Dear Abby turns in man for attraction to child porn...
March 13, 2002 11:35 PM   Subscribe

Dear Abby turns in man for attraction to child porn... Granted, child pornography is bad, but was Abby justified in turning the guy over to the police? Will denying him computer access only cause him to seek other, more direct venues of satisfaction?
posted by Poagao (39 comments total)

 
This post was worth it for the picture of Dear Abby. Mod up, +2 grotesque.
posted by sylloge at 11:48 PM on March 13, 2002


Well, she's not a catholic priest, so what she did was right. Had the porn been on his computer and he took it in to be fixed and the repair crew found it, and turned him in, would there be that much of a difference? Probably, but only in the arguements of "accidental findings" and "confessions". Still, the thought that this guy could go after the real deal, granted that he isn't being closely watched by the authorities or anyone of that sort.
posted by Kafei at 11:48 PM on March 13, 2002


Looking at child porn is pretty bad. He's indirectly abusing those kids - the acts were committed by someone in order to supply him with the pictures.

As far as I'm concerned, there is no more serious an offence - I think she did the right thing.

(If I was a Catholic priest I'd have trouble keeping something like that to myself, too.)
posted by robcorr at 12:11 AM on March 14, 2002


Weiser could get up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count, if convicted.

I by no means encourage the making or viewing of child pornography, but I do find it amusing that a man can be sent to jail for having a few pictures on his computer, regardless of content.
posted by epimorph at 12:12 AM on March 14, 2002


Note to robcorr: I don't know what the pictures in this particular case were like, but it is possible to make stuff that legally qualifies as child pornography without so much as looking at a child, let alone abusing one. [source]
posted by epimorph at 12:22 AM on March 14, 2002


It all depends on what was in the letter. If he said in the letter that he had pictures, or that he thought he might actually abuse a child, then everything seems to have worked out how the law and modern morals require. If he did not say those things, the idea that seeking help is grounds for a search warrant is repugnant.
posted by Nothing at 12:33 AM on March 14, 2002


upon reread: Which is not to say that abuse is just a modern morals thing.
posted by Nothing at 12:39 AM on March 14, 2002


If someone wrote to you, as a columnist, saying that they had an uncontrollable urge to shoot up New York City and crash a plane into the Empire State Building, would you give them 'advice' to get over it, or inform the authorities? Same applies to this case.

By the way, what is the definition of child pornography in this case? Is there a distinction? For example, some people are caught with pictures of 2-3 year olds and babies, etc, and get busted big-time.

However, I have never seen a story that says someone was caught with 'child pornography' of 17 year olds. That is still illegal, but is it actually called child pornography? Anyone know why we don't hear of cases like this?
posted by wackybrit at 1:00 AM on March 14, 2002


Anyone know why we don't hear of cases like this?

The man charged in the Danielle van Dam murder case is alleged to have provocative pictures of his ex-girlfriend's teen daughter, along with other kiddie porn. But they're bikini shots (it seems) so I don't know if he's being charged for it.
posted by owillis at 1:13 AM on March 14, 2002


I don't know if he said he had "uncontrollable" urges towards his attraction to child porn, all the article said was he wanted advice on how to deal with these urges.

Are the urges themselves a crime? I have urges on the highway to run certain asshole drivers off the road, but I don't act on them, because I know it would be wrong. This fellow obviously also knew his urges were wrong, or else he wouldn't have written the letter. If I had pictures of people being run off the road on my computer, should I be arrested?

the acts were committed by someone in order to supply him with the pictures.

I realize that where there is a supply there is also a demand, but should this man be held responsible for the production of child porn? Should smokers be held responsible for all of the damages wrought by the tobacco industry?
posted by Poagao at 1:20 AM on March 14, 2002


(So, um, Abby's a dude, right? What a mugshot.)
posted by donkeyschlong at 1:25 AM on March 14, 2002


Without having access to the actual letter, it's difficult to judge whether her actions were the right ones. I am rather skeptical -- rewarding someone with jailtime for acknowledging their problem and seeking help is hardly the message I'd like to be sending. Yet, of course, the future implications can't entirely outweight he immediate danger he may have posed. Shades of a negotiating w/ terrorists type balancing act.

