The internet can be a useful tool when used for the right reasons, but what about the wrong reasons, such as child pornography? Child pornography is growing in astounding numbers, it is gaining more popularity every year and there is still not enough legislation to help slow it down. Society has become overly sexually stimulated, simple sexual pleasures are now not enough in many people’s minds, which may lead to harmful, unhealthy sexual desires. Sexual abuse of minors has become a huge social problem in the world today.
For a philosopher such as Plato was it normal to live this way? What was and is now considered to be a normal way of living? Pornography comes in different forms such as pictures, film or writing which stimulates sexual arousal. Child pornography is the deliberate abuse of a minor, it not only destroys Childs self-esteem but it later becomes an issue for society to deal with as well. Children are forced to endure both physical and mental harm. A young mind does not have the capability of understanding that what is happening to them is wrong.
The young victims are usually lured into watching explicit materials first by the pedophile, in which it is made to seem as though these acts are acceptable and that “everyone is doing it”. According to Enough. org, Child pornography is one of the fastest growing industries online, it has become a 3 billion dollar industry. Many of the victims blame themselves for what has happened to them because they “allowed” the abuse to happen or continue. Many of these children suffer from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional numbing and have trouble sleeping or concentrating.
Most pedophiles begin by watching soft porn, and then the addiction escalates which leads them to watch more intense explicit materials. Later, these more hardcore images or film may not satisfy the addiction, this is when they turn there fantasy world into reality becoming sexual predators. As seen by millions on an NBC show called “How to Catch a Predator” hosted by Chris Hansen, many of these men had no issues meeting an under aged girl or boy for sexual satisfaction.
These men ranged from your everyday white collar worker to a Rabbi, Priest, teacher, doctor or even a father who brought his young son along. Perversion in these individuals can be so intense that these are the lengths some of these predators will go to. Who can we trust anymore when most of these individuals are off the radar, meaning they haven’t been caught yet? It’s no wonder so many of our children are more sheltered than ever. When I was growing up rain, snow or sun shine my friends and I were outside playing. Today most of our children are behind a television/ computer screen most of the time.
I feel parents should be more vigilant when leaving there child with certain individuals, including child care providers, coaches, even your best friends extended family. People need to rely on their instincts more than ever. According to an article on businessinder. com there are 116,000 searches for child pornography every day. The porn industry as a whole earns $3,000 per second! Americans Account for over half of the world’s porn revenue. I feel that for most of these sexuak predators there is not much that can be done at this time.
The two main options available are either jail time or some a form of counseling. I do not believe these sexual desires could ever disappear completely. There is a big difference when taking into account alcohol/drug abuse versus child pornography addiction. An addict can be rehabilitated and in many cases they replace there drug or alcohol addiction with other addictions, usually positive outlets, but how the mental state of a sexual predator could possibly change is a question that is still goes unanswered.
If it were possible to rehabilitate a pedophile what would their outlet later be? As further demonstrated by a quote from mentalhealthamerica. net- “Mental health professionals have difficulty determining which sex offenders are likely to be dangerous if not committed and what if any treatment should be provided. This means that courts, which must rely on professional expertise, will regularly make mistakes in deciding who should be committed or released, with serious consequences for both the public and the offender”.
Many pedophiles are classified as having “Antisocial” personality disorder, because of the taboo nature of this addiction it is no wonder they often isolate themselves. Being that the system has no set way of dealing with these individuals it is difficult to understand what the possible outcome of any type of treatment could be. Enough. org states there are approximately 650,000 registered sex offenders in the United States alone. Of course, not every country agrees that marrying an under aged person is a crime or taboo. We could look at polygamy in the world for example.
This is a normal practice for many Muslim and Islamic communities. Many of the leaders in these communities marry young girls and many of them are asked to bear their children at a young age because this is when they are the most fertile. For outsiders this type of behavior is very taboo but for the polygamist community it is very common. The same could be said for cults and tribes around the world, many of the young girls in cults are told that relationships with their spiritual leader will bring them closer to God or whomever they believe in.
