Children as Victims
In past months' articles, I discussed the fallacy that the viewing of explicit, adult-oriented content is just a harmless hobby and doesn't really hurt anyone; and that, in fact, it leaves a trail of victims in its destructive wake. In that article I talked about the ways that women are victims of pornography. In this article, I will discuss the many ways that children are victimized by pornography.
Children Are Severely Victimized by Pornography
Consider the following examples of how pornography negatively impacts children's lives:
- The combination of pornography and the pedophiles it produces is deadly for children. The brutal abuse of children by pedophiles pumped up on porn is tragic, shocking and heartbreaking.
- Men who view pornography portraying 18-year-old women dressed to look like young teens, often act out their prurient sexual cravings by raping "real" young teens.
- Children and teens who are exposed to pornography have these images etched in their memories for the rest of their lives. These images can be triggered and can surface without warning, leaving the potential for numerous problems in future life.
- Internet pornography is often the first exposure that children and teens have to sexual images. This plants in them a twisted and perverse view of human intimacy that is difficult or impossible to weed out. These early learning experiences can lead to sexual deviancy and crime, and often negatively affect their future relationships and marriages.
- When a father or mother is involved with pornography, the children will suffer in some way. This can range from something as simple as a parent who is often moody, angry, or "in his or her own world," to a father or mother who commits incest. Pornography hurts husband and wife relationships and breaks up marriages, which of course seriously impacts the children in the family. Only pain is in store for children with a father or mother hooked on pornography.
Countless studies have proved conclusively that at the center of many of American society's most serious problems is the trend of families without fathers. Due to divorce or abandonment, an ever-increasing number of American homes are without fathers. The problems associated with a father's absence are myriad, certainly the topic of many other books.
But of equal calamity, and in far greater numbers, are the homes in America that have a father who is there physically but absent emotionally and spiritually; fathers who are moody, angry, physically and verbally abusive; fathers who say very little, seldom express their love verbally, rarely engage in casual, friendly conversation, and just seem to be living in their own little world.
Perhaps not surprising, most of the attributes I have just described are the same ones that manifest themselves when a father is hooked on or preoccupied with pornography. Now with the floodgates of porn thrown wide open by the Internet, how many men will be consumed in front of their computer screen at the office or in the den at home when they should be interacting with their wives and children?
And when they are not in front of the porn screen, how fit will they be mentally and emotionally to love and care for their family? Pornography robs parents of healthy parental emotions. Internet pornography will accelerate the plight of "fatherless America" in a way never before witnessed in society. The incidence of fathers (and mothers) just "taking off" will increase, as will the divorce rate. And in more certain and terrifying numbers, fathers who are at home physically but absent emotionally and spiritually as a direct result of Internet porn will increase at an explosive rate.
As incredible as it may seem, there is also a growing trend toward a "motherless" America. More and more women are becoming addicted to Internet porn and cybersex chatrooms, and are found to be demonstrating many of the same behaviors and attitudes as men who are porn or cybersex addicts. This is wreaking an even greater devastation on children than the loss of a father to Internet porn. A woman, with her female brain and attributes is often better equipped to nurture and communicate with her children in ways that most men cannot. Indeed, her loss in the home is a tragedy of the highest proportions.
Pornography Can Scar Children for Life
In her work Mind and Brain, Dr. A. S. Gilinsky discusses the fact that humans pass through certain stages of development when they are maximally sensitive to certain kinds of stimuli. For example, an infant imprints on his or her mother's voice. We all know how deeply impressionable small children are. Children possess a huge number of cells throughout their brains and bodies just waiting to soak up and store information, experiences, emotions, etc.
Cellular-memory groups are being formed and linked together with other cell groups with great rapidity throughout a child's mindbody. These cellular memories will act as a pair of glasses through which the child will see herself and the world around her. What happens if during a critical developmental time in a child's life she is exposed to pornography on the Internet or in some other way? Or what if she is sexually abused by an older friend or relative who has been exposed to and been taught by pornography? Part and parcel with this abuse, cellular memories will be formed in this child that will affect her for the rest of her life. And because the child is so impressionable and at such a sensitive developmental stage, the cellular memories and linking pathways forged will be especially wide and very deeply etched. Hence her future growth and development-especially in the emotional/spiritual and healthy human intimacy vein-may be greatly retarded.
Can you see why adults carry so much baggage from abusive childhoods? What they have carried into their adult lives are the cellular memories that were established during their sensitive, deeply impressionable "learning" years as children. Many have been left severely emotionally stunted.
