By Chidinma Nnamah

Hasbro, an American company that produces games and toys, released a new troll doll. The troll dolls are designed to have ugly yet cute look with a play on bright colors. The new troll doll however, had interesting features, one of which is a button placed at the private area under the skirt of the doll. Once the button is touched, it generates inappropriate giggles.

Many people on social media have termed this ‘child grooming’ and signed petitions urging for the dolls to be removed from stores. There were also videos displaying the cause of outrage by the public. These petitions were successful as Hasbro had a press release apologising for its carelessness and ordering the dolls to be removed from US stores.

One can’t help but wonder why the doll passed through various vetting channels without being questioned, in the first place. This action piqued my curiosity. Is there an agenda to normalise pedophilia? Is this going to be the next thing?

Stay with me and I will explain why these questions come to mind.

While scrolling through twitter, I came across a video clip of a young woman making a case for pedophilia. There were some backlash and a few agreeing with the woman’s point being that pedophilia should be viewed as a feeling and not an act. I took a dig and found a link to the full video on YouTube.

The name of the young woman in question is Mirjam Heine and the video is titled: “Pedophilia is a natural sexual orientation”. (Interesting Title)

She starts her speech by telling a story about a boy named ‘Jonas’, a law student, plays soccer just like every normal boy but has a secret that cannot be shared- A secret of pedophilic desires. The rest of the video makes a case for Jonas and others like him. Her line of argument can be summarised in the following:

1. That Pedophilia is a natural sexual orientation

2. Pedophiles are born that way and do not choose to have pedophilic desires (sounds familiar?)

3. A great number of pedophiles who commit the act do so because society alienates them and they have no one to speak to about their desires.

4. Pedophilia is a mere impulse not associated with commission of the act

5. Not all child abusers are pedophiles and not all pedophiles are child abusers.

That’s not all.

The speaker goes ahead to distinguish pedophilia from sexual abuse, she points to the former as a sexual preference and the latter as sexual violation of another person.

She further claims that Jonas suppresses this desire because he knows that he cannot enter into a relationship with a child. According to her, Jonas knows the consequences of his action and will not give in to his sexual desire. She puts the blame on the society for their failure to provide a safe space for Jonas and his likes. She argued also that the society needs to get over its negative feeling towards pedophilia and device ways to help pedophiles to prevent them from committing the act.

This is laughable. Does the suppression of this feeling really leave the burden of guilt on the shoulders of the society? Is society not better and safer for this suppression? What kind of support does a person like Jonas expect from society?

Where do we draw the line? When does this madness end? YouTube as a social media platform frequently bans videos of people who express opinions contrary to the popular view yet videos like this uploaded since 2018 has not been taken down.

At the tail end of the video, she claims that 9,500 people had received help from a prevention network in the past 10 years as of 2018 when the video was made. According to a survey conducted in Germany, 98% of the 9,500 persons had never committed sexual abuse.

I watched the video hilariously thinking how fitting it is that a young woman with an innocent-like-voice had to be the instrument to deliver such a speech. I can’t help but wonder what kind of reactions the video would have received if a 50 year old man was used for the same purpose. The answer is as obvious as day.

The video is an insult to genuine message of global protests like the #Metoo movement that kicked off in 2017 where victims of sexual abuse boldly marched the streets naming sexual offenders and calling out for justice.

Imagine justifying the reasons of abuse to those victims or parents of sexually abused children by implying that the perpetrator was alienated from the society and no one had helped him with the necessary resources.

Let’s be clear pedophiles, child abusers, rapists in whatever next fancy label they come under must face the criminal justice system.

Now more than ever is the time for parents to be concerned about the toys, Television programs and education that is being offered to their children. The world is already busy with all kinds of injustice but we must wean ourselves off it and pay close attention to our children. Parents must fight for the protection of the children’s mental state.

Article 3:1 of the Convention for the Rights of the Child by UNICEF provides thus: “in all actions concerning children…the best interest of the child shall be a primary consideration

In other words, any occurrence that involves a Child, the interest, protection and security of the child should be paramount. No child is safe in a society that focuses more on protecting actions of pedophiles or recognising pedophilia as a feeling not an act. When the adults in a society keep mute and encourage the spread of such propaganda, we leave the safety of our children to be determined by a few who do not have their best interests.

When toys like the troll doll and the videos done by the speaker are distributed, we harm our children by not fighting for their security. We exploit their innocence by being complacent and not lending our voices to these issues.

At face value, the argument for pedophilia may look harmless as all other justification for abominable acts. But when put side by side with the interest of the child, the pedophiles given more sympathy and the protection of the innocent child who looks to the adults in the society to protect him/her is downplayed.

It is extremely wrong for exploitation of children to be coated in honey doses and presented as no cause for alarm. That is why we must stand up to these exploitative propagandas, call them out for what they represent. Our children need our voices. We, that is, every member of the society need to make the world a better place by placing priority on the protection of our children.

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