Liz Jones counselled hundreds of sexually-abused children in the years that she worked at Safeline as a counsellor. She dealt with countless incidences of porn-related abuse, but her heart sank each time she heard those familiar words "I watched it on the TV," or "I saw it in the magazine, or "I watched a DVD". On one occasion she counselled a boy just entering puberty from a top-notch Cape Town primary school. The principal referred his parents to Safeline after complaints were made to teachers about the way he kept trying to touch the girls, grabbing them between the legs and talking about sex inappropriately with the other children. It eventually culminated in a blatant incident of child-on-child sexual abuse. Normal reprimands and discipline from teachers and parents were not working, so his mother brought him in for therapy with Liz. "But why?" Liz said to him, "Why did you say that? What made you think of that?"
Abuse Reactive Eventually he admitted to watching a TV programme at a relative's house. It was Emmanuelle on E-TV. He was not the only child to become "abuse-reactive" (sexually abusing other children) after watching Emmanuelle when the full series was broadcasted on E-TV in 2000, albeit late at night. Not all young people hit the sack when the clock strikes 9.30, or 11.30, or even 1.00 am.
Epidemic Jones explained that these children become over-sexualised. Now even watching soapies like Days of our Lives, or Generations, becomes a problem. "Children explain to me that when they see people kissing or lying in bed together, then they think of a porn movie they've seen and then they understand what is going to happen. I would love to see porn banned totally. Magazines are very easily accessible to children and they are circulating widely. There are also pornographic playing cards that they get at school. They say that the poor can't afford porn, but amongst our clients, there is a lot of it."
Devastating Emanuelle was broadcast in 2000, just 4 years after pornography was legalised in South Africa. To many South Africans, it would seem like nothing serious compared to what children are accessing on their home computers and smart phones now, but the impact was just as devastating.
Propaganda for Rape The boy who abused his girl classmates after watching porn on TV, is but one tragic story of the effects of porn on young children when porn started to flood South Africa.
Here are more: • Nineteen-year-old Elvis Jotamo testified in court that it was while paging through a Scope magazine that he visualised a sexual fantasy with an acquaintance. Over a six week period his fantasy developed into an obsession. He testified of how he had strangled Linsey Boyd and then had sex with her corpse (Die Burger, 5 August 1993). He was sentenced to life imprisonment for rape and murder (Cape Argus, 21 September 1993) • When the police found the blood-stained body of 7-year-old Raymonde Jacobs, of Mitchells Plain, they discovered – five metres away – the pornography saturated room of the rapist who had murdered her. The walls were covered with pin-ups from Scope, Stag and Bunny Girl (Cape Times, June 1991). • A 19-year-old Eastern Cape gardener tried to emulate pictures from a Hustler magazine when he raped his 53-year-old employer (Sunday Tribune, 9 September 2000). Since 1991, when porn first flooded South Africa, the occurrences of rape, particularly of children, increased dramatically. SA Police records show that reported child rape increased from 3600 in 1992 to almost 15 000 in 1996. During 2011 the reported rape cases in SA was 56 000. Moreover INTERPOL has revered to SA as the world's rape capital. There is a strong correlation between pornography addiction and rape, although in the simplistic, mechanistic sense, pornography does not cause rape. However, the author of numerous studies on men and porn, Robert Jensen, aptly puts it: "Pornography is a form of propaganda for a rape culture."
Porn and Rape Porn is connected to all forms of sexual crimes. Lindie Wadhams, a former social worker at Safeline says, "About 80% of the perpetrators I worked with admitted to being involved with pornography, ranging from soft-core pornography to hard-core pornography..." Other research by Dr William Marshall found that: • Rapists are 15 times more likely than non-offenders to have had exposure to hard-core porn during childhood, between ages six and ten. • 86% of rapists studied admitted regular use of porn. • 57% of serial rapists admitted imitating pornographic scenes in the commission of sex crimes. • Baron and Straus determined that there are "significant positive correlations between a state's rape rate and per capita sales" of pornographic magazines such as Playboy and Hustler.
Porn and Child Abuse Another link is the connection between porn and child molestation. 87% of molesters of girls and 77% of molesters of boys studied in Ontario, Canada, admitted to regular use of hard-core porn. Marcel Londt says of her work with rapists and child molesters in Pollsmoor Prison, "Child molesters in our programmes have referred to various films and publications which they have used to force their child victims into compliance." Rapists and sexual abusers used pornography to make them feel 'okay' about what they are doing.
Pornography and Prostitution In 2010, Former Senior Advisor on Trafficking for the Office for Democracy and Global Affairs US State Department, Laura J. Lederer, summarised the link between porn, prostitution and trafficking in the following four points: 1. Some types of pornography actually use trafficked victims, some of which were recruited via fake job advertisements. 2. Some traffickers film the acts that their victims are forced to perform. 3. Pornography is used in sex trafficking and the sex industry to train women and children what to do. 4. Pornography creates, and provides rationalizations for, exploiters as to how and why their sexually exploitive behaviours are acceptable. Pornography and prostitution are two sides of the same coin. Pornography is prostitution with the camera running.
Protect Your Family Ensure you protect your family by blocking porn on cell phones and computers. Visit www.cellphonesafety.co.za for info on how to do this and download a free Internet web filter from www.k9webprotection.com. Visit www.purehope.net for advice on parenting the Internet generation and for examples of age-appropriate conversations you can have with you children about issues of sexual morality.