Say no to profiting from harm to children
Today a guest post from Melissa Atkins Wardy. My own piece on Amazon’s promotion of child abuse was published on ABC The Drum on Friday. On the same day I read Melissa’s piece which I thought warranted exposure here.
Melissa Atkins Wardy is the owner of Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, an empowering apparel and gift company for girls. She advocates and writes about issues involving the sexualization of girlhood. You can read her blog at: http://blog.pigtailpals.com or find her on www.facebook.com/PigtailPals and Twitter at @PigtailPals.
On Silence and Taboo
November 11th, 2010
Taboo: (n) A strong social prohibition or ban relating to any area of human activity or social custom that is sacred and forbidden based on moral judgment.
Pedophile: (n) A person, 16 years or older, with a primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children (usually 13 years or younger).
Fester: (v) To putrify, rot, or decay over a period of time.
Silence: (n) Relative or total lack of audible sound.
As by now you have heard, a firestorm erupted on Twitter yesterday when two bloggers sent a tweet about a book for sale at the major retailing website of Amazon.com. I clicked the link and there it was: a manual for pedophiles on how to groom, molest, and rape children. It was not a memoir or psychologist’s explanation, it was a how-to manual, an instruction booklet on how to rape children. Rape. Children. Sex with children is always illegal, it is always rape. This, for sale on one of the largest, most accessible retail websites in the world. Mainstream. I tasted bile. I taste bile as I type now.
I was an intern at the District Attorney’s office and later in several law enforcement and investigative offices during my collegiate years. Right after college I worked as an investigator at a PI firm, and spent most of my time hanging out at the Sheriff’s department trying my hand at cold cases, mostly homicides. With that background, I have been exposed to the nasty, damaging world of pedophilia. I’ve seen a lot of stuff I wish I could unsee. Unlearn.
Yesterday morning I wasn’t shocked that a manual existed, as I’ve known for years that pedophiles consider their predilections to be a hobby of sorts, and love to share secrets and tricks with each other on how to evade law enforcement, groom victims, perform certain sex acts with little physical evidence left behind, how to get away with certain things to fall into a lighter sentencing catergory should one get caught, etc. It is a lifestyle built on lies, manipulations, deception. I’ve seen documents like this before. In order to survive pedophiles fly under the radar and keep their conduct to closed, derelict communities of acceptance.
Yesterday morning I was shocked that the manual would be so mainstream. We ALL should have been shocked it was so mainstream. The book’s right to be there was being defended. It wasn’t a legal issue of free speech or child pornography, it was an issue of business standards. Amazon is a privately owned entity and under no obligation to carry, sell, or protect this writing. But Amazon let the book stand. Amazon made the statement that the instructional manual of child rape was not found to be so heinous that it warranted immediate removal and a public apology. The presence of the book said that the taboo is sliding, that the concept of child rape has a place in our society.
Amazon should have standards that state that any materials propagating or supporting the molestation and rape of young children is prohibited and has no place on their site or in our society.
Pedophilia must remain taboo, and considered unacceptable in every form, in every circumstance. There is never a time when it is permissible for an adult to have any type of sexual relation with a child.
Parents and others spoke out, loudly, some in rage, some in shock, over this book being available on a site they used and trusted for their families. I spoke out loudly. I spoke about it all day long. I called authorities and media to alert them to the book and the story. I informed my parent community and that of others to rally parents, to collectively say “NO WAY we will let this stand.” My community, my parents around Pigtail Pals made phone calls, placed emails and follow up emails, they contacted and were interviewed by media, they posted the information and alerted their friends. They took action on a day when silence would not stand.
The book is now gone. But the problem is not.
The problem cannot be met with silence. For those who criticize, saying our voices attracted attention and increased sales, it did. Hopefully it also increased awareness, increased a feeling in people to take up action. People had the right to speak out against something so vile, so abhorrent that most of us became physically ill when we thought about it for too long. And hopefully those curious people, most of whom I’m willing to bet are not pedophiles, who downloaded the book into their Kindles and read as many pages as they could stomach, now have a new frame of reference to just how disgusting pedophilia is, and how unfair and damaging it is to its small victims. Amazon was concerned on protecting its customer’s purchasing rights, while most of America, and the world, was concerned over the rights of our children not to be molested or raped.
Yesterday gave marketers and retailers the message that our society will not stand for the peddling of pedophilia and profiting from the harm to the bodies of the small children we cherish.
Whether you took part in the uproar yesterday or not, the problem is not gone. Today, tomorrow, and the next day, consider an action you can take to give voice to the sexual abuse of children. Contact law makers for stricter sentencing, donate items or time to shelters, mentor youth so that there is a caring adult in their life advocating for their health and wellbeing, volunteer at a Take Back The Night, and set a standard in your own family – sexual violence toward any person at any age is unacceptable. Talk to your children about their bodies and sex, and who may and may not touch them. Give you children the voice that should they ever be approached or be touched, they be unsilent.
Today, tomorrow, and always, be unsilent.
Pedophilia festers in the silence, the taboo slides when we stay silent. BE UNSILENT.