Friday, December 19, 2014

Pulling CP apart -- the child's reaction

Note: In this series of posts I'm going to describe sexual situations explicitly. You have been warned.

Some CP shows children in distress.

One of my methods for getting clearer on CP is to think about similar non-sexual situations. Seeing children in distress is upsetting, but videos do exist of children being hurt accidentally (say by being hit by a baseball). We have news footage of children in areas of war, famine and disease. People might feel upset to know others found that exciting instead of just interesting or horrifying, but surely it is not a criminal matter.

But an added element here is distress that is caused intentionally. This too could be non-sexual in nature. Beating children is a criminal offense in the US, though surely it happens a great deal and I wager that the vast majority of incidents witnessed by others are not reported. Somewhere on the web there must be video of people beating children, made intentionally by the perpetrators. Someone probably thinks their child deserved the beating and wants to publicize it as part of the punishment. The official position is that child beating is a serious crime, and video that showed an identifiable assailant would very likely lead to his or her arrest and prosecution. But possessing such a video would not be a criminal matter. If people became aware of a porn community focused on sexual arousal from the non-sexual beating of children, it would probably stir outrage. I don't think that under existing law possessing such videos would be a crime.

But back to the original case, we have sexual material showing children in distress, and here is the paradigmatic case of "child abuse images", the most offensive of child pornography. This is the case that I think most people have in mind as they feel rage at CP. In this case the name "child abuse image" is well deserved. I imagine the classic horrible case would be a small child vaginally or anally penetrated by an adult penis, and physically damaged in the process. There is no question that an identifiable perpetrator would be prosecuted. Many people (including me) will feel a strong revulsion at the idea of someone finding this a sexual turn-on.

Another of my methods in thinking more clearly about CP is to think about similar pornography involving adults. An interesting parallel would be a video of an actual gang rape of an adult woman. Identifiable perpetrators would be prosecuted. But I don't believe that possession of such video would be a crime. Some people would surely feel it ought to be a crime -- but on civil liberties grounds I hope others would see that this would not be a good idea.

Men and women can decide for themselves how they would react if given a link to a video described as the real gang rape of a woman. Would some click on it out of fascination, even if they felt a little guilty about it? Would some of them find it sexually arousing once they started looking? There is evidence that many women find rape porn arousing, though none would actually want to be raped. Would others click on it suspecting it would be arousing, or keep looking even after they realized they were getting aroused? Might some rationalize their continued watching, noting that while it is unfortunate that the woman suffered, they can't alleviate her past suffering -- but it sure is hot? I think many would do all of those things. You might find it disgusting. But the relevant point to consider is not whether you think such a reaction would be disgusting, but whether you think the person ought to go to prison for years for looking and reacting a certain way. Does anyone seriously think that? That is the legal reality for anyone caught watching a comparable video of a child.

Another aspect of child pornography I'd like to brainstorm about is our reaction depending on why the person is viewing it. Police and prosecutors express disgust and even trauma at the need to view such videos as part of their work. But I have rarely heard they or the public say that there is a moral problem with viewing for such purposes. There is no sexual motive and presumably no sexual arousal. Now let's consider an ordinary person who happens to see some child pornography with a suffering child. If the public knew the ordinary person's reaction to any such videos was horror, sympathy for the victim and rage at the perpetrator -- with no sexual motive or hint of sexual arousal -- they would not be particularly upset or feel such a viewer deserved a long prison sentence for choosing to look at it.

According to Seto, child pornography with an obviously unhappy child is rare within what police seize, and by implication it is not very popular. This is a point worth making as an aside -- the vast majority of pedophiles choose not to look at material with a child who is obviously suffering. A common accusation is that pedophilia is a desire to rape a child. But it appears that when given the choice of fantasies, very few pedophiles want to see a child suffering. That's pretty good evidence that they do not want to make a child suffer. Even if an abuser realizes that will be a result of his actions, I think it's an important distinction from intending to cause suffering.

That ends the discussion of a child who is obviously suffering. Another way that I'm told children come across in CP is "dead eyes". They are doing what they are being forced to do and a sensitive person can see that they have suffered in the long term, and are emotionally withdrawn in the moment. Another is a neutral expression -- the way a kid might look when engaged in any ordinary activity like drawing or reading. It doesn't tell us much. But of course for us adults in sexual situations, we expect facial expressions showing active pleasure, and would expect to see that in an adult porn video of "happy sex" as well.

Sometimes children are smiling, showing interest. Other times their faces do show sexual pleasure. Perhaps finely attuned viewers could tell whether these expressions are genuine or faked. But surely in some cases they are genuine. Even staunch anti-pornography crusaders must recognize this. In the moment, among other feelings, pleasure is sometimes one experience. That recognition is completely compatible with the view that children put in such a situation are nonetheless victims of a a terrible crime.

In this post I've looked at how child pornography varies in just one dimension, and tried to relate it to other related videos that are not CP.

I note in passing a belief some pro-contact pedophiles have as to why police do not let independent parties look at CP. They think it will show children enjoying the experience, and the fundamental assumption that adult-child sexual activity is always wrong is undercut by the idea that children might enjoy it. A more neutral framing would be that the police naturally want to portray any crimes they have solved in the gravest way possible to show their work as effective and important.


