Now, maybe I'm wrong, but I always thought that the REASON we outlaw kiddy porn is that you have to actually molest a child to make it.
There seems to be a lot of vague and sweeping language used when talking about child pornography, and this is an example (not to try and single you out or anything). Just for a bit of clarification (modify as needed):
Let's talk strictly about possesion of child pornography, where child pornography is material depicting actual children engaged in sexual acts (we'll exclude imaginary pr0n as well as nudity, for simplicity). There are two schools of thought as to why possession of child pornography should be outlawed:
- it creates a demand for production of child pornography. An assumption is that production of child pornography, as we've defined it, harms children. This assumption seems obvious, but it does have some fallacies.
First of all, children suffering harm from sexual contact is substantially a cultural thing: look at the Spartans as well as any number of other pre-medieval cultures where girls often had children at fifteen or earlier (and, it should be noted, were quite a bit less mature than the fifteen year-olds of today). Still, common sense dictates that children would be subject to considerable harm regardless. And I doubt anyone would suggest cultural changes just to suit the needs of those who want to have sex with children.
Secondly, if a 17 year-old masturbates, it's not illegal; if he takes a picture of himself masturbating, even if he doesn't show it to anyone, it's illegal. Strange. This seems to imply that it's not the sexual act itself, but the photographic act, that causes the person harm.
Were you to assume that sexual activity involving children is necessarily harmful (it's still a fairly valid assumption), trying to determine whether the child pornography market follows the standard supply-demand cycle is guesswork: some say err on the side of liberty; others say that since children are involved, caution should take priority. Definitely sticky.
- it causes the possessors (presumably viewers) of child pornography to molest children. There is neither evidence nor theory to support this, but, again, is it best to always side with caution when children are involved?
Anyway, I'd like to see some serious studies on the relationship between child molestation, possession of child pornography, and paedophilia. The three seem to be lumped together as one and the same, but I don't see any reason for there to be.
For example, child molestation == paedophilia? If I were a rapist, and I had my choice between a women, who's going to kick and scream and call the police, and a girl, the essence of vulnerability, it seems like a no-brainer. By (even by the police) brandishing me a "paedophile" when I may indeed not have any attraction to the girl, they seem to be missing a golden opportunity to stop future attacks. On the same hand, paedophilia fora such as GirlChat and BoyChat seem to give the impression that many paedophiles (or at least the ones who frequent paedophilia fora) are celibate. It's my opinion that in attempts to prevent child abuse, resources may be being wasted going after paedophiles alone. Surely something like this can be determined by going down to a prison and checking the child molestors there for paedophilic characteristics (perhaps via the infamous penis circumference measuring ring thing)?
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