Stories of child sexual exploitation often appear in the media. In the body of such stories, the journalist generally refers to it as “child sexual exploitation material”. However, the headline to the story, more often than not, refers to child sexual exploitation materials as “child porn”.
Whether we like it or not, pornography is here to stay. Anyone can buy pornographic materials or download it from the internet. (By “internet”, I am referring to the internet most people use, not the dark web.) The vast bulk of pornographic material available to purchase or download generally involves consenting adults.
Children are either too young to understand sexuality or are old enough to have some understanding but not mature enough to understand the consequences. It is for this reason that most western countries have legislation saying that a person under a certain age cannot consent to sexual activity with an adult. It is for that reason that the age is often referred to as the age of consent.
Any person under the age of consent who appears in a pornographic image or video is, in law, being sexually assaulted. The adults producing this material, when caught and convicted, usually get jail sentences.
The Child Protection Party contacted a news.com.au journalist after she posted a story about child sexual exploitation asking her why she used the term “child porn” in the headline. She advised that she agreed that the term should not be used but that the headline writers always use it because “child porn is short”. The fact that saying “child porn” is much shorter than “child sexual exploitation material” is no excuse for using the second term rather than the first.
In the words of the Australian Federal Police, calling child sexual exploitation material “child porn” gives these materials:
- “legitimacy and compliance on behalf of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser, and
- conjure images of children posing in “provocative” positions rather than suffering horrific abuse”.
For these reasons, The Child Protection Party is calling for all media organisations to immediately cease and desist giving abusers that sense of legitimacy by referring to child sexual exploitation materials as “child porn” and call it what it is, namely “child sexual exploitation materials”.
The Child Protection Party consists of people who are committed to creating safe environments for children to grow so that they can reach their full potential. We are concerned that those responsible for the protection of children often fail in their responsibility.