‘TED talks’ are no stranger to controversial topics… but this one was too much even for them.
For many people, TED talks are ‘the’ place to go to find interesing and informative speakers who will give you the latest scientific discoveries, new steps forward in technology, and even how the way you probably tie your shoes is “wrong”. (No, really. It’s in there.)
But this particular TED event pushed the boundaries too far in exploring the topic of pedophilia, what it is, and what it isn’t, with particular emphasis put on making distinctions between the sexual urge itself and acting out that urge with another person.
It was controversial enough that the official blog for TED talks issued the following announcement:
Updated June 20, 2018: An independently organized TEDx event recently posted, and subsequently removed, a talk from the TEDx YouTube channel that the event organizer titled: “Why our perception of pedophilia has to change.”
In the TEDx talk, a speaker described pedophilia as a condition some people are born with, and suggested that if we recognize it as such, we can do more to prevent those people from acting on their instincts.
TEDx events are organized independently from the main annual TED conference, with some 3,500 events held every year in more than 100 countries. Our nonprofit TED organization does not control TEDx events’ content.
This talk and its removal was recently brought to our attention. After reviewing the talk, we believe it cites research in ways that are open to serious misinterpretation. This led some viewers to interpret the talk as an argument in favor of an illegal and harmful practice.
Furthermore, after contacting the organizer to understand why it had been taken down, we learned that the speaker herself requested it be removed from the internet because she had serious concerns about her own safety in its wake.
Our policy is and always has been to remove speakers’ talks when they request we do so. That is why we support this TEDx organizer’s decision to respect this speaker’s wishes and keep the talk offline.
We will continue to take down any illegal copies of the talk posted on the Internet.
For an idea of what was controversial about it, here is a portion of the transcript excerpt via Youtube, with its video timestamps:
we should accept that
pedophilia is a sexual preference a
thought a feeling and not an act
we should differentiate between child
sexual abuse and pedophilia
we shouldn’t increase the suffering of
pedophiles by excluding them by blaming
and mocking them by doing that we
increase their isolation and we increase
the chance of child sexual abuse only if
they make themselves recognizable
because they’re not afraid of punishment
of anger and rejection can we better
understand the causes of pedophilia and
we can improve their treatment we can
help them accept their sexuality and
help them learn to refrain from acting
on their sexual urges which cause harm
to children we can encourage them never
to commit child sexual abuse we can help
them refrain from entering dangerous
situations they might not control
entirely and we can prescribe medication
this approach has already been
successful in the last 10 years more
than 9,500 people have received help in
a prevention network called
kindly to Verdun but which means don’t
offend in English at University
Hospitals in Germany the last survey
shows that 98% have never committed
child sexual abuse
unfortunately this program is
not gonna eradicate child sexual abuse
but it is the first step in the right
direction pedophiles who have received
treatment have a better understanding of
who they can turn to in order to prevent
abuse before it happens most of you
might ask themselves now why is she
telling us that five years ago
Some further background on her, and the reasons for addressing this topic in the first place
And some further background on the speech itself:
On May 5, medical student Mirjam Heine spoke at an independently organized TEDx Talk event at the University of Würzburg in Germany. In a description of the event, the TED Talk website explained that Heine’s would focus on her belief that pedophilia is a natural, unchangeable sexual orientation.
Ms. Heine “believes that no one is responsible for their sexual orientation, for their feelings, but that everyone is responsible for acting upon this sexual orientation,” the website reads. “She also inquires how all of us can gain if we distinguish clearly between our feelings and our actions. Since pedophiles can’t change their sexual desires, they must learn to control them to not act upon them.”
“Let me be clear here, abusing children is wrong without any doubt. But a pedophile who does not abuse children has not done anything wrong,” Heine said in her lecture.
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