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Social Issues: Letters

From: Ross Olson ross{at}
Sent: Friday, September 9, 2016
To: opinion{at}
Subject: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse

Professor Elisabeth Letourneau calls for programs to prevent people from becoming sexual
offenders. ("After Jacob..." Star Tribune 9/9/2016) To do so will require deep and creative - maybe
even revolutionary -- thinking about our societal attitudes towards sexuality and individual
freedom. Although essentially all honest and sober adults will admit that they have had sexual impulses
that they know should not be acted out, we have come to the place as a society where it is assumed that
the presence of a desire means that it is not only "natural" but also irresistible and its expression, a

Historically, stable cultures have placed restraints on the expression of male sexuality with taboos
against incest and rape. It has generally been assumed that young adults will enter into permanent,
exclusive relationships which also form the stable environment in which to raise children. Although the
breaking of these rules often irrationally resulted in punishing the child or the woman more than the
man, the ideal remains a worthy goal.

In contrast, we have separated sexual expression from childbearing and even from commitment. It has
become an act, purely for the pleasure of the adults -- at that moment -- with little or no thought of the
long term effect.

Where can we go from here? If it is to continue the trend, the next logical thing would be to legalize and
legitimize intergenerational sex. There are groups that seek to abolish age-of-consent laws and consider
themselves to represent a utopian world of the future. One of them could argue that Jacob's abuser
only killed when he thought the police were near.

The alternative - unthinkable to many - is a return to traditional morality.

Ross S. Olson MD
Richfield MN

Send comments to me at ross{at}

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