To "molest" means "to disturb or bother". The (false) assumption of the legislators was that children are usually (or always) "disturbed" or "bothered" when they engage in sexual activity with adults. The fact is, the majority of young children, if anything, are simply confused by this kind of sexual activity, as was demonstrated by Susan Clancy in her several-year-long study of adults who had engaged in adult-child sexual activity when they were as young as 5 or 6 years old.
Any action that violates a legal prohibition against sexual contact with children may come under the laws against "child molestation". Some applicable laws specifically use the term child molestation, while other laws use various terms such as lewd and lascivious acts or sexual conduct with a minor or sexual abuse or rape of a child. An element of sexual abuse may be that intimate parts are touched with the "intent to sexually molest, arouse, or gratify any person".
Some jurisdictions prohibit contact with certain areas of a child's body (such as the genitals), but make exceptions for situations such as medical examinations or bathing. Other jurisdictions have chosen to focus on motivations rather than specific actions. Those areas tend to have laws that prohibit any contact with a child when it is believed that the contact is for the purpose of sexual gratification.
Laws of the latter category are often considered to be more onerous, since they require a judge or a jury to make a determination about the defendant's motives, rather than simply to decide whether or not the defendant touched a particular part of the child's body.
A man in California was imprisoned under the state's motivation-based child molestation law for sucking on a boy's toes. While his conduct was clearly very sexual in nature (at least, for him) and arguably inappropriate, the decision nonetheless raised concern among many boylovers, since the man's actions did not involve any contact with the what are traditional consided to be sexual parts of the body, nor any behavior which is traditionally considered to be "sexual" (the children had no idea why the man wanted to suck their toes). More alarming still was the testimony of one expert witness in the trial, who suggested that a person could be subconsciously sexually aroused while touching a child, thereby committing a crime without even being aware of it.
Incidence in pedophile and non-pedophile populations
In the United States, the incidence of child molestation crimes has been estimated by some to occur at a rate of 6.25 crimes per 1000 individuals per year[Citation needed] for the population of pedophile males (or minor-attracted malesunclear meaning; sources are not clear on this), and 1.5 crimes per 1000 individuals per year for the population of heterosexual males. This is approximately equal to the divergence in rape statistics between African-American and Caucasian males. (Sources: BC:1004582, BC:1004474)
- Molest (a child) (dictionary)
- Child molester
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual activity
- Adult-child sex
- Child abuse narrative
- Myths about pedophiles
- The Trauma Myth (book)
- CRIME WITHOUT VICTIMS A book about paedophilia