Enough! I’m done writing about this terrible subject. This is the last post, I promise! I’m not solving the problem of eliminating child abuse, putting pornographers in prison, shutting down the millions of sites. The only good my posts create is that this horrendous subject isn’t forgotten by those who read about it. Otherwise the subject is resurrected in the news only when there’s a big arrest or particularly horrible case.
This last case (for me) is about Raven Kaliana, an American girl who lived in one of the western states. Nicholas Kristof wrote about her in a moving New York Times Op-Ed piece March 23rd.
When she was just four years old, her parents knowingly dropped her off at a professional studio in the Pacific Northwest, to be photographed by a child pornographer. This went on for years and was never discovered by the authorities.
I wonder how many more reports of child abuse can there possibly be. Judging by new articles, there are plenty more. The child pornography industry is doing just fine, in spite of gruesome information that appears, over and over.
The child that Kristof wrote about is now an adult. She changed her name, ended contact with her parents and now fights back by creating original puppet shows, with her writing, films and programs — http://outspiral.org.uk/index.html. I wish I could be as effective in educating the world about this evil industry.
Usually, I imagine that little girls forced into sex acts for profit in the child pornography industry were kidnapped or sold, because in their culture they weren’t valued, as girls. This horror story shows that it’s not just eastern European families affected by extreme poverty who sell their daughters into a life of sexual slavery. It happens here too.
In the case of this American girl, her parents needed the money she earned as a pre-schooler to pay bills. It’s impossible for me to comprehend mothers and fathers even considering throwing away their little girl’s childhood, for the electric bill, the mortgage.
Kristof quotes Kaliana’s parents saying that they thought she’d just “get over it”. I think that twenty years or even a life sentence in prison is reasonable punishment for them. After all, my ex-husband received ten years for receipt of child pornography. Raven Kaliana’s parents made it possible for pornographers to create horrific photographs of their little girl. The parents are as guilty as the perpetrators.
Kristof noted that there are 21 million sites available to individuals who share child pornography files. Most men, arrested for receipt of child pornography believe that they’re not guilty of truly bad things, because they only looked at pictures, and consider it a victimless crime. That’s completely wrong. The photos and films are of real girls and sometimes little boys, who are brutalized and robbed of their childhoods.
But until there’s no demand for such photographs, the many agents who search out the makers and sellers of child pornography don’t have a chance of stopping these crimes, where the victims are small, without a voice of their own.
No girl should have to recreate her life in order to try to live normally the way Kaliana is doing now.
Yes, I read that article by Nicholas Kristof. Horrendous – I just can’t imagine.
Thanks for sharing this, Jane. Children can never have too many champions on their side.