Posted Oct 23rd, 2014 11:53 AM by AVN Staff
LOS ANGELES—A PornHarms.com commentary with the title "John Grisham Was Wrong About Child pornography," ostensibly written by Morality in Media president and CEO Pat Trueman, was emailed around today and also posted to the PornHarms blog. In it, Trueman makes the argument that author John Grisham's recent controversial statements critical of the marked increase in incarceration of people for possession of child porn—"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."—are demonstrably incorrect.
Trueman's basic thesis is that the increase in child porn arrests and convictions is the direct result of vastly more people being exposed to "softer porn," and then being "deviated" to "harder porn," and from there, in an increasing number of cases, on to child pornography and even child sexual abuse. In other words, a nefarious and unavoidable slippery slope of desire, denial and crime.
Neither does Trueman see pedophilia per se as the problem. "Do we have an influx of pedophiles?" he asks rhetorically. "Not likely. Most child pornographers today in fact are not pedophiles. Rather they are men of all ages and economic backgrounds—even teens—who, in regularly consuming pornography, have experienced a powerful psychological desire to move from images of topless women to harder and more deviant pornography, including sometimes a desire for child pornography. This urge to seek newer and harder porn occurs because the brain demands novelty for the user to maintain sexual stimulation. What was once exciting becomes boring with repeated exposure. In this regard, porn sex is markedly different from marital sex."
Rather than a scientific diagnosis of what is really going, however, this dangerous diatribe is in fact what happens when someone attempts to use science to deceive people into believing an outright lie. It is a pretzel of twisted logic, distorted to sound reasonable but contrived to the point of absurdity. Indeed, he can only hope that no actual married couples are paying attention, because for him to posit that even married sex does not become boring with repeated exposure is perhaps the most absurd statement any one of them will have ever heard in their lives.
Anyone of any maturity, married or not, knows that one of the great pleasures of life is the (all too rare) ability to have the personal and societal freedom to explore one's own unique sexual desires, and to discover what truly turns one on. It's part of our human voyage, and a part that most of us, if we are in touch with our humanity, look forward to as much as anything else. It doesn't preclude or prohibit other pleasures that come with life, and neither does it prohibit someone who is not otherwise hidebound from layering their behavior with appropriate self-discipline. That too comes with its own unique pleasures!
Sadly, for Trueman, as least in his professional persona—for who knows where goes on behind his closed doors!—when it comes to sex, new is synonymous with "harder," and "harder" is synonymous with "deviant," and "deviant" inevitably leads to serious and possibly illegal behavior. This is the world he and his ilk inhabit, with the dark corners of the soul—which they always lather with opprobrious scorn on their most vulnerable followers—always beckoning.
It is no wonder, then, that those same followers express in such violent terms a sense of shame about their own sexuality.
Grisham was immediately taken to task for his comments, and in the aftermath of his very public thrashing tried to walk back what he obviously originally believed were nuanced and thoughtful observations about an actual phenomenon—namely, the marked increase over the past few years of the number of people caught, charged and incarcerated for viewing images of child sexual abuse. He did, as Trueman points claim originally that the people viewing such material "don't hurt anybody," and now calls it a "tragic statement."
"He would not say such a thing if he were viewing the situation from the child's perspective, as law enforcement does," argues Trueman. "Child pornography is the photographic representation of the rape and sexual exploitation of a child, a crime of monumental proportions. No child can give consent to such activity. The great harm to the child involved in this exploitation is repeated with every viewing of the image, even by friends of Mr. Grisham."
One cannot argue with the issue of consent; it cannot legally be given by a minor. And one cannot even argue with the point about repeated viewings, which do, whatever the actual level of their harm, offer a view to a crime. The idea of watching the actual forced sexual violation of another should indeed evoke disgust in anyone.
But what Pat Trueman does is also tragic, and on a scale as large (or larger) as that perpetrated by criminals who engage in the "rape and sexual exploitation of a child." For he would, and does, tar most of us with the "disease" of creeping sexual deviancy, along with a lingering proclivity to engage in similar rape and exploitation.
The solution to keeping that from happening on a biblical scale—cue the End Times?—is, as one might expect, extra-judicial. "If we want to stop the heinous crime of child pornography," he warns, "we must strictly enforce our nation's laws that prohibit possession and distribution of child pornography. We must also vigorously enforce federal and state laws that prohibit the distribution of hardcore adult pornography because it is that material that leads many to child porn."
What a demon this man is, but the most disturbing aspect of his argument is that he and the other people shouting the loudest about the "powerful psychological desire to move from images of topless women to harder and more deviant pornography" are the very ones who seem to be the least equipped to keep themselves and the ones they love from falling into "sexual purgatory."
It would in general be a mistake to take their warnings of "more to come" as just a marketing or political ploy to raise money or spur legislation. They sound more like unwitting (but very serious) cries for help by often religion-bound people who find themselves at a loss for ways to maneuver in a world that embraces more sexual freedom (and the choices and responsibilities that come with it), without the strength to keep from falling into the abyss.
Indeed, law enforcement should keep a close eye on them.
This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service - if this is your content and you're reading it on someone else's site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.