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Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:16 AM

THE SCIENCE OF SEX ABUSE- Is it right to imprison people for heinous crimes they have not yet commit

(This is a long but important article about how to treat sex offenders. It raises many questions.)
Child pornography didn’t become a priority for federal law enforcement until the mid-nineties, when the Internet, offering a fun-house reflection of the spectrum of human sexuality, exposed a previously invisible population of pedophiles. Chat rooms have spawned an underground subculture in which social status is based on comprehensive libraries of images. Many users consider themselves “collectors,” trading pictures until they assemble sets that feature certain children, stars on the Internet, being sexually abused over time.

In a study of child pornography, the historian Philip Jenkins, of Penn State, found that chat rooms foster a kind of “bandit culture.” Self-described “Loli fans” see themselves as part of a subversive fraternity, unified by the pursuit of forbidden pleasures. There is a hierarchy of users: newbies, lurkers, traders, and, at the top, the pornographers themselves—“kings of the rooms,” as John told me. He said that the most sought-after images were new and made in America, and showed interracial couplings. The more taboos broken, the better. Members reinforced one another’s desires, engaging in communal rationalization. “We’d pull at evidence from the dawn of photography to prove that child sexuality was once acceptable,” John said. “Then we could say, ‘See, it’s society—not me!’”

When U.S. obscenity laws were first relaxed, in the fifties, no special stipulations were made for photographs of minors. “If the First Amendment means anything,” the Supreme Court wrote in 1969, “it means that a State has no business telling a man, sitting alone in his own house, what books he may read or what films he may watch.” But, by 1982, the public seemed to have discovered child sex abuse, both its trauma and its prevalence. The Supreme Court made child pornography an exception to the First Amendment, since “a child has been physically or psychologically harmed in the production of the work.”

Early efforts to suppress the American child-porn trade—a small network of adult bookstores and mail-order services—were so successful that within a decade the market was all but nonexistent. But the Internet undid those achievements. Controlling the flow of images is nearly impossible, because pornography is posted online from other nations, which have different definitions of who is a child and what is obscene. In arguing for harsher penalties for viewing child pornography, lawmakers have tended to conflate the desire to view photographs (a crime that can be detected by tracing a computer’s I.P. address) with actual sex abuse, which is notoriously difficult to prosecute, since young victims are easily silenced. In 2002, the chief of the F.B.I.’s Crimes Against Children Unit told the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security that the online pornography trade had created a “vast network of like-minded people, who believe it is acceptable to engage in sexual fantasies about children, thus lowering their inhibitions . . . and increasing the likelihood that they will actually molest children.”

Having been abuse, I have no patience with those who abuse or their enablers.
Having said that, this article does raise questions about imprisoning, treating, and dealing with sexual offenders. It is easy to get laws passed because it is such an emotional subject. Politicians don't want to be on record opposing those laws no matter how ineffective they are.
I have no easy answer either.

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Reply THE SCIENCE OF SEX ABUSE- Is it right to imprison people for heinous crimes they have not yet commit (Original post)
Are_grits_groceries Jan 2013 OP
Kalidurga Jan 2013 #1
mntleo2 Jan 2013 #2

Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 11:23 AM

1. We don't need to put them in prison for crimes they didn't yet commit

As long as we put them in prison for those that they did. Viewing child porn is a crime. Buying, selling, and sending images of child porn is a crime. And it should be. I also think computer generated images are a crime as well, but that is a grey area legislators can work on.

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Response to Are_grits_groceries (Original post)

Mon Jan 7, 2013, 12:24 PM

2. Have studied this at length as a victim myself ...

...and there is some very good evidence that pedophiles have a low rate of recidivism when they receive treatment ~ in my state 89% do not repeat this crime if they have received treatment. Believe me I know the damage that this abuse causes, but I am also alarmed at the trend that is occurring.

Jailing anyone, including sex offenders, for any future crimes is dangerous. We are now seeing a spate of "future crimes" type court decisions ranging from "terrorists" to anyone who MIGHT commit a crime in the future even though they did not commit a crime in the past. As a matter of fact children who grow up after being victims are often the targets of CPS because they "might" abuse their own children ...I am not making this up.

The following is hppening now and it is directly reflected in the initiation of jailing sex offenders who have not committed any crime, but are routinely jailed for future crime. I am saying that the same court decisions are being used for other-type cases, a majority that do not have anything to do with sex abuse.

At this time there is a huge pool of Social Security money (Title IV) where children are taken and the legal argument routinely upheld in family courts is, "even though there is no evidence that a child has been harmed they MIGHT be harmed in the future, therefore we have the right to take this child..." This unholy alliance is paired with the terms of the Title IV funding, which in essence says to state DHS offices, "The more kids you take, the more money you will make and if you return children home you will LOSE any present and future funding for all returned kids..." So now DHS workers are taking kids at alarming rates and doing everything in their power not to return them to their families without having to show any evidence except their "concern" for the future of the child's wellbeing. They actually get a lot of money for terminating parental rights and "selling" these kids to the highest bidders.

For instance parents in poverty are often the targets of having their children taken from them, even though most states have laws making it illegal to take kids because of poverty. They have few resources to defend themselves and are at the mercy of the state. (I might note here that even the defense lawyers that are assigned to the case are paid out of the same pool of Title IV money, so they actually win when they lose cases since it keeps them on the gravy train). However the conditions of poverty are direct legal definitions of "maltreatment and neglect", therefore since the parents are poor, then no matter how loved the child is or how hard the parents struggle to provide for them, under any claims that a social worker, counselor, lawyer, or whomever makes is enough to deem this child in "imminent danger", meaning they may not be harmed now but might be harmed in the future.

I am of the firm opinion that the emotional hatred of sex offenders has seriously undermined our Constitutional rights and should be re-examined. Thanks to the "imminent danger" argument being used in court and passing muster, once a falsely accused person is in this System it is becoming more like, "guilty until proven innocent" instead of the other way around as is our Constitutional right. It is true that sometimes the guilty get away with murder, but the truth is it far more the other way around where the innocent are being prosecuted bu the thousands, even millions who are being destroyed for crimes they have never committed because it is a money maker in the case of child abuse, and a huge payday for the Prison Industrial Complex that is growing bigger every year.

My 2 cents,

Cat in Seattle

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