I'm equally split on the prospect of jail time for the man in question. At some point we need to make a moral distinction between those with a visceral response to certain things (race, gender, etc., in this case, children) and those who consciously act on those responses; only the latter should be considered immoral agents. He certainly should not be considered immoral and punished simply for harboring these feelings. That said, he acted upon them in seeking out the pornography, and if he knew enough to write for advice, he certainly should've known enough to get rid of the temptations on his hard drive.

Tough case. I don't envy Phillips' position.
posted by apostasy at 1:26 AM on March 14, 2002


It could be argued that the "tempations" on his hard drive were the only outlet for his urges, which now much be satiated elsewhere, perhaps on a more personal basis. I don't know the details, either, so I can't say, but which is a worse thing to do, getting your rocks off to pictures on your hard drive or finding a nearby child?
posted by Poagao at 1:52 AM on March 14, 2002


He certainly should not be considered immoral and punished simply for harboring these feelings. That said, he acted upon them in seeking out the pornography...

So if this guy just sat around dreaming about sex with children he'd be a fine upstanding member of society, but the moment he obtains a picture of what he's been dreaming about he's Satan himself?

Is anybody else concerned about the possible implications of prohibiting the possession of certain kinds of pictures on the state of censorship in general in this country? I mean, if it's illegal to possess the pictures in question just because the acts depicted in them are illegal, are we going to send all those poor people who have posters of Bob Marley smoking up to jail too?
posted by epimorph at 2:06 AM on March 14, 2002


So if this guy just sat around dreaming about sex with children he'd be a fine upstanding member of society

Anyone else recall the MeFi post about a guy who got arrested for writing down lewd fantasies in his diary? As far as I recall, he was eventually let off, but the sad fact remains that you can be arrested for things you write in private!

No-one can be arrested for having fantasies in their head, but they can, AFAIR, be arrested for broadcasting those fantasies through speech or writing.

I think that's plain wrong, but that's how it is.
posted by wackybrit at 2:33 AM on March 14, 2002


To me:

Consumption of child pornography ( I am not talking about text) creates a market for the creation of child pornography.The creation of child pornography (usually) requires infringing someone's basic right of consent to sexual abuse. I (I guess like most people) dont think that children have the emotional / physical maturity to consent. I also take the stance that countries where the age of consent is low (I read -I think in Meta- that it is 13 in Japan), people should work towards revising them. The rights of children (to my mind) are universal and cultural disparity shouldnt be an excuse for flouting them.

So..in a nutshell, the more the number of people that buy child pornography, the bigger the market. The bigger the motivation for people who create this stuff. (I guess, the underlying assumption is - the fear of punishment would make many stay away).

I like to believe that I am big on free speech. But I draw the line on child pornography.

Having said that, I dont feel too good about 'Abby' turning in a guy who was apparently seeking help. Of course, judging her, without knowing the content of the letter is unfair.
posted by justlooking at 2:49 AM on March 14, 2002


So if this guy just sat around dreaming about sex with children he'd be a fine upstanding member of society, but the moment he obtains a picture of what he's been dreaming about he's Satan himself?

Not quite. It's only to say that morality depends on a conscious act, and no one should be considered immoral for feelings they have no control over. His feelings are still a problem, and still need to be dealt with, but he shouldn't be proclaimed immoral for something he has no control over.

wackybrit: agreed.
posted by apostasy at 2:50 AM on March 14, 2002


Wackybrit:

I have no problem with text. I remember about the guy who got arrested for writing down his fantasies. I think that was totally wrong. So long as he is not traficking in abuse ...I dont care.
posted by justlooking at 2:53 AM on March 14, 2002


It's only to say that morality depends on a conscious act, and no one should be considered immoral for feelings they have no control over.

