• Who is enabling heinous crimes against children?

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    FR. SHAY CULLEN, SSC

    How could a child, aged eight, seriously sexually abuse a three-year old if he did not see such lewd acts being performed? Well, that is what happened in a town south of Cebu and it seems that the eight-year old boy had been allowed to surf the internet in a computer shop in an arcade and was able to view child or adult pornography. He is just one of many, according to a social worker. The adults running the internet shop in the arcade and in malls have to be held responsible. It is illegal and morally wrong to allow children access to the internet on computers that have no filters and no pornography blocking software. The Anti-Child Pornography Act of 2009, otherwise known as RA 9775, mandates this.

    It is clear that the anti-child pornography and child protection laws are not known, respected or being enforced in the Philippines. In most countries, it is a serious crime for anybody to access, possess or share illegal images of children. Philippine inspectors may be corrupt and getting paid off by the internet shop managers. For sure, the Internet service providers (ISPs), the telecommunications companies that provide internet access, are not implementing the law. The officials of the National Telecommunications Commission are allegedly not doing their job enforcing the law. Are they in cahoots with the ISP corporations? The commissioner is supposed to report directly to the President. Now that there will be free public Internet access, who will control child pornography?

    Children and young people are damaged by pornography, in fact driving an eight-year old to abuse a three-year old (www.preda.org). Their positive understanding of a female as a person to be respected and untouched is, after exposure to pornography, damaged. They see the female as an object to be abused for personal satisfaction. Pornography is destroying the personality, human development and the future of those children where they can have normal relationships when they grow older. Above all, there is the life-long trauma suffered by the victim-survivors.

    This is a serious social and psychological problem and it is widespread and growing around the world wherever there is internet. It is driving the increase in rape and incest. It is a grave threat to the well being of children and youth. There is little government or NGO response to combat it. The sexual abuse of children is directly connected to the availability of child porn on the internet. But also, the bad example of adults sexually abusing children in the home is worst of all. The perverted acts are surely known to the younger children in families. The young boys will get the idea that it is an acceptable behavior because the adult male does it and rarely is the crime reported. Frequently, the mother or relatives do not intervene or report the abuse. But it is widespread and frequent and one in three girls are victims of sexual abuse and one in six boys.

    According to one report in UCAN, “children make up 77 percent of rape survivors in the Philippines, a predominantly Catholic country, and the crime occurs at a rate of two every minute. Midyear 2015 data released by the national police showed rape cases surging 63.5 percent to 8,288 from 5,069 recorded in the first six months of 2014.” It is estimated that the reported cases will double by 2017.

    Many young people are addicted to watching pornography on the internet and also violent computer war games and assassinations where women are abused. The exposure to such violence desensitize the children and youth to the fact that they are practicing crimes online and it makes it all too easy for them to be violent in real life and to condone and approve violent solutions for every problem. This leads to violence in the home and even sexual violence if the games are sexually orientated. Perhaps that is why so many Filipinos approve the human trafficking into the sex industry and the killing of suspects in the President’s war-on-drugs. It has official approval and in a hierarchical society like the Philippines, people unthinkingly follow the leader whoever he may be.

    The internet is the greatest communication tool ever invented but this technology is both a blessing and a curse by misuse. The greatest sinners besides the immoral and unscrupulous internet shops are the ISPs that enable anybody easy, uncontrolled internet surfing, even by children, especially when the law says there must be blocking software to stop child pornography.

    If you search the websites of the major ISPs, you will find it hard to see any reference to an anti-child pornography policy or a statement saying they comply with the law RA 7995. The law orders the ISPs to install blocking software and filters on their servers but apparently they don’t. The spread of child pornography and growth of cybersex crime can be laid at their door. They have a case to answer.

    When the heinous crimes of children being sexually abused online by live streaming for money are sent through the ISPs, we ask who are the real enablers of child abuse,? Who are the real criminals?

    shaycullen@gmail.com
    www.preda.org

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