Child Pornography as a form of rape

The following is an excerpt from the appendix of my book Redeem the Silence; An Unintended Journey.  I have identified more than 12 types of rape.  Child Pornography is one of them.

Statistics:  Child advocacy groups estimate that 2 million children worldwide are working in the sex trade (e.i. the rape trade, as sex can only be sex if it is completely consensual with no power differential), predominately in third-world countries.  There are basically two categories of child pornography.  One is when they are used to photograph and publish as pornography.  The other is when the children themselves are using the pornography, primarily online.  Both lead to more sexual violence for them.

“The main sex exploitation offense referred to U.S. attorneys shifted from sex abuse (73%) in 1994 to child pornography in (69%) in 2006.” (“Federal Prosecution of Child Sex Exploitation Offenders, 2006” Bureau of Justice Statistics, Dec. 20, 2007 http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/fpcseo).htm)

“Child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, and the content is becoming much worse.  In 2004 Internet Watch Foundation found 3,433 child abuse domains; in their 2006 annual report, they knew of 10,656 child domains.  As of 2006, of all known child abuse domains, 54% are housed in the United States.  In a study of arrested child pornography possessors, 40% had both sexually victimized children and were in possession of child pornography…According to a National Children’s Home report in 2003, the number of Internet child pornography images has increased 1500% since 1988.”  Aveeda Goyanko has authored this research at George Mason University.  She also says that more than 20,000 images of children are posted every week on the Internet.  It has become a three billion dollar industry. (“Child Pornography Statistics,” statistics by Aveeda Goyanko assessed April 28, 2009, aveedagoyanko@gmu.edu.)

Fifty two percent of libraries do filter their computers.  “About 17% filter each computer.  “This is a sad thing.  Children are being raped and molested in public libraries, and it’s often a result of pornography being available in public libraries.” (“No Internet filtering at Mason City Public Library, ” Archived Latest News stories, Nov. 21, 2005, www.plan2suceed.org/publications.html)

Definition:  Child pornography can be defined as: 1.  the possession and/or distribution of pornography that depicts underage juveniles  2.  involves the production of child pornography material and the use of it in the seduction of a child.

I would very much like to put a link on my website to Andrew Vachss’s articles on child molestation.  Since I do not yet know how to do that, I will quote much of what he has written in a couple of articles.  He is an attorney whose life work has been the protection of children, our most vulnerable victims.  He writes “Child pornography has become a business so profitable that it is no longer limited to pedophiles.  Demand exceeds supply and always will…The risk/gain ratio is extremely favorable.  And the return on investment is extraordinary.  What crime syndicate would pass up such an opportunity?

Because much of the original product is ”home-grown’–produced by parents or caretakers of the victims and then offered for distribution to a syndicate–the risk of capture is low.  Once the images are created, they can be copied forever.  Even seizure of the original pictures means nothing; images on the Internet can never be destroyed.  And penalties are much lower than they should be, considering both the damage done and the profit realized.  The only thing used-up in the child pornography business are its victims.

No child is capable, emotionally or legally, of consenting to being photographed for sexual purposes.  Thus, every image of a sexually displayed child–be it a photograph, a tape or a DVD–records both the rape of the child and an act against humanity.  We must stop the hurt.” (Andrew Vachss, “Let’s Fight This terrible Crime Against Our Children, ” Prarade Magazine, February 19, 2005, 4,5)

In a previous article for Parade Magazine on June 5, 2005 Andrew Vachss wrote about the rescue of a child in bondage, that he participated in.  She had been repeatedly raped, then forced to sell herself.  If she did not comply or bring in enough money, she faced disfiguring brutality.  Once the rescue was complete, the reportage called the children child-prostitutes. 

Excuse me?  Since when is a victim of sexual violence a prostitute? 

Vachss writes, “The word [‘prostitute’] itself implies a judgment of character.  Don’t we call people who sell out their moral convictions in exchange for personal gain ‘whores?’  More important, prostitution implies a willing exchange.  Ultimately it implies that little children are ‘seductive,’ that they ‘volunteer’ to have sex with adults in exchange for case (of course the children never see any money at all). 

The difference between calling any child a ‘child-prostitute’ or a ‘prostituted child’ is not purely semantic.  It is more than the difference between the hard truth and a pernicious lie.  The first term not only injures the victim; it actively gives aid and comfort to the enemy.  By allowing the term ‘child-protstituion’ to gain a foothold in our language, we lose ground than can never be recovered.”

Mr. Vachss calls for higher penalties, abolishment of any statutes of limitations, causing predators to be stripped of any and all property and profits, and recognition that this is an international crime.

International Justice Mission did an entire Dateline operation to rescue little girls in Cambodia from institutionalized group rape.  They helped get them placed in homes and into therapy.  This is a problem for own country because of the growing problem of Americans and Europeans traveling abroad to have ‘sex’ (i.e. rape) with minors.  in bringing charges, the U.S. government is relying on new laws that allow it to come down hard on citizens who plan international trips with the above intent–even if the children are of legal age in their own country.  San Francisco Chronicle staff writers Stephanie Salter and Elizabeth contributed to this report.  Email Stacey Finz at sfinz@sfchronicle.com.”  (Financier reported indicted in child sex case, Businessman jailed in Thailand Awaiting transfer to Mexico,” San Francisco Chronicle, April 16, 2004 sfinz@sfchronicle.com)

Our culture must begin to treat the so-called “simple possession” of child pornography as the heinous crime it truly is.  Every purchase of child pornography encourages further growth of business: from “custom” child pornography–the sale of images of child rape created to order for the consumer–to “real-time” child pornography, where subscribers pay to watch the streamed online rape of children as it occurs.  Still another market exists in recorded images of children being physically abused, even tortured.  Some of these are marketed outright for the sexual gratification of viewers, while others are camouflaged as “instructional material for disciplinarians.” 

Pornography on a broader is scale is form of cultural rape, the victims being de-humanized and objectified; removing their value as equal human beings.  Think child pornography does not contribute to other forms of sexual violence such as incest and other molestations?  There is story after story of survivors whose parent(s) used their child for ‘sexual’ gratification while they were watching pornography.  The problem is circular, and lies within the context of such things as skewed value systems, immorality,  human depravity, and lack of character.

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