Agreed. But, do you have any qualms about calling someone immoral for the mere act of obtaining a picture? (Say, for the sake of argument, that this guy actually never paid a dime in his life for such pictures, so that it would be hard to accuse him of financing child pornography.)
posted by epimorph at 3:13 AM on March 14, 2002


Justlooking:

The thing is, culture really does make a huge difference, not just in terms of what is seen as okay by the law, but also, it seems to me, in terms of what is actually damaging to a child. In our culture there is a lot of guilt around sex, and I don't mean that people who have sex necessarily feel guilty, but rather that the idea of it as it is expressed in our culture carries a lot of guilt. There is also a sense that sex creates obligation, which is one of a whole handful of power and control issues that will affect both the minor and the adult in their actions and reactions. On top of that, sex with minors is very taboo in our culture, so when it does happen it happens with adults willing to break strong taboos, not to mention that those adults will try to keep the minors from telling anyone, adding secrecy and shame. So yes, there are a lof of damaging and negative things that happen, but it seems that a lot, if not most or all, are cultural.

I'm not saying I think sexual abuse is okay, not at all. Nor am I saying I think it could be justified in one culture by claiming it happens in others. I'm just saying I can imagine a culture (though I'm not sure one exists) in which thirteen year olds (to use the age you quoted above) could consent to sex, and have sex, without it being damaging to them emotionally.
posted by Nothing at 3:38 AM on March 14, 2002


Wow, our second pedophelia post in the last few days- is there some catharsis of the collective MeFi unconscious going on here, or what? Are folks looking to get something off their chests?

justlooking: I also take the stance that countries where the age of consent is low (I read -I think in Meta- that it is 13 in Japan), people should work towards revising them

Why do you say that- what's so magical about 18 in particular, or 16 I think it is in some states? Different cultures have different views, and that's not necessarily a bad thing; if your whole society timed the social growth of its citizens such that age 13 was the normal age to have sex, it wouldn't necessarily be as traumatic as it would be in a country that does differently. And while a strong case could be made that low age of consents in some countries are intrinsically tied to a culture of male-dominated treatment of women as little more than reproduction technologies or tools of pleasure for men to use and dispose of- and therefore immensely repugnant- one could also play Devil's Advocate and ask why a teenager of 14 or 15 who Mother Nature has deemed physical capable of reproduction, as well as giving simpler physical affection such as hugs or kisses, can't also be capable of a sexual act without irreparable trauma.

I mean, I don't get the attraction some people have to pubescence (including that whole Japanese-businessman and school girl thing, what the fuck's up with that?!?) but one could ask from what First Principle a specific age of consent arises. It's obviously a shades-of-gray issue; 18 is a somewhat arbitrary marker, just as getting a driver's license at 16 is, and people should have the self-control to respect that rule as a speedbump on a slippery slope, even though at 17 years and 6 months a person isn't going to be really any different than at 18; a teenage girl could be literally underage one day and the next day quite legally star in a 300-person gangbang bukkake video.

Now personally, I've always found a woman most attractive in when she's in her late-twenties/early thirties, even though I'm still mid-twenties myself- she's more confident, self-assured and self-actualized, yet still damn fine looking and fleshed out wonderfully more than those skinny bony heroin-chic models. But that's me- and if I still feel that way when I'm sixty instead of twenty-something, will I then be just some weird dirty old man who should find a woman his own age more attractive? After all, when I was 14 or 15, I found the similarly-aged girls in my freshman class attractive- certainly not ancient women of 35.

