Virginia Beach, VA
7/18/17 9:32 AM
By Lee Ann Slaichuk
In today’s world, you can be anything you want to be…gay, straight, man, woman, non-binary. And according to Joseph Wilks of Virginia Beach, VA…..a grown man can even be a little boy. Joseph, 28, identifies as a cisgender 9 yr old boy. He even has a little girlfriend. For the purposes of this story, we’ll call her “Madison”. Madison is also 9 years old and has been “dating” Joseph for 6 months.
“Being sexual with an underage girl is illegal, so I want to make it clear, that is not the case in our relationship. But what is legal is having a loving and caring friendship based on trust and companionship” this says Joseph in a phone call interview we had in June. Joseph does not consider himself a pedophile, as he identifies as a little boy. “I’ve always been a kid at heart, I’ve never fit in with adults, I’ve just felt more comfortable with children. Their sense of wonder and compassion for other’s, their care-free outlook on the world. That’s how I feel and I don’t ever want to grow up”
Joseph’s situation raises question’s of how far we are willing to let political correctness rule our decision making in today’s society. Dr. Brian Mechan of the UQLA Psychological Clinic says that this is a text-book case of pedophilia. “After speaking with Joseph and getting permission to share the results of our meeting, it is clear to me that he is what we would call a Minor Attracted Adult, or pedophile. Joseph has admitted to having a sexual attraction toward his girlfriend, but understands that by acting upon it would put him in serious trouble with the law and risk losing what is clearly a very important relationship to him”.
At this point you might be wondering where are her parent’s? Well, Meet Jim & Susan (Last name redacted to ensure anonymity of the little girl) I met the Millennial-Gen parent’s for coffee near their home 30 minutes outside of Virginia Beach.
“Joseph is a life-long friend of our’s” Susan explained. “Him and our daughter have been best friends since the day she was born, and when he revealed himself to us as cross-generational, the two of them dating was a natural progression”. I asked Jim how he felt about an adult man spending time with his daughter and he didn’t have the reaction you might expect. “I am what you would describe as a non-exclusive pedophile” offered Jim as he butter’s his warm scone “I myself have an attraction toward little girls, so I know how hard it is to be in those shoes, I’m considered non-exclusive, which means I’m also attracted to adult women, hence my beautiful wife” Jim quips as he leans in for a peck from Susan. “Joseph is someone I trust and admire for his courage, he treats my daughter with love, compassion and respect…there is not much more a father can ask for”. When asked how they feel about marriage, Madison’s parents were quick to point out their emphasis on education. “We’ve made it clear to both our daughter and her boyfriend that she must graduate highschool and college before anything like that can be a reality”
I asked Joseph what a date with a 9 yr old girl would look like and apparently it’s not much different than any other.
In the beginning of July, Joseph and I are having lunch as he describes his inter-generational relationship. “We play mini-golf, go to her favorite restaurants, walk along the beach holding hands, cuddle and watch movies, just normal stuff you would do on a date”. Joseph’s face light’s up as he talks of his love. “I’ll never forget the day I asked her parent’s if I could be her boyfriend. I was very nervous and I wasn’t sure how they’d react. They knew I loved their daughter, but up to that point, I was seen more as an uncle. But I wanted them to know I love her and care for her as a partner, and more than just a friend” Joseph begin’s to tear up as he reflects on that day. “They told me they loved me and their daughter very much and they wanted both of us to be happy, the joy I felt in that moment, I will cherish forever”.
Even though Joseph identifies as a child, mental health experts describe him as a pedophile. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, list pedophilia as an uncurable mental disorder. Statistics show that anywhere from 10-20% of the population, especially when factoring in women, are Minor Attracted Adults. “The cause of this condition is not known, or fully understood” Explains Dr. Mechan of the UQLA clinic. “What we do know is that the sex-offender’s you see on the local news is not your typical Minor Attracted Adult. Most MAA’s you never hear about. They are just regular people with these attraction’s, they just don’t break the law. I’ve seen hundreds of patient’s over the years come to me seeking treatment. They are doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers…everyday people who are dealing with feelings and desires they did not choose”
Dr. Mechan also offers that MAA’s do not want to cause harm. “I think what is misunderstood most about this group of people is that they have an uncontrollable urge, that is not the case. In the same way a man can have a sexual attraction to a woman, yet have no urge to abuse or harm her, Minor Attracted Adults feel just the same. They want to be close to their partner, hug, cuddle, kiss…but have no need or want to force themselves upon them. This is what is so unique in the case of Joseph. He has found himself in a situation where he can express his love with permission from her parent’s, all within the confines of the law”.
