The Link Between Porn And Child Abuse
11 February 2005
The Link Between Porn And Child Abuse
Ms Marie Dyhrberg, the lawyer acting for a Scout leader, Andrew John Pybus, 32, who was convicted of sexually abusing two boys, one under 12 and one under 16 years, is reported in the Dominion Post (9/2/05;NZPA report) as having stated outside the Court that “she did not believe there was a definite link between watching porn and child abuse,” despite acknowledging that Pybus and fellow Scout leader, Nigel Richard Fenemore, 48, who was convicted of similar offences, “had watched porn before some of the offending.” She added: “One can be interested in pornography and not necessarily act it out. It may be more likely that if one is acting it out, then one is also attracted to pornography.”
The Society finds these simplistic comments, that effectively downplay the well-established link between the use of pornography by child abusers and potential abusers, and its influence on their actual offending, demonstrate a lack of common sense and ignorance of the facts. A recent Department of Internal Affairs report shows that there is a very high correlation (link) between persons convicted of possession of child porn and their sexual offending against children (see internet link Ref. 1).
The case Dyhrberg commented on involved men in possession of massive stockpiles of child porn (all involving the sexual abuse and/or exploitation of children) who had admitted and been convicted of sexually abusing young boys placed in their care.
The possession alone and/or dissemination of child porn, leaving aside the matter of offending, is a serious criminal offence in itself. Pybus, like many child abusers had more than an “interest” in such material. A total of 61,823 still images and movies of child porn were found in his possession, a fact that Justice Cooper said indicated “a consuming, perverted preoccupation”.
Pybus used a digital camera to take several hundred pictures of the sexual abuse of the two young boys he befriended. Such offenders often pass these images on to other offenders or potential offenders and eventually they may be accessible via Internet sites. Dyhrberg’s assertion that an “interest in pornography” (in this case child porn) does “not necessarily” lead to act[ing] it out” seeks to downplay the role porn has in sexually arousing men to lust, the committing of sexual offences against children and its use by them in grooming their victims to participate in sexual acts.
Why has she been so reluctant to state clearly the well-known evidence that men with “interest” in child porn are regularly drawn into committing sexual offences against children? Pornography has been shown to be a regular stepping stone leading to such offences. A denial of the link is as stupid as saying there is no link between advertising and consumer buying or between smoking and lung cancer?
Fenemore admitted charges of sexual violation, including anal sex, and representative charges of indecently assaulting a boy under 16. The report stated that the stepping stones leading to his sexual abuse “began with fondling, masturbation and progressed to anal sex.”
However, the role of child porn in the process of corrupting the offenders should have been acknowledged. Justice Cooper said he doubted either Scoutmaster fully appreciated the psychological harm they had done to their victims and their families.
The same type of exploitative porn images the offenders obsessively fed their minds on and produced themselves, involving the abuse of children, are freely available to any New Zealander owning a computer from many hundreds of internet sites.
The Society believes that the Labour government needs to pass urgent legislation that would require all ISP providers to provide effective filters that would block altogether, or significantly reduce the likelihood of, people being able to access pornography, including all child porn. Such filters are already available from a few ISP's such as Maxnet, Ihug and Watchdog.