I do wonder then, what is the deal with men and women who find such young people attractive, i.e. 13, 14 or even 17? Is it a control thing, basically fetishizing a passive sex object that won't resist or reject you like adults will- kinda like the stereotypical fat geek who fetishizes Asian women because of the whole "submissive" thing? We live in a culture that uncomfortably sexualizes teenagers, and I can't help but speculate that this stems from a regressive desire: the same way the teenagers in general can make burnt-out middle-agers long for their formative years, when everything still seemed possible and hope was still a very real emotion, perhaps this longing also exists in a sexual way. Just as parents screech at their kids to effectively not make the same mistakes they did, to make the football team where Dad didn't or be more popular and pretty than Mom ever was in her high school... well, perhaps too many people who've never grown completely comfortable in their own skin, never fully formed sexually or still have hangups and fears about "doing it" that linger from their first awkward awareness of these new feelings they'd had as a kid- perhaps these folks feel a sublimated desire to vicariously "be" a teenager again by controlling and obsessing over the sex lives of teenagers. This could be those prudish suburban moms who see satanic sex pictures in textbooks yet never experience orgasm with their inept and fumble-fingered husbands. This could be thirty- or forty- something Barely Legal afficionados who remember the years of high school and college when they owned a van, played guitar in a garage band, and hadn't a care in the world besides smoking pot and hitting on chicks (I've known more than a few 35-year-old men who get to that age and suddenly find the 19-year-old coed to be absolutely irresistible...). I think a lot of us live in a permanent state of semi-regret, wondering how it is that our lives turned out the way they did, how it is that after high school we didn't end up a rock superstar/ pro-athlete/ sex symbol/ multi- billionaire, but instead a love-handled balding tire salesman in Minnesota.

It seems to me that the sexual impulse and drive in human beings is so powerful that it becomes intertwined in almost every other desire or emotion; our neuroses and fears and insecurities seek some expression and redemption in the sexual temple, possibly more so when we are terrified of ever facing them anywhere else. People fetishize race or weight or age or almost any other characteristic, prompting them to specifically seek out morbidly obese companions, or partners of different races, or submissive/ dominant partners, or to wear elaborate leather and chain getups in custom built dungeons. What is the appeal of any such specific desires, from the ones I have and won't talk about here to the ones you have and shouldn't tell us about here? Is it because they heal or address in a way we otherwise refuse to acknowledge, in a way mere words never can, those psychological and personal issues with which we are struggling? Maybe, whether we like it or not, sexual expression is the baptismal font of our psyches.

And maybe then, for those who perhaps have never quite let go of the nurturing nipple of childhood, who despite the unrelenting march of time have never quite felt like they are ready for adulthood, for its myriad responsibilities and awareness of the unrepentent finality of our own mortality- perhaps they feel a desire to effectively "fuck" their own past, their own lost innocence and youth, their own happiest or most traumatic age, as a way of merging with it, of facing it, and of controlling it.

Or maybe they're just all fucked in the head, and we can't do anything about that. I don't know, man, I got my own damn problems to worry about without trying to "understand" what motivates pedophiles.

Which I suppose really has nothing to do with Ann Flanders, except that maybe she's just a shrill harpy who doth protest too much about the secret and shameful longings of others. Heck, maybe she's even MiguelCardoso's wife! :)
posted by hincandenza at 4:21 AM on March 14, 2002


Watch it, candy boy!

My two-cents, though your post just about covers every possibility. I think you hit the nail on the head with the power thing. But I'd say it was negative; paedophiles are actually afraid of real women/real men. They're afraid of being sexually confronted by another grown-up. They want to the only one with a mature sex organ. Not to mention all the other advantages of being older and how much easier it is to seem smart and brave and powerful to a child than to another adult.

