Monday, August 5, 2013

Are autistic men pedophiles? Bizarre stuff from Temple Grandin's mom

I've just read  a very offensive,at least to me, article written on the Daily Beast allegedly by Temple Grandin's mother who implies that many autistic men are pedophiles who spend their time looking at child pornography and end up being registered sex offenders.  Nearly three years ago, I wrote about Nick Dubin, a neurodiversity activist who as a matter of public record was arrested by the FBI for downloading and looking at child porn.  Dubin, a licensed clinical psychologist and one-time director of a school for special needs children, has made the somewhat dubious (at least to me) claim that he himself is on the autism spectrum.  I'm not sure what happened to his case, whether he plea bargained, was convicted or acquitted.  Other than this I don't know of a single documented example of an autistic pedarest (or wannabe child molester).  I wish Ms. Cutler would provide one but she does not.   

Ms. Cutler makes the entirely alleged (with the emphasis on alleged) claim that an autistic man brought his computer into a repair shop and the technicians found child porn on his hard drive.  No name is given, no link or documentation whatsoever is provided as to the veracity of this story. 

She goes on to make the bizarre and bigoted claims (with no evidence) that autistic men as a general rule have abnormal sex drives and need children to teach them to have sex and this somehow drives them to download child pornography yet does not give a single example (other than her alleged one) of this phenomenon in practice.  She claims to quote University of North Carolina professor Gary Mesibov who seems to somehow concur that as a rule many autistic men are pedarests and pedophiles.  She provides no documentation of where Mesibov has said this. 

I wish she'd give some sort of documentation of this or some sort of published study that claims that autistics have a tendency toward pedophilia.  Or if anyone else reads this blog and wishes to comment on an example I'd be interested in hearing about this. 

I hope people can understand why I find this most offensive.  I wonder if ASAN will get involved with this, since they seem to take offense at something like the Ransom notes campaign which would seem to be considerably trivial compared to this.  I've written an email to the Daily Beast urging them to retract this article or at least apologize for it.  I hope other people will do so also.  Somehow I think this is more offensive than some deragatory song lyrics or other (at least to me) lesser or more trivial matters that petitions have been started over. 


Jake Crosby said...

I've publicized this blog post.

Also, The Daily Beast editor Tina Brown has a son with Asperger's. I already called her out on Twitter for allowing this piece to run. I encourage everyone else to do the same.

Jake Crosby said...

According to Temple Grandin's liaison: “Dr. Grandin was not consulted on the article and was not aware of it’s publication until she saw it on the internet.”

However, still no word back from Tina Brown or anyone at The Daily Beast.

jonathan said...

@Jake. I know it's a cliche, but don't hold your breath.

Anonymous said...

Here is an article linkin autism to pedophilia and many others paraphilic behaviours:

But this "scientific research" (a simple survey) admit it have a poor basis (the use of a controversial test like the Autism Spectrum Quotient -world wide famous for the large amount of self diagnose that promotes-, the possible lack of suitability of psychiatrists / psychologists, etc):

"The results of our study are limited because they are solely based on self-report, and one cannot be sure that all participants were diagnosed by a trained psychologist or psychiatrist. However, all ASD participants scored above the cutoff value of the German version of the AQ, ensuring that they showed pronounced ASD symptomatology. Furthermore, all participants were recruited through ASD self-help groups or ASD outpatient care centers, indicating that their contact with the medical system was due to their symptomatology. Our study results are also limited by the potential that individuals with a higher interest in sexuality-related issues, and perhaps also having more sexual problems, were more likely to volunteer to participate, thus affecting the study population. This could have led to an overestimation of the actual rate of hypersexual and paraphilic fantasies and behaviors in the ASD group"

Andrew Dove said...

More stigma being unfairly heaped on autistic people. Not to mention the blatant sexism. (This does not seem to apply to autistic women). In reality autistic children are far more likely to be victims of pedophilia. Real pedophiles are far more likely to prey on a child they perceive as vulnerable. Adults with autism are far more likely to be wrongly suspected of being potential sexual predators as a result of their often unorthodox social habits - the autistic loner innocently taking a walk happens to pass some children. Maybe acting in a "strange" but totally innocent manner - gets misinterpreted. Autistic people suffer too much unfair stigma already with out being labelled as potential pedophiles. As for convicted pedophiles claiming autism as a defence - Hardly surprising. A pedophile that would sexually violate a child will have no problem feigning autism as an excuse. He / she will not be concerned with the damage their defence does to genuinely autistic people. We expect nothing more from pedophiles. But we do expect more from Tina Brown and the Daily Beast. By the way much as I deplore sexism, it is good that you have decided to exempt the female autistic population.