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Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant

17 October 2014

Grisham’s ‘child porn’ comments ignorant

World-renowned author John Grisham has come under fire by advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation, for comments it says trivialises the global child sex abuse trade.

In an interview about his country’s high prison population, Grisham argues that “America is wrongly jailing far too many people for viewing child pornography”. He says, “We have prisons now filled with guys my age. Sixty-year-old white men in prison who’ve never harmed anybody, would never touch a child.”

Stop Demand’s founder and long-time campaigner on child sex abuse image offending, Denise Ritchie, says “Grisham might be well-researched on issues about which he writes, but he has shown himself to be woefully ignorant about a trade that requires children to be raped, sexually violated and degraded to feed a growing global market.”

Grisham’s distinction between people who looked at images of child abuse and “real-world abusers” fails to recognise the demand and supply dynamics of the global trade. “These ‘sixty-year-old white men’ are not passive observers,” says Denise Ritchie. “Those who view or seek out such images are in fact the drivers of the trade. Demand for the material fuels supply. These offenders contribute directly not only to the abuse of the children in their material but fuel the abuse of ‘new’ victims required to create ‘fresh’ material for the global market. Further, most men will use the material for fantasy and masturbatory purposes which, of itself, re-violates and re-victimises the depicted child.”

Grisham’s belief that these men “have never harmed anybody” is false and offensive to victims for whom the impact can be crippling and life-long. One 19-year-old, whose recorded childhood rapes by her uncle are traded amongst predators worldwide, writes:

“The truth is, I am being exploited and used every day and every night somewhere in the world by someone. How can I ever get over this when the crime that is happening to me will never end? … It's like I am being abused over and over and over again ... Please think about me and think about my life when you sentence this person to prison. Why should this person, who is continuing my abuse, be free when I am not free?”

Stop Demand says those imprisoned for possessing or trading child sex abuse material are never found with only one image. Many offenders will have collections of hundreds, even thousands, depicting countless victims. “These are not poor hapless men, as Grisham would have us believe,” says Ritchie. “These are men who have brought a prison sentence, and the infamy of being labelled a ‘sex offender’, upon themselves.”

Stop Demand Foundation calls for action to stop sexual violence, sexual exploitation and sexual denigration of women and children www.stopdemand.org

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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