Perhaps they don't like sex - or the actual sex act - much either. A lot of them feel ashamed and ask to be castrated or isolated. They're a lot like other child abusers in this respect - bullies.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:57 AM on March 14, 2002


"I was torn, because my readers do turn to me for help, yet there was the priority of the safety of those young girls."
WHAT young girls??? This is like that disney asshole and the fbi a few years ago - no sex, no child, and yet still somehow, a child sex offense.
posted by quonsar at 5:35 AM on March 14, 2002


Writing to Abby by itself is an offense which should not go unpunished.
posted by adampsyche at 6:05 AM on March 14, 2002


Which I suppose really has nothing to do with Ann Flanders, except that maybe she's just a shrill harpy who doth protest too much about the secret and shameful longings of others.

This is the second time in the last two days that I've seen the phrase "protest too much" used in connection with pedophilia. The implication appears to be that the people who decry it the loudest are people who have some propensity in that direction themselves. This implication is offensive rubbish. It's a cheap debate tactic to boot. Most normal people are disgusted by pedophilia. People with children are even more disgusted by it.
posted by anapestic at 6:08 AM on March 14, 2002


There's additional information in this link.

Per this information, he was fantasizing about children he had direct access to. Since it was his girlfriend's children, there's the potential for him to be able to be alone with these children.

And let's make a distinction about "help" here: He wrote to a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. Given that you cannot guarantee a reply or assistance via these means, would you write to Dear Abby about a pressing problem? I wouldn't.
posted by xena at 6:26 AM on March 14, 2002


So if you had a kleptomaniac who wrote to someone about their urges to steal things, and that someone turned them in, could the police arrest them?

Granted, writing to Dear Abby isn't the smartest way to ask for help, but thousands of people still do it every day. Playing the lottery isn't the smartest way to make money, but people still do it with that in mind. He obviously was seeking help, even if his means were less than stellar.
posted by Poagao at 7:51 AM on March 14, 2002


xena: I love the first paragraph of that link you posted:

"Abigail Van Buren - Dear Abby - is known around the world for giving advice to those who ask for it."

The world being, presumably, the United States.
posted by salmacis at 7:54 AM on March 14, 2002


salmacis: http://mysongbook.de/msb/songs/d/dearabby.html

She is definitely known around the world. And shes in the IHT, probably the most international paper.
posted by benh57 at 8:10 AM on March 14, 2002


'I do wonder then, what is the deal with men and women who find such young people attractive, i.e. 13, 14 or even 17?'

I think that in this instance we are talking about younger 'children.'

Regardless of how governments choose to define children, no self respecting pedophile would be interested in anyone over the age of 12 or 13.

I personally think that it is very dangerous to start labeling people as perverts simply because they are attracted to people below the age of 18. I can happily confess that only last week I was out in a club, talking to a girl that was quite possibly younger that 18, and was seriously attracted to her. I'd challenge anyone not to be. She was great. To answer your question, what is the deal with me finding a 17 year old attractive - answer - she was attractive.

People set their own standards. I tend to think that I should not pull anyone below 20, but I would not shoot myself if I happened to find a 17 year old attractive. As I'm in the UK I'm legally allowed to sleep with a girl/women that are 16 years old, but wouldn't because I think that is a bit young for me now.

For my money, if blokes are honest with themselves they know that it is perfectly possible for them to find girls/teens/women below the age of 18 attractive....but often won't admit that for fear of societies reaction. In my opinion anyone who says that it is impossible for them to find someone 16 attractive is lying, or denying reality.

The truth is that women are designed to be attractive to men from a younger age than 18. Nature is about survival, and breeding. Instinct does not change simply because society changes.

A year ago I lived in a country where people were still get married at 14. My initial reaction was one of horror, but then I realised that it was done for practical reasons as much as anything else.

Our society now looks upon things differently to the past, mainly because life expectancy has improved so dramatically. However, there are still countries where life expectancy is 37. Should it surprise anyone that their age of consent (link first posted by Su) is 13 or 14. It has got to be, otherwise no one would have any time to be a parent, and no chance of being a grandparent. For the record, there is still a state in the US where the age of consent in 14.
posted by RobertLoch at 8:12 AM on March 14, 2002


Wait, is the presumption here that Dear Abby ever had any credibility?!?