As adults, outside stimuli are still being processed and recalled through precisely formed cellular-memory groups. Thus, for example, children who were sexually abused often find it difficult to enjoy sexual intimacy with their spouse. Can you imagine what might happen when in an intimate moment with a spouse, stimuli are processed through those cellular memories that were formed during sexual abuse as a child? These cellular-memory filters stay with us for the rest of our lives.Special Note: In his landmark book A War We Must Win, John Harmer points an accusing finger at a media that denies that pornography, sex, nudity and violence have any long-term negative effect on adults or children. He quotes a well-known liberal columnist, Nicholas van Hoffman:
Why is it that liberals who believe "role models" in third grade readers are of decisive influence on behavior when it concerns racism or male chauvinist piggery, laugh at the assertion that pornography may also teach rape? Every textbook in every public school system in the nation has been overhauled in the last twenty years because it was thought that the blond, blue-eyed urban children once depicted therein taught little people a socially dangerous ethnocentrism.
If textbooks, those vapid and insipid instruments of such slight influence, can have had such sweeping effect, what are we to surmise about the effects on the impressionably young of an R- or X-rated movie, in wide-screen technicolor, with Dolby sound and every device of cinematic realism?
Network television executives who deny the likelihood their programs can alter human behavior lie, and they know it. All you have to do is listen to what these same gentlemen say to their advertisers. They boast, they brag, they bellow about what an effective sales medium their networks are-how good they are at getting people to alter their behavior and part with their money.
Children Often Act Out What They See in Pornography
Children are notorious for imitating what they've seen, read or heard. Studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt kids to act out sexually against younger, smaller or more vulnerable children. Experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse report that any premature sexual activity in children always points to two possible stimulants: experience or exposure. This means that the sexually deviant child may either have been molested or simply exposed to sexuality through pornography.
In a study of 600 American males and females of junior high school age and above, researcher Dr. Jennings Bryant found that 91 percent of the males and 82 percent of the females admitted to having been exposed to X-rated, hard-core pornography. Over 66 percent of the males and 40 percent of the females reported wanting to "try out" some of the sexual behaviors they had witnessed. And among high schoolers, 31 percent of males and 18 percent of females admitted to actually doing some of the prurient things they had seen in the pornography within a few days of exposure.
Copycat crimes committed after exposure to pornography are beginning to manifest themselves even among children. More headlines like this one are showing up in our newspapers: Boy, 12, blames X-rated videos-officials searching for rape motive . . . A 12- year-old boy accused of raping a 10-year-old girl may have learned some of the behavior by watching pornographic videos, police say.
Mimicking photographs found in their mother's pornography magazines, a nine-year-old boy and his seven-year-old brother penetrated and killed an eight-month-old baby with a pencil and coat hanger in St. Petersburg, Florida, according to a report in the Buffalo News (April 24, 1984).
Similarly, the Washington Post reported on a boy, age ten, who after watching an X-rated film, raped an eight-year-old girl and her four-year-old sister.
Children are highly impressionable! Most incidents like those cited above occur after extremely limited exposure to pornography, in some cases only once or twice! What will happen now that pornography of every kind imaginable is instantly available over the Internet? And, believe it or not, organizations like the American Library Association and the ACLU are doing everything in their power to prevent libraries from protecting children from pornography on the Internet!
They actually have the audacity to label protection of children as "censorship!"
Child Pornography: The Most Dark and Sinister of All
We have established the fact that the producers of pornography are predators, seeking to addict their prey by whatever means they can get away with. These "on-line" predators hide behind the cloak of anonymity, not unlike a shark lurking beneath the surface of the water. If the producers of pornography are sharks, then the producers of "child pornography" are the Great White Sharks-the most dark and sinister, the most deadly in all of porn's inky ocean.
Most porn producers avoid getting mixed up with child pornography. They prefer to employ young women who are age 18 and above, and dress them up to look like "teeny boppers" to suggest that the viewer is seeing a 12- or 15-year old engaging in sex. This often results in some viewers attempting to "act out" what their mindbody thought it saw, by seducing or raping young teenage girls. (Remember, the mindbody is always seeking to piece together input, images and information stored in cellular memories, to have a peak experience. It does not distinguish between a woman made to look like a teenager and an actual teenager.)
Again, most pornographers don't risk the chance of using actual children for their material. Most are afraid of being prosecuted by the law. Why risk prosecution when they can achieve the same end result with "virtual" children?
Child pornography is the most tragic of all because it requires the actual sexual abuse of children. Produced in the form of still pictures, video or movies, child porn is literally a permanent recording of a heinous and despicable crime in progress.
The producers of true child pornography are almost always pedophiles. Pedophiles, or child molesters, have one primary focus in life: to engage in sexual relations with children. They have warped their mindbody to use children as a center of the process to arrive at the peak experience of orgasm. Over the years their mindbody has become twisted and confused, a result of storing pornographic images of children in their cellular-memory groups.
As a result of strong federal prosecution in the United States, child pornography is not freely available over the counter. But in many countries there are no laws against child pornography. Pornographers in those countries, therefore, can pipe it into the U.S. through-you guessed it-the Internet. With the Internet, there are no borders and few laws.
With the development of the Internet, child pornography has become a thriving underground industry for pedophiles, primarily because the Internet allows them to remain hidden and anonymous. Pedophiles exchange information and their wares with other pedophiles over the Internet.
