ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE OC May 2007:
DISGUSTING: <em>Crikey </em>Demands Decriminalisation of Child Rape “Virtual Sex”
The bankrupt email newsletter Crikey(normally called Nameless here because they so frequently steal our work without attribution) has today defended the practice of engaging in “virtual child sex” and called for it to be legalised.
One of its full-time staff writers, Liberal Party member Charles Richardson attempts with the shaking hand of the pervert-lover to draw a distinction between child pornography which he says he doesn’t like and the practice of fantasising about having sex with children by engaging in “virtual sex”. It’s too disgusting for words.
A number of points Richardson, a business partner of Greens militant Stephen Luntz, should consider prior to making a public apology for his sick and evil article:
â– Children cannot legally or otherwise consent to sex so any fantasies of the kind he outlines necessarily involve fantasising about rape; and
â– Does he not think that tolerating this kind of sick fantasising might encourage weirdos to engage in the actual conduct itself and provide a forum for the operation of predators against children.
Charles is a civil liberties guy and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. We need to maintain a strong scepticism about state power and put limits on it wherever we can. Twisting that noble notion to form a corrupt defence of low-lifes who want to get excited about fantasising over hurting society’s most defenceless is about as low as Crikey has ever gone in its long and twisted catalogue of crime.
We insist on and require an apology for this disgrace in the next edition of this foul publication. If there isn’t one, there’s going to be trouble.
In the grainy photograph above from the Crikey yoga studio, Charles Richardson is marked number 6, on the left.
Judge for yourself:
18. Where’s the harm in virtual child sex?
Charles Richardson writes:
Unpopular causes struggle to find defenders. No-one much wants to be seen defending Holocaust deniers, even if they’ve been unjustly imprisoned. No-one is keen to stand up for Islamic fundamentalists, even though they might not actually be terrorists.
And of course, nobody wants to defend child pornography.
I certainly don’t. Child porn is a dreadful thing. But it’s worth taking a moment to remember why that is. It’s bad because children get hurt; porn is made either without their consent, or in circumstances where consent is meaningless.
Laws against the production of child porn target that harm directly. Laws against trading in it target it indirectly, in much the same way that we have laws against trafficking in stolen goods. But because pedophiles don’t enjoy the same social cachet that burglars do, the laws against child porn go much further.
Latest example is a case from Germany, reported in this morning’s Age, where prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation against players in a computer game, “who reportedly bought virtual sex with other players, who were posing as children.”
If, in a cloud of electrons on a server somewhere, your avatar is having sex with virtual representations of children, so what? How on earth is that hurting real people?
Yet Australian law appears to allow such prosecutions. The NSW Crimes Act, for example, provides for up to five years imprisonment for simply possessing pornographic material “that depicts or describes … a person under (or apparently under) the age of 16 years”. (Just yesterday, a former NSW prosecutor was sentenced to a minimum 8 months’ jail under this section.)
Fair enough that prosecutors should not have to prove that the person featured is actually under 16. But the purpose of the law still has to be the protection of real people. Fictional, imaginary or virtual people just don’t cut it.
Otherwise we’re not talking about prevention of harm at all: we’re talking about punishing people for having sexual tastes that we disapprove of.