Dr. Mechan says it’s important for this group to be open and honest about their feeling’s and be able to seek treatment. “In our society, these people are demonized, even when they haven’t committed a crime. They are no different than someone who has diabetes or high cholesterol. They should not be judged for something they did not choose. That is the very defenition of discrimination. But because of mandatory reporting law’s and our shoot first, ask questions later mentality, this demographic is forced to live in fear and silence. Many turning to drugs, alcohol and suicide. And yes, some do see no hope for the future, then when faced with an opportunity to offend, they have not been given the skills to cope and can make very bad decisions. Again, 99% of these people would never force themselves upon someone. But could turn to molestation when the situatuion presents itself. If they were able to be open and honest with friends and family, and be able to seek professional help…society as a whole would be much better off. These people exist, whether you like it or not. And it’s much more prevalent than one would guess. Statictic’s show that everyone in America know’s or is related to a Minor Attracted Adult. It’s your mailman, your co-worker…you could be married to one and never even know. How could you? Whenever the topic comes up at least one person in the room talks of murdering or castrating that person. We have created a culture where to be an MAA is worse than being a murderer. So, no wonder why these people wouldn’t dream of being honest with you about it. You could have a friend or family member suffering right now with something they did not choose. The same way you do not choose to be attracted to blondes or brunettes, they do not choose this either”.
I finally got a chance to sit down with Madison. She just came in from jumping on the neighbors trampoline. She’s wearing hot pink boy shorts with a matching form fitting tank top. Her caramel hair is past her shoulders and parted to one side. Her pouty pink lips are slightly chapped. Her olive skin freshly kissed by the Virginia sun. Her beautiful green eyes are radiant and piercing. It’s in that moment I begin to see why Joseph is so in love.
We are at her parent’s home, they are making dinner while her and I discuss her unique situation. “I understand why people would think it’s weird”. Madison speaks with a mature tone you wouldn’t expect from a 9 yr old. “But if you think about it, what girl hasn’t had a crush on an older guy? All my friends at school have a teacher they are in love with and I’m lucky enough to actually be dating my crush”. When asked why not just date someone her own age, Madison quickly points to the obvious. “Well, for one thing, Joseph can drive”. She says with an almost mischievous smile. “And not only that, Joseph understands me, I can talk to him about anything, he makes me laugh, he makes me feel special, like no other boy ever has”.
I was curious to know if Madison actually understood what Joseph was in risk of if he ever “crossed the line”. “I totally get that” lowering her brow “He would go to jail for a long time, we’ve talked about that, and Joseph and I are too young for all that. We get to be close and cuddle, hold hands, that’s all we need, we need each other, the rest doesn’t matter. The outside world can think whatever it wants, 100 years ago it was like illegal to be gay, now we have marriage equality. I like to think of Joseph and I as a step toward equal rights for all, not just “adults” Madison raises her finger’s in quotations as if to remark on the obsurdity of our arbitrary age of consent laws.
Over dinner on my last night with the family, both Joseph and Madison are there. For the first time, I see them interact. It’s evident there is a close bond. They talk about their day like any other couple. And strangely enough, it doesn’t as seem weird as I thought it would. Their demeanor toward each other is less like adult and child, and more as equals. Learning from one another, holding hands as they finish each other’s sentences. At one point Madison sits on Joseph’s lap, she begins to doze off and Joseph gently carries her to her room to tuck her in. I can see they have something special. Something the world might be lucky enough one day to see. If only they would give them the chance.
Lee Ann Slaichuk is a staff writer from Portland, OR.
E-mail her @ firstname.lastname@example.org