The main way child pornography leads to relapse is when an offender WHO HAS ALREADY COMMITTED A HANDS-ON OFFENSE accesses this material. It is so similar to drug abuse. One can’t ever see enough and just seeing the images ramps up the desire to fulfill the fantasy by orders of magnitude. At first the pictures are great. Then the pictures get boring and one then craves videos. Once the videos lose their initial thrill the only thing left is to actually commit the offense and relapse. The pornography stirs up memories of the offender’s own hands-on offenses since he will seek out that child pornography that mirrors what he did. That then whets the appetite in the same way the ringing of the bell caused Pavlov’s dogs to salivate after they had learned to associate the ringing bell with food. For the offender the child pornography is the bell that reminds him of the rush and sense of fulfillment and excitement and arousal experienced while committing the act. It is a thing most dangerous to those of us who have committed hands-on offenses. I steer clear because I don’t want to flirt with ANYTHING that could EVEN ALMOST send me back to jail or prison.
It would be disingenuous of me to act as if the offender who has not committed a hands-on offense is not putting himself and innocent children at risk when viewing child pornography. One only seeks this material out if the interest in sex with a child is already there. My concern is that over time the pornography gets to where it’s not enough for some individuals. Some consumers of child pornography will escalate to committing hands-on offenses against children if they don’t get help and come clean about their addiction to child pornography and their attraction to children.
This brings up a most serious problem. Our mental health system is in bed with prosecutors and law enforcement when it comes to the subject of child sexual abuse. Any offender who came forward and admitted to viewing child pornography and having strong sexual desires toward young children would very likely be reported. Law enforcement would step in and immediately file charges of exploitation of a child by electronic means. Hands-on offenses must be reported. I’m not sure how much confidentiality a person would have after admitting to viewing (AND ONLY VIEWING…NOT DISTRIBUTING) child pornography. The possibility of prosecution and public humiliation (not to mention the fear of public reaction) along with the fear of losing their family and seeing their world crumble down around their very ears stops them from coming forward. Sadly, the problem only comes to light after the person has victimized a child or multiple children and now has to face the full weight of prosecution.
In Germany there is a program that allows those who struggle with pedophilia BUT HAVE NOT EVER TOUCHED A CHILD IN ANY SEXUAL WAY to get help confidential, supportive help without law enforcement getting involved. If our society really wanted to protect children, a program like that could be put in place here. Also, the Canadian program COSA (Circles Of Support and Accountability) would be implemented nationwide here in the U.S.A. However, it seems as if no one is interested in helping BEFORE A CHILD IS VICTIMIZED. Our society only seems to want to destroy the individual utterly AFTER THE OFFENSE HAS BEEN COMMITTED. It does not make sense. Society prefers PUNISHING AFTER THE FACT AS OPPOSED TO PREVENTING THE VICTIMIZATION OF CHILDREN UP FRONT?
Our nation has too many hate-filled, self-righteous vindictive people in it today. They love to see others get destroyed beyond redemption. Heck, they don’t want the sex offender to change. They want him or her to re-offend just so they can point a self-righteous finger and say, “See!! I told you that scumbag would do it again!! It was only a matter of time!! Not IF, but WHEN!!”