and a child initiated into sex to early in
life will often have sexual problems in adulthood. Though repression causes
problems of its own, violent sexual offenders will frequently have violence
and sexual interference as part of their childhood histories as the primary
cause of their needs. Christensen really needs to use a little academic
support of his outrageous position, but we are to accept his word for it.
"This would be especially true in cases where sex has been associated with
physical or emotional violence by parents who severely punish their
children's expressions of eroticism (148)."
Well, on the bright side, Christensen concedes that violent criminals
usually have violence in their childhood, but for reasons that can not be
fathomed, he believes that this violence is associated with childhood sex.
Many victims will say that alcohol is the biggest cause of beatings, but
Christensen ties the problem to childhood sexual repression, without a
single reference to back himself up.
This bizarre logic then takes another turn when he writes in the same
"In a similar vein, it has been found that many especially violent rapists
were themselves sexually assaulted when young. The cycle continues, but how
did it get started?"
In other words, "Oh woe is us", is it being sexually assaulted in childhood
or being beaten for sexual repression that causes violent adult predators?
While Christensen tries to raise doubt on the answer to that question, his
effort is a dismal failure, since we know by evidence, instinct and common
sense that adult violent sexual predators almost always were themselves
assaulted in similar fashion as children. I have to ask why Christensen
perpetually down plays the impact of childhood sexual interference
throughout his book, but never more so than here.
"And something that is true of male pedophiles in general - the majority of
whom are passive, nonviolent individuals - is that they feel threatened by
women. This suggests that their sexual interests are turned toward children
precisely because of anxiety over rejecting and hostility. In other words,
what makes children sexually preferable to such persons is that they are
accepting and unthreatening. The extent to which this culture's negative
attitudes toward sexuality in general, and male sexuality in particular,
might play a part in this has not been adequately explored by psychologists
It is hard to know where to start with this incredible statement, but here
is an effort. First, Christensen makes a blanket statement that "the
majority" of male pedophiles are passive, nonviolent individuals, with
nothing to back it up. He then blames the rejection of women as the cause
of pedophillac tendencies, rather than what the evidence shows, that sexual
interference in childhood frequently causes pedophillia in adulthood. He
then blames pedophillia on this "culture's negative attitudes toward
sexuality", suggesting that pedophiles, en masse we assume, are attracted to
children because they are accepting and unthreatening, unlike women.
This theory for the genesis of pedophiles ignores the most common pattern we
have found in the life cycles of confessed pedophiles: most were sexually
interfered with at a young age, and re-enact their trauma in adulthood as a
result of that interference. Since this would destroy Christensen's theory
that child sexual interference causes no harm, he posits this absurd theory
of pedophile causation and blames society's sexual repression for creating
this sexual preference. Pedophiles create pedophiles, Mr. Christensen, the
way it always has been and will always be. It is the primary reason why we
should protect children from sexual interference for as long as possible.
"The teenage son of a childhood friend of the author was driven to suicide
by guilt, guilt produced by his religion's telling him he was sinful and
unworthy if he could not stop masturbating and having sexual thoughts. The
conclusion that sexual guilt is at fault in some violent sex crimes is
difficult to escape; it is virtually written on the face of certain cases
Once again, Mr. Christensen assumes that we should reform sexual values on
the basis of his personal experience. It is certainly hard to believe that
a teenaged boy would leave a suicide note talking about masturbation and
church, but Mr. Christensen seems quite certain that he knows why the boy
took his own life. Let's just hope he did not run this theory by his
childhood friend at the time of their great loss. Now, based on this
alleged suicide, Christensen now believes he has provided indisputable proof
that sexual guilt is involved in violent sex crimes, "virtually written on
the face of certain cases." Too bad he has so little respect for the reader
that he provides no cases, nor any other evidence, to support this argument.
I don't think I have ever been happier to reach the end of a book, but one
more Christensen conclusion bears review. On the last page, 165, Mr.
Christensen provides us with the solution to all of humanity's sexual
problems when he writes:
"...pornography by itself is not the basic issue. Opposition to it is only
a symptom of more general attitudes toward sexuality that are both false and
harmful to us all. But sane and humane attitudes about that subject can
never be cultivated as long as harmless sexual fantasies are despised by the
general public and suppressed by the power of the state. Indeed, the
current campaign against pornography is also harming sex education and the
rights of sexual minorities; in the long run, it is a threat to the privacy,
liberty, and dignity of everyone."
I have never heard pedophiles, violent sex offenders, sadomasochists and
other weirdos called a "sexual minority" before, but this fits with
Christensen's assertion that our efforts to reduce and eliminate these
predators is no different then the oppression of the negro under Jim Crow
laws. I'm sure the NAACP would love to hear that this oppressed class is
using the history of struggle of blacks in America to obtain legitimacy for
their activities in society. Needless to say, this book was perhaps the
most difficult I have ever had to read, but I am comforted by the fact that
all this work to identify Mr. Christensen's agenda will never have to be
repeated. I hope it has also saved other readers from swimming through this
arrogant, sanctimonious rationalization of childhood sex, and the
pornography that supports this desire among us.