The weight of child pornography

SEPTEMBER 3 — TRIGGER WARNING: This column might be disturbing to some. I urge you to prepare yourself emotionally beforehand. 

I apologise for the graphic explanations; however, I believe that it is important that we acknowledge the extent of this issue. It is the least that we can do for the victims and their family.

This past week, conversations about pedophilia and child pornography has been rife on Malaysian social media, thanks to a netizen making it known that convicted child porn offender Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin has returned from UK and is currently given a "second chance" to continue his studies in Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), Bangi.

It only makes sense that many Malaysians are cautious and wary that he is now a free man walking among us, considering the weight of his crimes. 

However, what baffled me the most was the fact that there were also many Malaysians who were eager to jump in defence of him.

Whether we should grant child porn offenders and pedophiles a second chance is a moral debate that I have no authority over, hence I will not talk about that. 

I also refuse to give this man any more time of my day. What bothers me the most about the debacle are the people defending him by saying: “He only watched child porn, he did not make any videos.” (Even though this has been refuted.)

While it is true that some believe not all of those who watch child porn can be diagnosed as pedophiles (but it is also a strong indicator of pedophilia), today I want to talk about the weight of child pornography and why watching and distributing such content is just as vile as committing pedophilia itself.

Many people who spoke up in defence of Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin also say that child pornography is just the same as watching adult porn. What these people fail to grasp is that child pornography, unlike adult porn, does not involve consent. 

It is not just another fetish. It is not just another porn genre. The children in these videos are exploited, manipulated, and abused. The harm done to the victims is lifelong.

Child pornography exists because there is a demand for it. As long as there is someone watching it, it gives incentive to perpetrators to create more content. 

The horrific part about child pornography is that it does not only involve penetration, but various other vile acts including incest, bestiality, physical abuse, mutilation, and many more.

It has been said that “whatever you can think of, it is already out there.” You can refer to the degrees of child pornography as listed in the COPINE scale rating system. 

Perhaps this could serve as a gruelling reminder that Nur Fitri Azmeer Nordin also had Category A child pornography in his possession.

Whenever we think about pedophiles or child sexual abuse cases, we get enraged. We cannot fathom how traumatic it must be for the young victims. We shiver at the thought of what is being done to them.

When I talked about this, I received a lot of messages from people telling me about their experiences of being sexually abused as children. These are people who have transitioned into adulthood carrying the trauma they received early on in life and still not able to forget about it.

Now imagine knowing that there are people out there who would enjoy watching them getting abused.

That is what child pornography essentially is.

A chance at life taken away at an extremely young age, some even with their umbilical cords still attached. Their abuse is being shared to millions of people who enjoy watching it. Consumers may even pay really good money for access to this content. 

Not only are the victim's traumas lifelong, now it has been forever embedded on the internet for the world to find.

If you are still unconvinced about the harm of watching child pornography, that it is not simply “just watching it”, I encourage you to read about the case of Matthew David Graham a.k.a. Lux, the curator of Hurt2TheCore. There is also the case of Peter Scully and Daisy’s Destruction, which will expose you to the things people do to produce child pornography.

Should sexual offenders against children be given a second chance? Well, that is up to you to decide. 

However, authorities who decide so should do better and at least disclose information to ease the public’s queries on whether he is undergoing routine check-ups and is under constant surveillance. 

Simply telling us that "he has not been suspicious" is not enough, especially when sexual offenders are very often the people you least suspect.

It should not take someone to be a parent to finally care about this issue. We should never allow our children to grow up in a world that has been desensitised by the existence of such an inhumane industry. We should never underplay the harm inflicted through consumption of child pornography.

We don’t need to wait for another victim before we decide to take this seriously.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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