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YouTubers Argue Where to Draw the Line With Child Pornography, Question “What Is so Bad About It?”

Shitty Youtuber

I know that we live in a really divisive time where we have to debate the merits of everything and question the legitimacy of social norms. However, I thought we, at the very least, did not feel the need to debate child pornography, but it appears there are some who feel the need to play  “devil’s advocate.”

The popular (I guess), YouTube channel called “JustKiddingNews” did a video talking about the death/suicide of former Glee actor Mark Salling, who was a few months away from being sentenced for child pornography. One of the talking heads on the show named Bart, who is the co-founder of the channel, decided to start a disgusting line of conversation by asking what was so bad about child pornography.

Now, I get that some people get off on playing “devil’s advocate” for certain things and YouTube’s click for pay culture has made it more important to be sensational than factual, but the whole way these YouTubers talk about this issue is gross. The men constantly crack jokes and it’s the two female co-hosts who seem to take Mark Salling’s crime seriously.

Yet throughout it all, the gravity of what child pornography is and does it largely just turned into a series of jokes. In fact, Bart starts bringing up the whole “where is the line?” issue before he even seems to have a handle on what went down with Mark Salling’s own offenses.

Bart then made this statement in the comments section of the video to “clarify” his feelings about child pornography and pedophilia.

I love how he is framing it as though he is having some high-minded conversation about taboo and blanket statements about the abuse of children. If you want to talk about how consent laws and statutory rape laws work and if they are practical, do so, whatever, but trying to have that conversation while discussing a man who had folders of sexually explicit images of children as young as two years old and a file about how to have penetrative sex with children is neither smart nor helpful.

Children can’t consent to sex, their bodies are not fully developed ye,t and contrary to what all the pseudo-historians think, even in the Middle Ages when children in royal marriages got engaged in their youth, they usually wouldn’t consummate the marriage until they were 16-17. Margaret Tudor gave birth at 13 and it did so much damage to her body that she could not have children again.

The book Half the Sky talks about the dangers facing women in cultures where child brides still exist. Even at fourteen and thirteen, a woman’s body isn’t developed enough that without good medical care they run the risk of rupturing their fistula, which can cause them immense pain and prevent them from having control over their bodily fluids. Not only can it be traumatic and coercive, but it can have serious repercussions to the health of the body.

To understand the dangers of child pornography, if your own common sense can not guide you, a quick Google search shows you information from National Center for Missing  & Exploited Children:

Child victims suffer at the hands of the offender who sexually exploited them. This harm is compounded when the offender memorializes the victimization by taking photos or videos and then distributing these images on the Internet where additional offenders use them for purposes of sexual gratification.

Child victims also suffer knowing offenders may use images of their exploitation to coerce, entice or manipulate other children into performing sexually abusive and exploitive acts. The U.S. Congress has addressed each of these distinct harms by criminalizing the production, distribution, possession, receipt and viewing of child pornography.

Victims of child pornography often experience severe and lasting harms from the permanent memorialization of the crimes committed against them. Studies indicate that child victims endure depression, withdrawal, anger, and other psychological disorders. Victims also experience feelings of guilt and responsibility for the sexual abuse as well as feelings of betrayal, powerlessness, worthlessness and low self-esteem. It is impossible to calculate how many times a child’s pornographic image may be possessed and distributed online. Each and every time such an image is viewed, traded, printed or downloaded, the child in that image is victimized again.

Images of child pornography are crime scene photos — they are a permanent record of the abuse of a child. The lives of the children featured in these illegal images and videos are forever altered.

As for why the age of consent is 18 and why consent laws exist, well the reasons have changed over the years. According to an article from Slate  the reasons for consent laws range from “to protect the virginity of women from predatory men, to keep predatory women from entrapping older men, to limit sex before marriage, to disrupt colonial subjects’ traditionally young marriage practices (e.g. the British in India), and, more recently in the U.S., to combat teenage pregnancy.”

Right now the age of consent is 18 because the federal government has decided it is so, and when it comes down to it, yes the age is not an indicator of inherent maturity. Nor does it magically mean that someone in Indiana (where the AoC is 16) is more sexually mature than someone in California (where it is 18). Also, yes there is a problem when a 17-year-old teenager can be charged with statutory rape for being with their 16-year-old girlfriend, but that usually happens because a parent is trying to prove a point rather than a legal system that wants to stop teens from having a healthy sex life. The age of consent exists as a way of protecting children and younger teens, it is a guideline, and it has only been increasing around the Western world in the past few years.

What isn’t a problem is punishing adults for taking advantage of teenagers and children. What isn’t a problem, and shouldn’t be up for debate, is that pictures of a naked infant in a sexual manner has no place in our society.

Sometimes there aren’t different perspectives to consider.

(via YouTube, image: Youtube/Screengrab)

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