Reply To: Troubling consequences of federal child pornography laws

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Harv

This is a response to Frank, admittedly a belated one as his post is from three years ago. Frank claims that the vast majority of child pornography is the same recycled pictures from 20-50 years ago. Unfortunately this could not be further from the truth. I know this because I spent many years of my life downloading and watching it. I went to prison for this. I can tell you without any hesitation or uncertainty that the descriptions by the police of the amount of child pornography available is not exaggerated in the least. There are some exaggerations, particularly in the ‘hardcore’ nature of most of the pictures. The vast majority of the pictures are simply children in various states of undress, some in erotic poses, some just playing with friends.
There are large numbers of photos that were produced in American and Russian professional studios. The American ones are almost always fully clothed, though the boundaries were often pushed very far, and occasional ‘slips’ were available. There also existed special photo sets that were fully unclothed. The Russian studio sets were all unclothed, ranging from kids playing, to more obvious strip show type sets. A small handful of the later Russian studio sets showed children engaging in sexual acts, usually with each other, on occasion with grown men, involving oral sex and occasional penetration with objects. I never saw anything at the studio level with actual full penetrative sex.
There are also innumerable photos and sets that were produced by amateurs, ie some dad or uncle or older brother at home. These ranged from nude shots to some form of sexual interaction, but again rarely full penetrative sex.
There are worse examples though, full penetrative vaginal and anal sex with girls as young as eight, but this was far more often in video form. Videos range the whole gamut as well, mostly soft core flirtatious stuff, less often more abusive material. There does exist some truly gut wrenching stuff out there, physical abuse and painful rape, but this is very rare, far more rare than the authorities make it out. I am not trying to minimise this in any way. I think Frank’s claims are way off base, but there is some exaggeration out there, particularly about the ‘gut wrenching’ stuff that we are always being told about, and the pedophile rings that are everywhere. The practical reality is that, even if men want to do serious harmful physical acts to children and film it for profit, there are so many hindrances to this, ranging from the need for treatment of the poor child afterwards, to the actual practical difficulties of selling this stuff without being caught. It has to be extremely difficult, much more so than the authorities tell us. I saw a lot in my time online, and although there were communities that did exist that I was never able to get into (one needed to upload material, and I never did this), it was very rare that any truly new hardcore material was surfacing. I expect that authorities have confiscated material that I have never seen, but I saw a lot, and my take on it is that there is only a small minority of material that is as bad as the authorities are constantly talking about. This is backed up by the classification of the material that was siezed from my hard drives, the vast majority of which was in the lesser categories. And believe me, in my illness I was looking for hardcore, not physically abusive or hurtful, but certainly what would be considered hardcore.
I make no excuses for what I did. I never chose to have these desires, and I have paid a huge price for it, more than almost anyone can imagine. I lost my job, my friends, the love of my life, my liberty, and now my life is so empty that I contemplate suicide on a daily basis. The thing that people don’t understand about pedophiles is that none of us chose to be like this. Who would? What normal person would wake up one day and think ‘hmmm, I’d like to be a pedo?’ Anyone who could make such a choice would have to have something wrong with them to start with, by definition. Unfortunately the vast majority of the population does not have the intellectual capability to understand this, especially the politicians and those in charge of enforcement, and they prefer the simple minded narrative of labelling us all evil villains who should have known better, but chose to be bad. Wrong. This is a problem with the brain. I always had these urges, and in a society that had never invented the internet it probably would never have been an issue for me. I can honestly tell you that this has controlled my life, that despite being a rational, empathetic person, fully capable of understanding both the risk to myself, and the harm being inflicted on kids whose relationships with their fathers, uncles, brothers, etc will forever be stained, I just could not stop myself when the urge struck. I deleted my collection on several occasions and vowed never to come back to it, but always did. That is not normal behaviour, and if I could have controlled it I would have. If I were given the choice not to have these urges I would get rid of them in an instant.