Dr Eve

Child porn played down

2004-09-23 07:54

Calling child pornography "Kiddie Porn" is not acceptable.

It somehow sounds too playful and does not respect the seriousness of the atrocity.

Next week, child pornography becomes one of the most serious crimes in South Africa with thirty years in jail the penalty for those producing, distributing and possessing child pornography.

Not enough years, I say. No amount of time in jail can compensate a child who is exploited in this manner.

Every day, I listen to adults tell of the horror of being exposed as a child to adult pornography whilst being sexually abused by a perpetrator. The purpose is to turn these children on and to get them hot and horny enough for their perpetrators pleasure.

I cringe with revulsion listening to a client tell of how, as a child, she was photographed nude and in provocative positions by her father.

I see the confusion of a wife as her husband shares his inability to maintain sexual interest in her who was forced to sexually play with his best friend at age 13 whilst being videotaped by a "counsellor" at a youth camp.

It is commonly known that there is money to be made from sexuality. Whoever would have imagined that so many people in our country choose to exploit children, even their own children, for money?

Iyavar Chetty, head of the Film and Publications Board, told me in a personal conversation, that it is impossible to track the numbers of perpetrators.

There are too many of these people who gather in tight, secret enclaves on the internet. They exchange photos, video footage and chat for large sums of money.

The amount of child pornographic material on the internet is unimaginable.

What has happened to create this scourge, this illness, this crime? The internet happened, that's what.

The internet provides a fertile, active, anonymous and accessible space for like-minded people to gather and do their business.

I am a proponent of freedom of the press.

I believe people should be allowed to choose for themselves the images they wish to see, read the literature they enjoy reading, and that pornography should be available to consenting adults only.

But now I am afraid and angry.

Restrictions need to be placed on the internet, we need to appoint internet police and get service providers, neighbours and friends to monitor our computer files.

I am not sure how to hold freedom of the press in the same breath as offering our children much needed protection.

And I do not feel safe posting family photographs of my children on the internet. Nor should you.

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