Unimaginable Reality-Child Pornography

Ephesians 5:11

“​Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” 

Our children have the right to be free from sexual abuse.  It is up to us to combat the crimes of child pornography, child trafficking and child exposure to internet pornography and important to take a proactive approach to prevent the crime. We cannot prevent a problem unless we know the problem exists.  It will not go away by hoping it does not happen to us.  Education and action are the keys to unlocking the potential of a preventative approach to child sexual abuse.

A majority of people choose to ignore the sexual abuse of children.  It is not always because they don’t care; it is because they do not think it will happen to them.  It has become the habit to search the sex offender register and feel safe if the nearest person listed is not in our neighborhood.   Yet it is not the “strangers” we need to worry about when it comes to child pornography, child trafficking and child exposure to internet pornography, the danger lies in our own families, friends and acquaintances. 

America’s Greatest Shame

It is happening in the city we live in. It may be happening in your neighborhood. It might even be happening to someone you know.  These problems are America’s greatest shame because we keep them hidden under the rug.

THE MOST DANGEROUS PREDATORS

Although some are kidnapped; most of the children in child pornography videos and photos have not been snatched and gone missing from their homes, they know the producers.  Often they are not forced to participate.  Instead they are coerced by family members and close friends.

Shockingly, in most of the pornographic images, the children were being molested by their own parents or guardians. These are people willing to prostitute their children, sometimes as young as infants for financial gain.

What to Look For

Prevention is of utmost importance, but no matter how hard we work at stopping the abuse of child porn from taking place, there will always be victims.  Following are some signs to watch for:

Physical Signs

  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes
  • Bleeding, bruises, pain, itching, burning or swelling in genital area
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Rectal Bleeding 

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your child may exhibit these signs and not be a victim of child pornography or sexual abuse.  In any case these are signs you should be aware of and take seriously.

Behavioral Signs

  • Your child spends hours online unsupervised, especially at night or at specific times. Predators will “con” some kids into performing sexual acts or sending photos and then use the images as blackmail against them. 
  • Your child has become withdrawn and does not like to participate in family gatherings or outings.  Abusers do everything they can to “drive a wedge” between a child and his or her family. 
  • Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact
  • Aggression or acting out
  • Exhibits signs of depression or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Expresses suicidal thoughts, especially in adolescents
  • Self-harms
  • Develops phobias.
  • Has trouble in school, such as absences or drops in grades
  • Changes in hygiene, such as refusing to bathe or bathing excessively
  • Returns to regressive behaviors, such as thumb sucking
  • Runs away from home or school
  • Overly protective and concerned for siblings, or assumes a caretaker role
  • Nightmares or bed-wetting
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge or behaviors
  • Seductive behavior with friends, babysitters or other adults
  • Fear of being alone with a certain person
  • Excessive play with his or her own private body parts
  • Change in how much the child eats (more or less)
  • Too much crying

If You Suspect Your Child Is a Victim

The first thing you must do is talk directly to your child.  This will not be easy and you will have to make sure to follow a few guidelines so he or she does not feel threatened and will be more likely to talk openly to you.

Carefully choose the time and space.  Talk where you child feels most comfortable or ask them where would be a good place to talk.  Avoid talking to them in front of others, especially the person who may be suspect.

Watch your tone of voice.  Using a serious voice might seem frightening and the child will blurt out answers that they think will calm you down or make you happy, instead of truthful ones.  Even if you have to fake it, try to stay calm and casual. Most importantly use the vocabulary of your child.  If you ask “Has someone been touching you?” touching may mean a variety of things, but it is a familiar word to a child.  You can respond to their answers with other questions, such as “Where do they touch you?” or “Did you have your clothes on?”  Do not ask if someone has been hurting the child because sometimes sexual abuse can feel good and that question will not bring forth the information you are seeking.

Allow the child to take his or her time, let them pause when they need to and talk freely.  Listen carefully and ask questions on points that cause you concern.

Report it!

Report what you have heard.  Do not hesitate.  Do it immediately.  DO NOT TAKE MATTERS INTO YOUR OWN HANDS; to do so will make matters worse and may hinder the investigation.  This will not be easy because more than likely the first thing you are going to want to do is strike out on your own.  You may find it emotionally draining, but it is up to you to protect the child.

Before you do so, let the child know you are going to talk to a person who can help.  Make it clear you are not asking permission to do so because that is the last thing the child may want you to do.    The reason is because they are scared, but you must remember authorities will help you keep the child safe.

Resources:

Unimaginable Reality: Protect Your Child From Child Pornography, Child Trafficking and Exposure to Internet Pornography

Get Help Now-Darkness To Light

CALL 866.FOR.LIGHT OR TEXT LIGHT TO 741741

You are not alone – resources and support are available. Call to have questions answered or chat with a trained crisis counselor, 24/7 at no charge. All conversations are confidential.  https://www.d2l.org/

 

It Takes a Village-Private Facebook Group

Join this Private Group To Help Children in Lake County Florida

https://www.facebook.com/groups/IttakesavillageLake/

Lake County Florida Human Trafficking Task Force

Need Help? United States:

Need help? United States:

1 (888) 373-7888

National Human Trafficking Hotline

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)

Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week

Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages

Website:   humantraffickinghotline.org  

Europe – The INHOPE Forum

https://ec.europa.eu/justice/grants/results/daphne-toolkit/en/content/child-pornography-internet-hotline-providers-europe-inhope-forum

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