Can Child Pornography Prevent Child Sex Abuse?
A controversial study published today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior suggests that free and legal child pornography can prevent child sex abuse. University of Hawaii professor Milton Diamond reviewed a study finding that the rate of child sex abuse fell dramatically in the Czech Republic when child pornography was legalized in 1990. Apparently researchers observed a similar phenomenon with the decriminalization of child porn in Denmark and Japan.
According to Diamond, “in those three countries where child porn is legal the sex abuse against children is very low and it has gone down compared to when it was illegal.”
Diamond said child pornography gives would-be abusers a different outlet to channel their desires.
“We think the perpetrator is more likely to use pornography to masturbate and not go after kids, so we think it’s better for kids,” said Diamond.
As part of his research Diamond also looked at countries that have recently made child pornography illegal and said the rate of child sex abuse there is rising.
According to Salon.com:
The study certainly raises interesting philosophical questions about promoting objectionable material to prevent real-world crimes — but it’s also majorly flawed. A couple of big-time caveats: Diamond’s research finds a correlation between child pornography and sex abuse, which is not the same as causation; and in the Czech case, pornography in general (including kiddie porn) was legalized, not just kiddie porn. It’s also worth noting that the observed drop is in reported child sex abuse. Beyond even those concerns, there is the fact that his research doesn’t explicitly study the impact of faux child porn. I find it hard to believe that those who seek out child pornography — and who are at risk for abusing actual children — will be satisfied by “pretend” pictures. Imitation child porn that convincingly passes for the real thing might do the trick, but then how would we tell the difference between real abuse and simulated abuse?
Future treatment for pedophiles might involve a “prescription” for child pornography. Or a therapist directed trip to the playground, day care center or swimming pool locker room. A primary goal of the pedophile movement is the normalization and decriminalization of child sex abuse images and movies. Like medical marijuana, child pornography as “treatment” is the first step to making this material more acceptable and less stigmatized. As Salon.com recognizes, however, if child pornography is the cure, how terrible must be the disease??