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From Fantasy to Reality: The Link Between Viewing Child Pornography and Molesting Children

NCJ Number
209262
Journal
Prosecutor Volume: 39 Issue: 2 Dated: March/April 2005 Pages: 17-18,20,47
Author(s)
Candice Kim
Date Published
March 2005
Annotation
This article argues that viewing child pornography is linked to child molestation.
Abstract
Some individuals claim that viewing child pornography is “just” viewing pictures and does not actually harm children. On the contrary, the author argues that images of child pornography are evidence of past, present, and future child sexual abuse. According to statistics generated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, 80 percent of child pornography purchasers are active abusers and almost 40 percent of the child pornographers investigated during the past several years have sexually molested children in the past. Moreover, data from a 2000 study by the Federal Bureau of Prisons indicated that 76 percent of offenders convicted of Internet-related child pornography reported having sexual contact with children in the past and had an average of 30.5 child sex victims each. Child sexual abusers frequently use pornographic images to “groom” child victims prior to committing sexual abuse. Repeated exposure to pornographic images involving children serves to normalize child sexual abuse and desensitize the child to such behaviors. Evidence gathered from law enforcement investigations has indicated that offenders who have collections of child pornography are often also actively engaged in child sexual abuse with the children depicted in the pictures. As such, it is clear that owning and viewing child pornographic pictures extends beyond merely looking at pictures and most often involves the actual sexual abuse of children in the past, present, and future of the offender. Therefore, perpetrators who possess child pornography should be vigilantly pursued by law enforcement as likely child sexual abusers. Endnotes