In Reply to: Re: Interview with Don Lattin posted by CB on October 19, 2007 at 10:07:27:
I think you have confused David Millikan (note that his name is spelled Millikan and not Milliken) with Gary Shepherd. It was Shepherd, not Millikan, who strongly defended pedophilia and argued that the sexual abuse of children is not harmful.
Here is the excerpt in question from page 202 (note that this is from an uncorrected proof edition so the page number may differ from the final version):
In my interview, I asked Shepherd if he still believed that Ricky was not sexually abused when he grew up in The Family. After all, we now have the accounts and pictures of adult-children sex play in the Story of Davidito. We have testimony from Merry Berg and Davida Kelley. We have Ricky's own account of what happened inside the Unit.
So I asked Shepherd:
"Was Ricky sexually abused? What explanation do you have for the events of January 2005?"
"Remember that there is very little that I concretely know about his experience, but I don't believe that he was the target of any abuse," Shepherd replied. "During his time growing up in The Family, I don't think he sensed that anything was going wrong. My guess is that he began to reassess his experience later—to re-interpret what was going on after the fact. But at the time he didn't have a sense he was living in some depraved environment. There's an assumption that merely being exposed to things has this corrosive effect. But if sexual activity is seen as normal and enjoyable then that doesn't have an independent effect to create emotional disturbance. You reinterpret that experience, and then you become upset. Now you are defining that experience with another set of norms."
That may be so, I replied. But doesn't our society consider sexual activity between adults and children outside our set of norms?
"There are societies all over the world where girls are married and have sex at twelve," Shepherd replied. "There are states where girls can marry at fourteen with parental consent. If a child's experience of sex is that it is brutal or demeaning, it will have immediate negative effects. But sex in and of itself does not produce psychological harm to young people. There are young people in The Family today who had those experiences who did not leave The Family and who are still committed and devoted. They may have the same experience, but they have a completely different interpretation of that experience."
Gary Shepherd is apparently a member of a small minority of "scholars" who support the positions taken by pro-pedophile activists. It is interesting how his positions and those of The Family are very similar to those taken by the pedophile activist community. An article on Wikpedia at
has some information about this.
Here are some interesting excerpts from that article.
-Wikipedia article "Pro-pedophile activism" excerpt-
In 1989, sociologist Mary de Young reviewed the literature published by pedophile organizations for public dissemination. She found that pedophile organizations she studied used the following strategies to promote public acceptance of pedophilia or the legalization of adult-child sex:
* Adoption of value-neutral terminology. According to Herdt, an anthropologist who has studied sex between adults and children in other cultures, pedophile advocates should replace "dull and reductionistic" terms like pedophilia and abuse when discussing sex between "a person who has not achieved adulthood and one who has". Moreover, words like "child" or "childhood", which have psychologically developmental meaning, should be "resisted at all costs". See also Promoting "objective" research.
* Redefining the term child sexual abuse. Another recurring theme among those seeking to gain social acceptance for pedophilia is the need to redefine or restrict the usage of the term "child sexual abuse", recommending a child's "willing encounter with positive reactions" be called "adult-child sex" instead of "abuse" (Rind et al. 1998). For example, Gerald Jones (1990), an Affiliated Scholar at the Institute for the Study of Women and Men in Society at the University of Southern California, suggested that "intergenerational intimacy" should not be considered synonymous with child sexual abuse. According to Jones, the "crucial difference has to do with mutuality and control" (p. 278). Jones suggested, "Intergenerational attraction on the part of some adults could constitute a lifestyle 'orientation', rather than a pathological maladjustment" (p. 288).
* Promoting the idea that children can consent to sexual activity with adults. The reconceptualization of children as willing sexual participants along with the decriminalization of consensual sexual relations is perhaps the key change sought by pedophile advocates. In his book Paedophilia: The Radical Case, activist Tom O'Carroll claims "What there most definitely needs to be [in determining consent] is the child's willingness to take part in the activity in question; whatever social or legal rules are operated, they must not be such as to allow unwilling children to be subjected to sexual acts. But there is no need whatever for a child to know 'the consequences' of engaging in harmless sex play, simply because it is exactly that: harmless." Many other pedophile activists, amongst them David Riegel, Frans Gieles and Lindsay Ashford, actively campaign against the idea that children are unable to consent to sex.
* Questioning the assumption of harm. The most common stance against child-adult sex is the assumption that it causes psychological harm to the minor. This claim is taken as true at face value, and any criticism about it is taken as a defense of pedophile activity. This remains to be one of the biggest barriers against pedophile activism, and advocates of pedophilia have attempted to change these barriers in a variety of ways. For example, pedophile activists have argued that there is little or no harm from child-adult sex. Some support their arguments by citing various studies that have argued that the negative outcomes attributed to adult-child sexual relations can usually be better explained by other factors, such as a poor family environment or incest.
o Riegel (2000) asserted: "The acts themselves harm no one, the emotional and psychological harm comes from the 'after the fact' interference, counseling, therapy, etc., that attempt to artificially create a 'victim' and a 'perpetrator' where neither exists" (p. 21).
o Similar arguments are made by SafeHaven Foundation, an organization for "responsible boylovers". On their website, they wrote, "The child abuse industry ... takes a boy who has enjoyed pleasurable and completely consensual sexual experiences with another boy or man, and traumatizes him in an attempt to convince him that what he did was 'wrong'". In addition, SafeHaven argues that, "many of the supposed traumas elicited by psychotherapy turn out to be nothing more than the result of the False Memory Syndrome" (SafeHaven Foundation, 2001).
o In Pedophilia: The Radical Case, Tom O'Carroll writes: "The disparity in size and power between parent and child creates a potential for abuse. But, on the basis that parent–child relationships are generally positive we accept that inequality is simply in the nature of the thing. I would like to see paedophilic relationships looked at in a similar light."
o Edward Brongersma, in "Boy-Lovers and Their Influence on Boys," where he reported the result of interviews with participants in adult–child relationships wrote, "within a relationship, sex is usually only a secondary element."
Other pro-pedophilia views
Views not mentioned by DeYoung, but often opined by activists include:
* Promoting understanding of the difference between pedophilia and sexual activity. Some activists wish to explain the difference between pedophilia and adults' sexual activity with children.
* Promoting the testimonies of people who claim no harm from sex as a minor. Some activist websites collect and publish anecdotal material that, according to them, is from various people, mainly adults, who, having been sexually involved with an adult as a minor, claim to have enjoyed or suffered no ill effects from this experience. 
* Referring to experiences of situations where adult-child sex interactions are not illegal, both historical and ethnical. Pedophile activists often point to situations where adult-child sex interactions are not illegal (though not necessarily common) and no negative effects are observed. Most refer to ancient Greece, while some employ ethnological studies. A few also refer to post-antiquity historical situations in the Western world where such conditions existed.