Monday, January 6, 2014

The Youngest Victims

Jessica Ridgeway is dead.

Wondering why? I don't feel like talking about this. Here's your link. All I'm going to say here is that her killer struggled for several years with pornography addiction. And now Jessica is dead because of it.
Even if adults were the only people who could access pornography, it still affects the young. We're the rape victims. The corpses in remote mountain ditches. And sometimes we're the models and actors.
Or we're the addicts. Even when porn only portrays women and men, even if anti-porn software keeps out most of the hardcore videos, even if you have decent parents, you can still stumble across porn. And once you're hooked it's hard to pull back.
It's one thing to resist temptation when you believe you're fighting against something evil. Murder, for instance, is wrong no matter how old you are. But when you're told something's only bad for you, and only for a few years until you cross a birthday, something like beer or sex or cigarettes, it's hard to believe there's anything wrong with it. Why not do it now? 
Back to the victims now. Statistics are hard to come by, but I found one article that estimates number of underage prostitutes in the United States as 15,000. Now, let's do some math. If there are that many they can't all be passing as adults. There must be a market for juvenile sex. But how much of a market? Let's assume each of those girls (and boys) gets at least one new customer a week. 52 in a year, 15,000 of them, that means 780,000 pedophiles are walking around. Even if that number is half its say, that's still too many.
I've mentioned before on this blog that I hate the word adult. How can a word that means responsible also mean dirty? Why do we use it as a happy little euphemism for porn? Adult videos. Adult programming. Adult content.
This "adult" stuff can ruin the lives of young people from both sides. Sure, not every porn addict ends up raping and dismembering neighborhood girls. But it's one step in that direction. And a step we need to stop taking.
As research for this post, I got on the school computers and spent a few minutes googling things I knew would lead to soft pornographic photos. You'd be surprised what you can find in simple wikipedia links. It disgusts me that a system that blocks facebook and stupid little game sites can't keep away the things that really harm people. Better software is not the answer. Parental restrictions are not the answer. You can always find a way around those.
What we need is raised awareness about the affect porn has on people of all ages. It's not just an issue for horny old men. Porn damages everyone, no matter what your age or role in its consumption is.
And until we realize that, there will always be girls like Jessica.

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