Pedophiles also use these same advantages and tools to engage in their overwhelming fixation and addiction-interaction with children that they hope will lead to a sexual encounter. Pedophiles use the Internet to share "trade secrets" with others of their kind, i.e., how to change identities, forge passports, and smuggle children.
By way of the Internet, pedophiles help other members of their circle feel accepted and promote the idea that their sexual interest in children is normal. Pedophiles are constantly prowling children's chat rooms in pursuit of new prey. There is an alarming increase in the number of pedophiles using the Internet to arrange face-to-face meetings with children. When you consider the number of children online, it is no wonder pedophiles are using the Internet to seek out their prey. (Based on present rates, it is estimated that 77 million children will have Internet access by the year 2005.) In a USA TODAY article dated 6/09/2000, Karen Thomas reports: One in five adolescents and teens who regularly socialize on the Net have encountered a stranger there who wanted "cybersex," says a government-financed survey to be released Thursday.
Children left to fend for themselves on the Internet, may be victimized by pedophiles. For example, a pedophile may show a child a picture of naked adults and say, "See, this is what mommies and daddies do." A Los Angeles Police Department study of every child molestation case referred to them over a ten-year period, found that in 60% of the cases adult or child pornography was used to lower the inhibitions of the children molested and/or to excite and sexually arouse the pedophile.
Once the pedophile lowers his victims' defenses, the children are stripped of their precious innocence and subjected to brutalities that defy description. These children suffer tremendous guilt, shame and anger, especially as they grow older and more fully understand the enormity of their abuse. These emotions are further compounded when they realize that there is a permanent record of their nightmare circulating out there for all to see-perhaps by future friends, or years down the road, even by their own children.
Mike Brick, head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, has said, "Child molesters are using the electronic superhighway to look for victims. They've got to go to places where today's children play."
To illustrate how vulnerable our children are to the scourge of pedophiles on the Internet, I cite a recent case: A grand jury recently charged 16 people in the United States and overseas with participating in a child pornography ring. The members of this ring shared home-processed photographs, recounted their sexual experiences with children, and held conversations over the Internet while two men molested a ten-year-old girl.
The two pedophiles owned a video camera and broadcast their sexual abuse live over the Internet. Other pedophiles tuning into the live scene on their own computer screens, transmitted requests back as to what they wanted to see next. Prosecutors said that members of the group produced and traded child pornography involving victims as young as five years old!
The marvelous nonprofit organization Enough is Enough sites the following facts about child molestation:
- One in three American girls and one in seven boys will be sexually molested by age 18.
- 87% of convicted molesters of girls and 77% of convicted molesters of boys admit to using pornography, most often in the commission of their crimes.
- More children contract sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) each year than all the victims of polio in its 11-year epidemic (1942-1953).
- "One of the most popular pornographic video series in America is based upon incest."
- 29% of all forcible rapes are against children under the age of 11.
- The median age of abuse is 9.9 for boys and 9.6 for girls.
- 22% of boys and 23% of girls who are sexually abused are molested before the age of eight.
Enough is Enough also sites the following recent news stories documenting Sexual Violence Against Children that was fueled by pornography:
- After gaining the trust of a 14-year-old boy online, Donald Matthew Deatherage arranged to meet him. Police say he shackled, tortured and molested the boy, whose father later discovered sexually explicit email messages between the two.
- A Houston man who adopted two sex abuse victims and then began sexually abusing them himself has been sentenced to 90 years in prison. Police said their investigation of Mr. Layne turned up sex devices, women's lingerie and so much pornography that it took an 18-wheeler truck to haul it away. The boy is now in a mental facility and the girl is in intensive therapy.
- One of the young girls David Lee Thompson molested made him cry. He assaulted the five-year-old several times along the 100-mile drive from her Illinois home. She asked God to help Thompson, and she told him he could help himself by throwing away the pornographic magazines that were in the van. He talked about how he sat up front and cried. In other words, he emerged from the narrow part of the funnel to see his horrific actions with a big picture perspective. But what happened after she fell asleep? The article indicates that Thompson scanned through the pornographic magazines in his van, slid back down into the narrow part of the funnel, lost all perspective and went back and molested her again . . . He has told police he was molested as a child, which he claims pushed him toward a youthful fascination with pornography.
Pornography is devastating our children in many, many different ways. What will happen to these children as they take the damaging effects of pornography into their adult lives? How will these scars impact their own marriages and children? With the consequences already visible in many families and in society as a whole, one can only shudder to think of what the future might hold.
Next month, I will discuss the dramatic impact pornography is having on our teenagers.
Mark B. Kastleman is the author of the revolutionary new book titled The Drug of the New Millennium-the Science of How Internet Pornography Radically Alters the Human Brain and Body-A Guide for Parents, Spouses, Clergy and Counselors. Many leading scientists, psychologists, therapists and religious leaders consider this book to be one of the most important works ever written on this subject, and a must-read for parents, spouses, clergy and counselors.