New Internationalist

India, porn and sexual violence

David Cameron [Related Image]
David Cameron has called for a filter on internet porn DFID under a Creative Commons Licence

Pornography seems to evoke instant interest. And the responses, predictably, in most newspapers, to British Prime Minister David Cameron’s proposed default filter on porn sites are prolific. I’ve thought more about porn in the last year, than I’ve had reason to ever before. The April Jones case haunted me. As did the Tia Sharp tragedy. The police reported both killers had images of child porn on their computers.

I’ve had many young people insist that porn is not the reason behind rape or child abuse. Admittedly there are additional factors. But over and over again, evidence points to the fact that porn is playing a pivotal role in both adult and child rape crimes.

In India, we are facing a horrendous daily dose of women and child rape and murder than has ever been recorded in our history. We have always been a child friendly country. An English friend told me how she loved Air India, because the crew, including male pursers, picked up her baby and held it to allow her to eat her meal in peace. Yet we are witnessing an unbelievable surge of sexual violence in India which threatens the very fabric of this society. It’s more dangerous for a woman or child to be alone in our cities currently, than it was 20 years ago.

Yesterday I read a story about a two-and-a-half year old toddler who was kidnapped from beside her sleeping, homeless grandmother soon after midnight. A few hours later, the child’s body was found raped, killed and dumped not far away. The mother was mentally unsound said the report. With a penniless, homeless mother and grandmother, the chances of this story making the headlines of the Delhi media are remote. On 23 July, a 6-year-old child was raped by a 14-year-old boy, a police constable’s son.

The rates of juvenile crime are shooting up. Analysts, including a Tamil Nadu judge, talk about porn leading to deviant behaviour with men demanding their wives perform like the porn stars. But even worse is the fact that in several cases the prelude to rape was men watching porn on their mobile phones. In the recent case of a 5-year-old Delhi girl, two men watching porn on a drinking binge then went out and lured the child into their room where they raped her. They didn’t merely rape her but shoved a bottle up the child. Links can be seen between all of these ideas – the terrible violence inflicted on the victims –  and the scenes depicted on the perpetrators’ downloads

A friend in adivasi Jharkhand told me that teenagers and even boys as young as 10 years old were watching violent porn on mobiles. The old video and mobile phone shops are now called  ‘download’ shops and kids can buy filth for as little as 2 rupees a download. A few days ago a group of young men broke into a boarding school at night and kidnapped four tribal schoolgirls, all between 12 and 14 years old. The girls were gang-raped. Rape was unheard of in adivasi India a few decades ago. Violent porn is changing the face of even rural India.

I hate the thought of Big Brother watching us. But if I could save one child from the horror of rape and sexual torture, I would try anything. People have criticised David Cameron. But there are experts, hackers and computer geeks who can stop the rapists, child abusers and, paedophiles accessing this material with ease. More effectively and easily than slow moving, unimaginative bureaucrats, politicians or police.  Paedophiles and perverts have a closely knit network to exploit kids. Can the internet community band together to fight the depraved and protect our children? Take a look at April Jones’ angelic face. Please let’s start an international movement to save our children.

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