Did you see this week’s eppie of Law &Order: SVU, “Downloaded Child”?
Like most episodes in the L&O franchise, this was loosely based on real events, “ripped from the headlines”, as theh say. It was about a 22-year-old woman who discovered that child porn, in the form of photos and videos, taken of her step-father raping her as young as the age of five, had been circulating on the Internet for over a decade.
She faced one of the men who had downloaded those images in court due to one of New York’s Violence Against Women statutes, in order to claim victim restitution. She shared details of how badly her life had gone downhill after the images were taken –many of these facts already established earlier in the episode, about how she turned to drugs and alcohol, and had basically been raped nearly non-stop by an ex-boyfriend, his brother she was essentially sold to after she got pregnant, and whatever friends the men chose for about ten years.
Thankfully, the episode ended on a happier note: Another downloader and distributor turned out to be a wealthy CEO who was ordered to pay her $4million in damages. As ADA Barba explained, by continuing to distribute child pornography, even ten years after the fact, he is creating a continued demand to watch a child be raped and otherwise sexually abused.
While some pictures deemed “artistic” (from old 1950s physique mags to the questionable photography of children by Lewis Carroll) are given leniancy, even rooms in public museums of art, there tends to be clear differences between art photography and child porn –and when it is child porn, IT IS NEVER “JUST PHOTOS”. It is photos of rape and abuse, photos of lives being ruined and developing psyches rendered malformed, necessitating years, even decades to repair, assuming they ever do.
If you can seriously sit back and say “It’s just images, Klein never actually hurt anyone with them”, you really ought to step down from your position of defacto authority in the Neopagan community, because the courts disagree with you, psychologists disagree with you, and as best as I can tell, my gods disagree with you, and you better hope yours do not disagree with you, cos to contend that no further harm comes from child porn is morally reprehensible and severely underestimates the gravity of the crime.