15 April 1980 (1 of 3)|
Los Angeles Times
NOTE: This is one of three letters I wrote in response to the April 13, 1980 L.A. Times article under the headline, "Homemade 'Kiddie Porn' Increasing, Experts Say". Each of the letters had a different approach, and I used pseudonyms for two of them, as the letters were mailed separately. All three letters are included as links at this site for reference and comparisons.
This is in response to your "Kiddie Porn" article (April 13).
The campaigns of people like Judianne Densen-Gerber and Lloyd Martin, though motivated by a reasonable desire to eradicate child abuse, have potentially dangerous side effects because of their hyper-emotional rhetoric, overzealous investigation and splashy publicity.
I believe such emotionalism needs and deserves the benefit of dissenting opinions and enlightened dialogue. Like McCarthyism of the 1950s, those who would spread fear and hatred should be viewed carefully for their motivations and should be held accountable for the statistics and figures they use.
While child abuse is a horrendous thing, it seems entirely possible people could be getting the wrong message by implication. Because of these fear-inducing campaigns I can see fathers being even less affectionate with their sons (in a society that is already too afraid to touch); I can see artists afraid to depict certain images of beauty, whether on canvas, film, or in words, for fear of censorship; I can see youth workers and teachers reluctant to show special interest in their charges, and parents overly suspicious even of properly motivated adults who show interest in their children.
It all makes me wonder, when fear and repression are the tactics employed, who, if anyone, is the winner?