Good post, RobertLoch.
posted by rushmc at 8:36 AM on March 14, 2002


I do wonder then, what is the deal with men and women who find such young people attractive, i.e. 13, 14 or even 17?

Ex-squeeze me? Do people suddenly become sexually attractive at age 18? Your question bewilders me. I don't recall God saying.. 'Ye who is under 18 shall be unattractive and non-sexual'

The age of consent is there to protect children from adults. The law believes that people of that age cannot make sensible choices for themselves, or may be tempted by older people. That's quite true, and it's why the age of consent is a good idea.

However, saying that finding a teenager even attractive is some sort of perversion is just wrong! I have thought Natalie Portman was attractive for years, from Léon onwards. She was probably about fourteen in that film. Does that make me a pedophile? I think not!
posted by wackybrit at 9:15 AM on March 14, 2002


[fbi agent rubs hands together, opens dossier on wackybrit]
posted by quonsar at 9:36 AM on March 14, 2002


She was 12 during the making of it, and 13 on its release. Does that help to answer your question?
posted by RobertLoch at 9:49 AM on March 14, 2002


I'm not sure there's much that needs adding to the points that have already been made regarding the need to recognise and respect the cultural and societal bases for the different ages of consent, and as RobertLoch pointed out, many of those have extremely pactical origins.

To an extent, once you get into the teens, any age of consent is arbitrary, and pragmatism and prevailing attitudes will apply. Checking out The Netherlands legislation on that Age Of Consent site, for instance, reveals a degree of pragmatism that I find quite reassuring, though not that surprising (it is The Netherlands after all):
".... the age of sexual consent is 16 for all, sex between an adult and a young person between the ages of 12 and 16 is permitted by law, as long as the young person consents. It may only be prosecuted by complaint from the young person or the young person’s parents. The question remains whether the public prosecutions department would proceed to prosecute if the young person themself had consented and their parents filed the complaint. "

Mind you, an alternative argument to legislated ages of consent could potentially be made: It could be argued that nature creates a point of sexual maturity (boys producing sperm, girls ovulating) for each person, and that this should be used as a basis for their choice to commmence sexual activity. Of course, being unique to the individual, you'd never get that through as a law, because no lawmaker will ever be able to think that flexibly....

Note, please that I'm not advocating this view, nor suggesting that being capable of reporoduction is the same as having the emotional maturity to deal with having sex, just offering it as an alternative perspective on what, by any measure, is an otherwise pretty arbitrary standard.
posted by jonpollard at 10:02 AM on March 14, 2002


In regards to Abigail Van Buren, in many jurisdictions doctor-patient confidentiality does not apply if the patient reveals that they might do harm to another person. In addition, doctors and psychologists are obligated to report suspicions of potential or ongoing child abuse.

Knowingly trafficking in goods that were obtained through illegal means is usually also a criminal offense. Usually a person can get away with an honest "I didn't know that the goods were hot" however this defense is rather difficult to apply to child pornography.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:34 AM on March 14, 2002


I hereby denounce all pre-18 year old girls as ugly wenches.
posted by wackybrit at 11:58 AM on March 14, 2002


Jeezus, I write a fawkin' thesis, and all anyone notices is my throwaway line about "13, 14 and 17 year olds". These same folks didn't seem to notice the paragraphs directly above that where I questioned any great fealty to the arbitrary "18" figure.

To clarify: it's not a crime to find a girl who's becoming a woman beautiful, and even at a certain point (not so much of age but of development) attractive, even if her age doesn't match up legally to her physique. Natalie Portman was obviously going to be a great beauty even when she was in "The Professional", although I wouldn't say she was sexually attractive at that point. I was more particularly referencing those folks who seem to sexualize the age itself- being attracted to the 14-year-old not because bovine hormones in her milk have caused her to sprout some double-Ds and built-like-a- brick- shithouse hips, but rather are attracted to the 14-year-old and her skinny legs and all physique specifically because she was 14. Or just as much, the Barely Legal enterprise that seems to sell the sexualizing of the 18 and 19 year olds not because they're beautiful or attractive (tho' they may be) but because of the whole "no longer taboo" thing- the fact that if 15 were the legal age, Hustler would immediately start scouring high school freshman for photo shoots. And that's what I don't understand.

