I promised I would respond to Liza's comments on how I feel about the victims of child pornography. She said:
I think you are very lucky that you or your kids have never been sexually abused. You have no idea the effect it has on a person. They carry the shame and horror until they die. Every relationship they have is affected. What happens to the family of the perpetrator is not the victim's concern. It's horrible for the family but the victim is what matters. Even if the victim is only in pictures. I assure you that the child in the pictures is the victim in child porn - not the person that looks at it.
I've read every word you have written. There seems to be no concern for the victims but only for your family. I think if you thought about sexual abused victims, you'd have a easier time with what has happened to your family. You'd understand why all hell as broke loose in your family.There must be blogs out there that discuss the viewpoint you accuse me of ignoring; this is not one of them. I started this blog to talk about my experience as the wife of a man under investigation for possession of child pornography.
Sexual abuse of a child is wrong, no matter how the child deals with it as a child or as an adult. If a victim grows up to be a lovely, well-adjusted person with no lingering effects of the abuse, the abuse was and is wrong.
I have said before that I cannot imagine what it is like to be a victim of sexual abuse and to find that there are photos of that abuse available on the Internet. While victims can share some responses to their abuse, surely they cannot all react the same way. Every victim has his or her own feelings about the abuse and makes his or her own decisions about how to deal with those feelings. To say they all "carry the shame and horror until they die" is a gross generalization and discounts the individual perspectives of each person involved.
I cannot do anything about how victims deal with the after effects of abuse when I do not know the victim. As much as I would like to wave my magic wand and make things better for all child sexual abuse victims, I am tragically unable to do that. We all are. Putting sex offenders on a registry is not the magic wand, either. Identifying all the sex offenders in the neighborhood does nothing to protect children from the first-time offender.
You say "What happens to the family of the perpetrator is not the victim's concern." If you don't care personally about what happens to the families of sex offenders, that is your choice but when your government is responsible for the bad treatment of sex offenders and their families, it is your concern.
You say, "I assure you that the child in the pictures is the victim in child porn - not the person that looks at it." The child in the pictures is a victim of the person who sexually abuses him or her and of the person who photographs the abuse and distributes it. The person who looks at child porn is victimized by a court system and a society that treats him as if he has committed the abuse in the photos even when he did not.
It is frequently said that the child in the photos is victimized again every time someone looks at the image. If that is true, why are you not angry with the investigators, the prosecutors, the attorneys, the juries and all the other people who look at those images? If simple looking victimizes the child all over again, those people are also victimizers, are they not? Perhaps you mean that any pervert who looks at the images and masturbates while looking...those are the ones victimizing the child again? Here's a surprise: the law does not care if the viewer is masturbating or knitting socks while looking. Masturbation is not the crime. The crime is more specific: Clicking a link to download the image is the crime; possessing the image is the crime. The law does not even care if you look at the images in your possession.
My concern is not only for my family. They are, of course, my first priority (isn't that true for you, as well?) but our concerns should reach far beyond our families.
My concern is for the victims of the war on drugs unemployed because their status as a felon makes them ineligible for hire. My concern is for the sex offenders harrassed, hurt, and killed because they are on the sex offender registry. My concern is for the government budgets straining under the rising cost of incarceration. My concern is for the families who are victimized by law enforcement using SWAT tactics or home invasion tactics to execute search warrants. My concern is for the children who watch cops shoot the family dog during those searches. My concern is for the millions of American citizens who are not allowed to vote. My concern is for the defendants--innocent, even--who are forced to accept a plea agreement because the mandatory minimum sentence waits for them if they don't take the plea.
You said a mouthful when you said I should be glad that my family has not been subject to child sexual abuse. I am glad. My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with that particular horror. However, child sexual abuse is not the only horror in the world...nor is it even the worst horror.
I will not apologize for focusing on the injustice my family faces.