3 comments:

  1. PART 1

    Yes that is their job. However what you seem to forget is they do not have it for kicks. They have the material to prosecute and to bring justice. So the purpose for the content is not to own it but rather as evidence. They are trying to get evidence to prosecute people. You cannot pretend that them having it is the same as a random person having it. People actually have not gotten legal items back because it was evidence, not to mention that people cannot have illegal items even if they have no plans for it. Additionally if you find illegal item you are supposed to report it. There is no reason a citizen should own illegal items or content. “I note in passing a belief some pro-contact pedophiles have as to why police do not let independent parties look at CP.” Probably the same reason they don’t give coke to cokeheads. I don't get why there is a need to "prove" that CP is good, positive and harmless. Detailed but serious questions for anybdy who supports the agenda for adults to legally make, own, and share CP as well as adults “having sex” with “consenting kids”.

    Have you considered asking those who were in CP how they feel now as adults or even those as teens? Even though you cite sources none seem to be from the POV of an adult who was a child in CP. I honestly do not care what adults who only watch and make it say. Of course they are going to claim they do not abuse kids and the kids want it. Kids are not as developed as adults an they do not realize what is happening (I have heard people who were abused as young children say they did not cry, or show any negative emotions at the time because they had no idea what was going on. However later that day/year/hour they reacted to it.) If you want to support the idea that CP is good and harmless focus less on the perpetuators and more on the victims.

    Have you considered asking those who were in CP how they feel now as adults or even those as teens? Even though you cite sources none seem to be from the POV of an adult who was a child in CP. I honestly do not care what adults who only watch and make it say. Of course they are going to claim they do not abuse kids and the kids want it. Kids are not as developed as adults an they do not realize what is happening (I have heard people who were abused as young children say they did not cry, or show any negative emotions at the time because they had no idea what was going on. However later that day/year/hour they reacted to it.) If you want to support the idea that CP is good and harmless focus less on the perpetuators and more on the victims.
    How do you think CP makers and watcher would react if the kids came out and said that yes they looked fine but it bothers them and they wish for the people to stop sharing it. Would they comply or condone and ignore the victim's plea?
    How to children consent to CP? Does a child have to be examined? What about kids with emotional, physical, or/and mental issues are they excluded? What if they child cannot speak the same language thus confusion wit consent? Do children that consent how much to they actual known about sex? Can a person who does not know anything (or does not know much) about sex consent? What is the minimum age? Are there contracts? Have they thought about showing verbal agreements in videos (like what the kids will agree to do and what the child has not agreed to do) Do CP makers and owners have the child's permission to share? Just because you have the "consent to have sex with them" do you have their consent to film and to distribute it? Are kids compensated? Should kids be compensated? Are kids in CP told not to tell anyone? Is there a limit to how much work a child will do in CP? Do children in CP have a limited amount of hours they work in a day, week, year?

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  2. PART 2

    Also do adults who have sex with kids make sure the kids explore themselves first? Because what probably happens is the adult does what they like but the kid does not even know what they like (I have seen this with adult women who never self-explored. They hate sex because they never found out what they like on their own, they only know what men like).
    Are kids given any Sex Ed prior to filming any CP? Do the kids and the producers get tested for STDs and STIs? If so how often are they being tested? Are girls given pelvic exams (by a gyno in an office in an official medical setting), are girls given the HPV shot, and are the older girls given birth control to avoid pregnancy? Do producers use protection (even using a latex glove because STDs and STIs can be spread without penetration) are the kids given protection? Are kids told given precautions to avoid STDs and STIs?
    Are you fine CP that have kids who are happy or not suffering in the video but they were kidnapped or were coerced (the adult lured the child with promises of toys and candy, the adult was trusted to watch the child) off camera?
    How do you feel about the parents of children in Cp begging CP owners to not watch the videos of the CP containing their child?
    Would CP lovers who know a producer has killed a kid but the other videos they made with the child was not unhappy on in danger, would they still watch the "good videos" but ignore the "bad ones". Would they be fine enjoying videos by a child who was killed in another video by the same producer?
    If a child was killed and mutilated and their is video evidence would CP lovers try to even send it to the police anonymously or just ignore it?
    When CP watchers, sharers and producers see Cp that the child in "unhappy", "being abused", "forced into something", "crying", etc do they just ignore it (thus passively condoning it), or do they report those people? f they cared about kids they would stop any adult who is doing something they deem, "wrong" even if it risks themselves.

    Honestly the discussion of CP seems superficially focused on kids and focused really on the adults who make, view and share it. I can't take anyone who discusses CP seriously when they don't even talk about the kids lives off camera. The kids are not some mindless objects for sex, they are a human being, who protects them from the “corrupt CP makers” or who protects them after the CP is made? Opinions like this seem to hypersexualize kids removing humanity. The focus on just the video alones shows that there is no actual concern for the child but a concern to protect those who make, watch and share the videos. If one really cares about kids then those people involved with CP would conduct studies on teens, older kids, adults who were children in CP, they would talk to the anyone (not just the ones who say they are fine) have them psychological evaluated, have them get brain scans (the sooner the better, heck even before the CP was made), respect their wishes (like if they no longer want their CP being shared or viewed) etc. To focus on the adults who just make it, share it and view it shows that once again kids are used being used from their gratification with no actual concern for the child. I decided to try understand the supporters of CP and adults having “having sex” with kids serious” however I always feel the “in support” people do not present any evidence of protecting and caring for the child’s concern. Thus I do ask quite graphic and detailed questions but I do want serious answers, (not from you necessary but from anyone on that side). If not then hopefully it would be understood why these things will never be taken seriously nor people with these ideas being looked upon favorably.

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  3. You have much to say. You ask many questions, some of them rhetorical. I am not in favor of child pornography. I feel terrible for children who are harmed in its making. My point in looking at the details is to understand it better. It is true that I don't think years in prison is an appropriate penalty for simple possession. You seem to be one of those people who sees issues like this in black and white. Suggesting that it varies greatly and it's not all as bad as the worst must mean I'm in favor of making it. Not at all.

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