Create an account to contribute to this site!
Pedophilia or paedophilia is the sexual attraction of an adult (or older adolescent) to children. It is common among people who commit child sexual abuse, but the two terms are not interchangeable: Not all abusers are pedophiles and not all pedophiles actually abuse children. The term pedophilia is popularly used regardless of the age of the children, including any person under the legal age of consent. Psychological professionals more commonly distinguish between pedophilia (pre-pubescent children), hebephilia (pubescents), and ephebophilia (older adolescents). Additionally, some further distinguish between pedophilia (children) and nepiophilia (toddlers/infants). Although nepiophilia is universally regarded as pathological, and acting on it is considered abusive, attitudes about attraction to older children have ranged from scorn and criminality, to tolerance or acceptance in certain situations.
The origins of pedophilia are not known; research is ongoing. The experience of sexual abuse as a child was previously thought to be a strong factor, but research does not show a causal relationship, as the vast majority of children who are abused sexually do not grow up to be attracted to children, nor do the majority of pedophiles report childhood sexual abuse. Some people who abuse children sexually are not particularly attracted to children, but do so for other reasons (such as stress, marital problems, or the unavailability of an adult partner). Conversely, most pedophiles never act on their sexual attraction.
J. M. Barrie
Because of his unusual relationship with the Llewelyn Davies boys and his fondness for other children, and because of the apparently sexless nature of his marriage to an adult woman, J. M. Barrie is sometimes suspected of being a pedophile. However, no one has ever come forward alleging that Barrie engaged in sexual activity with them as a child, so even if he was attracted to them, he didn't act on it.
(The same suspicion is often targeted at those who are fans of the Peter Pan stories, especially if they show a special interest in children, as Michael Jackson did. Charles Dodgson, whose Alice was inspired by Alice Liddell, a preadolescent girl he was friends with, whom he took nude and seminude photos of, has also been the subject of such speculation.)
The adults who knew Barrie – including the parents of the children he is imagined to have taken advantage of – showed no distrust of him. Sylvia Llewelyn Davies, who knew Barrie better than any other woman – except (possibly) his wife Mary – clearly didn't regard the friendship she witnessed with her boys as suspicious. She even left them in his care in her will, even though her family would have been easily capable of caring for them without him or his financial support. Sylvia's husband Arthur was not fond of Barrie, and mildly discouraged his wife's and sons' friendship with him, but apparently did so only out of resentment for Barrie's intrusion into his family, not out of distrust.
Barrie dabbled in photography, and took photos of the boys playing, including a few in which they were playing in the water nude. Two such photos were "published" (two copies made) in The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island; the others were kept along with other snapshots of the boys. Nude bathing was commonplace for young boys in that society at that time, especially in secluded areas such as where these were taken, and such scenes were not perceived as "sexual".
Nicholas Llewelyn Davies, the youngest of the "Peter Pan boys", who spent his entire childhood around Barrie, and lived with him from the age of 6 into adulthood, flatly denied that Barrie ever behaved inappropriately. "I don't believe that Uncle Jim ever experienced what one might call 'a stirring in the undergrowth' for anyone — man, woman, or child," he stated in the 1970s. On another occasion, he wrote, "All I can say is that I, who lived with him off and on for more than 20 years: who lived alone with him in his flat for five of these years: never heard one word or saw one glimmer of anything approaching homosexuality or paedophiliacy [sic] — had he had either of these leanings in however slight a symptom I would have been aware. He was an innocent — which is why he could write Peter Pan!" Note that Nico at this time knew homosexuals whom he regarded as friends, so his denial of homosexuality was not because he was a homophobe. Nico also recounted with wry humor an incident in which his brother Peter was "informed" – by someone who apparently didn't know who he was – that Barrie had been homosexual, and had abused the Davies boys (i.e. him).
Robert Boothby, a closeted bisexual who was a friend of Michael Llewelyn Davies when they were teens, commented in later years about Michael's possible homosexuality. But although he described Barrie's relationship with Michael as "morbid" and "unhealthy", he dismissed the notion that there was any sexual aspect to it.
Any evidence that Barrie was a pedophile is circumstantial. And there is no evidence for – and a fair amount of evidence against – the idea that he ever engaged in sexual activity with any children.
- Wikipedia: Pedophilia