What’s the Difference Between a Pedophile and a Child Molester?

While we use the label of “pedophile” in the title of our booklet, “Pedophiles Don’t Discriminate: How to Protect Your Child from Sexual Abuse,” we realize that it’s a term that doesn’t apply to all child molesters.  Like KleenexTM and Wite-OutTM, “pedophile” has become sort of a generic term.

The truth is, not all pedophiles are child molesters and not all child molesters are pedophiles. Pedophilia is actually a diagnosable disorder where the individual has either a primary or exclusive attraction to prepubescent children. A child molester is someone who touches a child sexually.  A pedophile becomes a child molester only when they act on that attraction – but they are pedophiles regardless of whether they act on it or not.

So, the main distinction is that someone does not become a child molester until they have victimized a child, but an individual can be diagnosed as a pedophile even if they have not victimized a child.

Pedophilia is recognized as a mental disorder, which is not illegal, but acting on it is a crime. At this time, there is no recognized cure for pedophilia, although there are therapy treatments that can help pedophiles learn to change their behavior and exercise self-control.




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4 Responses to What’s the Difference Between a Pedophile and a Child Molester?

  • Danny Johnson says:

    So pedophilia is a “mental disorder” and not just depravity? Are you seriously trying to tell me that pedophiles don’t make a choice, that they are somehow forced to commit these autrocities against their will? What a load of absolute bullshit. A bank robber doesn’t have a mental disorder that compells them to walk into a bank, stick a gun in a Teller’s face, and demand they “fill the bag or else!”. They act on greed and bad decisions. They make a choice, and they make that choice in a sane state of mind, and they perpetrate the crime in a sane and sound state of mind. They get caught, they know that they are in deep shit, and they wear the consequences. They aren’t mentally ill, they are just plain criminals, and so it is with pedos. They are *not* sick. They are just depraved monsters and there is a cure…it’s called DEATH!!! That cures the most vile creatures.

  • celine speck says:

    to me they should all be put on deserted island and left for the rest of their life

  • celine speck says:

    child molesters should get the death penalty so they cannot hurt anybody

  • Barbara says:

    Stupid liberal logic.

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