On the other hand, Plato believed people are evil because of ignorance. Plato held the same belief as Socrates that no one knowingly does what he knows to be bad for his soul. Plato uses the term “just” when speaking about the highest form of life possible. In the city, the shape of a just or good life is one that is specialized. According to Plato, no one but philosophers can achieve a truly good life, because they alone are born with the capacity to recognize the good. He states, “The pleasure pertaining to the sight of what is cannot be tasted by anyone except the philosopher” (Rep. 82c5). Though, in the Republic, it seems that Plato is trying to give hope to his readers and inspire them to attain what is good and just in their own lives. To him, human limitations can be overcome through instruction. Could this instruction also help the pedophile on his road to reform? I wouldn’t say that individuals with anti-social personality disorder “live in the dark” per se, I believe the fear of persecution by the public leads them to live in the shadows. The problem is that many of these individuals are educated and very well regarded in their communities.
They live among us and are able to function in society as normal citizens of society most of the time, and it is usually behind closed doors where there double life emerges. When thinking of Plato it was evident that he was a homosexual, he was attracted to both men and young boys, therefore I am not sure that he would have much of an issue with the behavior of today’s pedophiles. It seems to have been normal practice in Greece to have relations with young boys, ranging from the ages of 12-17 years of age.
Men taught the young boys rules of adulthood, the young boys played the passive role while the older men played the masculine role in the relationship. I do realize that times were much different back then, as knowledgeable as these philosophers where, when thinking about present day, it is very obvious much was left to be learned as far as proper relationships and age limitations are concerned. The concern I had about some of the behaviors towards young men and or women are whether or not these youths had a say in their involvement in these relationships. Where they forced into some of them or did they willingly participate?
Did the parents freely give up their children or did they not have a say? Being that I am from today’s generation and society I cannot fathom allowing my 12 year old son to commit to a relationship with another grown man. Did they not believe they were harming these young people? It seems as though they experienced no guilt but only pleasure and satisfaction when gaining a relationship with a young boy. Because the boy’s role was passive submissive, I feel there was a sense of low self-worth associated with that. What did these men do when the boys grew hair on their chests and beards on their faces?
Did they simply get rid of them or did they continue the relationship? In some cases I would think they held on to the ones they truly cared for, whatever that meant. What then came of the boys who became adults? Did they also continue the cycle of having relations with young boys? If these boys did not have sexual desires for men, but were constantly being wooed by these prestigious older men then it is obvious that they sometimes gave in to these relationships unwillingly. Much like todays pedophiles it seems as though the boys were lured with promises of a secure and happy friendship/relationship.
As with today’s predators they also took their time getting to know the victim before initiating sexual relations. Though intercrural sex was widely practiced, meaning penetration of the penis between the thighs was used very often back then, I still feel the children felt huge sense of belittlement. Therefore in regard to Plato’s idea of a good life, I in contrast believe the good life consists of being happy whether you are educated or not, rich or poor. I grew up poor, my father quit school after the eighth grade, and despite this we had a happy home life.
I do feel receiving a traditional education is very helpful, but in some cases it is not necessary. It is human nature to continuously learn new things throughout our lifetime. As we grow older we become so much more knowledgeable about everything around us. I think experiencing things first hand speaks volumes about ones level of maturity. I feel the way we should live to attain happiness is to never have limitations, we should always have the option to keep learning be it through instruction or self-learning. Life should never be left a standstill, people should never feel sorry for themselves or hopeless.
If someone wants to be happy and not feel jealous of the way their neighbor is able to live then something can always be done about it. If someone feels unworthy or depressed they can seek out counseling. I do believe that what is good for me is not necessarily what is good for someone else. Culture and personal upbringing obviously have a lot to do with how individuals behave within society. I completely agree with Socrates statement, that the unexamined life is not worth living. Both Socrates and Plato believed that seeking wisdom through examination of life transformed ones soul. By making that choice we moved towards a good life.
Lastly, we have yet to learn what a goes through a pedophiles mind and why it is that they can have sexual desires for under aged kids. Though a sad, isolated life for today’s sexual predators, the same could not be said for the days of Plato and the workings of the world back then. I myself feel immense joy and happiness by helping others, not by causing sorrow and pain that is felt by the unfortunate victims involved in these horrific acts. The psychological world has yet to learn the true cause or therapy that will help these individuals, we can only be hopeful that much needed changes come in the near future.
Courtney from Study Moose
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