Leonardo Arce Vidal
Leonardo Alfonso Arce Vidal, or Leonardo Arce, is a scholar associated with the University of Chile who has written philosophical academic works problematizing the figure of the pedophile. He completed his MA thesis Pedophiles and infants: folds and folds of desire in 2016, with his advisor/supervisor being Olga Grau Duhart (born September 21, 1945), a full professor and philosopher who specializes in gender, sexuality, and childhood studies. At the University of Chile, she is the coordinator of the Philosophy for Children program and director of the "Comunidad de Indagación en Filosofía e Infancia en Chile" (CIFICH) (Community of Inquiry in Philosophy and Childhood in Chile).
Arce had also written Pedophilia and childhood: a possible relationship? in 2016. Along with the 2020 BA student thesis of Mauricio Quiroz Muñoz entitled The pedagogue's denied wish: being a pedophile, supervised by Marcia Ravelo Medina, both Arce and Muñoz became the subject of Twitter cancellation and university investigation in 2023. Arce's 206-page thesis was attacked for being:
Dedicated to boys and girls with a restless desire, so that they can ever touch and be touched without fear or guilt. To pedophiles with guilty desire, so that they exorcise their discomfort and their fears for loving those they love.
The theses went viral online, with university figures condemning the works while an official statement argued, as one article put it, after
admitting that the issues addressed are "highly sensitive" and that "they allude to a reality that always deserves the most serious and respectful approach possible as a matter of study, the institution assured that "we consider that the aforementioned investigations correspond to academic works of a purely theoretical nature, which do not report intervention on human populations , and which, even taking into account how debatable their content turns out to be, met the requirements of the academic evaluation process, according to what is established and what was required by the academic commissions that at the time were in charge of the respective task.
Our commitment and challenge as a faculty will be to duly investigate what happened, to establish the responsibilities that could be established and redouble our efforts to systematically review the actions that ensure the integrity of research and teaching, in unrestricted attention to your ethical dimension and our social responsibility," added the note.
Arce and his supervisor have received death threats at their publicly available email addresses and are currently subject to university investigation.
Olga Grau Duhart (Supervisor) controversy
His supervisor, Olga Grau Duhart, has been the subject of hostile media attention due to both their supervision of Arce's student thesis, but also because of her own writing. One December 2022 article has received 130,295 visits by March 2023, according to the site, and marks Grau's 2014 scholarly article, The violence of an oblivion out for attack.  Grau's article frames the topics of memory, sexual desire and sexual behavior in childhood, within the "post-dictatorial experience" of Chile. Invoking the bygone dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, in which "a struggle for memory," to be permitted to voice your memory, has occurred - Grau discusses Chilean writer Eugenia Prado's book Objects of silence: childhood secrets. For Grau, the book:
unleashes the voices of those who were boys and girls [...] She removes the boys and girls from the condition of objects of silence, situating them as subjects with their own voice, in a saying that is uncomfortable for the modes of adult representation. She restores and repairs them from that infantile reality that is understood as a denial of speech, of knowledge, of will, of the desire that is in them and them. The very word of "childhood" is related to the Latin term In-Fari (voiceless) that indicates boys and girls from a lack, that of language, deprived of what confers the titles of belonging to the social community, in a time of waiting for maturity, for their recognition as persons. Boys and girls do not speak, they have not been allowed to speak, they have not been listened to. [...]
Prado is interested in the stories that narrate moments in which boys and girls learn enjoyment even in their disturbing torment, which opens them to an experience of sensuality and eroticism, the "exploration of textures and sensations, games and playful experiences destined to produce pleasure, essential for the construction and structure of their sexual identity”. Adults do not want to know about child sexuality, they deny it; they confine to oblivion what they have perceived in boys and girls, leaving that sexuality in the same place of silence where they left the ludic scenes that intensely compromised their sexualized bodies.
A culture where children's memories face oblivion through enforced secrecy and self-censorship of the precise details (i.e. non-negative aspects) of their taboo youthful desires/experiences, "represent forms of cultural and political violence" for Grau.
A particularly incendiary passage was:
The stories of reality-fiction tell of the desire and pleasure that a girl could experience with an old man who groped her. She did not feel abused. Nor is a brother for another brother. A girl tempts the woman who accompanies her at home to experience a lesbian experience; a boy too pampered by his father has his first love with a priest at the age of twelve, having previously experienced the desire for friends of his sex; at the age of nine, a girl lives intensely caresses with another girl “being born to a sexuality that flowed like springs”; the appetites that a nearby domestic dog arouses in a girl, allowing it to lick her until she has exquisite orgasms, to the point of saying "Thank God the dog couldn't talk"
Grau discusses a film, The Huntby, by Tomás Vinterberg, which portrays a story of false sexual abuse allegations made by a girl in revenge for her teacher's declining her advances. She wrote:
He is supposed to have committed sexual abuse against the girl, he falls under general suspicion, the entire town turns against him, he reaches the most extreme loneliness. No one believes the girl when she says that she has lied, because adults prefer to project all their sexual fantasies and fears onto a scapegoat of their own imaginations. The self-produced misfortune covers the entire town and although everything is finally restored and the teacher, against himself, violently has to make the truth known and the girl return to his arms before the others in an innocent gesture, the film expresses the disturbing nature of the sexuality, experienced as threat and danger. The induction that adults make so that the girl builds the narrative of alleged abuse, a narrative forced by them, is the denial of the girl's possible desire; all have committed a violence of oblivion, of the desire of boys and girls and of them and themselves when they were.
While abstracts can be read at the links provided, the two student theses of Arce and Muñoz are no longer publicly accessible via the university's online repository. Two articles by Leonardo Arce are available to download via Google Scholar.
Leonardo Arce Vidal (photo taken from one of his online academic profiles)
Arce with more clothes on
- Leonardo Arce Vidal: Pedophiles and infants: folds and folds of desire
- Leonardo Arce Vidal: Pedophilia and childhood: a possible relationship?
- Mauricio Quiroz Muñoz: The pedagogue's denied wish: being a pedophile
- Translated: "The controversial thesis of the University of Chile that was viralized and strongly criticized on social networks"
- Cooperativa: Scandal for pro-pedophilia thesis: U. de Chile will investigate eventual responsibilities
- The violence of an oblivion
- Translated: Olga Grau: the guide teacher of "pedophile thesis" who compared sexual desires of children with the dictatorship
- Grau quotes Prado as writing that "Children are not angels, nor asexual beings, but boys and girls inhabited by a body, a mind. They fall there on the ground marked by sex, forced into silence. Constituted as secrets, it is from there that they elaborate their minimal identity, from displaced movements under the insidious glances of suspicions from adults. Their childish, desireful sexualities are inhabited by fantasies, which seek enjoyment and new forms of pleasure. They live and inhabit a childish reality with their own characteristics, dimensions, times, spaces and principles, radically different from the older ones."