From the editor’s desk

In the realm of ugly words, ‘porn’ just might be king

By Derek Clontz

January 04, 2007 at 11:21 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Maintaining a healthy dialogue with the audience is an important job for any newspaper.

And with that in mind, we want to address an issue brought up by several Herald-Guide readers who took offense when we used the word "porn" in a headline over a story about the sentencing of a sex offender who downloaded child pornography off the Internet.

And with that in mind, we want to address an issue brought up by several Herald-Guide readers who took offense when we used the word "porn" in a headline over a story about the sentencing of a sex offender who downloaded child pornography off the Internet.

Those images included, according to court documents, graphic depictions of children being sexually abused by adults.

The readers argue that we embarrassed the sex offender's family.

I understand the argument. I appreciate their concern for the family. I even acknowledge that "porn" could have been left out of the headline without greatly diminishing the story's impact.

The fact is, the bare-bones court report itself was sickening regardless of the headline we put on it. And this was, indeed, a story that had to be told.

From a journalistic standpoint, the job of a newspaper is to inform.

It is the responsibility of individuals who do not wish to embarrass themselves or their families to abide by the law.

And just to dot the i's and cross the t's, we did not put the story on Page 1.

We put it on Page 3 because we did, in fact, have his family in mind. 

We didn’t throw it in their faces because - just like the tragic children in the pornography that was downloaded - the family members are victims, too.

And make no mistake - child pornography is not a victimless crime, as the overview from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children makes clear under the bold heading below.

Experts agree that when a person views child pornography - and downloads it - he is actively supporting a $3 billion industry that wrecks the lives of innocent kids, some still in diapers, who are sexually brutalized for the satisfaction of men and women who for reasons of their own take pleasure in it.

The effects of child pornography (from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children)

It is important to realize these images can have a devastating and lasting effect on children.

In addition to any physical injuries they might suffer in the course of their molestation, such as genital bruising, lacerations, or exposure to sexually transmitted diseases, child victims may also experience depression, withdrawal, anger, and other psychological disorders.

Such effects may continue into adulthood. For instance women abused as children have statistically significant higher rates of nightmares, back pain, headaches, pelvic pain, eating binges, and other similar symptoms.

Child victims also frequently experience feelings of guilt and responsibility for the abuse and betrayal, a sense of powerlessness, and feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.

These feelings are often expressed through increased fearfulness and changes in sleep patterns including re-occurring memories, flashbacks, dreams, and nightmares associated with posttraumatic stress.

Younger children tend to externalize stress by re-enacting sexual activities through play, while adolescents may experience negative effects on their growing sexuality as a result of inappropriate early sexual experiences.

The lives of children featured in these illegal images are forever altered, not only by the molestation but by the permanent record of the exploitation.

Once sexual exploitation takes place, the molester may document these encounters on film or video.

This documentation can then become the “ammunition” needed to blackmail the child into further submission, which is necessary to continue the relationship and maintain its secrecy.

In addition these documented images allow molesters to “relive” their sexual fantasies with children long after the exploitation has stopped.









View other articles written By Derek Clontz

featured merchant

Boutte Christian Academy Preschool
Boutte Christian Academy Preschool Boutte Christian Academy (BCA) is a childcare and educational ministry of Life Church in Boutte. BCA was founded in 1980 as a Mother's Day Out Program and has grown over the years into a Class "A" Child Care Center and a State-Approved School

IMTT sold for $1 billion
IMTT sold for $1 billion
- 749 views
International-Matex Tank Terminals, which operates a terminal in St. Rose, will be purchased by Macquarie Infrastructure Company for $1 billion.