The Effects

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1 “Social workers at Tygerbear, the unit for traumatised children at Tygerberg Hospital, say they have noticed a distinct increase in reports of child-on-child sexual abuse over the past five years” (Cape Argus, 21 July 2004). Social worker Sayeeda Dhansay said that “exposure to pornography on television and the Internet, and access to sexually explicit adult reading and viewing material” was one of the risk factors.

2 “90% of young sexual offenders (7 to 14 years) have been exposed to pornography. This is a huge factor as the offenders act out what they have seen” (Luke Lamprecht, Manager Teddy Bear Clinic, Gauteng, 2004).

3 The Cape Times, 12 July 2002: “an amazing 42% of sexual assaults against children in the past year were committed by adolescents and children younger than 13.” This trend was reported by the Childline, Durban, Sexual Abuse Treatment Centre manager, who voiced concern that “we are raising a society of rapists and child abusers … Among the factors contributing to the increase of young offenders was their exposure to pornographic material.”

4 The Cape Times, 21 March 2002, under the headline “Young child abusers saw erotic TV series – “Five Cape Town children under the age of 12 who have perpetrated sexual abuses against other children, are said to have been exposed to an erotic TV series … ‘Emmanuelle on TV was definitely one of the programmes they watched'” (Safeline manager).

5 “The extent and seriousness of sexual abuse by other children (peers and older children) has only recently been recognised as a severe problem in South Africa, including on the school premises” (Joan Campbell M.A., Family and Child Therapist, 2003). Inappropriate “sexual games” involving oral sex etc. are being increasingly reported at primary schools (ages 6 to 12). A full-page article featuring an interview with Joan Campbell on sexual behaviour in children has appeared in the Cape Argus (23 August 2004). A portion of this is attached.

6 Young children suffer severe psychological trauma when exposed to adult porn at an inappropriately young age. Symptoms closely resemble those of actual sexual abuse. This is a common occurrence causing much concern to parents.

7 The incidence of HIV infection is highest among young people (half our university students are infected) and sexual activity has become commonplace amongst schoolchildren aged 12 to 18. Is this mere coincidence, or is it attributable to the influence of “sexual freedom” that has evolved during the past decade? The permissive standards fostered by pornography must surely have played a part, especially given the circulation of porn magazines in our schools. TV, too, constantly reinforces the perception that casual sex is “cool”.