Case in point is from the land of RobertLoch and WackyBrit themselves: reknowned big breast star Linsey Dawn McKenzie, who at 16 or 17 sent in some pictures to Score magazine (the "Juggs" of England) because she'd basically become a full-grown woman ahead of time- and oh, how full grown she is! Score knew they had a star on their hands, so they waited until shortly before her 18th birthday and began running bikini-clad teasers of the pictorial they'd shoot on her 18th birthday, and on that specific day did her first nude photo shoot and film.

Now, obviously this was a bit of nit-picking since she didn't physically change that much in those last few months, and because if you were attracted to her at 18 you'd be justifiably attracted to her at 17 (and importantly, just as attracted to her now at age 22 or so), and because any real pedophile would probably run to the bathroom to throw up upon seeing pictures of her. Still, they were able to exercise the self-control and wait until she turned 18, and weren't sexualizing her age but rather her breasts and ka-BOOM! physique.

Some may say this is hardly an improvement, and might ask if fetishizing the breast is really any different than fetishizing age, when it comes right down to it. Well, if anything I said about why we develop our sexual preferences was true, in some sense there is no difference- I wouldn't be surprised if my attraction in women like Linsey or Danni Ashe is rooted in some long-ago psychological craving (I'm adopted, maybe I never got breastfed?) just like pedophile's own urges are rooted in something in the past. On the other hand, there's no law or rational basis for saying that you can't date a woman who's only an A-cup, or that women without curves can't give a full and meaningful consent.
posted by hincandenza at 12:01 PM on March 14, 2002


There are some excellent arguments by RobertLoch, Hincandenza etc. that made me question my rigidity about the age of consent.

I think I agree that a lot of emotional problems that may result from teenage sexual exploitation by an adult could stem from societal reaction to it. (But I still think its an incredibly bad idea for a 40 year old to chase a 16 year old. But that's a different issue). Also there are other aspects that didnt occur to me. e.g. What do you do when the life expectancy is as low as 37?

A higher age of consent has been a good think for India - where very poor parents sometime have the inclination to get their underage children married to much older, richer men. While we havent been able to legislate the problem away, we have definitely managed to considerably reduce the number of such instances through legal means. Also, there are Rich Arab men who would 'marry' very young muslim women from third world countries and essentially use them as slaves. Sometime back, there was a discussion in Metafilter about pedarasty in Kandahar. No matter how accpetable pedarasty is in Afghanistan, I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea that the kids are enjoying it. As I reread my response there, I realize that I still agree with it:

'Certain basic human rights are inalienable. The right not to be sexually abused is one of them. If certain cultures condone predatory sexual habits, by no stretch of imagination can it be excused in the name of 'multiculturalism'. Mostly, only when a more dynamic culture start interacting with a static society that social changes/ reform happens.'

I would agree that there is no universal solution and that there are exceptions that we should take into account. But I feel that a higher age of consent - arguably - gives children/teenagers better protection against abuse. It definitely gives the volunteer organizations that work with children/teenagers a legal recourse in cases of abuse. .

Also, I have no problem with the feeling of temptation. I have no problem with people writing lurid fantasies about it either. It is only people who capture sex with kids to feed other people's habits (as someone pointed out in this thread, most child pornography would deal with children younger than the 13-18 age we are talking about here), that I think should be hung from the nearest trees.
posted by justlooking at 1:57 AM on March 15, 2002


« Older Just who is Dean Stark?   |   Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments